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Can we pray witr as one rakat? What if time is going out? Can we follow another madhhab in this

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Qibla.com

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Can we pray witr as one rakat? What if time is going out? Can we follow another madhhab in this?

Answer:
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Walaikum assalam,

The minimum number of rakats for witr in the Hanafi school is 3. They understood the 1-rakat narrations to mean, “added one rakat more to a 2-rakat prayer,” as explained by Imam Abu Ja`far al-Tahawi in his Sharh Ma`ani al-Athar [1.277-282] for many reasons, including the fact that besides this, it is agreed that there is no such thing as a one-rakat prayer. You cannot, for example, pray “1 rakat nafl for Allah….”

The Hanafi position’s strength is indicated by the fact that it is reported from Hasan al-Basri (Allah be pleased with him) that there was general agreement of the early generations (salaf) that witr is 3 rakats [this was reported by Ibn Abi Shayba in his Musannaf and by Imam Tahawi]

The great faqih of the Companions of the Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace), Abdullah ibn Mas`ud (Allah be pleased with him), said, “Witr is 3 rakats, like the rakats of Maghrib,” and he said, “One rakat does not fulfill it.” [Zayla`i, Tabyin al-Haqa’iq Sharh Kanz al-Daqa’iq, 1.170, and see Nasb al-Raya for details regarding these and other narrations]

Imam Kamal Ibn al-Humam (Allah have mercy on him), one of greatest jurists of the latter half of Islamic history, discussed this extensively in his Fath al-Qadir, showing that the Hanafi position was that which was adopted by the majority of the Companions. [ Fath al-Qadir, 1.427]

It is not permitted to follow another school’s dispensations without knowing how to make one’s actions valid according to that school.

And Allah alone gives success.

Wassalam,
Faraz Rabbani

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