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Detailed discussion about Wit'r according

in the Hanafi Fiqh

Q: I would really appreciate if you could somehow provide with some hadith /
reference in support of 3 rakah witr salaat according to the Hanafi Madhab.

In the article that you forwarded to me, the writer has accepted that one may perform 3
Rakaats of Witr Salaat. However, he seems to be imposing the view that this should only
be done in the manner that he has understood, i.e. 2 Rakaats with a salaam and thereafter
1 Rakaat. Whilst this method may be correct according to some Madhabs, to impose it on
the followers of other Madhabs will not be proper.

Hence, I would hereby mention those proofs that support the Hanafi view on this matter.

According to the Hanafi Madhab, the Witr Salaat should be performed as 3


Rakaats with one salaam at the end only. This view is based on the following:

1. Sayyidatuna Aaisha (Radhiallaahu Anha) reports that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi


Wasallam) never used to make salaam after the first 2 Rakaats of Witr.’ (Mustadrak
Haakim vol.1 pg.304; Imaam Haakim has classified this Hadith as Sahih according to the
requirements of Bukhari and Muslim. Hafiz Dhahabi has also accepted this). Imaam
Haakim then says, ‘There are various other narrations that support this, from them is the
following.’

2. Sayyidatuna Aaisha (Radhiallaahu Anha) reports that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi


Wasallam) used to perform 3 Rakaats of Witr and he never used to make salaam except
in the last Rakaat.’ (Ibid)

3. Imaam Nasaaie (RA) has recorded (the following) on the authority of Sayyiduna
Ubayy ibn Ka’ab (Radhiallaahu Anhu) that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam)
used to recite Surah Sabbihisma rabbikal a’alaa in the first Rakaat of Witr, Surah al-
Kaafiroon in the 2nd Rakaat and Surah, Qul huwallaahu Ahad in the third and that he
(Rasulullah - Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) would not make salaam except in the last of
those Rakaats. (Hafiz Iraaqi has classified this narration as Sahih - authentic) – refer
Naylul Awtaar vol.1; also see Aathaarus-sunan pg.203; I’elaa-us-sunan vol.6 pg.42

4. Thaabit al-Bunaani (Radhiallaahu Anhu), the famous student of Sayyiduna Anas


(Radhiallaahu Anhu) says that Sayyiduna Anas (Radhiallaahu Anhu) lead us in the Witr
Salaat he performed 3 Rakaats and he did not make salaam till the last Rakaat. (Tahawi
vol.1 pg.206 – Hafiz ibn Hajar (RA) has classified the narration as Sahih (authentic) – see
al-Diraayah; I’elaa-us-sunan vol.6 pg.44
5. Sayyiduna Abu-Zinaad (ra) – a Taabi’ee – says that I found most of the Fuqahaa and
the people of knowledge saying that the Witr is 3 Rakaats with only one salaam at the
end.’ (Tahaawi vol.1 pg.207). Muhaddith Nimawi has classified this narration as Hasan
(sound); see Aathaarus-sunan pg.204

6. Abu Zinaad (ra) also stated that Khalifah Umar ibn Abdul-Aziz (RA) had established
through the verdicts of the Fuqahaa, that Witr Salaat is 3 Rakaats, with no salaam except
in the last Rakaat.’ (Tahaawi vol.1 pg.207 – Muhaddith Nimawi has declared this
narration as Sahih (authentic) – see Aathaarus-sunan pg.204)

7. Sayyiduna Umar ibn al-Khattaab (Radhiallaahu Anhu) is also reported to have


performed 3 Rakaats Witr with one salaam only. (Mustadrak al-Haakim vol.1 pg.304;
Tahaawi vol.1 pg.205-206)

All the above authentic narrations have proven without a shadow of doubt that the Witr
Salaat should be 3 Rakaats with no salaam in between. Narrations 5 and 6 have proven
this to be the practice of majority of the Fuqahaa (theologians) during the era of the
Taabi’een as well. From among the Sahaaba, this is reported to be the practice of
Sayyiduna Umar ibn al-Khattaab, Sayyiduna Ali ibn Abi Talib, Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn
Mas’ood, Sayyiduna Ubayy ibn Ka’ab, Sayyiduna Zayd ibn Thaabit, Sayyiduna Anas ibn
Maalik and Sayyiduna Abu Umaamah (Radhiallaahu Anhum). (refer al-Tamheed of ibn
Abdul-Barr vol.4 pg.174)

The following narrations prove that one should definitely sit in Tashahhud after 2
Rakaats and thereafter stand up for the third:

1. Sayyidatuna Aaisha (Radhiallaahu Anha) reports from Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi


Wasallam) – as part of a lengthy Hadith – that he also said, ‘After every two Rakaats,
there is ‘Attahiyyaat’.’ (Sahih Muslim). This Hadith is general and includes all salawaat
as well as the Witr. (I’elaa-us-sunan vol.6 pg.51)

2. Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Mas’ood (Radhiallaahu Anhu) is reported to have said, ‘Witr
is 3 Rakaats like the Witr of the day, i.e. the Salaat of Maghrib.’ (Tahaawi vol.1 pg.206).
Muhaddith Nimawi (RA) has declared this narration as Sahih (authentic). (Aathaarus-
sunan pg.204). This narration also proves that just as one sits after the first 2 Rakaats in
Maghrib Salaat, similarly, one should do so in the Witr Salaat. (I’elaa-us-sunan vol.6
pg.43-44)

3. Abul-Aaliyah (Radhiallaahu Anhu) – a Taabi’ee – states that the companions of


Muhammad (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) have taught us that the Witr is just like
Maghrib Salaat. The only difference is that we recite Qiraat in Witr, and not in Maghrib,
i.e. in the third Rakaat. (Tahaawi vol.1 pg.206). Muhaddith Nimawi (RA) has declared it
Sahih (authentic)
This is a clear proof for the Hanafi Madhab in that the Maghrib Salaat and Witr will be
identical in all aspects, except the Qiraat in the third Rakaat. Hence, the Tashahhud in the
second Rakaat is also backed / supported by this narration.

Now, as for the narrations quoted by the writer in that article, one should first understand
that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) always encouraged that one should
perform some Nafl Salaat before the Witr Salaat and that the Witr should not be the only
Salaat performed after Esha. This was also the constant practice of Rasulullah
(Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam). Hafiz ibn Abdul-Barr Maaliki (RA) states that Witr
according to them is only after some other Salaat that precedes it.’ (al-Tamheed vol.4
pg.177)

It is precisely for this reason that in some narrations – as quoted by the writer – there is
mention of 5 Rakaats of Witr and 7 Rakaats as well which in actual fact refers to what we
have just mentioned, i.e. from the 5 or 7 Rakaats, the last 3 are actually the Witr and the
remaining 2 or 4 would be the Nafl that was supposed to precede it.

The same answer will apply to the first narration that, ‘Don’t pray 3 Rakaats Witr, pray
five Witr or seven Rakaats Witr, but don’t make similarity to Maghrib’.

The reason for preventing the Witr from being like Maghrib Salaat is obvious, and that is
because there is no Nafl Salaat that precedes it. (see al-Nukatu Tareefah of Allaamah al-
Kawthari pg.186)

As for the narration of Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Umar (Radhiallaahu Anhu) that mentions
that one should make salaam after 2 Rakaats and thereafter perform 1 Rakaats only, this
practice is further weakened by a narration of Mustadrak al-Haakim wherein Hasan al-
Basri (RA) is reported to have been asked about this narration. It was said to him, ‘Verily,
Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Umar (Radhiallaahu Anhu) used to make salaam after the 2
Rakaats of Witr?’ He replied, ‘(His father) Sayyiduna Umar al-Khattaab (Radhiallaahu
Anhu) was more knowledgeable than him and he would (not make salaam and) stand up
for the third Rakaat.’ (Mustadrak vol.1 pg.304)

This is besides the fact that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) is reported to have
prohibited from performing one Rakaat only. (refer al-Tamheed vol.4 pg.177; al-Nukatu
Tareefah pgs.182-183)

Lastly, I’m sure that the above information is more than enough to eradicate any sort of
doubt concerning the Hanafi viewpoint on this issue.

and Allah Ta'ala Knows Best


Q: I would really appreciate if you could somehow provide with some hadith /
reference in support of 3 rakah witr salaat according to the Hanafi Madhab?

In the article that you forwarded to me, the writer has accepted that one may perform 3
Rakaats of Witr Salaat. However, he seems to be imposing the view that this should only
be done in the manner that he has understood, i.e. 2 Rakaats with a salaam and thereafter
1 Rakaat. Whilst this method may be correct according to some Madhabs, to impose it on
the followers of other Madhabs will not be proper.

Hence, I would hereby mention those proofs that support the Hanafi view on this matter.

According to the Hanafi Madhab, the Witr Salaat should be performed as 3 Rakaats with
one salaam at the end only. This view is based on the following:

1. Sayyidatuna Aaisha (Radhiallaahu Anha) reports that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi


Wasallam) never used to make salaam after the first 2 Rakaats of Witr.’ (Mustadrak
Haakim vol.1 pg.304; Imaam Haakim has classified this Hadith as Sahih according to the
requirements of Bukhari and Muslim. Hafiz Dhahabi has also accepted this). Imaam
Haakim then says, ‘There are various other narrations that support this, from them is the
following.’

2. Sayyidatuna Aaisha (Radhiallaahu Anha) reports that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi


Wasallam) used to perform 3 Rakaats of Witr and he never used to make salaam except
in the last Rakaat.’ (Ibid)

3. Imaam Nasaaie (RA) has recorded (the following) on the authority of Sayyiduna
Ubayy ibn Ka’ab (Radhiallaahu Anhu) that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam)
used to recite Surah Sabbihisma rabbikal a’alaa in the first Rakaat of Witr, Surah al-
Kaafiroon in the 2nd Rakaat and Surah, Qul huwallaahu Ahad in the third and that he
(Rasulullah - Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) would not make salaam except in the last of
those Rakaats. (Hafiz Iraaqi has classified this narration as Sahih - authentic) – refer
Naylul Awtaar vol.1; also see Aathaarus-sunan pg.203; I’elaa-us-sunan vol.6 pg.42

4. Thaabit al-Bunaani (Radhiallaahu Anhu), the famous student of Sayyiduna Anas


(Radhiallaahu Anhu) says that Sayyiduna Anas (Radhiallaahu Anhu) lead us in the Witr
Salaat he performed 3 Rakaats and he did not make salaam till the last Rakaat. (Tahawi
vol.1 pg.206 – Hafiz ibn Hajar (RA) has classified the narration as Sahih (authentic) – see
al-Diraayah; I’elaa-us-sunan vol.6 pg.44

5. Sayyiduna Abu-Zinaad (ra) – a Taabi’ee – says that I found most of the Fuqahaa and
the people of knowledge saying that the Witr is 3 Rakaats with only one salaam at the
end.’ (Tahaawi vol.1 pg.207). Muhaddith Nimawi has classified this narration as Hasan
(sound); see Aathaarus-sunan pg.204

6. Abu Zinaad (ra) also stated that Khalifah Umar ibn Abdul-Aziz (RA) had established
through the verdicts of the Fuqahaa, that Witr Salaat is 3 Rakaats, with no salaam except
in the last Rakaat.’ (Tahaawi vol.1 pg.207 – Muhaddith Nimawi has declared this
narration as Sahih (authentic) – see Aathaarus-sunan pg.204)

7. Sayyiduna Umar ibn al-Khattaab (Radhiallaahu Anhu) is also reported to have


performed 3 Rakaats Witr with one salaam only. (Mustadrak al-Haakim vol.1 pg.304;
Tahaawi vol.1 pg.205-206)

All the above authentic narrations have proven without a shadow of doubt that the Witr
Salaat should be 3 Rakaats with no salaam in between. Narrations 5 and 6 have proven
this to be the practice of majority of the Fuqahaa (theologians) during the era of the
Taabi’een as well. From among the Sahaaba, this is reported to be the practice of
Sayyiduna Umar ibn al-Khattaab, Sayyiduna Ali ibn Abi Talib, Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn
Mas’ood, Sayyiduna Ubayy ibn Ka’ab, Sayyiduna Zayd ibn Thaabit, Sayyiduna Anas ibn
Maalik and Sayyiduna Abu Umaamah (Radhiallaahu Anhum). (refer al-Tamheed of ibn
Abdul-Barr vol.4 pg.174)

The following narrations prove that one should definitely sit in Tashahhud after 2
Rakaats and thereafter stand up for the third:

1. Sayyidatuna Aaisha (Radhiallaahu Anha) reports from Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi


Wasallam) – as part of a lengthy Hadith – that he also said, ‘After every two Rakaats,
there is ‘Attahiyyaat’.’ (Sahih Muslim). This Hadith is general and includes all salawaat
as well as the Witr. (I’elaa-us-sunan vol.6 pg.51)

2. Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Mas’ood (Radhiallaahu Anhu) is reported to have said, ‘Witr
is 3 Rakaats like the Witr of the day, i.e. the Salaat of Maghrib.’ (Tahaawi vol.1 pg.206).
Muhaddith Nimawi (RA) has declared this narration as Sahih (authentic). (Aathaarus-
sunan pg.204). This narration also proves that just as one sits after the first 2 Rakaats in
Maghrib Salaat, similarly, one should do so in the Witr Salaat. (I’elaa-us-sunan vol.6
pg.43-44)

3. Abul-Aaliyah (Radhiallaahu Anhu) – a Taabi’ee – states that the companions of


Muhammad (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) have taught us that the Witr is just like
Maghrib Salaat. The only difference is that we recite Qiraat in Witr, and not in Maghrib,
i.e. in the third Rakaat. (Tahaawi vol.1 pg.206). Muhaddith Nimawi (RA) has declared it
Sahih (authentic)

This is a clear proof for the Hanafi Madhab in that the Maghrib Salaat and Witr will be
identical in all aspects, except the Qiraat in the third Rakaat. Hence, the Tashahhud in the
second Rakaat is also backed / supported by this narration.

Now, as for the narrations quoted by the writer in that article, one should first understand
that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) always encouraged that one should
perform some Nafl Salaat before the Witr Salaat and that the Witr should not be the only
Salaat performed after Esha. This was also the constant practice of Rasulullah
(Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam). Hafiz ibn Abdul-Barr Maaliki (RA) states that Witr
according to them is only after some other Salaat that precedes it.’ (al-Tamheed vol.4
pg.177)

It is precisely for this reason that in some narrations – as quoted by the writer – there is
mention of 5 Rakaats of Witr and 7 Rakaats as well which in actual fact refers to what we
have just mentioned, i.e. from the 5 or 7 Rakaats, the last 3 are actually the Witr and the
remaining 2 or 4 would be the Nafl that was supposed to precede it.

The same answer will apply to the first narration that, ‘Don’t pray 3 Rakaats Witr, pray
five Witr or seven Rakaats Witr, but don’t make similarity to Maghrib’.

The reason for preventing the Witr from being like Maghrib Salaat is obvious, and that is
because there is no Nafl Salaat that precedes it. (see al-Nukatu Tareefah of Allaamah al-
Kawthari pg.186)

As for the narration of Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Umar (Radhiallaahu Anhu) that mentions
that one should make salaam after 2 Rakaats and thereafter perform 1 Rakaats only, this
practice is further weakened by a narration of Mustadrak al-Haakim wherein Hasan al-
Basri (RA) is reported to have been asked about this narration. It was said to him, ‘Verily,
Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Umar (Radhiallaahu Anhu) used to make salaam after the 2
Rakaats of Witr?’ He replied, ‘(His father) Sayyiduna Umar al-Khattaab (Radhiallaahu
Anhu) was more knowledgeable than him and he would (not make salaam and) stand up
for the third Rakaat.’ (Mustadrak vol.1 pg.304)

This is besides the fact that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) is reported to have
prohibited from performing one Rakaat only. (refer al-Tamheed vol.4 pg.177; al-Nukatu
Tareefah pgs.182-183)

Lastly, I’m sure that the above information is more than enough to eradicate any sort of
doubt concerning the Hanafi viewpoint on this issue.

and Allah Ta'ala Knows Best

Ml. Muhammad ibn Moulana Haroon Abassommar


FACULTY OF SPECIALTY IN HADITH SCIENCES

CHECKED AND APPROVED: Mufti Ebrahim Desai (Fatwa Department)

Q) Raising Hands in the Takbir for Qunut in Hanafi Madhab?

I had said this a few months back to a young brother:

Some evidences for Raful yadayn in the Takbir for Qunut (which in our Madhhab is
before the Ruku).

Imam al-Bukhari in his treatise on Raful Yadayn quoted some narrations:


[ 96 ]

This narration states that Abdullah ibn Mas'ud (ra) would recite in the last Rak'a of Witr
Qulhuwallahu ahad and then raise his hands for Qunut before the Ruku.

Imam al-Nimawi in his Athar al-Sunan (p. 210) said it has a Sahih Isnad.

Also, Bukhari in his Juz Raful Yadayn narrated the following

[ 95 ]

The above narration mentions that Umar (ra) would raise his hands in Qunut

Imam al-Nimawi declared this last Isnad to be Hasan in his Athar al-Sunan (p. 210)

He also mentioned from Imam al-Tahawi's Sharh Ma'ani al-Athar from Ibrahim al-
Nakha'I that he said that one should raise the hands in 7 places: One of which specifically
mentions the Takbir for Qunut in Witr Salah. Imam Nimawi said this narration has a
Sahih Isnad (Athar al-Sunan, p. 210)

I also found some very similar narrations as above in the 2nd vol of Musannaf Ibn Abi
Shayba from Ibn Mas'ud and Ibrahim –

( 141 )

.(3)