Do not pray witr with three rakaats like maghrib

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by DarulIftaBirmingham
I read in your answer to a previous Question (no. 9759) that witr prayer can be performed in a way resembling the Maghrib prayer. However, this against the hadeeth narrated by al-Haakim (1/304), al-Bayhaqi (3/31) and al-Daaraqutni (p. 172), and which was classed as saheeh by al-Haakim according to the conditions of al-Bukhaari and Muslim. According to this hadeeth the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Do not pray Witr with three rakaats that resemble Maghrib.” What he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) meant, as the scholars have explained, was that we should not sit to recite the first Tashahhud in a manner that resembles Maghrib. SO, if we will pray the witr prayer in a three rakaats, we should make the raakats continues with no Tashahhud in between and one salaam.  Please, clarify to me this conflict  In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful. 




According to the Hanafi Fiqh, the Witr salah consists of three rakaats with one salaam at the end.  Imam Malik (RA), Imam Shafee (RA) and Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal (RA) say that the Witr salah is between one and seven rakaats.  Generally, the followers of the respective aforementioned scholars will perform the Witr by reading two rakaats with one salaam and then another rakaat separately with one salaam.  (Dars Tirmizi p.215 v.2)


The view of the Hanafi School of Thought is based on the following evidences: 


  1. Saaidah Aaisha Radiallahu Anha reports that the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam used to perform thee rakaats of Witr and he never used to make salaam except in the last rakaat.   (Mustadrak Hakim p.304 v.1)

  2. Saaiduna Ubayy Ibn Kaab Radillahu Anhu narrates that the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam used to recite Surah A’la in the first rakaat, surah Kaafiroon in the second rakaat and surah Ikhlas in the third rakaat and that the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam would not make salaam except in the last of those rakaats.   (Sunan Nasaai p.248 v.1)
  3. Thabit Al Bunani Radiallahu Anhu says that “Saaiduna Anas Radiallahu Anhu lead us in the Witr salah, he performed three rakaats and he did not make salam till the last rakaat”.   (Tahawi p.206 v.1)
  4. Saaiduna Umar Radiallahu Anhu is reported to have performed three rakaats Witr with one salaam only.   (Mustadrak Hakim p.304 v.1)


Furthermore, the Witr salah is like the three rakaats of Maghrib, therefore the same way one sits for tashuud after two rakaats and stands up for the third, one will do the same for the Witr salah.   (Darul Qutni p.27-p.28 v.2)


It is reported from Hasan al Basri (RA) that there was a unanimous agreement of the Salaf that Witr is of three rakaats.  Saaiduna Abdullah Ibn Masud Radiallahu Anhu said, “Witr is three rakaats like the rakaats of Maghrib.”   (Nasbur Rayah p.120 v.2 & Tabyinul Haqaaiq)


Furthermore, it is reported to be the practice of Saaiduna Abu Bakr Radiallahu Anhu, Saaiduna Umar, Saaiduna Ali, Saaiduna Ubbay Ibn Kaab, Saaiduna Zaid Ibn Thabit, Saaiduna Anas Ibn Malik and Saaiduna Abu Ummamah Radiallahu Anhum to read three rakaats with no salaam in between.   (Dars Tirmizi p.229 v.2)


With regards to your question, it is narrated by Saaiduna Abu Hurairah Radiallahu Anhu that the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam said “Do not pray Witr with three rakaats like Maghrib.”   (Mustadrak Hakim p.403 v.1 & Sunun Baihaqi p.31 v.3 & Darul Qutni). The reason for preventing Witr salah from being like Maghrib salah is obvious, and that is because there is no Nafl salah that precedes it. It was the practice of the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam that he would read Tahajjud Salah before the Witr Salah.   (Dars Tirmizi p.234 v.2, Mussanaf Ibn Abi Shaibah p.294 v.4 & Tahawi p.141 v.1)


Only Allah Knows Best


Mohammed Tosir Miah

Darul Ifta Birmingham

This answer was collected from, which is run under the supervision of Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah from the United Kingdom.

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