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Could you please shed some light on how to pray Witr?
Praise be to Allaah.
Witr prayer is part of the night prayer, but there is still a difference between them.
Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
Witr is part of the night prayer, and it is Sunnah and it is the end of the night prayer, one rak’ah with which one concludes the night prayers at the end of the night, or in the middle of the night, or at the beginning of the night after ‘Isha’ prayer. You pray whatever you can, then you conclude it with one rak’ah. End quote. Fataawa Ibn Baaz, 11/309
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
The Sunnah – both in word and in deed – distinguishes between the night prayers and witr prayer. The scholars also distinguished between them with regard to the ruling and the way in which they are done.
With regard to differentiation made in the Sunnah, according to the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him), a man asked the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): How are the night prayers done? He said: “Two by two, then when you fear that dawn is about to break, pray Witr with one rak’ah.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari. See al-Fath, 3/20.
With regard to the way in which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) differentiated between them in his actions, according to the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her): The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to pray when I was lying down across his bed. When he wanted to pray Witr, he would wake me up and I would pray Witr. Narrated by al-Bukhaari. See al-Fath, 2/487. Also narrated by Muslim (1/51) with the wording: “He used to offer his prayers at night when I was lying in front of him.” Then when only Witr was left, he would wake her up and she would pray witr. And Muslim also narrated (1/508) that she said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to pray thirteen rak’ahs at night, five of which were witr, in which he would not sit except at the end. And he narrated from her (1/513) that when Sa’d ibn Hishaam said to her: “Tell me about the Witr of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him),” she said: “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to pray nine rak'ahs during which he would not sit except in the eighth rak’ah, when he would remember Allaah and praise Him and call upon Him, then he would get up without saying the salaam, then he would stand and pray the ninth rak’ah, then he would sit and remember Allaah (dhikr) and praise Him and call upon Him, then he would say a tasleem that we could hear.”
With regard to the way in which the scholars differentiated between the ruling on witr and the night prayers, the scholars differed as to whether Witr is obligatory. Abu Haneefah was of the view that it is obligatory, and this was narrated from Ahmed in al-Insaaf and al-Furoo’. Ahmad said: Whoever fails to pray Witr deliberately is a bad man whose testimony should not be accepted.
The well known view in our madhhab is that witr is Sunnah. This is the view of Maalik and al-Shaafa’i.
With regard to the scholars’ differentiating between the ways in which witr and the night prayers are done, our Hanbali fuqaha’ have clearly stated that they are done differently. They said: The night prayers are done two by two, and they said concerning witr: witr may be prayed with five, or seven, rak’ahs, in which one does not sit except in the last one. If a person prays witr with nine rak’ahs, he should sit immediately after the eighth rak’ah and recite the tashahhud, then he should stand up before saying the salaam and do the ninth rak’ah, then he should say the tashahhud and the salaam. This is what was stated by the author of Zaad al-Mustaqni’. End quote. Majmoo’ Fataawa Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, 13/262-264.
Du’aa’ al-Qunoot in Witr Prayer
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.
Shaykh al-Islam [Ibn Taymiyah] said in Majmoo’ al-Fataawa (23/100):
With regard to qunoot: there are two extreme views and one middle (or moderate) view. Some say that qunoot should only be recited before bowing and some say that it should only be recited after bowing. The fuqaha’ among the scholars of hadeeth, such as Ahmad and others, say that both are allowed, because both are mentioned in the saheeh Sunnah, but they preferred reciting qunoot after bowing because this is mentioned more often.
Raising the hands is mentioned in a saheeh report from ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him), as was narrated by al-Bayhaqi in a report which he classed as saheeh (2/210).
The worshipper should raise his hands to chest height and no more, because this du’aa’ is not a du’aa’ of supplication in which a person needs to raise his hands high. Rather it is a du’aa’ of hope in which a person holds out his palms towards heaven… The apparent meaning of the scholar’s words is that the worshipper should hold his hands close together like a beggar who asks someone else to give him something.
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. But he taught al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him) a du’aa’ to recite in qunoot al-witr, as will be quoted below.
The du’aa’ of qunoot was narrated by Abu Dawood (1425), al-Tirmidhi (464), and al-Nasaa’i (1746) 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:
“Allaahumma ihdini feeman hadayta wa ‘aafini feeman ‘aafayta wa tawallani feeman tawallayta wa baarik li feema a’tayta, wa qini sharra ma qadayta , fa innaka taqdi wa la yuqda ‘alayk, wa innahu laa yadhillu man waalayta wa laa ya’izzu man ‘aadayta, tabaarakta Rabbana wa ta’aalayta la manja minka illa ilayk
(O Allaah, guide me among those whom You have guided, pardon me among those whom You have pardoned, turn to me in friendship among those on whom You have turned in friendship, and bless me in what You have bestowed, and save me from the evil of what You have decreed. For verily You decree and none can influence You; and he is not humiliated whom You have befriended, nor is he honoured who is Your enemy. Blessed are You, O Lord, and Exalted. There is no place of safety from You except with You).”
The last phrase – Laa manja minka illa ilayka (There is no place of safety from You except with You) – was narrated by Ibn Mandah in al-Tawheed and classed as hasan by al-Albaani. See Irwa’ al-Ghaleel, hadeeth no. 426, 429.
Then he should send blessings upon the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). See al-Sharh al-Mumti’ by Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (4/14-52).
It is mustahabb to say after the tasleem: Subhaan al-Malik al-Quddoos three times, elongating the vowels the third time, as narrated by al-Nasaa’i (1699) and classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh Sunan al-Nasaa’i.
Al-Daaraqutni added the word: Rabb al-Malaa’ikah wa’l-Rooh (Lord of the angels and the Spirit), with a saheeh isnaad. See Zaad al-Ma’aad by Ibn al-Qayyim, 1/337.
And Allaah knows best.
Question Date: 2011-12-08
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