Praise be to Allāh, the Lord of the World; and blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his Family and Companions.
Mu’ mīneen Brothers and Sisters, السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته
(May Allah’s Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)
The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Allāh is Wītr and loves what is Wītr. So perform the Wītr Salāh O followers of the Qur’ān.” [
The definition of Wītr is ‘One’.
What Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) meant with the above statement was, Allāh is ONE and He loves the odd numbers.
The Wītr (odd number) Salāh is an extra Salāh that the Prophet (ﷺ) practiced and highly encouraged Muslims to practice as well. He (ﷺ) never left it, even when traveling.
The Wītr Salāh is Sunnah Mukkadah (confirmed Sunnah). This is the preponderant opinion of the Muslim scholars. It is not an obligatory Salāh like the other five obligatory Salāhs.
Following are some of the authentic Hadīths in regard to the Wītr Salāh:
- Hadīth no: 448
Narrated/Authority of: Ali (رضي الله ﺗﻌﺎﻟﯽٰعنه)
Ali (رضي الله ﺗﻌﺎﻟﯽٰعنه) said, “The Wītr Salāh is not fardh like your prescribed prayers. But, it is the sunnah of Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) who said: Surely Allāh is Wītr (one). He (Allāh) loves Wītr, so offer the Wītr Salāh, “O people of the Qur’ān!.” [Ahmed 652, Abu Dawud 1416, Muslim 1674, Ibn e Majah 1169]
- Hadīth no: 450
Narrated / Authority of: Abu Huraira
Abu Huraira narrated, that Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) commanded him to offer the Wītr Salāh before going to sleep. [Muslim 6085]
- Hadīth Number: 105
Narrated / Authority of: Ibn Umar
Once a person asked Allāh’s Apostle (ﷺ) about the night prayer. Allāh’s Apostle (ﷺ) replied, “The night prayer is offered as two Rakah followed by two Rakah and so on. And if anyone is afraid of the approaching dawn (Fajr Salāh) he should pray one Raka and this will be a Wītr for all the Rakah which he has prayed before.” Nafi’ told that ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar used to say Taslim between (the first) two Rakah and (the third) odd one in the Wītr prayer, when he wanted to attend to a certain matter (during that interval between the Rakah). [Volume 2, Book 16]
Performing only one Rakah of Wītr Salāh is permissible. But despite its permissibility praying three Rakah or five or seven Rakah is more perfect.
The way of performing three Rakah of Wītr Salāh should not be similar to the way of performing three Rakah of Maghrib Salāh.
However, performing two Rakah and concluding them with Tasleem and then praying one Rakah separately with a Tashahud and Tasleen is recommended. Likewise it is also allowed to pray three Rakah consecutively without making Tashahud after second Rakah, but the Tashahud should be in this case made only one time in the last Rakah, i.e. no Tashahud in second Rakah as in Maghrib prayer.
Wītr Salāh is like other supererogatory prayers, which may be performed while sitting or riding on any means of transport.
The evidences for praying one Rakah of Wītr Salāh is the Hadīth reported in Bukhari and Muslim.
The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “The prayer of the night is sets of two Rakah. If one fears the coming of the dawn, he should perform one Rakah, thereby making all of them odd (Wītr)”.
Imam Muslim adds after this narration, that someone inquired Ibn Umar what is the meaning of ‘sets of two Rakah’. He replied, “After completing two Rakahs, finish them by Tasleem”.
This explanation of Ibn Umar is also narrated from the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) in al-Musnad.
There is a Hadīth that the Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Wītr is only one Rakah at the last part of the night”. [Reported by Imam Muslim]
The Prophet (ﷺ) also said: “Wītr Salāh is one’s due, so whoever likes to perform five Rakah of Wītr, he may perform them, whoever wants to perform three Rakah of Wītr he may perform that, and whoever wants to perform one Rakah of Wītr he may do so. And whoever faces hardship to perform it, he may perform it only by making gestures”. [Books of Sunan and Sahih Ibn Hibban]
All the above Ahadīth establishes the fact that performing one Rakah of Wītr Salāh is permissible.
The evidence for the rule, that the three Rakah of Wītr should not be similar to the Maghrib Salāh is the Hadith reported by Imam al-Hakim in his book named al-Mustadrak and Imam Ibn Hibban in his Book Sahih Ibn Hibban that, the Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Do not perform three Rakah of Wītr resembling to the Maghrib Salāh. But you can perform five, seven or eleven Rakah of Wītr or more”.
The evidence that performing the Wītr Salāh while standing is not compulsory, is the hadīth narrated in Bukhari and Muslim that the Prophet (ﷺ) sometimes performed Wītr Salāh while riding on his camel.
In Wītr Salāh, recite Suratul Fatihah and some other verses from the Qur’ān. Before or after Rukoo’ of the last Rakah, raise your hands high up to the level of the shoulders and supplicate Du’ā-e-Qunoot with your hands raised towards the sky.
After this, say: “Allāhu Akbar” and bow down and complete the rest of salāh like other salāhs.