Chapter Seventeen

Witr Wajib

The hadith I have used is by no means to go against the great Imams i.e. Imam Malik, Imam Shafi’i and Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal. There method of Salaah is also correct as it is according to the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). The hadith quoted are to show that the Fatwas of Imam Abu Hanifa are according to the Sunnah as the Ghair Muqalids object to this.

Note: The hadith numbers before the hadith indicate the different chains of narrations, hence, each chain will count as a separate hadith.

Hadith 1-3

Abu Ayyoob narrates; “The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said upon every Muslim Witr is a must.”1

Hadith 4

‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates, “The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said upon every Muslim Witr is a necessary.”2

Hadith 5-6

Buraydah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates, “I heard the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) say that Witr is a must, whosoever does not offer the Witr are not from amongst us.”3

Hadith 7

‘Abdullah ibn Ahmad narrates from ‘Abdul Rahman ibn Rafi’ Tanukhi that Mu’adh bin Jabal came to Syria he heard the people of Syria where lazy regarding the Witr. He complained to Amir-eMuawwiya regarding the reason why the people of Syria do not offer the Witr prayer, so Amir-e-Muawwiya asked, “Is Witr Necessary on Muslims?” Mu’adh ibn Jabal said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) say “My Lord has given me an extra Salaah which is Witr between ‘Isha and the rising of the sun of Fajr.”

Hadith 8

Zayd ibn Muslim narrates Mursalan that whosoever leaves the Witr and goes to sleep offer it’s Qadha in the morning.4

Hadith 9-14

Abu Ayyoob Ansari narrates the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “Witr is a must, it is necessary, upon every Muslim.”5

We find that Witr is not a voltentry (Nafl prayer) but Wajib (necessary). Another thing is that if one misses the Witr to make up for it (i.e. Qadha) is necessary; hence you only make up for a Salaah if it is Fardh or Wajib and there is no Qadha for a Nafl prayer.

Witr is three units

Hadith 1-4

Abu Salmah asked Aisha regarding the state of the Prophet’s Salaah during Ramadhan. She explained, “The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) would not exceed eleven units in Ramadhan nor out of it. He would perform four units and let alone their beauty and length, followed by another four, let alone their beauty and length, then he would perform three (Witr).” Aisha says, “I asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace)! Do you sleep before you perform the Witr?’ So he replied, ‘O Aisha! My eyes sleep but my heart does not.”6

Hadith 5-7

Sa’ad ibn Hisham narrates, “Aisha informed him that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) would not turn salaams in the second unit of Witr.”7

Hadith 8-11 ‘Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) narrates that, “The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) would offer three units of Witr prayer, he would not complete the Salaah (with Salaam) but at the end.”8

Hadith 12-13 ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates, “The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said that the Witr of the night is three units, like the Witr of the day Maghrib.”9

Hadith 14 Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates “Without doubt the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) would offer three units of Witr prayer.”10

Hadith 15-16

‘Abdullah Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that I was once at night in the presence of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) when he awoke and performed ablution, used the Miswak and recited the following verse: Inna Fi Khalqis Samawati… and offered two units of voltentry prayer. Then again he went to sleep to the extent I heard the breathing and then he got up and performed the Miswak and offered two units then got up again and performed ablution with Miswak and offered two units and offered three units of Witr.”11

Hadith 17-21

‘Abdullah Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) would recite ‘Sabbihisma rabbikal a’alaa (Surah A’alaa)’, and ‘Qul ya ayyuhal kafiroon (Surah Kafiroon)’ and ‘Qul huwallahu ahad (Surah Ikhlaas)’. One Surah in one unit.12

Hadith 22-26

‘Abdul ‘Aziz bin ibn Jurauj, narrates that, “I asked ‘Aisha what did the Messenger of Allah (may Allah be pleased with him) recite in the Witr?” She said, “He would recite in the first unit ‘Sabbi Hisma Rabbikal ‘Aa’la’, in the second ‘Qul Ya Ayyuhal Kafiroon’ and ‘Qul Huwalla’ ‘Falqa’ and ‘Naas’.”13

Hadith 27

Imaam Hakim narrates a very similar hadith of Aisha through Amrah bin Abdir Rahman. Following the hadith, he verifies it to be in accordance with the conditions of Imaam Bukhari and Muslim, and Allama Dhahabi agrees with it by saying that the hadith has been narrated through trustworthy transmitters.14

Hadith 28

Abi ibn Ka’ab (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates, “Without doubt the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) in the Witr would recite ‘Sabbi Hisma Rabbikal ‘Aa’la’ and in the second ‘Qul Ya Ayyuhal Kafiroon’ and in the third ‘Qul Huwalla’, and would not complete the Salaah (i.e. with Salam) after these three units.15

Hadith 29

Imam Hassan (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates, “There is a consensus of all the Muslims that Witr is three units, do not complete the Salaah (i.e. with Salaam) but at the end of them.”16

Hadith 30

Abu Khalid (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates, “I asked Abu Al-Aaliya regarding the Witr and he said, “All of us companions of the Prophet know that the Witr is like the Maghrib, this is the Witr of the night whilst Maghrib is the Witr of the day.””17

Hadith 31

Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) used to perform three rakats witr without making salaam in between (i.e. after two rakaats.). 18

Hadith 32

Allama Ibn Hajar writes in Fathul Baari, the commentary on Sahih Bukhari, that Ubay ibn Ka’b, ‘Umar, ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud and Anas Ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with them all) used to make salaam at the end of three rakats witr, not in between. 19

There are many more ahadith and statements of the companions, but I will leave it at this as I feel this will suffice.

We have read that which Surahs the Prophet of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) would recite is the Witr prayer. If Witr was one unit then how are three Surahs recited in one unit and why did those who narrated the hadith say that he read such a Surah in the first and such in the second and such in the third, does first, second and third mean one unit or does it mean three units?

We also find that out of the five daily prayers in fact any Salaah be it Fardh, Wajib, Sunnah, Nafl you will not find a prayer with only one unit so how on earth do those who say Witr is one unit really believe they are correct? So, we find that this goes against the practice of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) the companions, the pious and the Ummah as a whole. We also did not find any of the narration that said there were two salaams!

Remember the Hadith of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) you will hear things which you have never heard off. There is a report by Imaam Ahmad that a single unit of Witr is Makrooh.20 Imam Malik also holds this view, in his Muwatta he relates a hadith of Sa’ad ibn Abi Waqqas in which Sa’ad is described performing a single unit of Witr. Following this narration, Imam Malik writes, “This is not what we follow, because Witr is at least three units.”21

Imam Aazam Abu Hanifa took all ahadith into consideration and also the practises of the companions to decide that raising the hands to the ears is a Sunnah.

Objection of Ghair Muqalid

Question: In Muslim the following hadith is mentioned:

Ibn ‘Umar reported that a person asked the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) about the night prayer. The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: Prayer during the night should consist of pairs of Rakahs, but if one of you fears morning is near, he should pray one Rakah which will make his prayer an odd number for him.

We find from this that Witr is only one unit!

Answer: Those who say that Witr is one unit take this hadith by its literal meaning. This goes against all the hadith that we have mentioned above. The Hanafis interpretate this hadith as if one fears the morning offer two units with one. Know if one interpretates it in this manner not only will one be practicing the hadiths that have been mentioned above but also this hadith too, however, if one takes the literal meaning then all the above-mentioned hadith will be rejected and will not be able to practice them. For instance, Allah mentions in the Qur’an:

“And they stayed in their cave three hundred years, nine more.” 22

In the Qur’an the nine years is not separated from the three hundred years, but they are the same, meaning they stayed there for 309 years as the three hundred years mentioned are according to the Christian calendar i.e. the Sun years and the 9 years are according to the Islamic i.e. moon years. Likewise, the two units mentioned in the hadith are not separate from the one unit but are together. Know think for yourself that is it a good thing to make contradiction with Hadiths or to interpretate them so one can practice both types of Hadith? This is the problem one will come across if you take the literal meaning of hadith. If you had just followed one of the four Imams who were closer to the time of the Prophet and with those who possessed the knowledge of the Hadith instead of rejecting them and deducing your own meaning according to one’s desire then one would not go astray. People are always looking for short cuts in Islam today, how unfortunate are those who interpretate to their own desire?

Question: In Abu Dawud and Nas’i narrated Ali ibn Abu Talib:

The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: Allah is single and loves what is single, so observe the witr, you who follow the Qur’an.

Tell me is Allah one or three?

Answer: There are two answers to this question, the first being that those who oppose Witr being three then they should offer the Maghrib prayer as one and not three as the Witr of the day is Maghrib as mentioned in the Hadith above. If you say that this is mentioned in the Hadith, then we say that Witr being three units has also been mentioned in the Hadith. The second answer being that Witr does not only mean one but means odd, to give an example of something is not necessary for it to be exact the same this is the reason why the Prophet said Witr and not Wahid (one) meaning he did not say Allah is one but Allah likes one unit. Allah mentions:

“The similitude of His Light is as a niche wherein is a lamp.” 23

Here Allah has given the Likeness of His light to the light of a lantern or lamp. If someone says that in a lantern there is oil or a bulb then in the light of Allah there also may be some oil or a bulb. However, when we say such a person is a lion, we mean that he is strong and not that he sometimes is a lion, or he literally has the strength of a lion.

Question: A Hadith in Bukhari states narrated Ibn Abi Mulaika:

Somebody said to Ibn ‘Abbas, “Can you speak to the chief of the believers Muwaiya, as he does not pray except one Rak’a as Witr?” Ibn ‘Abbas replied, “He is a companion.”

Answer: This is the evidence of the Hanafis that Witr is three units as when Amir Muawiya offered one unit the slave of ‘Abbas was surprised then which he complained to Ibn ‘Abbas. One is surprised when something is not the norm. We find from this that no companion would offer one unit as the slave would not have been surprised nor would he have complained. The reason why ibn ‘Abbas did not say anything as Muawiya is a Mujtahid Sahabi and it is not allowed to find a fault in a Mujtahid Sahabi’s action. In another narration of Bukhari, it states:

Somebody said to Ibn ‘Abbas, “Do you have any problem with Muwaiya, as he prays except one unit as Witr?” Ibn ‘Abbas replied, “He is doing right he is a Faqih (i.e. a learned man who can give religious verdicts).”

It is clear from this that that all companions would pray three units of Witr and Ibn ‘Abbas himself offered three units. Also, that Muawiya (may Allah be pleased with him) is a companion, a scholar, a Mujthid, a Mujtahids mistake is correct. Do not say it is a fault. This goes against those who say Witr is one, it is actually a hadith which is proof for the Hanafis.

Question: Surprising how the Hanafis stop us from offering one unit of Witr and when Muawiya (may Allah be pleased with him) offers one there is no problem. When we do rafa yadayn and say ameen aloud then we are incorrect, but Imam Shafi’i offers the Salaah the way we do but there is no fault in that why this difference

Answer: Yes, this is correct because when a Scholar who is a Mujtahid makes a mistake he will be rewarded, however, when an ignorant person makes a mistake he will be punished for it. Likewise, if the law punishes someone by mistake they will be not as much responsible as a citizen who takes the law into his own hands, the law will put him in jail.

When ‘Ali and Muawiya had a dispute, ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) was definitely correct, however, no one is sinful as one who say either one of them was bad or incorrect then the one saying this will come out of the folds of Islam. In the Qur’an it states:

“When they gave decision regarding a feud of tillage when the sheep of certain people who strayed therein by night, and We were present at the time of their Judgement. We made Suleman to understand the matter and bestowed to both of them government and knowledge.” 24

We find that both made a different decision. Sulayman (upon whom be peace) was correct and Dawud (upon whom be peace) made a mistake, however, it was Ijtihadi. But no punishment or compensation was given. If you made a mistake whilst being a Shafi’i then there would be no problem as you will be covered.

To conclude I would like to mention what ‘Abdul ‘Azeez bin Baaz one the Wahabi leaders in his book ‘Concerning Tarweeh’ p 43, he writes, “The Sunnah of the Prophet is to supplicate with the Qunoot in the Witr prayer, but if one leaves it at times, then there is no harm. As for making the Qunoot in the Fajr prayer consistently, there is no legislation for this; rather, it is an innovation. It has been reported by Ahmad, at-Tirmidhi, an-Nasaa’i, and ibn Maajah, may Allah be pleased with them, on the authority of Sa’d bin Taariq bin Ashyam alAshja’i that he said, “O father, verily you have observed prayer behind the Messenger of Allah, Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman, and ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with them all. Did they recite the Qunoot in the Fajr prayer?” He replied, “My son, this is an innovation.”

In this hadeeth, Taariq clarified that this act is an innovation.”

He further writes, “As for the ahadeeth which report that the recitation of the Qunoot should be consistent in the Fajr prayer, they are all weak according to the scholars of hadeeth, and Tawfeeq if from Allah.”

When your own Imams are saying it is a Bia’at and you are using weak ahadeeth, then who do you really follow, are you just arrogant and follow your desires?

My question is split into two parts: “Did the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) offer one Rakaat of Witr all the time?” “Did the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) do this until he passed away?”

Hope you can prove these two questions and when doing so I do not want to hear the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) offered one Rakat Witr etc. but I want Sahih hadith that clearly (no meanings or interpretations) states the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) offered one Rakaat all the time and that he did this action until he passed away. Good luck!

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