(as stated by al-Nawawī, Ibn al-Qayyim and Ibn Ḥajar raḥimahumullāh)
The best time for the morning adhkār is between Fajr and sunrise and the best time for the evening adhkār is between ʿAṣr and sunset.
However, if you are unable to recite them during the above times, you can make up for them. For example, if you went back to sleep after Fajr in the summer, then you can make up for them after waking up.
“The verses of the morning and evening adhkār encourage starting and ending the day with dhikr. This is so that one may commence and end with the worship of Allah, and the dhikr will expiate for the sins perpetrated in between these two periods.” – al-Nawawī (raḥimahullāh)
Do I Have to Read All of The Adhkar?
It is highly virtuous to recite all of the adhkār. If we cannot recite them all, we should try to be consistent with at least some of them.
Imām al-Nawawī (raḥimahullāh) writes, “Whoever is granted tawfīq (divine enablement) of performing the morning and evening adhkār, then this is a blessing and a favour from Allah upon him. Congratulations to him! And whoever is unable to perform all of them should limit himself to what is concise, even if it is only one dhikr.”
The Virtues of Dhikr After Fajr & Salah al-Duha
The following are some of the virtues of remembering Allah and performing Ṣalāh al-Duḥā:
1. Following the Sunnah
Jābir (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhū) relates that after Allah’s Messenger ﷺ would perform Fajr, he used to remain seated in his place of prayer until the sun had fully risen (Muslim).
2. Angels make duʿā’ for you
ʿAṭā’ b. al-Sā’ib (raḥimahullāh) narrates, “I entered upon Abū ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Sulamī (raḥimahullāh) who had performed Fajr and was seated in the Masjid. I said to him, ‘If you go and sit on your bed, it will be more comfortable.’ He replied, ‘I heard ʿAlī (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) saying,
‘I heard the Messenger of Allah ﷺ saying, “Whoever performs Fajr and remains seated, the angels supplicate for him. And their supplication is: ‘O Allah, forgive him, O Allah, have mercy on him.’ And whoever waits for ṣalāh, the angels supplicate for him. And their supplication is: ‘O Allah, forgive him, O Allah, have mercy on him’” (Aḥmad).
3. Reward of freeing 4 slaves
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “That I sit with people remembering Allah from Fajr until sunrise is more beloved to me than freeing four slaves from amongst the Children of Ismāʿīl (ʿalayhis-salām). That I sit with people remembering Allah from ʿAṣr until the sun sets is more beloved to me than freeing four slaves from amongst the Children of Ismāʿīl (ʿalayhis-salām)” (Abū Dāwūd).
4. Reward of ḥajj and ʿumrah
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Whoever offers Fajr in congregation and remains seated, engaging in the remembrance of Allah until the sun has risen, and then offers two rakʿahs, he will have a reward equal to that of performing ḥajj and ʿumrah.” He ﷺ said, “Complete, complete, complete (i.e. complete reward)” (Tirmidhī).
— Ibn Ḥajar (raḥimahullāh) mentioned that if someone gets up and moves to another section of the masjid with the intention of waiting for ṣalāh, his reward will be the same.
— The scholars have also stated that this reward is equally applicable to a woman who sits in the place where she performs Fajr and remembers Allah or recites the Qur’ān until sunrise.
— The prayer of ḍuḥā may be read 15 minutes after sunrise until 15 minutes before Ẓuhr starts.
5. You will be from the ‘Awwābīn’
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “None preserves the duhā prayer except for the awwāb (oft-repentant)” (Ṭabarānī).
6. Compensates for charity you owe
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “In the morning, charity is due for every joint in the body of every one of you. Every tasbīḥ is an act of charity. Every taḥmīd is an act of charity. Every tahlīl is an act of charity. Every takbīr is an act of charity. Enjoining good is an act of charity and forbidding evil is an act of charity. And the two rakʿahs which one prays at the time of ḍuḥā will suffice (the above)” (Muslim).
7. Suffices you for your day
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Allah, Blessed and Most High, said, ‘Son of Ādam, perform four rakʿahs for Me in the beginning of the day; it will suffice you for the latter part of it” (Tirmidhī).
Ibn al-Qayyim (raḥimahullāh) writes: “Once I was with Ibn Taymiyyah. He performed Fajr and then sat down to remember Allah until sunrise. Then he turned to me and said, ‘This is my breakfast. If I do not have my breakfast, I lose my strength.’”
Duʿa’ After Salah al-Duha
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ prayed the ḍuḥā prayer, and then said:
اَللّٰهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لِيْ وَتُبْ ﻋَﻠﻲَّ ، إِنَّكَ أنْتَ اﻟﺘَّوَّابُ اﻟرَّحِيْمُ
(O Allah, forgive me and accept my repentance. Indeed, You are the Acceptor of repentance and Ever Merciful),
until he repeated it a hundred times (al-Adab al-Mufrad).