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The Witr Prayer

Answered as per Shafi'i Fiqh by Qibla.com

Answered by Shaykh Hamza Karamali, SunniPath Academy Teacher

  In the Shafi’i school, if I perform the witr prayer as 3 rakats, should I read only the fatiha in the last rakat, or also another sura? Also, should I make 2 testifications (one after the 2nd rakat, and one after the third) or only 1 (after the third)?

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate

The optimal way to pray a 3-rakat witr is: 

(1) To pray two rakats of the witr prayer and give salams, and then to stand up and pray one rakat of the witr prayer and give salams.

(2) To recite Surat al-A’la in the first rakat, Surat al-Kafirun in the second rakat, and Surat al-Ikhlas, Surat al-Falaq and Surat al-Nas in the last rakat (so one recites a sura after the fatiha in all three rakats). 

Many Shafi’is said that it is disliked to pray the 3-rakat witr with only one salam (because of a sahih hadith that says not to make the witr prayer resemble the maghrib prayer), but if one does, then it is superior to confine oneself to a single testification in the final rakat. 

(Tuhfat al-Muhtaj, 2.227)  

And Allah knows best. 

Hamza Karamali

This answer was indexed from Qibla.com, which used to have a repository of Islamic Q&A answered by various scholars. The website is no longer in existence. It has now been transformed into a learning portal with paid Islamic course offering under the brand of Kiflayn.

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