What is Witr Prayer?
Witr prayer is one of the greatest acts of worship that draw one closer to Allah. Witr prayer or Witr Salaat is a voluntary night prayer. Witr is one of the confirmed Sunnah (Sunnah muakkadah) which the Muslim should observe regularly and should not neglect.
The Hadith mentions Witr many times, highlighting that it is a recommended prayer that yields Allah’s love, blessings, and rewards. The prayer is said along with dua qunoot.
What is the correct time for praying witr?
Witr prayer time starts after praying Isha prayer and lasts till dawn begins.
Kharijab bin Hudhafah narrated:Jami At Tirmidhi 452
Allah’s Messenger came out to us and he said: “Indeed Allah has assisted you with a Salat that is better for you than red camels: Al-Witr which Allah made for you between the Isha prayer till Al-Fajr has begun.”
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.
Jabir reported Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) as saying: If anyone is afraid that he may not get up in the latter part of the night, he should observe Witr in the first part of it; and if anyone is eager to get up in the last part of it, he should observe Witr at the end of the night, for prayer at the end of the night is witnessed (by the angels) and that is preferable. Sahih Muslim 755
How many Rak’ahs we should pray?
The minimum number of rak’ahs for Witr is one rak’ah. Witr has an odd number of raka’at prayed in pairs, with the final raka’ah prayed separately. Therefore, as little as one raka’ah can be prayed, and eleven at most. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Witr is one rak’ah at the end of the night.” (Reference:- Sahih Muslim, 752)
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.
How to Perform The Witr Prayer?
There are many options to perform a Witr prayer. As it is the last prayer of the day, the Prophet gives an option of deciding how many prayer units (rak’ah) a Muslim person can perform and when will he pray during the night.
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: 'Witr is a duty, and whoever wants to pray Witr with seven (rak'ahs), let him do so; whoever wants to pray Witr with five, let him do so, whoever wants to pray Witr with three, let him do so; and whoever wants to pray Witr with one, let him do so.'" Sunan an-Nasa'i (1711)
1. Praying 3 Rak’ahs with One Tashahud:-
Pray 3 Rak’ah together without saying the Tasleem after 2 rak’ah and continue the third Rak’ah and sit in Tashahhud and then end with Tasleem.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to not say the Tasleem in the first two rak’ahs 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.”
Said ibn Hisham RA on the authority of Saidatuna Aisyah RA said; “Rasulullah ﷺ prayed 3 rakaats Witr and did not sit (for Tashahhud) except in the last Raka’ats (Sunan al Bayhaqi Kubraa 4803)
Abu Ayyub RA said “He used to pray Witr with three Rakaahs and he did not sit except in the last (rakaah) of them.” (Sunan Al Bayhaqi 4814)
2. Praying 3 Rak’ahs with Two Tashahud (2 Rak’ah and 1 alone):-
1. First pray 2 Rak’ah and then perform Tashahhud and end with Tasleem.
2. Then pray 1 Rak’ah and then perform Tashahhud and end it with Tasleem.
The second way of praying 3 rak’ah witr is that pray the first pray two Rak’ah and then perform Tashahud and then pray 1 Rak’ah and perform Tashahud.
It was reported from Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah 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 Allah be upon him) used to do that. (Narrated by Ibn Hibban (2435); Ibn Hajar said in al-Fath (2/482): its isnad is qawi (strong).
3. How to offer Witr prayer with 5 or 7 rak`ahs:-
When our Prophet Mohammad SAW offers Witr Salah with 5 or 7 Rak’ah, he always prayed all the Rak’ah continuously and then in last Rak’ah He performed Tashahud and say Tasleem.
Narrated by ‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) who said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah 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. (Sahih Muslim, 737)
Narrated that Umm Salamah (may Allah be pleased with her) said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to pray Witr with five or seven (rak’ahs) and he did not separate between them with any salam or words. (Sunan an-Nasa'i 1714)
4. How to offer Witr prayer with 9 rak`ahs:-
Our prophet Mohammad SAW prayed Witr with nine rak’ahs, then he prays continous and he then sit to recite the Tashahud 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.
Narrated from ‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to pray nine rak’ahs in which he did not sit except in the eighth, when he would remember Allah, 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 Allah and praise Him and call upon Him, then he would say a tasleem that we could hear. (Sahih Muslim 746)
5. How to offer Witr prayer with 11 rak`ahs?
1. After each two Rak’ah, say the tasleem.
2. Pray one Rak’ah at the end and end with tasleem.
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.
Narrated By ‘Aisha : Allah’s Apostle used to pray eleven Rakat at night and that was his night prayer and each of his prostrations lasted for a period enough for one of you to recite fifty verses before Allah’s Apostle raised his head. He also used to pray two Rakat (Sunna) before the (compulsory) Fajr prayer and then lie down on his right side till the Muadh-dhin came to him for the prayer. Sahih Bukhari Volume 2, Book 16, Hadith Number 108
What Is The Specific Du’a For Witr?
Dua Qunoot (or sometimes referred to as dua-e-qunoot) is a special supplication which is mentioned in the hadith. (Sunan Abi Dawud 1425)
Dua E Qunoot
اللَّهُمَّ اهْدِنِي فِيمَنْ هَدَيْتَ وَعَافِنِي فِيمَنْ عَافَيْتَ وَتَوَلَّنِي فِيمَنْ تَوَلَّيْتَ وَبَارِكْ لِي فِيمَا أَعْطَيْتَ وَقِنِي شَرَّ مَا قَضَيْتَ إِنَّكَ تَقْضِي وَلاَ يُقْضَى عَلَيْكَ وَإِنَّهُ لاَ يَذِلُّ مَنْ وَالَيْتَ وَلاَ يَعِزُّ مَنْ عَادَيْتَ تَبَارَكْتَ رَبَّنَا وَتَعَالَيْتَ
Transliteration: Allahumma ihdini feeman hadayt, wa a’fini fiman afait, wa tawallani fiman tawallait, wa barik Li fima atait, wa qini sharra ma qadait, fa Innaka taqdi wa la yuqda Alaik, wa innahu la yadhillu man walait, tabarakta Rabbana wa ta’alait.
Translation: “O Allah guide me among those You have guided, pardon me among those You have pardoned, befriend me among those You have befriended, bless me in what You have granted, and save me from the evil that You decreed. Indeed You decree, and none can pass decree, and none can pass decree upon You, indeed he is not humiliated whom You have befriended, blessed are You our Lord and Exalted.”
Which Surahs To Recite In Witr?
It is established through the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) that it is ‘recommended’ to recite:
1. Surat Al-A`la (Chapter 87) in the first Rakat of the Witr prayer, after the Fatiha.
2. Surat Al-Kafiroon (Chapter 109) in the second, after the Fatiha.
3. Surat Al-Ikhlas (Chapter 112) in the third, after the Fatiha.
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) used to recite in Witr: "Glorify the Name of your Lord, the Most High" (Surat Al-A`la) and "Say: O you disbelievers!" (Surat Al-Kafiroon) and 'Say: He is Allah, (the) One.' (Surat Al-Ikhlas). And when he said the salam, he would say: Subhanal-Malikil-Quddus (Glory be to the Sovereign, the Most Holy) three times." Sunan an-Nasa'i 1729, Sunan Ibn Majah 1172, Sunan Abi Dawud 1423
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 knows best.
Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu
To bring to your attention, I am managing and organizing the site alone. To keep the site working, I request everyone to please fund for our site! In Sha Allah this will be counted in Sadqah e jaariyah and everyone will be immensely rewarded for it too…
And May Allah grant me the strength to put in my best efforts for this site to spread Islamic knowledge…
Please donate in the link provided below