How To Perform Witr Prayer ?

Question :

Respected scholars, as-salamu `alaykum.

What is the right way of performing Witr Prayer? I've seen people pray Witr in different ways.

Jazakum Allahu khayran.

Answer (Sheikh Ahmad Kutty) :

Wa `alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear brother in Islam, thank you for your question, which reflects your
care to have a clear view of the teachings of Islam. Allah commands
Muslims to refer to people of knowledge to get themselves
well-acquainted with the teachings of Islam as well as all aspects of

As far as Islamic Shari`ah is concerned, it is reported that Prophet
Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) used to observe Witr Prayer
even while traveling. Muslim scholars agreed on the importance of
observing Witr, and some of them are of the opinion that it is
obligatory and others are of the opinion that it is an important sunnah
that every Muslim is highly recommended to observe it.

In his response to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto,Ontario, Canada, states,

Witr is
an important prayer, second only to the five daily Prayers. Its
significance can be gauged from the fact that Prophet Muhammad (peace
and blessings be upon him) was consistent in performing it, whether he
was traveling or otherwise. There are certain reports attributed to
him, although considered as weak by some, which also state that it is
duty incumbent upon every Muslim. Imam Abu Hanifah considers Witr as
obligatory; while others consider it as an important sunnah that no
Muslim should neglect.

to the manner of performing Witr, all of them agree that it should be
performed after `Isha' Prayer and before Fajr Prayer. As for the
precise number of rak`ahs, there is latitude in it: One is free to pray three, five, seven, or any number of rak`ahs, as long as we end it in an odd number. Many consider it best to pray three rak`ahs, without any break; others say it is best to pray two rak`ahs, followed by a single rak`ah. According to some, it is perfectly fine to pray one rak`ah only. While praying three rak`as together, one group suggests that one should sit only in the last rak`ah,
while others insist that one should read it as in Maghrib Prayer; for
they say Witr is comparable to Maghrib, which is the Witr of the day.

The differences among scholars on this issue can be attributed to the
fact that there is no hard and fast rule established by the Prophet
(peace and blessings be upon him). He simply said, "Night
Prayer should be done in two's and two's, but if one fears the arrival
of Fajr, he should wrap it up by praying at least one rak`ah, thus ending it all in odd numbers."

issue: Whether it is preferred to pray it right after `Isha' or later,
again, we find flexibility: When the Prophet's beloved wife `A'ishah
was asked about this, she said,
"He did pray sometimes in the early
part of the night, sometimes in the middle, and yet other times in the
last (just before Fajr)."
In other words, once again, there is no
hard and fast rule. However, as she advised, if we are not sure of
waking up for Tahajjud, then we should do Witr before sleep, otherwise,
we are allowed to postpone it.

Source : Islamonline