Is the du’aa’ of Witr obligatory, and what should a person say if he cannot memorize it?

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Praise be to Allaah.  

1 – There is noting wrong with reading the du’aa’ of Qunoot from a piece of paper or a booklet in Witr prayer until one is able to memorize it, after which you can stop reading it and can recite it from memory. It is also permissible to recite Qur’aan from the Mus-haf during naafil prayers for those who have not memorized a lot of Qur’aan.

Shaykh Ibn Baaz was asked about the ruling on reading Qur’aan from the Mus-haf in Taraaweeh prayer, and what the evidence is for that from the Qur’aan and Sunnah.

He replied:

There is nothing wrong with reading from the Mus-haf when praying at night during Ramadaan because that will enable the believers to hear all of the Qur’aan. And because the evidence of sharee’ah from the Qur’aan and Sunnah indicates that it is prescribed to recite Qur’aan in prayer, which includes both reading it from the Mus-haf and reciting it by heart. It was narrated from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that she told her freed slave Dhakwaan to lead her in praying night prayers during Ramadaan, and he used to read from the Mus-haf. This was narrated by al-Bukhaari (may Allaah have mercy on him) in his Saheeh, in a mu’allaq majzoom report.

Fataawa Islamiyyah, 2/155

2 – It is not obligatory for the du’aa’ of Qunoot to be in the words narrated from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him); rather it is permissible for the worshipper to say other words or to add to them. Even if he were to recite verses from the Qur’aan that include words of supplication, that would be sufficient. Al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: Note that there is no specific du’aa’ for Qunoot according to the preferred point of view. Any du’aa’ that is said will serve as Qunoot, even if one recites a verse or verses from the Qur’aan that include words of supplication, this will count as Qunoot, but it is better to recite the words that were narrated in the Sunnah.

Al-Adhkaar al-Nawawiyyah, p. 50

3 – As for what the brother mentions about reciting Qur’aan instead of the du’aa’ of Qunoot, there is no doubt that he should not do this, because the purpose behind Qunoot is du’aa’ or supplication. Hence if these verses include words of supplication, it is permissible to recite them as Qunoot, for example, the verse in which Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Our Lord! Let not our hearts deviate (from the truth) after You have guided us, and grant us mercy from You. Truly, You are the Bestower”

[Aal ‘Imraan 3:8]

4 – With regard to what the brother says about Qunoot being obligatory, this is not correct, because Qunoot is Sunnah. Based on this, if a worshipper omits Qunoot, his prayer is still valid.

Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked about the ruling on reciting the du’aa’ of Qunoot in Witr during the nights of Ramadaan, and whether it is permissible to omit it.

He replied:

Qunoot is Sunnah in Witr and if a person omits it sometimes, there is nothing wrong with that.

And he was asked about a person who always recites Qunoot in Witr every night – was that narrated from our forebears (the salaf)?

He replied:

There is nothing wrong with that, rather it is Sunnah, because when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) taught al-Husayn ibn ‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him) to say Qunoot in Witr, he did not tell him to omit it sometimes or to do it all the time. This indicates that either is permissible. Hence it was narrated that when Ubayy ibn Ka’b (may Allaah be pleased with him) led the Sahaabah in prayer in the Mosque of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), he used to omit Qunoot some nights; perhaps that was in order to teach the people that it is not obligatory. And Allaah is the Source of strength.

Fataawa Islamiyyah, 2/159.

https://islamqa.info/en/9061

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.

And it was narrated that Umm Salamah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to pray Witr with five or seven (rak’ahs) and he did not separate between them with any salaam or words. Narrated by Ahmad, 6/290; al-Nasaa’i, 1714. al-Nawawi said: Its isnaad is jayyid. Al-Fath al-Rabbaani, 2/297. and it was classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Nasaa’i.

If he prays Witr with nine rak’ahs, then they should be continuous and he should sit to recite the tashahhud 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. It was narrated in Muslim (746) from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to pray nine rak’ahs in which he did not sit except in the eighth, when he would remember Allaah, 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 Allaah and praise Him and call upon Him, then he would say a tasleem that we could hear.

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.

The less perfect way of praying Witr and what is to be recited therein:

The less perfect way in Witr is to pray two rak’ahs and say the tasleem, then to pray one rak’ah and say the tasleem. It is permissible to say one tasleem, but one should say one tashahhud not two, as stated above.

In the first rak’ah one should recite Sabbih isma rabbika al-‘a’la (“Glorify the name of your Lord, the Most High” – Soorat al-A’la 87). In the second one should recite Soorat al-Kaafiroon (109), and in the third Soorat al-Ikhlaas (112).

Al-Nasaa’i (1729) narrated that Ubayy ibn Ka’b said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to recite in Witr Sabbih isma rabbika al-‘a’la (“Glorify the name of your Lord, the Most High” – Soorat al-A’la 87), Qul yaa ayyuha’l-kaafiroon (“Say: O disbeliever…” – Soorat al-Kaafiroon 109) and Qul Huwa Allaahu ahad (“Say: He is Allaah, the One” – Soorat al-Ikhlaas 112). Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Nasaa’i.

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 Allaah knows best.

Please I need duaae qunoot which is read in the witr prayer.

Published Date: 2004-05-15

Praise be to Allaah.  Firstly:

Du’a’ al-Qunoot is recited in the last rak’ah of Witr prayer, after bowing, but if one recites it before bowing it doesn’t matter. But reciting it after bowing is better.

Shaykh al-Islam [Ibn Taymiyah] said in Majmoo’ al-Fataawa (23/100):

With regard to qunoot: there are two extreme views and one middle (or moderate) view. Some say that qunoot should only be recited before bowing and some say that it should only be recited after bowing. The fuqaha’ among the scholars of hadeeth, such as Ahmad and others, say that both are allowed, because both are mentioned in the saheeh Sunnah, but they preferred reciting qunoot after bowing because this is mentioned more often.

Raising the hands is mentioned in a saheeh report from  ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him), as was narrated by al-Bayhaqi in a report which he classed as saheeh (2/210).

The worshipper should raise his hands to chest height and no more, because this du’aa’ is not a du’aa’ of supplication in which a person needs to raise his hands high. Rather it is a du’aa’ of hope in which a person holds out his palms towards heaven… The apparent meaning of the scholar’s words is that the worshipper should hold his hands close together like a beggar who asks someone else to give him something.

It is better not to recite qunoot in witr all the time, rather it should be done sometimes, because there is no evidence that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did it all the time. But he taught al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him) a du’aa’ to recite in qunoot al-witr, as will be quoted below.

Secondly:

The du’aa’ of qunoot was narrated by Abu Dawood (1425), al-Tirmidhi (464), and al-Nasaa’i (1746) from al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) taught me some words to say in qunoot al-witr:

Allaahumma ihdini feeman hadayta wa ‘aafini feeman ‘aafayta wa tawallani feeman tawallayta wa baarik li feema a’tayta, wa qini sharra ma qadayta , fa innaka taqdi wa la yuqda ‘alayk, wa innahu laa yadhillu man waalayta wa laa ya’izzu man ‘aadayta, tabaarakta Rabbana wa ta’aalayta la manja minka illa ilayk

(O Allaah, guide me among those whom You have guided, pardon me among those whom You have pardoned, turn to me in friendship among those on whom You have turned in friendship, and bless me in what You have bestowed, and save me from the evil of what You have decreed. For verily You decree and none can influence You; and he is not humiliated whom You have befriended, nor is he honoured who is Your enemy. Blessed are You, O Lord, and Exalted. There is no place of safety from You except with You).”

The last phrase – Laa manja minka illa ilayka (There is no place of safety from You except with You) – was narrated by Ibn Mandah in al-Tawheed and classed as hasan by al-Albaani.

See Irwa’ al-Ghaleel, hadeeth no. 426, 429.

Then he should send blessings upon the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). See al-Sharh al-Mumti’ by Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (4/14-52).

Thirdly:

It is mustahabb to say after the tasleem: Subhaan al-Malik al-Quddoos three times, elongating the vowels the third time, as narrated by al-Nasaa’i (1699) and classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh Sunan al-Nasaa’i.

Al-Daaraqutni added the word: Rabb al-Malaa’ikah wa’l-Rooh (Lord of the angels and the Spirit), with a saheeh isnaad. See Zaad al-Ma’aad by Ibn al-Qayyim, 1/337.

https://islamqa.info/en/14093

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