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19
Jan
2011

Ways of offering Witr prayer that are narrated in the reports

19th January 2011
Praise be to Allaah.

Witr prayer is one of the greatest acts of worship that draw one closer to Allaah. Some of the scholars – the Hanafis – even thought that it is one of the obligatory prayers, but the correct view is that it is one of the confirmed Sunnahs (Sunnah mu’akkadah) which the Muslim should observe regularly and not neglect.

Imam Ahmad (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: Whoever neglects Witr is a bad man whose testimony should not be accepted. This indicates that Witr prayer is something that is confirmed.

We may sum up the manner of offering Witr prayer as follows:

Its timing:

It starts when a person has prayed ‘Isha’, even if it is joined to Maghrib at the time of Maghrib, and lasts 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.

Al-Nawawi said: This is the correct view. Other ahaadeeth which speak of this topic in general terms are to be interpreted in the light of this sound, specific and clear report, such as the hadeeth, “My close friend advised me not to sleep without having prayed Witr.” This is to be understood as referring to one who is not sure that he will be able to wake up (to pray Witr at the end of the night). Sharh Muslim, 3/277.

The number of rak’ahs:

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.

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).

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.


Islam Q&A
Tags: 3 witr
posted by mokap on 19th January 2011 - 1 comment

1 Comments

Mujahid al-Misri wrote on 25 Jan 2011
As-sallamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

Abdullah ibn Umar (radiallahu anhuma) narrates: Someone asked the Messenger (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) about prayer at night. The Messenger (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said, The prayer at night should be performed in sets of two. Then, when one anticipates the break of dawn, he should perform one more rakah which will convert what he has performed into witr for him. [Saheeh al-Bukhari 1:135, Saheeh Muslim 1:257]

In another verison of this narration it states, Witr is a single rakah (performed) towards the end of the night. The version in Sunan ibn Majah states, The prayer of the night is (performed) in sets of two, and the witr is a rakah (performed) before dawn.

Some scholars have deduced from these narrations that the witr is a single rakah to be performed on its own separately. This deduction however does not bring out the real meaning of this hadeeth as all the characteristics of prayer have not been taken into consideration. The following points should be considered:

(a) May Allah (azza wa jal) bless the great Shafiee scholar Hafiz ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, who states in his Fath al-Bari: It could be contended that this (hadeeth) is not absolutely clear with regards to the intervals (between the second and third rakats of witr). It is possible that the Messenger (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) intended by his statement, he should perform one more rakah, that this rakah should be performed together (mudafatan) with the two rakats before it. [Fath al-Bari 2:385]

Hence, the real meaning of this hadeeth is that a person should perform the tahajjud prayer in sets of two throughout the night, and upon reaching the end of his vigil (qiyam al-layl), he should add an extra rakah to the final set of two and make it three rakats. This way, the rakats of his tahajjud and witr prayer will add up to an odd number and thereby be in accordance with Messengers (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) statement: Then, when one anticipates the break of dawn, he should perform one more rakah, which will convert what he has performed into witr for him. [Saheeh al-Bukhari 1:135, Saheeh Muslim 1:257]
 
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