Narrated Anas bin Sirin:
I asked Ibn ‘Umar, “What is your opinion about the two Rakat before the Fajr (compulsory) prayer, as to prolonging the recitation in them?” He said, “The Prophet (p.b.u.h) used to pray at night two Rakat followed by two and so on, and end the prayer by one Raka Witr. He used to offer two Rakat before the Fajr prayer immediately after the Adhan.” (Hammad, the sub-narrator said, “That meant (that he prayed) quickly.)”
Similar Hadith here.
- Prophet (SAW) used to pray two rak`aat (Sunnah) before Fajr prayer right after the Adhaan.
- He prayed them quickly or lightly, meaning he did not prolong recitation in them.
- We get to know from other narrations that he used to recite Surah al-Kafiroon in the first rak`ah and Surah al-Ikhlaas in the second rak`ah of the Fajr Sunnah prayers.
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) recited in the two supererogatory Rak`ah of the Fajr prayer Surat Al-Kafirun (No. 109) [in the first Rak`ah], and Surat Al-Ikhlas (No. 112) [in the second rak`ah].
He [SAWS] heard a man reciting the former soorah in the first rak’ah (Surah Kafiroon), so he said, “This is a slave who believes in his Lord.” Then the man recited the latter soorah in the second rak’ah (Surah Ikhlas), so he said, “This is a slave who knows his Lord.”
[Al-Albani in “The Prophet’s Prayer Described”]
And here’s a nice relative blog post I came across. :)
Volume 1, Book 11, Number 668:
Narrated Mu’adh bin Jabal:
I used to pray the ‘Isha prayer with the Prophet and then go to lead my people in the prayer.
Volume 1, Book 11, Number 669:
Jabir bin ‘Abdullah said, “Mu’adh bin Jabal used to pray with the Prophet and then go to lead his people in prayer Once he led the ‘Isha’ prayer and recited Surat “Al-Baqarah.” Somebody left the prayer and Mu’adh criticized him. The news reached the Prophet and he said to Mu’adh, ‘You are putting the people to trial,’ and repeated it thrice (or said something similar) and ordered him to recite two medium Suras of al-Mufassal*.” (‘Amr said that he had forgotten the names of those Suras).
* Al-Mufassalaat or the Surahs of al-Mufassal are the surahs starting from Surah no. 50 till the end of the Qur’an, i.e. Surah no. 114.
Prophet (SAW) always kept the congregational prayer short, and ordered others to do so as well. Everyone does not have the time and circumstances to enjoy such long qiyaams everyday. But when you’re praying alone, you may lengthen your prayer as much as you want.
Reciting relevantly shorter Surahs in `Ishaa’ prayer is a Sunnah. The Surahs towards the end of the Qur’an (al-Mufassalaat) are easy to memorize as well. :)