Allah has ordered us to perform 5 obligatory prayers per day. And this is an obligation for all men and women of the Muslim community.
However, whoever wants to get closer to his Lord the Most High and follow the example of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon Him) is much better for him.
The witr prayer falls within this superrerogatory and recommendable legal framework that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) performed at all times. It is therefore appropriate, before defining what it really is, to return to the benefits of following the prophetic Sunnah.
The witr prayer or odd prayer encompasses this. She is a sunnah.
Some reminders about following the prophetic tradition
Islamic sources on the subject on the insistence of following the prophet are numerous. Among these we can cite the following Quranic verses:
“Take what the Messenger gives you; and what he forbids you, abstain from; and fear Allah, for Allah is severe in punishment.”
(Surah 59 verse 7)
“If you truly loved God, follow me and God will love you and forgive your sins”
(Surah 3 verse 31)
“He who obeys the Messenger has in fact obeyed Allah”
(Surah 4 verse 80)
or the following hadith
Whoever of you lives will see great differences. So stick to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly guided Caliphs after me. Hold on to it and bite down on it with your molars
(Reported by At-tirmidhi).
These evidences are important in considering the status of the witr prayer because the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم)) stated it as a very important prayer in these eyes.
A superrerogatory prayer (mou’akkada) with a special status
Despite its recommendable but not obligatory status, the performance of the witr prayer is of capital importance. Do not hesitate to obtain a personalized prayer mat to accomplish the witr.
The texts name it insistently and demonstrate that it should not be neglected.
Just as the one who performs the Doha prayer is highly rewarded according to the following text:
“Whoever performs the Subh prayer in a mosque in a group, remaining there until he performs the supererogatory prayer of Dhohâ, will have a reward similar to that of a complete pilgrimage or a complete umrah” (reported by At-Tabarâni) »
In essence, the witr prayer has a particular importance for Muslims.
Abu Ayoub Al Ansari reports that the Prophet ﷺ said:
“The witr prayer is a duty for every Muslim. Whoever wants to perform 5 units of prayer, let him do them, as well as whoever wants to perform 3 or 1.” (Reported by Muslim)
‘Ali ibn abi talib reports that the Prophet ﷺ said: “Perform the prayer of witr, O people of the Qur’an, for Allah is Witr (one) and he loves witr (unparity). » (reported by Abou dawoud)
Abdullah ibn Amr ibn ‘Ass reports that the Prophet ﷺ said: “Allah has added a prayer to you, be diligent in its practice; (this prayer) is the witr. » (authenticated by Sheikh al Albani).
The texts reported by the prophet or the athars of the companions therefore recommend putting it into practice at all times, not neglecting or abandoning it.
Moreover, the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم)) accomplished it in all places whether resident or traveling.
On the status of superrerogatory prayer in general, Aisha (Radyia Allah ‘anha) said:
““The prayer that the Prophet ﷺ preferred most was that which was regular, even if it was small in quantity. And when he performed a prayer, he did it with regularity. »
(Sahih Al Bukhari volume 6 page 118).
This applies to the witr prayer. The Muslim is not blamed for this, if he abandons it for reasons of deep sleep, impediment or other.
The witr prayer: when?
The witr prayer is performed at a specific time. She comes to close the prayers of the day. Generally, it is customary to do it after the canonical prayer of ‘Isha. For people who are used to getting up in the last third of the night or before the Sobh prayer, it is also performed at this precise moment.
As proof, the Prophet Mohamed (صلى الله عليه و سلم)) implicitly listed the time of performing the witr prayer through this hadith:
“Let him who fears not being able to wake up before dawn make the odd unit at the beginning of the night. And whoever wants to wake up, may do so at the end of the night.
Certainly, the prayer made at the end of the night has witnesses (among the Angels), and it will be better. »
The different ways to put it into practice
The witr prayer closes the obligatory prayers of the day. However, there are several ways to implement it.
The witr prayer can be performed in a single raka’a (unit of prayer). However, it can also be done in 3,5,7 or 9 raka’at. Several hadiths support his words such as:
The hadith of Aïcha (رضي الله عنها) which says:
“The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) did not perform more than 11 rak’ats whether during or outside of Ramadhan. He prayed 4 rak’at. Don’t ask about their perfection or their length.
Then he prayed 4 more rak’ats. Don’t ask about their perfection or their length. Then he prayed 3 rak’at. »
(Reported by Al Bukhari and Mouslim)
So in this hadith we deduce that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) performed witr in 3 rak’at.
And regarding the witr in 3 rak’at, there are 2 different ways reported in the sunnah of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم):
– either to do the 3 rak’at in a row, to sit and do taslim
– or to do 2 rak’at of sitting and doing taslim, then getting up and doing one rak’a.
The proof that it is also permissible to perform witr in 5 rak’at is the hadith of Aïcha (رضي الله عنها) which says:
“The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) prayed on the night 13th rak’at. He performed witr by doing 5 rak’ats and only sat down during these 5 rak’ats until the last one. »
(reported by Mouslim, Abou Dawoud and at-Tirmidhi)…
Sunnan relating to the witr prayer
According to Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas (رضي الله عنه), the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) read in the witr (in 3 rak’at) “sabbihi ssmi rabbikal a’la” (surah al A’lâ), and “q oul ya ayyouhal kafiroun” and “qoul houwallahou ahad”, each in a rak’at.
There are other hadiths which say that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) added in the last rak’at “qoul a’oudhou birabbil falaq” and “qoul a’oudhou birabbin nâss” in addition to surah Al Ikhlass . It is also reported that he recited during the witr the first 100 verses of Surah An-Nissa.
And whoever wishes to follow in the footsteps of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon Him) recites his two surahs in his two units of prayer and closes everything with a final unit of prayer.