I was looking at the fatwas about du‘aa’ on your website and I found out that making the last prostration in prayer long is an innovation (bid‘ah) because the Messenger (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) used to make all the pillars or essential parts of the prayer equal in length. I want to call upon my Lord without falling into bid‘ah. I always like to call upon my Lord at the time just before dawn, raising my hands after praying two rak‘ahs of qiyaam al-layl, and make it last for an hour; I do this almost every day. Is this permissible? If I pray two rak‘ahs of qiyaam al-layl, making all the pillars or essential parts of the prayer approximately equal except in the tashahhud, and I stay for approximately an hour before saying the salaam, is it permissible to offer du‘aa’ at that point in this manner? Is it permissible for me to call upon my Lord after saying the salaam after praying one rak‘ah of Witr and to stay for approximately one hour every day? My purpose in all of that is that I want to call upon my Lord at night, during the time before dawn, and to make the du‘aa’ lengthy. How can I avoid innovation? With regard to the hour before sunset on Friday, how can I make the most of it whilst avoiding bid‘ah? Can I pray two rak‘ahs at the time when prayer is makrooh, and raise my hands, or what is the correct way?.
Du‘aa’ and conversing with one’s Lord is one of the dearest of actions to Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, because it is one of the most sincere forms of expressing humility before Allah and because it is a clear declaration of one’s absolute need for His mercy, and He loves to see that from His slaves.
The fear of falling into bid‘ah should not be a cause of deterring one from doing this righteous deed. The Shaytaan tries to confuse people with regard to their acts of worship by making them so worried about showing off or falling into bid‘ah that they give up the act of worship altogether. The Muslim should beware of that. You have done well to ask about what is permissible in du‘aa’ and how to go about it.
With regard to the Islamic rulings that are mentioned in the question, we say:
Making the prostration lengthy when praying qiyaam is Sunnah and mustahabb, because of the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), according to which the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “The closest that a person is to his Lord is when he is prostrating, so say a great deal of du’aa’.”
Narrated by Muslim, 482
Saying a lot of du‘aa’, as enjoined by the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), is a reason for making the prostration lengthy.
Imam an-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
Standing, bowing (rukoo‘), prostration (sujood) and the tashahhud are all lengthy pillars or essential parts of the prayer, with no difference of scholarly opinion, so it does not matter if they are made lengthy.
End quote from al-Majmoo‘, 4/126
In the Qur’aan, Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, has mentioned the lengthy prostration of the righteous when praising and commending them, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“You see them bowing and falling down prostrate (in prayer), seeking Bounty from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure. The mark of them (i.e. of their Faith) is on their faces (foreheads) from the traces of (their) prostration (during prayers)”
We have discussed this ruling previously in the answer to question no. 6834
With regard to the previous statement on our website that it is contrary to the Sunnah – and we did not say that it is bid‘ah – see the answer to questions no. 111889 and 112165. This speaks about the imam deliberately making the final prostration (sujood) of a congregational prayer lengthy to alert the people that this is now the final prostration. This is what is contrary to the Prophet’s Sunnah. As for making the final prostration lengthy when praying qiyaam al-layl, none of the scholars said that this is disallowed; rather it is part of the Sunnah.
Something similar may be said about making the sitting for the tashahhud lengthy. It is narrated in the hadeeth of ‘Abdullah ibn Mas‘ood (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) taught the Sahaabah the tashahhud, then he said at the end of it: “Then let him choose whatever supplications he wishes.”
Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5876 and Muslim, 402.
It says in al-Mudawwanah, 1/192:
Maalik said: There is no doubt that a man may offer du‘aa’ (supplication) for all his needs, in this world and in the Hereafter, in the obligatory prayer, when standing, sitting and prostrating. … It was narrated that ‘Urwah ibn az-Zubayr said: … I call upon Allah for all my needs when praying, even my need for salt. End quote.
With regard to offering du‘aa’ whilst praying with the hands raised, that is only prescribed in the case of Witr at the end of the night prayers. In other words, when a person has finished his prayers at night (qiyaam al-layl), he should make his last prayer Witr and after the final rak‘ah he may raise his hands and offer whatever supplication he wants, as the people do with the Imam in Taraweeh prayer in Ramadan.
With regard to du‘aa’ after praying Witr before dawn, there is nothing wrong with that either and it does not come under the heading of bid‘ah, because offering du‘aa’ during the time before dawn is permissible according to the texts of the Qur’aan and Sunnah.
Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):
“(They are) those who are patient ones, those who are true (in Faith, words, and deeds), and obedient with sincere devotion in worship to Allah. Those who spend (give the Zakat and alms in the Way of Allah) and those who pray and beg Allahs Pardon in the last hours of the night”
[Aal ‘Imraan 3:17].
It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Our Lord, may He be blessed and exalted, comes down to the lowest heaven every night when the last third of the night is left, and He says: ‘Who will call upon Me, that I may answer him? Who will ask of Me, that I may give him? Who will ask Me for forgiveness, that I may forgive him?’”
Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1094; Muslim, 758
With regard to seeking out the hour when supplications are answered on Friday in order to offer du‘aa’ at that time, this also comes under the heading of righteous deeds and it is not bid‘ah at all. But it is not permissible to connect it to a naafil prayer after ‘Asr, because offering naafil prayers after ‘Asr is not allowed. Hence it is sufficient for the one who wants to offer supplication to sit and do so – whether he is in the mosque or at home – and to ask Allah for all his needs with sincerity and humility, and he will be answered, by Allah’s leave. We have discussed this in detail previously in the answer to question no. 112165
And Allah knows best.