The Solāh Witr
By Sayyid Sābiq
In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and Thanks is due to Allāh, the Lord of al-'ālameen. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam is His Messenger.
Solāh Al-Witir is the last Solāh of the Night Prayer (Tahajjud). It is one of the greatest acts of worship that would draw one closer to Allāh Subhānahu wa Ta’ala. It is the most highly regarded Sunnah and it was enjoined by the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam). Some of the scholars view it is one of the Sunnah Mu’akadah it should observe regularly and not to neglect it whether travelling or not, as the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) used to perform it.
‘Ali Ibn Abu Talib (radiyallāhu’anhu) says: “The Solāh Witr is not required like your obligatory prayers, but the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) would perform the Solat Witr and say: ‘O you people [followers] of the Qur’an, perform the Solat Witr, for Allah is one and He loves the witr’.” This is related by Ahmad, an-Nasa’ie, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, at-Tirmidzi who calls it hasan, and al-Hakim who grades it sahih.
The opinion of Abu Hanifah that the Solāh Witr is obligatory is viewed as a weak opinion. Ibn al-Munzhir says: “I don’t know anyone who agrees with Abu Hanifah on this point."
Ahmad, Abu Dawud, An-Nasa’ie, and Ibn Majah recorded that Al-Mukhdaji (a person of the Kinana tribe) heard from one of the Ansar, nicknamed Abu Muhammad, that the Solat Witr is obligatory. He went to ‘Ibadah Ibn As-Samit and mentioned to him what Abu Muhammad had said. ‘Ibadah observed: “Abu Muhammad is mistaken for I heard the Messenger of Allah (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) say: ‘Five prayers are ordained by Allah for his slaves. Whoever fulfills them properly without any shortcoming, he will have a pact with Allah that He will admit him into paradise. Whoever does not do them, he will have no pact with Allah, and if He wills He may punish him and if He wills He may forgive him’.”
Also Al-Bukhari and Muslim record from Talhah Ibn ‘Ubaidullah (radiyallāhu’anhu) that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Five prayers during the day and night have been prescribed by Allah.” Hearing this bedouin asked the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam): “Is there anything else upon me [in the way of prayer]?” The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “No, unless you want to do more voluntarily.”
1 - The Time for the Solāh Witr
All the scholars agree that the time for the Solāh Witr does not begin until after Solatul ‘Isha and it continues until the time of Solatul Fajar.
Abu Tamim Al-Jishani relates that ‘Amr Ibn Al-‘Aas (radiyallāhu’anhu) was addressing the people during a Friday Khutbah and he said: “Abu Basra related to me that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: ‘Verily, Allah has added a prayer for you, and it is the Solah Witr. Perform it between Solatul ‘Isha and Solatul Fajar.'” Abu Tamim said: “Abu Dharr (radiyallāhu’anhu) took me by my hand and we went in the mosque to Abu Basra and [Abu Dharr] said: ‘Did you hear what ‘Amr just said from the Messenger of Allah?' He answered: ‘I heard it from the Messenger of Allah (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)!’” This is related by Ahmad with a sahih chain.
Abu Mas’ud Al-Ansari (radiyallāhu’anhu) relates: “The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would make the Solāh Witr in the first part of the night or the middle of it or the latter part of it.” Ahmad has reported it with a sound chain.
‘Abdullah Ibn Abi Qais (radiyallāhu’anhu) relates that he asked ‘Aishah (radiyallāhu’anha) about The Solāh Witr of the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and she said: “Sometimes he would make The Solāh Witr in the first part of the night and sometimes he would make The Solāh Witr in the latter portion of the night.” Then ‘Abdullah asked: “How was his recitation, audible or inaudible?” She replied:”He did both. Sometimes he would be inaudible and sometimes audible. Sometimes he would make ghusul and sleep and sometimes he would make ablution and sleep [i.e., when he was sexually defiled].” This is related by Abu Dawud, Ahmad, Muslim, and At-Tirmidzi. It is preferred to pray it early if one suspects that one will not wake during the latter portion of the night. It is, on the other hand, advisable to delay it if one believes that one will be able to wake up during the latter portion of the night.
If one suspects that one will not be able to perform the prayer in the latter portion of the night, it should be prayed during the early portion of the night (before sleeping).
Jabir bin ‘Abdullah (radiyallāhu’anhu) reports that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Whoever of you fears that he will not be able to wake during the latter portion [of the night]; he should make The Solāh Witr during the early part [of the night]. And whoever of you believes that he will be able to wake during the latter portion of the night, he should make the Solāh Witr during that latter portion as it is the blessed time [the angels are attentive to the prayers in the last portion of the night].” This is related by Ahmad, Muslim, at-Tirmidzi, and Ibn Majah.
Jabir (radhiyallāhu’anhu) also narrates that the Messenger of Allah inquired of Abu Bakar: “When do you perform The Solāh Witr?” Abu Bakar replied: “In the early portion of the night after the night prayer” Then the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “And you, O 'Umar?” He answered: “During the latter portion of the night.” The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “As for you, O Abu Bakar, you have taken the careful way. As for you, 'Umar, you have taken the way of hardship and firm will.” This is related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud and Al-Hakim who says it is sahih according to Muslim's criterion. However, the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) would pray The Solah Witr near the time of dawn for it is the most blessed time, as mentioned previously.
‘Aishah (radhiyallāhu’anha) reports: “Out of the entire night, the Messenger of Allah (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would sometimes perform The Solah Witr during the early portion; sometimes he would perform it during the middle portion; and sometimes in the latter portion of the night, just before dawn.” This is related by the group.
Nevertheless, considering the possibility of losing Witr, the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) advised some of his companions not to sleep until they had performed The Solah Witr in order to be on the safe side.
Sa’ad Ibn Abi Waqqas (radiyallāhu’anhu) would pray Salatul 'Isha in the Prophet's mosque and then would pray one raka’ah of witr without making any addition to it. The people said to him: “Abu Ishaq, do you make the Witr with just one raka’h without adding any (other raka’ah) to it?” He said: “Yes, for I heard the Messenger of Allah (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) say: ‘The one who does not sleep until he makes The Solah Witr is prudent’.” This was related by Ahmad and its narrators are trustworthy.
2 - The Nature and Number of Rak’at for the Solāh Witr
Minimum is one Rak’ah.
The minimum number of rak’ahs for Witir is one raka’ah, after the Night Prayers. The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Witir is one rak’ah at the end of the night.”[Narrated by Muslim, 752]
The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) also said: “The Qiyam al-Layl are two by two(raka’at), but if one of you fears that dawn is about to break, let him pray one raka’ah to make what he has prayed odd numbered. [Al-Bukhāri, 911; Muslim, 749]
If a person limits himself to praying one raka’ah, he was considered to have performed the Sunnah. But Witir may also be performed in three or five or seven or nine.
If a person prays three raka’at of Witr it could be done in two ways, both of which are prescribed in shari’ah:
1. To pray them one after another, with one tashahhud. ‘Aishah (radiallāhu’anha) who said: The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) used not to say the taslīm in the (first) two raka’at of Witir. [According to another version]: “He used to pray a three raka'ahs Witr, and he would not sit except in the last of them.” i.e tashahhud at third raka’ah.
[Narrated by Al-Nasā’ie, 3/234; Al-Bayhaqi, 3/31. Al-Nawawi said in Al-Majmu’ (4/7): it was narrated by Al-Nasā’ie with a hasan isnad, and by al-Bayhaqi with a sahih isnad.]
2. Saying the Taslīm after two rak’at, and then praying one rak’ah on its own. Ibn ‘Umar (radiallāhu’anhu) narrated that to separate the two raka'at from the single raka'ah with a taslīm, and he said that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi Wa sallam) used to do that.
[Narrated by Ibn Hibban (2435); Ibn Hajar said in al-Fath (2/482): its isnad is qawiy (strong)]
Five or Seven Rak’at
But should he performs Witir with five or seven rak’at, then he should be continuous, and he should only recite one Tashahhud in the last of them and say the taslīm, because of the report narrated by ‘Aishah (radiyallāhu’anha) who said:
The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used to pray thirteen rak’at at night [an eight rak’at Night Prayer], praying five rak’at of Witr, in which he would not sit except in the last raka’ah.
Umm Salamah (radiyallāhu’anha) said: The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used to perform Witir with five or seven (rak’at) and he did not separate between them with any Salām or words.
[Ahmad, 6/290; Al-Nasā’ie, 1714. Al-Nawawi said: Its isnād is jayyid. Al-Fath Al-Rabbani, 2/297. And it was classified as sahih]
If one prays Witir nine rak’at, then it should be continuous and he should sit to recite the tashahhud in the eighth raka’at, then stand up and not say the taslīm, then he should recite the tashahhud in the ninth raka’at and then say the taslīm.
‘Aishah (radiyallāhu’anha) said that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used to pray nine raka’ahs in which he did not sit except in the eighth, when he would praise Allāh and call upon Him, then he would get up and not say the taslīm, and he would stand up and pray the ninth (rak’ah), then he would sit and praise Allāh and call upon Him, then he would say a taslīm that we could hear.
If the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) performed Witir with eleven rak’at, he would say the taslīm after each two raka’ahs, and then pray one raka’ah at the end.
Thus, Solah Witr could perform by doing two rak’at [and concluding them] and then praying one rak’ah with a Tashahhud and Taslim. Likewise, it is allowed to observe all the rak’at with two Tashahhuds and one Taslīm. One may pray a number of rak'at, one after another, without making any Tashahhud, save in the one before the last rak'ah in which case one makes the Tashahhud and then stands to perform the last rak'ah wherein one will make another tashahhud and end the prayer with the Taslīm. One may also make only one Tashahhud and the Taslīm, in the last raka'ah of Witr. All of that is permissible and can be traced to the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam).
At-Tirmidzi says: “It has been related from the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) would perform Solah Witr with thirteen, nine, seven, five, three rak’at or one rak’ah.”
Ishaq Ibn Ibrahim said: “The meaning of the statement that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) performed thirteen rak’at of solat witr is that during the night he would observe thirteen rak’at including the solat witr, and so all of the night prayer was known as witr." And Ibn al-Qayyim (rahimahullāh) said: “The clear, authentic Sunnah was that observing the witr with five or seven connected rak’at as reported by Umm Salamah (radhiyallāhu’anha) in her hadith. The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would perform the witr with five or seven raka’at without breaking them apart with the Taslim or any speech.” This is related by Ahmad, an-Nasa'ie, and Ibn Majah with a good chain.
Al-Bukhari and Muslim recorded from ‘Aishah (radiyallāhu’anha) saying that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would perform thirteen raka’t during the night and would make The Solah Witr with five of them, and he would not ‘sit’ [during those five] except in the last raka’ah of them.
In another hadith, ‘Aishah (radiyallāhu’anha) reports that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) would perform nine raka’at during the night and that he would not sit during them until the eighth rak’ah in which he would make remembrance of Allah, praising Him, and would make supplication. Then, Rasulullah (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) would stand without making the Taslim and perform the ninth rak’ah, after which he would sit, make the Tashahhud and make the Taslim in such a manner that we could hear him. Then, he would pray two raka’at after the Taslim while sitting and that would make eleven rak’at. When Rasulullah (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) became older and heavier, he would make the witr with seven rak’at, performing the (last) two rak'at like the first one.
In another version from ‘Aishah (radiyallāhu’anha), it is stated: “When Rasulullah (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) became older and bulkier, he would make the witr with seven rak’at, and he would not sit during them, save in the sixth and seventh rak’ah and he would not make the Taslim, save in the seventh rak’ah.” In yet another version, it is stated: “He would pray seven raka’at and would not sit, save in the last of them.” This is related by the group.
All of the preceding ahadith are authentic and clear and there is no contradiction in them.
As to the Prophet's statement: “The Night Prayer is in sets of two [rak’at],” it is not relevant here. This is an authentic hadith, and the statement that he observed witr with seven or five raka'at is equally true. Both statements confirm each other. The seven, five, nine, and one raka'ah constitute the Solah Witr, for witr is the name given to the one raka’ah offered in conclusion of whatever is offered prior to it. And the witr of the five, seven and nine rak'at are all connected raka’at.
If one breaks apart the five or seven raka’at with two taslim, like in the eleven raka’at, it will all be called witr due to the last odd rak’ah. This is supported by the Prophet's statement: ‘The night prayer is sets of two rak’at. If one fears the coming of the dawn, he should perform one rak'ah, thereby making all of them odd [witr].’ Therefore, the Prophet's actions and statements are in agreement, each part confirming the other."
The fact is that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) was responding to a question about the night prayer when he said: “it is in pairs of two.” Rasulullah (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) was not speaking about witr, for the man had asked him about night prayer, and not about the solah witr.
3 - Recitation in the Solāh Witr
It is permissible to recite after Al-Fātihah any surah which one wishes to recite. ‘Ali (radiyallāhu’anhu) says: “There is not a part of the Qur’an that is obsolete, so make the witr prayer of whatever you wish from it." However, it is preferred to recite, in the first of the three raka’at of witr, al-A’la after reciting al-Fatihah. In the second raka’ah, it is preferred to recite al-Kāfirun. In the third raka'h, it is proper to recite the last three surahs of the Qur’an. This is narrated by Ahmad, Abu Dawud and Tirmidzi, who relate from ‘Aishah (radiyallāhu’anha), on sound authority saying: The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would recite Al-a’la in the first raka’ah, Al-Kāfirun in the second and the last three surahs in the third raka'ah.
4 - Al-Qunut in the Solāh Witr
It is part of Sunnah to supplicate with qunut in the Witr prayer during the entire year.
Ahmad, at-Tirmidzi, an-Nasa'ie, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, and others record that Al-Hassan Ibn ‘Ali (radiyallāhu’anhu) said: “The Messenger of Allah (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) taught me the [following] words (du'a) to say in the Solah Witr :
“Allāhumma ihdini fīman hadayt, wa ‘āfini fīman ‘āfayt, wa tawallani feeman tawallayt, wa bārik li fīma a’tayt, wa qini sharra ma qadayt, fa innaka taqdi wa la yuqda ‘alayk, wa innahu lā yadzillu mañ wālayt, wa lā ya’izzu man ‘ādayt, tabārakta Rabbanā wa ta’ālayt, La manja minka illa ilayk
(O Allāh, guide me among those whom You have guided, pardon me among as those You have pardoned, turn to me in friendship among those 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 did not humiliate 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 except with You).”
At-Tirmidzi grades this hadith as hasan, and says: “... nothing is known from the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) concerning qunut more authentic than that.” While An-Nawawi (rahimahullāh) commenting on its status said: “Its chain is sahih”. Ibn Hazm (rahimahullāh) has some reservations about its soundness, but said: “This hadith, although it is not one that can be used as a proof, is all that we have from the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), and a weak hadith is dearer to me than mere opinion.” Imam Ahmad (rahimahullāh) says this is also the view of Abu Musa, Ibn Mas'ud, Ibn ‘Abbas, Al-Bara’, Anas, Al-Hassan Al-Basri, ‘Umar Ibn ‘Abdul ‘Aziz, Al-Thawri, Ibn Al-Mubarak, and the Hanafi School. This, An-Nawawi (rahimahullāh) says: “gives credibility to the report”.
Ash-Shaf'ie (rahimahullāh) and others are of the opinion that the Qunut in The Solah Witr should be made during the latter half of the month of Qiyam Ramadhān. This is based on what Abu Dawud records that, ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (radiyallāhu’anhu) convoked the people in prayer, under the leadership of Ubayy Ibn Ka’ab (radiyallāhu’anhu), and they prayed together for twenty nights, and he did not make the Qunut except for during the latter half of the month of Ramadhān. It is moreover related that Muhammad Ibn Nasr asked Sa'id Ibn Jubair about the Qunut in the Witr prayer. Sa'id answered: “ ‘Umar sent an army which suffered serious setback, that caused ‘Umar (radiyallāhu’anha) to be alarmed, so, when it was the latter half of Ramadhān, he made the Qunut to supplicate for them.”
It was narrated that ‘Umar Al-Khattāb (radiyallāhu’anhu) recited Al-Qunūt with the additional words as following:
“Allāhumma inna nasta’īnuka wa nu’minu bika, wa natawakkalu ‘alayka wa nuthni ‘alayka al-khayr, wa lā nakfuruka. Allāhumma iyyāka na’budu wa laka nusalli wa nasjudu, wa ilayka nas`ā wa nahfid. Narju rahmataka wa nakhsha `adzabaka, inna ‘adzabaka al-jadd bil kuffāri mulhaq. Allāhumma ‘adhdzib il-kafarata ahl al-kitāb alladhīna yasuddūna ‘an sabīlik’
(O Allāh, verily we seek Your help, we believe in You, we put our trust in You and we praise You and we are not ungrateful to You. O Allāh, You alone we worship and to You we pray and prostrate, for Your sake we strive. We hope for Your mercy and fear Your punishment, for Your punishment will certainly reach the disbelievers. O Allāh, punish the infidels of the People of the Book who are preventing others from following Your way).”
[Narrated by Al-Baihaqi, 2/210; classified as sahih]
5 - How to Perform the Qunut
It is permissible to make the Qunut before going into ruku’ (bowing), or it may be recited when one stands up straight after the ruku’.
Humaid says: “I asked Anas bin Malik (radhiyallāhu’anhu): ‘Is the qunut before or after the ruku'?' He said: ‘We would do it before or after.’” This was related by Ibn Majah and Muhammad ibn Nasr. In Fathul-Bari, Ibn Hajar (rahimahullāh) comments that its chain is faultless.
If one makes the Qunut before the ruku', one should make the takbir and raise one's hands after the recital, and similarly make another takbir after the Qunut, and then ruku’. This has been related from some companions. Some scholars hold that it is preferable to raise one’s hands in supplication during the qunut, while others disagree.
As to wiping face with hands after the Qunut, al-Baihaqi held: “It is preferred not to do so and to confine one's self to what the early generations did. They raised their hands but did not wipe their faces during the Solāh .”
6 - Supplications after the Solāh Witr
It is preferred for a person to say after the Taslim: “Subhān il-Malik il-Quddus (Glory be to the Master), the Holy,” three times aloud, saying the third time: “Rabbul malā ikatu warruh (Lord of the angels and the souls).”
In a narration Rasūlullāh (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) would say after Salam: “Subhān il-Malik il-Quddus, subhān il-Malik il-Quddus, subhān il-Malik il-Quddus (Glory be to the Sovereign, the Most Holy), elongating the syllables, and raising his voice the third time. [Narrated by, Abu Dawud, al-Nasā’ie (1699) and classified as hasan by al-Albāni in Sahih Sunan al-Nasā’ie; See Zaad Al-Ma’ād by Ibn Al-Qayyim, 1/337].
Abu Dawud and Nasa'ie recorded that Ubayy ibn Ka'ab (radhiyallāhu’anhu) said: “The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would recite al-A’la and al-Kāfirun in The Solah Witr. When he made the taslim, he would say: “Rabbul malā ikatu warruh (Glory be to the Master, the Holy)' three times, prolonging the third repetition and saying it aloud.” This is the wording in which an-Nasa’ie recorded it. Ad-Daraqutni has the addition: “And he would say, “Rabbul malā ikatu warruh (Lord of the angels and the souls).”
Rasulullah (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) would then make supplications.
According to what Ahmad, Nasa’ie, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, and at-Tirmidzi recorded from ‘Ali ibn Abi Tālib (radiyallāhu’anhu) that the Prophet (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) used to say at the end of Witr:
“Allāhumma inni a’udzu bi ridāka min sakhatika wa bi mu’āfātika min ‘uqubatika wa a’udzu bika minka, la uhsi thana’an ‘alayka anta kama athnayta ‘ala nafsika”
(O Allāh, I seek refuge in Your pleasure from Your wrath and in Your forgiveness from Your punishment. I cannot praise You enough; You are as You have praised Yourself.)
[Recorded by al-Tirmidzi, 1727; classified as sahih by al-Albāni in al-Irwa’, 430; Sahih Abi Dawud, 1282]
7 - Prohibition of Two the Solāh Witr in One Night
Whoever has performed The Solah Witr and then wishes to do some more, he may do so but he is not to repeat the witr.
Abu Dawud, Nasa'ie, and at-Tirmidzi have recorded from 'Ali (radiyallāhu’anhu) that he heard the Messenger of Allah (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) say:”There are no two witr prayers in one night." At-Tirmizhi grades it hasan.
'Aishah (radiyallāhu’anhu) relates that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would make the taslim in such a manner that we could hear him and then, he would pray two rak'at while sitting. This is related by Muslim.
Umm Salamah (radiyallāhu’anha) also narrates that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) prayed two raka'at while sitting, after The Solah Witr. This was related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, at-Tirmidzi, and others.
8 - Making up a Missed the Solāh Witr
According to Al-Baihaqi and Al-Hakim, the majority of the scholars maintain that it is correct to make qada' for a missed witr prayer. Al-Hakim grades the following report by Abu Hurayrah as sahih according to the criterion of al-Bukhari and Muslim.
Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu’anhu) reports that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:”If the morning approaches, and you have yet to pray witr, you should pray the witr prayer." Abu Dawud records from Abu Sa'id al-Khudri (radiyallāhu’anhu) that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:”If one of you sleeps [past the time of] the witr prayer or he forgets it, he should pray it when he remembers it." Al-'Iraqi says that the chain of this hadith is sahih.
Ahmad and At-Tabarani record with a hasan chain that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would perform the witr prayer in the morning [if, for some reason, he had missed it during the night].
Generally speaking, there is a difference of opinion over what time it may be made up. The Hanafi School holds it should be performed during those times in which it is not forbidden to observe prayers. The followers of Shaf'ie School say that it may be made up during any time of the night or day, while according to Malik and Ahmad a missed witr prayer is to be made up for after the dawn.
9 - Al-Qunut in the Five Solāh Fardhu
It is legitimate to recite the qunut aloud in any of the five daily prayers at those times when Muslims are faced with calamities. Ibn 'Abbas (radhiyallāhu’anhu) relates that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) made qunut consecutively for one month in the Dzuhur, 'Asar, Maghrib, 'Isha, and Fajar prayers. At the end of every prayer, after saying:”Allah hears him who praises Him" in the last raka'h, he would supplicate against Ri'il, Zhakwan, and 'Usiyyah' of Banu Sulaim, and the people behind him would say 'Ameen'. This is related by Ahmad and by Abu Dawud adding that these three had killed the emissaries that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) had sent to them. 'Ikrimah says:”That was the beginning of the qunut."
Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that whenever the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) wanted to supplicate against or for someone, he would make qunut after going into ruku'. Sometimes, he would say:”Allah hears him who praises Him. Our Lord, to you is the praise. O Allah! Save Al-Walid Ibn Al-Walid and Salamah ibn Hisham and 'Iyash Ibn Abi Rabi'ah and the oppressed [and weak] believers. O Allah, put hardship and pressure on the tribe of Muzhar and give them years of famine like those during the time of Yusuf." He would say this aloud in some of the prayers. Also in the dawn prayer, he would say:”Oh Allah, curse so and so," cursing two tribes of Arabs until Allah revealed:”It is no concern at all of thee [Muhammad] whether He relents toward them or punishes them, for they are evildoers." This is related by Ahmad and al-Bukhari.
10 - Al-Qunut in Solāh Fajar
Scholars differs in relation to Du'a Al-Qunut in Solah Fajar. Some scholars views that it is not correct to make qunut in the Solāh Fajar except during times of calamity, in which case it may be made in any of the five daily prayers. The view is based on the narration of Abu Malik Al-Asha’ri (radiyallāhu‘anhu) said:”My father prayed behind the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) when he was sixteen years old, and he prayed behind Abu Bakar, 'Umar, and 'Uthman. I asked him, 'Did they make the qunut'?' He said, 'No, son, it is something that has been innovated."' This is related by Ahmad, an-Nasa'ie, Ibn Majah, and at-Tirmidzi who calls it sahih. Anas ibn Malik (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would not make the qunut in Solatul Fajar unless he was supplicating for a people or supplicating against a people. This is related by Ibn Hibban, al- Khatib, and Ibn Khuzaimah who said it is sahih.
It is also related that Az-Zubair, Abu Bakar, 'Umar, And 'Uthman did not make the qunut in the Solāh Fajar. This is the opinion of the Hanafiyyah, the Hanbaliyyah, Ibn al-Mubarak, al-Thawri, and Ishaq.
The followers of Shaf'ie School of Jurisprudence are of the opinion that the qunut is to be made after the ruku' of the second raka'h in the obligatory Solatul Fajar. The opinion is based on the following two reports. Firstly, Ibn Sireen narrates that Anas ibn Malik (radhiyallāhu’anhu) was asked:”Did the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) make the qunut in the dawn prayer?" He answered:”Yes." They asked him:”Before the ruku' or after it?" He replied:”After it." This is related by the group save at-Tirmidzi.
Secondly, there is a report from Anas ibn Malik (radiyallāhu’anhu) which says:”The Messenger of Allah (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) did not stop making qunut during the Solāh Fajar until he left this world." This is related by Ahmad, al-Bazzar, ad-Daraqutni, al-Baihaqi, and al-Hakim who says it is sahih.
However, there remains some reservation concerning this evidence since the qunut which they asked Anas ibn Malik (radiyallāhu’anhu) about, as is clear in the narrations of al Bukhari and Muslim, was the qunut during the time of calamities. Concerning the latter hadith (the one mentioned in support of their stand), in its chain of narrators there is Abu Ja'far ar-Razi who is not a credible source and, thus, one cannot build a case upon his hadith. How could it be that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) never stopped performing this qunut until his death, and yet, the rightly guided caliphs did not perform it? It is even confirmed that Anas ibn Malik (radiyallāhu’anhu) himself did not make the qunut in the dawn prayer! If we must accept this latter hadith as authentic, it would mean that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) always made supplications and remembrance (dzikir), after the ruku', until his death. This would also come under qunut and, in this sense, it would be more befitting.
The Fuqaha’ defined al-Qunūt as being obedient, humble, or the act of long standing and in the context of solāt it implies a duā’ offered during that long stand after the rukū’ following the i’tidal in last raka’ah. A Hadith narrated from Jabir bin Abdullah (radhiallāhu‘anhu), which says that the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:“The best of solāh is the long standing al-qunūt” (Muslim, 1257). It would be worthy to recite a Dzikir or a du'a in that long stand. More so with the content of duā al-qunūt is about Tawhid and submission to Allāh. If Dua Qunut is recited during calamities, it is thus relevant today when some the ummah are facing hardship in many places.
An-Nu’man bin Bashir (radiyallāhu ‘anhu) reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, “Du‘ā is worship.” [Abu Dawud]. Thus it would be appropriate the time for the ‘long standing’ is fill with a du‘ā. Hence, undoubtedly Imam Shafi’ie (rahimahullah) is justified in his view in categorizing Du'a al-Qunut as Sunnah ab'adh.
Still, this is one of the matters in which it is acceptable to have differences of opinion, and one may either do it or leave it. The best guidance is that of Prophet Muhammad (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam).
Imam Shāfi’e (rahimahullāh) said: “The sunnahs of the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) reach, as well as escape from, every one of us. So whenever I voice my opinion, or formulate a principle, where something contrary to my view exists on the authority of the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), then the correct view is what the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) has said, and it is my view.” [Related by Hakim with a continuous sanad up to Shāfi’e, as in Tarikh Dimashq of Ibn 'Asakir (15/1/3), I’lam al- Mūqi’īn (2/363, 364) and Eqāz (p. 100).
If ‘a long standing’ at that point is indeed a Qunūt by definition then it would be worthy to recite a du’ā with its content full in Tawhid and submission to Allāh Almighty; and that is the content of Du’ā Al-Qunūt. In a narration An-Nu’man bin Bashir (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “Du’ā is worship.” [Abu Dawud]. Thus it would be appropriate the time for the ‘long standing’ is filled with a du’ā. There are many parts on the planet today are in turmoil effecting some of the ummah which warrants a du'a by its fellow ummah. Thus Du’a Al-Qunut in the Solat Fajar would at minimally serve it. Undoubtedly the view of Imām Shāfi’ie (rahimahullah) was justified in categorizing Du’ā Al-Qunūt as a Sunnah Ab’adh.
Allah the Almighty Alone Know most.
Allah the Almighty Alone Know most.
Excerpted from “The Fiqh-us-Sunnah”, Volume 2: “ The Solāh Witr ” by Sayyid Sābiq , Via http://ymsite.com/home/]
All About The Solah
6. The Adzān;
30. Solāh al-Jumu’ah; 31. The Sanctified Hour of Jumu’ah.