Salah is the second pillar of Islam. It is obligatory on every Muslim to perform five daily prayers regularly on their specified times. Besides five obligatory prayers, there are some Nafil (optional) prayers upon which there is a great reward from Almighty Allah if someone offers them. Salat-ul-Ishraq is one of the optional prayers that need to perform about 15 minutes after sunrise. It has only 2 Rakats but Hadiths are filled with the high merits of this Nafil prayer.
Abu Hurairah (RA) narrated Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said that: “He who says Ishraq prayer without fail shall have his lesser sins forgiven even though they may be as numerous as foam specks on the surface of the sea.” (Tirmidhi)
Concerning the virtue related to Ishraq prayer, the Prophet (PBUH) said: “Whoever prays Fajr in the congregation, then sits remembering Allah until the sun rises, then prays two Rakats, will have a reward like that of Hajj and Umrah.” (Tirmidhi)
It is important to know that the Salat-ul- Ishraq would not start straight away after the rising of the Sun but one will have to wait after the sun rises up until it is above the horizon by the length of a spear. This is normally 15 minutes after sunrise.
The best way to perform Ishraq prayer is to sit in place after Fajr prayer, do dhikr and then leave after performing Ishraq prayer when the sun has risen. But if one cannot follow this, then he can offer Ishraq prayer after coming back home or after doing something he has to do.
As for the intention to be developed while offering Salat-ul-Ishraq, or other optional prayers, there is no hard and fast rule to follow. Since it is an optional Prayer, it is enough to say in one’s mind that one is praying Nafil or Ishraq prayer. One may perform any number of Rakats from a minimum of 2 Rakats up to preferably 8 Rakats.
May Almighty Allah give us the strength to offer the obligatory prayers regularly with Nafil (optional) prayers in order to get the more blessings! Ameen