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Do not pray Witr with three rakahs like Maghrib.

Last updated: 6th March 2006
Question ID: #1518
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6th March 2006


Could you kindly explain the following Hadeeth and the Daleel for praying the Witr Salah in the method that we (Hanafis) pray the Witr Salah.

"Do not pray Witr with three rak'ahs like Maghrib." Narrated by al-Haakim, 1/403; al-Bayhaqi, 3/31; al-Daaraqutni, p. 172. Al-Haafiz ibn Hajar said in Fath al-Baari (4/301): Its isnaad fulfils the conditions of the two Shaykhs (al-Bukhaari and Muslim).

Ulamaa ID 04
Answer last updated on:
15th February 2008
Answered by:
Ulamaa ID 04
Location: London

Al-jawab billahi at-taufeeq (the answer with Allah's guidance)

Three Rakats only, according to Imam Abu Hanifah (RA):

It is reported from Sayyiduna Hasan al-Basri that there was general agreement of the early generations (Salaf) that Witr is 3 Rakats [this was reported by Ibn Abi Shayba in his Musannaf and by Imam Tahawi], and the great Faqih (jurist) of the Companions of the Prophet (Sallallaha Alaihi Wasallam), Abdullah ibn Mas`ud (Allah be pleased with him), said, “Witr is 3 rakats, like the Rakats of Maghrib,” and he said, “One Rakat does not fulfill it.” (Zayla`i, Tabyin al-Haqa’iq Sharh Kanz al-Daqa’iq, Nasb al-Raya)

It is agreed that there is no such thing as a one-Rakat prayer. You cannot, for example, pray 1 rakat Nafl for Allah.

To raise the hand till the ears upon the Takbeer of Qunoot and fold them afterwards, according to Imam Abu Hanifah (RA):

Aaisha (Radhiallaahu Anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) used to perform 3 Rakats of Witr, and would only make Salam at the end.' (I'elaa-us-Sunan vol.6 pg.30; Karachi)

Abd al-Razzaq narrates that Zuhri narrates that Hammad narrates that Ibrahim narrates that Ibn Masood used to raise his hands in Witr then drop them after words. (Musannaf Abdur Razzaq Vol. 4 Pg. 325)

Abu Yusuf narrates that Abu Hanifa narrates that Talha narrates that Ebrahim al-Nakha’i said, “The hands will be raised in seven places. At the beginning of Salah, at the beginning of Qunoof of witr, in the two Eids, when maing Istilam of Hajr al-Aswad, at Safa and Marwah, at Arafat, and Muzdalifa, and the Jamarah. (Aathar Li Abi Yusuf Vol. 1 Pg. 105)

Muhammad narrates that Abu Hanifa narrates that Hammad narrates that Ibrahim said Qunoot in Witr is Wajib in Ramadan and out of Ramadan before Ruku’. When you intend to say Qunoot, say takbeer. When you intend to go into ruku say Takbeer again. Imam Muhammad says, “We hold this view and hands should be raise before Qunoot just as how they are raised at the beginning of Salah and then fold them and make dua. This is the view of Imam Abu Hanafi (ra). (Aathar Li Muhammad Ibn Hasan Vol. 1 Pg. 274)

(See also: I`laus Sunan Vol.6 Pg. 53, 58 , vol.1 Pg. 57, and Ahsanul Fataawa Vol. 3 Pg. 489)

To recite Dua Qunoot before Ruku:

Narrated 'Asim:

I asked Anas bin Malik about the Qunut. Anas replied, "Definitely it was (recited)". I asked, "Before bowing or after it?" Anas replied, "Before bowing." I added, "So and so has told me that you had informed him that it had been after bowing." Anas said, "He told an untruth (i.e. "was mistaken," according to the Hijazi dialect). Allah's Apostle recited Qunut after bowing for a period of one month." Anas added, "The Prophet sent about seventy men (who knew the Quran by heart) towards the pagans (of Najd) who were less than they in number and there was a peace treaty between them and Allah's Apostles (but the Pagans broke the treaty and killed the seventy men). So Allah's Apostle recited Qunut for a period of one month asking Allah to punish them." (referring to the qunootun naazilah) (Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 16, Number 116)

Allaama Ibn Hajar (R.A.) writes in his commentary on Bukhari, Fath al-Bari that after analysing all these narrations we learn that it was the normal practice to recite the Qunoot before Ruku.

However, on certain occasions (such as the befalling of a calamity, etc.) the Qunoot would be recited after Ruku. (vol. 1, pg. 291)

In Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah it is mentioned that for this very reason the Sahaaba-e-Kiraam (RA) used to recite the Qunoot before Ruku.

(See also: I`laus Sunan Vol.6 Pg. 68, Tahaawi Vol.1 Pg.122 and Ahsanul Fataawa Vol.3 Pg.495)

And Only Allah Ta'ala Knows Best.