Quora Answer: Do I Have to Qadha’ for All the Prayers I Have Missed?
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is my answer to a Quora question: “In the past, I have not prayed many prayers intentionally. Now, I regret that. Do I have to perform qadha’ swalah for them? What are the rules and conditions?”
It is incumbent upon you to perform swalah al-qadha’ for missed prayers. Should the number of prayers be such that you do not know the number, and find it overwhelming, here are a few suggestions on how to deal with them. Estimate a period, perhaps a year or so, and every time you perform one of the obligatory ritual prayers, your wajib, perform another with the intention that it be the qadha’ of that same prayer. Do not allow the number of missed prayers to overwhelm you. Otherwise, it would fill you with despair, and you will leave it. Islam is a religion of hope, not contracts. Rather, do your best to make up for what you missed, while also keeping to your current obligations.
We have to understand that within our understanding of theology, the intent to pray is ours, but the ability, the capability, the knowledge, the time and the place, all Belong to Allah (s.w.t.). This also humbles us because we know that every swalah, every act of ‘ibadah we perform, is a Divine Gift. There is no place for pride and ownership in this.
For those who are inclined, on the last Friday of Ramadhan, between the period of zhuhr and ‘aswr, one may perform two raka’at of swalah al-qadha’, in the same manner of any such sunnah. This is a sunnah al-muthlaq based on a weak narration. There is no harm doing this with sincere intent and availing ourselves to Divine Mercy.