The Prescribed Prayer: Chapter Two (cont.)

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Al-Witr generally means an odd number, as opposed to shaf'u, even number. But here, it is the last prayer of the night, and it is usually offered in odd numbers. Witr time begins after the night prayer, 'Ishaa, and lasts till dawn. However, if it's missed or one failed to say it due to sleep, it must be made up.

Witr is a Sunnah Muakkadah, or an emphatic Sunnah, as it was constantly observed by the Prophet (s.'a.s.). He has been reported as saying:

"People of Al-Quran observe Witr because Allah is Witr, and He loves Witr." (Ahmad/Tirmidhee)

"The person who does not observe Al-Witr prayer does not belong to our community." (Muslim)

According to Hadeeth by Tirmidhee, the Prophet (s.'a.s.) made Witr thirteen, eleven, nine, seven, five, three, and one raka'ahs.

The Witr prayer is observed as follows:

If one observes Witr three raka'aats, one may offer it like Maghrib prayer, that is one may either offer it with two Tashahhud and one Tasleem or two Tashahhud and two Tasleems, both procedures have been reported from the Prophet.1.

Qiraa ah in Witr (Recitation in Witr)

It is permissible to recite in Witr, after Al-Faatihah, any verse from Al-Quran. However, it is Sunnah and desired that one recites (if one offers Witr in three raka'aats) in the first raka'ah after Al-Faatihah, Suuratul a'Alaa, The Most High, and in the second raka'ah Suuratul Kaafiruun, Those Who Reject Faith, and in the third raka'ah, Suuratul Ikhlaas, Suuratul Falaq, and Suuratun Naas; Purity (of Faith), the Dawn, and Mankind, respectively.

Al-Qunuut in Witr (Supplication in Witr)

It is Sunnah that Al-Qunuut be said in the last raka'ah of Witr. The Qunuut may be uttered loudly before Rukuu'u after the recitation, Qiraa ah, or after the Rukuu'u. Either of the following Du'aa may be said:
    Allaahummah dinee fee O Allah, guide me among those You
    man hadaita wa 'aafenee have guided, and preserve me among
    feeman 'aafaita wa those You have preserved, and take
    tawallanee feeman me for a friend among those whom
    tawallaita, You have taken for friends,
    Wa baarik lee feemaa Bless me in that which You have
    a'ataita, waqinee sharra maa bestowed upon me, guard me from the
    qadaita, fainnaka taqdee evil of that which You have ordained,
    walaa yuqdaa 'alaika, for behold, it is You who ordained,
    and none ordain against You.

    Cassette 3A

    Innahuu laa yadhillu man Indeed, never is he abased whom You
    waa laita, wa laa yaizzu man take for a friend. Our Lord blessed
    'aadaita tabaarakta rabbanaa and exalted are You.
    wa ta'aalaita,
    Wa sallallaahu 'alannabiyyi Allah's blessing and peace be upon
    wa 'aalihee wa sallam. the Prophet and his family. (Ahmad)
    Allaahumma innaa nasta 0 Allah, we seek Your help and we
    'eenuka wa nastaghftruka wa seek Your forgiveness. We extol You
    nu'uminu bika wa natawakk- in the best way,
    alu 'alaika wa nuthnee 'alaika
    Wa nashkuruka wa laa nakf- We thank You and we are not
    uruka wa nakhla'u wa unthankful to You, and we disown
    natruku man yaf juruk. and shun him who disobey You.
    Allaahumma iyyaaka O Allah, You alone do we worship,
    na'abudu walaka nusallee wa and to You we pray, and before You
    nasjudu wa ilaika nas'aa wa we prostrate ourselves, and we hasten
    nahftdu, wa narju rahmataka towards You and serve You, we hope
    wa nakhshaa 'adhaabaka for Your mercy, and dread Your
    inna 'adhaabaka bil kuffaari torment. Surely, Your torment shall
    mulhiq. overtake the disbelievers.


Jalsatul Istiraahah is a short rest while sitting after the second sajdah of the first raka'ah before rising up for the second raka'ah, and after the second sajdah of the third raka'ah before rising up for the fourth raka'ah. This jalsah, sitting, is not a regular sunnah of the prophet (s.'a.s.) but one may resort to it if there is a reason for it.

1. It has also been reported that the Prophet said Witr continuously seven and five raka'aats and said afterward one Tashahhud and one Tasleem.

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