The methods of praying the Witr prayer
Fatwa No: 98754

Question

Is the way of performing Witr according to the Hanafis related from Sunnah or has it some innovated things. Please mention the proof of Hanafi Witr salaah in regards of: -That it is 3 rakat with 2 sittings - That in all 3 rakat there is a surah to be read after Al Fatiha -That before qunut the hands must be raised when saying Allahu Akbar after completing the surah after al fatiha in the 3th rakat and then folded again. -That qunut is to be made before ruku

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 ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

 

According to the Hanafi School of jurisprudence, the Witr prayer is three Rak'ahs with one Tasleem and with two Tashahhuds. They provided evidence that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) used to perform the Witr prayer with three Rak'ahs; this authentic narration reads: "Then he performed the Witr prayer without any interruption between them" [Ahmad and An-Nasaa'i]. However, it does not suggest that he  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) performed the prayer with two Tashahhuds, rather he  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) ended the prayer with one Salaam at the end of the three Rak'ahs. There is no evidence for performing it like the Maghrib prayer with two Tashahhud. On the contrary there is evidence that it is disliked to perform the Witr prayer like the Maghrib prayer. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: Do not perform the Witr prayer with three Rak'ahs and make it like the Maghrib prayer.” [Al-Haakim]. Therefore, this narration is evidence that it is disliked to perform the Witr prayer like the Maghreb prayer with three Rak'ahs and with two Tashahhuds.

As regards reciting a chapter after the Al-Faatihah, in the three Rak'ahs, then there is an authentic narration about this. Ubay Ibn Ka'b  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him narrated that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) used to perform the Witr prayer three Rak'ahs, and would recite after Al-Faatihah in the first Rak'ah chapter 87, chapter 109 in the second Rak'ah, and chapter 112 in the third Rak'ah.

With regard to your question about the obligation of raising the hands while saying the Qunoot supplication, then we have not come across a statement from the Hanafi School of jurisprudence about this, rather they stated that it is only recommended.

Furthermore, there is no evidence about the Takbeer after finishing the recitation of Quran and before the Qunoot supplication. What is even more strange is that they [Hanafi School] are of the view that it is an obligation to prostrate for forgetfulness if one forgets this Takbeer.   

Allaah Knows best.

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