Opinions of scholars regarding Witr at the time of combining prayers
Fatwa No: 6006

Question

In Bosnia, we are exposed to snow and other difficult weather conditions and this compels us to combine prayers. The question is, when we combine Maghrib and ‘Ishaa’ prayers at the time of Maghrib, should we offer the Sunnah (i.e. two supererogatory prayers) of Maghrib and ‘Ishaa’ along with the Witr after we finish combining prayers or delay the Sunnah of ‘Ishaa’ and Witr until the time of ‘Ishaa’?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His Slave and Messenger.

 

The Sunnah of both Maghrib and ‘Ishaa’, when combining them, should be offered after praying them. It is not permissible to pray the Sunnah of Maghrib before praying ‘Ishaa’ when combining them at the earlier time because this violates the conditions of combining prayers which is the consecutiveness of the two obligatory prayers. Also, offering supererogatory prayers at home is better, for the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “You should pray in your homes for the best of prayer is a man’s prayer in his home, apart from the prescribed prayers.”  [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

It is also recommended to make an interval between offering the obligatory prayer and supererogatory one whether by moving, talking or the like, for Mu‘aawiyah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him said that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, commanded us to do so saying: “Do not follow a prayer with another without talking or going out.” [Muslim]

As for the Witr, scholars held different opinions regarding specifying the beginning of its time. According to Hanafi and Maaliki scholars, it starts from the end of the ‘Ishaa’ prayer and when the twilight disappears. So if one prays before the twilight disappears, it will be invalid even if the ‘Ishaa’ prayer was offered. According to Shaafi‘i and Hanabli scholars, it starts after offering ‘Ishaa’ prayer, even if the twilight does not disappear such as when it is combined with Maghrib at the time of the earlier prayer. To be on the safe side, and Allaah The Almighty Knows best, the Witr should be delayed until the twilight disappears. This will make one avoid the other opinion that states the invalidity of it (i.e. Witr) if it is offered before the twilight disappears.

Allaah Knows best.

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