Question 5: Asalamu alaykum.
I was just wondering on what is the strongest opinion in praying witr. A couple of years ago i saw difference of opinion based on various etnicity which at one point caused abut of division due to it. One opinion says they pray 2 den 1 and another prays 3 all in one and i belive on the third after al fatiha. Insteas of going for rukoo, i assume a quiet dua is made.
Can u explain this method and are both acceptable.
Jazakum allahu khair
Answer: Walaikumussalam Brother,
There are at least two issues here.
First: which manner of praying Witr is strongest opinion and closest to Sunnah?
Second: How to pray those Rak’ah especially the dua of Qunut.
First: With respect to praying how many Rak’ah and how, the Prophet (s.a.w) prayed Witr in more than one ways. He prayed 3 rak’ah either by doing 2 rakah then Tasleem, then one rak’ah immediately, as shown by some companions. He also prayed three rak’ah without sitting after 2 rakah and rather only one sitting at the end in the third Rak’ah. These two ways of praying witr are both perfectly and completely consistent with the Sunnah. The Prophet also offered more rakah than 3 for witr that is also fine, but lets focus for now on 3 rakah witr. As for praying witr the way the Maghrib prayer is prayed sitting after two rak’ah, this has good reasons why some scholars accepted this way while others said this is not from the Prophet’s way. Thus, I suggest to stay clear from good reason to not accept 3 Maghrib style, and instead I suggest to do the known Sunnah related way, ie 2+1 or 3 straight with only one sitting in last rakah.
Second: Should we do dua Qunut before Ruku or after, hands folded or up in dua posture, etc? Doing dua qunut in witr is a long topic of discussion. The best suggestion I can think of is to do dua qunut some days or everyday in the third rak’ah of witr. Before ruku and after ruku both are apparently done by companions. I can recommend praying after ruku, which it seems was the case for witr as opposed to before ruku which seems to be the case with qunut nazilah. I also recommend raising hands in qunut as it is based on the stronger of the ijtihad of scholars seeing it analogous to any ordinary dua and with dua for rain prayer both of which were with raised hands.
Lastly, the other ways of praying witr, ie like Maghrib sitting after 2 rakah then stand up for 3rd, this is based on ihtihad of the great scholars even though it has the less strong basis from the Prophet. But if we are praying ina Masjid where the Imam is praying this way, then we should pray this way too as we are required to follow the Imam in acts that must he done together so long as the Imam has some reasonable ijtihad basis, as is the case with this type of witr.
So to sum up, if you have choice, pray 2 rakah then one that is a total of three witr, or instead pray three straight. And do dua of qunut after the ruku in the 3rd rakah with hands raised up. But if the Imam is praying in the other way proposed by Hanafi Madhhab from its intihad (i.e. 3 like Maghrib with dua qunut in 3rd), then we pray as the Imam is praying since Imam is there to be followed in opinions with grounds for ijtihad.
Now, that was more than a mouthful!!! I hope it made sense.
Allah is the best to know the truth.