Witr Prayer


Witr prayer is one of the greatest acts of worship that draws one closer to Allaah.

`Ali (bin Abu Talib) (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Witr prayer is not obligatory as the prescribed Salat (prayers), but the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) observed it as his regular practice (Sunnah). He (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said,

Allah is Witr (single, odd) and loves what is Witr. So perform Witr prayer. O followers of Qur’an, observe Witr (prayer).”

(At-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud)

 

Thus, we learn from this Hadith that Witr is not Fard and Wajib but Sunnah Mu’akkadah (compulsory). But it would not be correct to show any slackness in performing them to this reason because every Muslim should do his level best to follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam).

 

———————————–Timings of Salatul Witr——————————

 It starts when a person has prayed ‘Isha’ until dawn begins, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

“Allaah has prescribed for you a prayer (by which He may increase your reward), which is Witr; Allaah has enjoined it for you during the time between ‘Isha’ prayer until dawn begins.”

Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 425; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.

Is it better to offer this prayer at the beginning of its time or to delay it?

The Sunnah indicates that if a person thinks he will be able to get up at the end of the night, it is better to delay it, because prayer at the end of the night is BETTER and is witnessed (by the angels). But whoever fears that he will not get up at the end of the night should pray Witr before he goes to sleep, because of the hadeeth of Jaabir (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said: the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

“Whoever fears that he will not get up at the end of the night, let him pray Witr at the beginning of the night,but whoever thinks that he will be able to get up at the end of the night, let him pray Witr at the end of the night, for prayer at the end of the night is witnessed (by the angels) and that is better.”

— Narrated by Muslim, 755. 

——————————–The number of rak’ahs in Witr:——————————

The minimum number of rak’ahs for Witr is one rak’ah, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

“Witr is one rak’ah at the end of the night.”

–Narrated by Muslim, 752.

And he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

“The night prayers are two (rak’ahs) by two, but if one of you fears that dawn is about to break, let him pray one rak’ah to make what he has prayed odd-numbered.”

— Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 911; Muslim, 749.

If a person limits himself to praying one rak’ah, then he has performed the Sunnah. But Witr may also be three or five or seven or nine.

—————————————–Ways of Offering————————————

*****IF THREE RAK’AH :

If a person prays three rak’ahs of Witr this may be done in two ways, both of which are prescribed in sharee’ah:

1 – To pray them one after another, WITH ONE TASHAHHUD, because of the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) who said:

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used not to say the tasleem in the (first) two rakahs of Witr. According to another version: “He used to pray Witr with three rak’ahs and he did not sit except in the last of them.”

— Narrated by al-Nasaa’i, 3/234; al-Bayhaqi, 3/31. al-Nawawi said in al-Majmoo’ (4/7): it was narrated by al-Nasaa’i with a hasan isnaad, and by al-Bayhaqi with a saheeh isnaad. 

2 – Saying the tasleem after two rak’ahs, then praying one rak’ah on its own, because of the report narrated from Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him), that he used to separate the two rak’ahs from the single rak’ah with a tasleem, and he said that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to do that.

— Narrated by Ibn Hibbaan (2435); Ibn Hajar said in al-Fath (2/482): its isnaad is qawiy (strong). 

*****IF FIVE OR SEVEN RAK’AH :

BUT IF HE PRAYS WITR WITH FIVE OR SEVEN RAK’AHS, THEN THEY SHOULD BE CONTINUOUS, and he should only recite one tashahhud in the last of them and say the tasleem, because of the report narrated by ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) who said:

“The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to pray thirteen rak’ahs at night, praying five rak’ahs of Witr, in which he would not sit except in the last rak’ah.

— Narrated by Muslim, 737. 

And it was narrated that Umm Salamah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said:

“The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to pray Witr with five or seven (rak’ahs) and he did not separate between them with any salaam or words.”

— Narrated by Ahmad, 6/290; al-Nasaa’i, 1714. al-Nawawi said: Its isnaad is jayyid. Al-Fath al-Rabbaani, 2/297. and it was classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Nasaa’i. 

***** IF NINE RAK’AH :

If he prays Witr with nine rak’ahs, then they should be continuous and he should sit to recite the tashahhud in the eighth rak’ah, then stand up and not say the tasleem, then he should recite the tashahhud in the ninth rak’ah and then say the tasleem.

It was narrated  from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to pray nine rak’ahs in which he did not sit except in the eighth, when he would remember Allaah, praise Him and call upon Him, then he would get up and not say the tasleem, and he would stand up and pray the ninth (rak’ah), then he would sit and remember Allaah and praise Him and call upon Him, then he would say a tasleem that we could hear.

— Muslim (746)

***** IF ELEVEN RAK”AH

If he prayed Witr with eleven rak’ahs, he would say the tasleem after each two rak’ahs, then pray one rak’ah at the end.

————————————Sunnah Recitation in Witr——————————–

In the first rak’ah one should recite Sabbih isma rabbika al-‘a’la (“Glorify the name of your Lord, the Most High” – Soorat al-A’la 87).

In the second one should recite Soorat al-Kaafiroon (109), and in the third Soorat al-Ikhlaas (112).

Ubayy ibn Ka’b said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to recite in Witr Sabbih isma rabbika al-‘a’la (“Glorify the name of your Lord, the Most High” – Soorat al-A’la 87), Qul yaa ayyuha’l-kaafiroon (“Say: O disbeliever…” – Soorat al-Kaafiroon 109) and Qul Huwa Allaahu ahad (“Say: He is Allaah, the One” – Soorat al-Ikhlaas 112).

– Al-Nasaa’i (1729), classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Nasaa’i. 

———————————–Reciting Qunoot in Witr———————————–

Du’a’ al-Qunoot is recited in the LAST RAK’AH of Witr prayer, after bowing, but if one recites it before bowing it doesn’t matter. But reciting it AFTER BOWING IS BETTER.

The worshipper should raise his hands to chest height and no more, because this du’aa’ is not a duaa of supplication in which a person needs to raise his hands high.

It is better not to recite qunoot in witr all the time, rather it should be done sometimes, because there is no evidence that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did it all the time.

The du’aa’ of qunoot was narrated from al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) taught me some words to say in qunoot al-witr:

Allâhumma hdinî fîman hadayta wa câfinî fîman câfayta, wa tawallanî fîman tawallayta, wa bârik lî fîmâ actayta, wa qinî sharra mâ qadayta. Fa-innaka taqdî wa lâ yuqdâ calayka. Innahu lâ yadhillu man wâlayta [wa lâ yacizzu man câdayta]. Tabârakata rabbanâ wa tacâlayta.

‘O Allaah, guide me along with those whom You have guided, pardon me along with those whom You have pardoned, be an ally to me along with those whom You are an ally to and bless for me that which You have bestowed. Protect me from the evil You have decreed for verily You decree and none can decree over You. For surety, he whom You show allegiance to is never abased and he whom You take as an enemy is never honoured and mighty. O our Lord, Blessed and Exalted are You.’

Abu Dawood (1425), al-Tirmidhi (464), and al-Nasaa’i (1746)

Then he should send blessings upon the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).

———————————– After finishing Witr—————————————

It is mustahabb to say after the tasleem:

سُـبْحانَ المَلِكِ القُدّوس , ربِّ الملائكةِ والرّوح

Subhâna-l-maliki-l-quddûsi. (Prophet [sallAllahu ‘alyhi wasallam] would recite this thrice, and while reciting it the third time he would raise his voice, elongate it and add:

[Rabbi-l-malâ’ikati wa r-rûhi.]

‘How perfect The King, The Holy One is.’ (Three Times) ‘Lord of the angels and the Ruuh (i.e. Jibraa’eel).

—  narrated by al-Nasaa’i (1699) and classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh Sunan al-Nasaa’i.

—————————————————————————————————————————

All these ways of offering Witr prayer have been mentioned in the Sunnah, but the best way is not to stick to one particular way; rather one should do it ONE WAY ONE TIME AND ANOTHER WAY ANOTHER TIME, so that one will have done all the Sunnahs.

And Allah Ta’ala alone knows best.

-Compiled by Faizan Shaikh

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4 thoughts on “Witr Prayer

  1. Pingback: The Virtues of Qiyaam during Ramadan [Part 1] | verse By Verse Quran Study Circle

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