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What Is The 'Witr' Prayer In Islam?

farajisfromgod@gmail.com
By [email protected] | self meida writer
Published 14 days ago - 0 views

The Witr prayer is the last prayer of the night. The Messenger of Allah, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, said:

"The Witr prayer is offered in units of 2 raka'at. If you fear that dawn is near, conclude with a single rak'ah so the night prayer will be of an odd number."

Al-Bukhari, vol. 2, book 16, #105

It can be offered at any time after the Isha' prayer and before the Fajr prayer.

Why is it important?

The Messenger of Allah, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, strongly emphasised the importance of this prayer, and he, himself, did not leave this prayer even if he was on a journey or on his mount. Due to the very firm nature of the Prophet's emphasis some scholars have classed this prayer as wajib (compulsory) but, in reality, it is a strongly encouraged action of the Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam.

How is it prayed?

The Witr prayer is commonly 3, 5, 7 or 9 raka'at but can also be just the single rak'ah. It is authentically related that the Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, prayed it in a number of different ways, so the worshipper can choose to pray it in any of the following ways:

By praying two raka'at at a time (i.e. completely with the salam at the end of each pair) to the desired number and then a single complete rak'ah;

By praying all the raka'at together but without sitting in any rak'ah (i.e. without the julus in which the tashahhud is recited) except for in the final ra'kah; or

By praying all the raka'at together and sitting only in the unit before the final rak'ah and then in the final rak'ah again. So, for example, a worshipper praying 5 raka'at would only sit and recite tashahhud in the 4th rak'ah and then complete the prayer with a single complete unit (including another recitation of the tashahhud).

When praying 3 raka'at it is preferable to use method 1 or 2 above as the Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, said:

"Do not pray Witr with three raka'at that resemble Maghrib."

Al-Hakim (1/304), Al-Bayhaqi (3/31) and Ad-Daraqutni (p. 172)

Help, my mosque prays it like Maghrib!

The position of the majority of schools is to pray the Witr prayer as one the methods described above. However, the Hanafi school holds the opinion that it can be prayed in the same manner as Maghrib, i.e. 3 raka'at with a sitting in the 2nd and 3rd raka'at. There will still normally be a du'a in qunut in the final ra'kah (as described below). This position holds that the differing of Witr from Maghrib referred to by the Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, in the hadith above is by the praying of the nafl raka'at before Witr's performance. [Mohammed Tosir Miah, Darul Ifta Birmingham]

This position is from the legitimate differing of the mujtahid scholars and "so there is no justification for refusing to pray behind them or causing division amongst them" [Shaykh Salih al-Munajjid, Islam-QA #66613].

Is there any recommended method of performance?

The Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, would recite the following chapters when praying Witr in 3 raka'at: after reciting Al-Fatihah, he would recite Al-A'la (87) in the first rak'ah, Al-Kafirun (109) in the second and Al-Ikhlas (112) in the third. [An-Nasa'i & Al-Hakim] Sometimes, he would additionally recite Al-Falaq (113) and An-Nas (114) in the final rak'ah also. [Tirmidhi, Abu'l-'Abbas al-Asam in Al-Hadith (vol. 2 no. 117) & Al-Hakim]

Whilst this is what the Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, performed on occasion it is acceptable to recite any part of the Qur'an in the Witr prayer.

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