1120. Ibn `Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Prophet (PBUH) said, "May Allah have mercy on a man who performs four Rak`ah before the `Asr prayer.''
[Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi].
Commentary: These four Rak`ah can be performed in two couplets also, as was the practice of the Prophet (PBUH), according to the preceding Hadith. It can be performed with one Taslim also. Both forms are correct and permissible. Some scholars are of the opinion that the former method is better. `Ulama' have stated that these four Sunnah of `Asr prayer are Ghair Mu'akkadah (optional prayers). Its importance is however evident from the fact that the Prophet (PBUH) prayed for mercy on those who performed these Sunnah.
On the authority of Abu Hurayrah may Allah be pleased with him, who said that the Messenger of Allah said: Allah - may His Majesty be exalted ! - said:
".......My servant draws not near to Me with anything more loved by Me than the religious duties I have enjoined upon him, and My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I shall love him.It was related by al-Bukhari.
"Is it better for me to make tasbîh or to make istighfâr?" He replied, "The dirty robe is more in need