The Hadiths on the Witr Prayer According to the Hanafi Legal School

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by

Answered by Shaykh Abdullah Anik Misra 


I am from Hanafi madhab and have been praying witr as three rakat, in which the 3rd rakat has an additional takbeer+qunoot. Some hadiths narrate a different way of praying. Pls guide as to which Hadith is the basis for Hanafi witr


In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate

There are many authentic and strong hadiths that establish the method of the Witr prayer according to the Hanafi school of thought. However, no one prophetic hadith explicitly lays out the exact method, so different aspects of it must be extracted from various narrations.

Differences in the Witr Prayer and the Hanafi Position 

There is a difference of opinion on the method of performing the Witr prayer after Isha among the legal schools of thought. These differences are based on how different Companions described the Witr prayer and how various scholars interpreted the hadiths they narrated.

The Hanafi school says that three rakats are necessary, with a sitting at the end of the second rakat, and then rising to complete a third rakat with the Fatiha and an extra sura, then an extra takbir and a dua of Qunut before going into Ruku, till the end of the prayer.

Witr is Three Rakats

`Abdullah ibn `Abbas, describing the night prayer (tahajjud) of the Holy Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), said at the end of a longer narration, “Then he did that three times, [for] six rakats [in total], in all of that using the tooth stick and performing wudu and reciting these verses. Then he performed Witr with three.” [Muslim]

`Abdullah ibn Mas’ud said,” The Witr is three like the witr of the daytime, the prayer of Maghrib.” [Tahawi, Sharh Ma`ani al-Athar]

The above narration also shows that since Witr is like Maghrib in that it is three rakats, there will also be a sitting at the second rakat, then salams only at the end of the third rakat.

The Fatiha and a Sura are to be Recited in All Three Rakats of Witr

Ubayy ibn Ka’b said, “The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) used to perform Witr with ‘Glorify the Name of your Lord, the Most High…’, ‘Say: O unbelievers!…,’ and ‘Say: He is Allah, One!’” [Abu Dawud, Ahmad, and others]

The Dua of Qunut in Witr Before the Ruku’ of the Third Rakat

Asim said, “I asked Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) about the Qunut. He replied, ‘There was a Qunut.’ I asked, ‘Before Ruku’ or after it?’ He replied, ‘Before.’” [Bukhari and Muslim]

Raising the Hands for Takbir Before the Qunut

Aswad narrates that Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) used to recite “Qul Huwa Allahu Ahad” in the last rakat of the Witr, then raise his hands, then say the dua of Qunut before the Ruku.” [Bukhari]

For an extensive listing of hadith proofs on Witr, see the collection Athar al-Sunan of Shaykh Nimawi.

Finally, while this is the proof for the Hanafi opinion, we should remember that the other schools of thought also have valid interpretations of the hadiths which support their preferred methods of performing Witr.

See also:

What is the Proof for the Hanafi Method of Witr? – SeekersGuidance


Shaykh Abdullah Anik Misra

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

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