2 - The Sunnah here is to offer eleven raka ’hs :
This is the complete form in which to offer the night prayer as ‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated, “Allah’s Messenger r would not pray more than eleven rak’ahs in Ramadan or in any other month. ”
However, the Prophet r is reported to have offered thirteen rak’ahs. ‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) reported, “The Messenger of Allah r used to observe thirteen rak’ahs of the night prayer. Five out of them consisted of witr, and he did not sit, but at the end for the salutation.” Moreover, in Ibn ‘Abbas’s narration (may Allah be pleased with him) we find, “The Prophet r offered thirteen rak’ahs in that night and then he r slept. ”
This is a kind of diversity in offering the witr prayer. In general, the Prophet r would offer eleven rak’ahs and rarely offer thirteen. Thus, we can reconcile the different ahadith all together.
3- It is Sunnah to start the night prayer with two short rak ’ahs .
‘Aishah –(may Allah be pleased with her) narrated, “Allah’s Messenger r would start his night prayer with two short rak’ahs. ”
4 - It is Sunnah to start the night prayer with the supplications of the Prophet r , among which is :
‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated that when the Prophet r would start his night prayer he would say, “O Allah! Lord of Jibreel, Mika’eel, and Israfeel, Creator of the heavens and the earth, Knower of the seen and unseen, You will judge between Your servants in what they used to differ. Guide me by Your grace to the truth in what they differ about. Indeed, You guide whomever You please to a path that is straight.”
What was reported in the two sahih ahadith through Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) is that when the Prophet r would pray tahajjud he would say,
“O Allah! Our Lord, Yours is the praise. You are the light of the heavens and Earth and all that they contain. Yours is the praise. You sustain the heavens and Earth and all that they contain. You are the King of the heavens and Earth and all they contain. Yours is the praise. You are the truth. Your promise is true. The meeting with You is true. Your word is true. Paradise is true. Hell is true. The Prophets are true. Muhammad is true. The Final Hour is true. O Allah, to You I have submitted and in You I have believed, and upon You I rely. I repent my sins to You. For your sake I dispute and by Your standards I judge, so forgive me for what I have sent before me and what I have left behind, for what I have committed secretly and what I have committed openly and what only You know that I have done. You are the one who sends forth and You are the one who delays. There is no God but You. There is no might or power except with You.”
-5 It is also Sunnah to prolong standing, bowing down, and prostrating, so that all of the pillars of prayer would be perfected .
He should follow the Sunnan in his recitation, e.g. –
a- He should follow a moderate way of recitation, not too fast, nor too slow.
b- He should rest between verses, namely, he should pause according to the breaking of the surah. He should not recite two or three verses together without stopping at the end of each verse.
If he passes by a verse of praise he should praise, if he passed by a verse of supplication Allah, he should supplicate, and if he passes by a verse seeking Allah’s refuge, he should do so.
6-What indicates this are the following ahadith :
The hadith of Hudhaifa t which states, “I prayed with the Messenger of Allah r one night and he started reciting al-Baqarah. I thought that he would bow at the end of one hundred verses, but he proceeded on; I then thought that he would perhaps recite the whole (surah) in a rak’ah, but he proceeded and I thought he would perhaps bow on completing (this surah). He then started al-Nisa’, and completed it; he then started Al-’Imran and recited leisurely. And when he recited the verses which referred to the Glory of Allah, he glorified by saying (Subhan Allah-Glory to my Lord the Great, and when he recited the verses explains (how the Lord) is to be begged, he (the Holy Prophet) would then beg (from Him), and when he recited the verses dealing with protection from the Lord, he sought (His) protection and would then bow and say: « سُبْحَانَ رَبِّيَ الْعَظِيمِ» ‘Glory be to my Mighty Lord.’ His bowing lasted about the same length of time as his standing (and then on returning to the standing posture after ruku’) he would say: «سَمعَ الله لِمَنْ حَمِدَهُ» ‘Allah listened to him who praised Him,’ and he would then stand about the same length of time as he had spent in bowing. He would then prostrate and say:
« سُبْحَانَ رَبِّيَ الأَعْلَى» ‘Glory be to my Lord most High,’ and his prostration lasted nearly the same length of time as his standing. In the hadith transmitted by Jarir the words are: “He (the Holy Prophet) would say: ‘Allah listened to him who praised Him, our Lord, to You is the praise.’”
Moreover, Ahmad reported in his Musnad hadith (may Allah have mercy upon him) from the hadith of Umm Salamah (may Allah be pleased with her) when she was asked about the Prophet’s r recitation, she said, “His recitation is clearly-distinguished letter by letter,”
ﮋ ﭑ ﭒ ﭓ ﭔ ﭕ پ ﭗ ﭘ ﭙ ﭚ ﭛ ﭜ ﭝ ﭞ ﭟ ﭠ ﭡ ژ
‘In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful. All the praises and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of the ‘Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists). The Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful. The Only Owner (and the Only Ruling Judge) of the Day of Recompense (i.e. the Day of Resurrection).‘ (1:1-4)
7-He should make tasleem (salutation) after every two rak ’ahs .
Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that a man asked Allah’s Messenger r about the night prayer. Allah’s Messenger r replied,
“The night prayer is offered as two rak’ahs followed by two rak’ahs and so on and if anyone is afraid that dawn is approaching (Fajr prayer), he should pray one raka’ah and this will suffice as witr for all the rak’ahs which he has prayed before.”
This means that he did not pray four rak’ahs, but only two and after finishing them he would make tasleem and so forth.
More to the point, this is proven by the hadith of ‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) that we already referred to, “Allah’s Messenger r used to offer eleven rak’ahs between ‘Isha and Fajr prayers. He used to make tasleem and then would end with a single raka’ah. ”
8-It is also Sunnah to read certain chapters in witr .
Hence, a person reads the chapter of ﮋ ﮟ ﮠ ﮡ ﮢ ژ
Al-A’la (i.e. no.87) in the first raka’ah, ﮋ ﭑ ﭒ ﭓژ al-Kafiroun (i.e. no. 108) in the second, and ﮋ ﭑ ﭒ ﭓ ﭔژ al-Ikhlas (i.e. no. 112) in the third. What proves this is the following hadith narrated by Ubay Ibn Ka’b t, “The Prophet r would pray witr and he would read chapters no. 87, 108 and 112.”
This means that this supplication should be made in the last raka’ah in which he/she recites chapter no. 112. Qunut is Sunnah, therefore, it would be better to do it occasionally. Sometimes the Imam should not perform it and this is the opinion of Ibn Taymiyyah, i.e. that it should left more often than it is recited.
Justification: In fact, numerous ahadith reported by ‘Aishah, Umm Salamah, Ibn ‘Abbas, Hudhaifah and Ibn Mas’ud (may Allah be pleased with them all) described the Prophet’s r way of performing the witr prayer. None of which showed that the Prophet r made Qunut in the witr prayer. ‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) stayed with the Prophet r for a long time and she did not report that he made Qunut in witr.
Yet, it was proved that some Companions made Qunut. ‘Ata was asked about it and he said, “The Companions of the Prophet r used to do it.” Imam Ahmad, Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi reported through a fair hadith that ‘Umar Ibn al-Khattab t performed it. Ibn Abi Shaibah reported that ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) also performed it.
What is clear – and Allah knows best – is that the issue of Qunut is dependent on ease. Thus, it is possible to perform it before bowing down and before prostration in the last raka’ah. Al-Bukhari (may Allah have mercy upon him) dedicated a complete chapter to this topic and called it, “The Chapter of Qunut and What Comes After it.” However, most ahadith talk about Qunut before prostration as a group of scholars (may Allah have mercy upon them) stated. Hence, it should be given preference over the one performed before bowing down. Imam Ahmad (may Allah have mercy upon him) said, “Qunut before prostration is beloved to me.” Thus, diversity in making Qunut is possible; therefore it can be performed before bowing down or before the prostration.
.. Al-Bukhari no. 1147, Muslim no. 738
.. Muslim no. 737
.. Al-Bukhari no. 698, Muslim no. 763
.. Muslim, no. 767
.. Muslim no. 770
.... Al-Bukhari no. 7499, Muslim no. 769.
.. Muslim no. 772.
.. 2 Ahmad 6/302 no. 26583
.. Al-Bukhari no. 990, Muslim no 749
. Muslim no. 736
. An-Nasa’i no. 1733 and Ibn Majah 1171
. Refer to: The Issues of Imam Ahmad, 1/100.
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