Al-Sunan al-Rawatib (Sunnah Mu’akkadah)

Every Muslim, whether be male or female, is recommended to pray 12 Rakaat of supererogatory prayers every day: four of these Rakaat (units of prayers) are before noon prayer, two after it, two after Maghrib prayer, two after Isha (night) prayer and two before the morning prayer.

These supererogatory prayers are called (Rawatib) which means: “Certain supererogatory exercises of optional prayers.” The Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be on him, preserved the performance of these optional prayers wherever he settled. During his travels, he used to practice the two optional Rakaat before the morning prayer and also the Witr prayer (after the Isha prayer).

There is no objection to perform these optional prayers in the mosque, but it is better to perform it at home, because the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, said “The best of the prayers are those which are fulfilled at one’s own home, with exception to obligatory prayers which should be performed in congregation a t the mosque.”

Observance of fulfilling these optional prayers is a means for gaining admission to paradise. The Prophet, may peace and blessings of Allah be on him, said (which means): “Whoever prays optionally twelve Rakaat every one day and night, Allah will reward him by an established dwelling in the paradise. ”

It is also advisable to the Muslim to pray four optional Rakaat before Asr prayer (afternoon prayer), two before Maghrib prayer (evening prayer), and two before Isha prayer (night prayer), because this manner was reported to be one of the traditions of the Prophet. Allah, the Almighty says: “Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah an excellent exemplar” (33:21).

Source for the above: Prophet Muhammad’s Manners of Performing Prayers – Shaik ibn Baaz

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It was on a Saturday night, the weather was chilly after the heavy rain that fell earlier in the day. The moon and stars were slowly reclaiming their spots after being imprisoned by the dark cloud that accompanied the rain.

I got to town in time to catch the nine o’ clock news. Owing to the nature of my job, news either local or foreign is important. You see, I report for one of the big news outlet in Nigeria and also run a part-time reporting job for two major foreign broadcasting stations and I was stationed in Maiduguri. My families are base in Kaduna, the city where I met and married my wife.

I first met her at the NYSC orientation camp during our service year. She was in 2nd Platoon while I was in 5th platoon. She studied economics and graduated from one of the institutions from the western part of the country, while I studied mass communication from one of the oldest university in the country located in the north. We got acquainted when a mutual friend of ours was admitted at the camp hospital.

Dayo was in my platoon and he was the platoon director of sports/socials. He was a tall slim guy with smile that is always plastered on his face, very lively. There was never a dull moment with him, infact people jostle just to sit close to him during orientation lectures because you will laugh and forget how boring those lectures were.

Dayo and my wife (Folashade) went to the same school and are even from the same state. Shade and I became friends but after camp we were posted to different parts of Kaduna and we lost contact. In our 6th month of service all corpers were asked to report to the NYSC secretariat. That was where we met again and this time we kept close contact with each other. Luckily for me she wasn’t attached to anyone although she and Dayo were at this time closer than before. One thing led to another and a year after service we were married. That would be eight years this Sunday (two days from Friday). We have two wonderful girls age 6 and 4 and everything was fine, or so I thought.

I took a cab from the park and the night life of Kaduna hits me. Kaduna always have the effect on me anytime I return, it’s like new structures are erected just to tell me development is taking place. It’s contrary to what is obtainable in Maiduguri. No more night life and streets are militarized. Shops and stores closes as early as 6pm except those that are located close to military base.

All though the rugged journey from Maiduguri to Kaduna, all I could think of was how surprise Shade will be. We’ve been apart from each other for four months now, the longest we’ve stayed apart. I have missed her kisses, her laughter, flirtatious smiles, her food and constant gossip (which she called chatting).

I got home some few minutes to nine and from outside I could see the dim light in our bedroom. I wasn’t excepting the kids to be at home because they usually spends their weekends with my parents in order to give their mother time to recover from her stressful work and our house help usual have the weekends off to cater for her own family. I and Shade are going to have the whole house to ourselves and seriously my thoughts aren’t worth writing.

Immediately I inserted my key into the keyhole I felt something was wrong. The perfume that greeted me was familiar but it wasn’t my wife’s. Entering inside I found everything look the same, the chairs, the pictures on the wall all look undisturbed. Seeing that everything was okay, I dismiss the feeling as a carryover feeling from my warzone.

I dropped my carryon bag on the couch and call out for my wife. ‘Shasha..’ I called out. That has been her pet name since the day we became lovers. No reply just a mellow sound of music coming from upstairs.

As I walked towards the stairs, I got that feeling again but this time my heart was beating unusually fast. I was wondering what was going on then my eyes caught the sight of a red tie lying loosely on the base of the step leading upstairs. I wanted to stop myself but it looks like I was on auto-drive. The more steps I climbed the more items I found on the floor; a shirt here, singlet there, trouser lying at the top of the staircase with bra hanging freely on the stair handrail but something caught my eyes, it was the belt on the trouser. I remembered it very well because I gave it as a birthday present to him.

The staircase consists of fifteen steps and I think that’s the longest and hardest stairs I have ever climbed. I meant to stop and go back downstairs but then I heard her laughter and my heart did a somersault. I was on my knees holding my breast above the heart while praying to God to wake me up from this bad dream.

The laughter grew louder and I can hear him clearly now. The loving and caring husband in me wanted to go back, ‘See no evil, hear no evil’, but I have seen and heard enough evil to last me a life time. The journalist in me took over, ‘No going back now, we must find out what’s really happening in there’.

As I opened my bedroom door, I saw my wife of eight years, the love of my life and the mother of my beautiful children lying NAKED on my matrimonial bed with smiles on her face (smiles I thought was reserved for me alone) looking at him on top of her NAKED. I stood there for complete two minute without being noticed until my bag drop from my uncooperative hands. Four sets of horrified eyes turn simultaneously towards the door, piercing through my soul and was sucking the life out of me.

As I picked up my bag and fled the crime scene, the last word I heard from the room was, ‘yeeeee Mo gbe… am finished’……….