Salaat-ul-Witr.
 Bismihi Ta`ala

*SALAAT-UL-WITR.* 
Salaat-ul-witr is wajib upon man and women daily irrespective of Ramadhaan or not Ramadhaan. It is reported in Abu Dawood and Tirmizi that the beloved prophet SAW said:

خَرَجَ عَلَيْنَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَقَالَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ أَمَدَّكُمْ بِصَلَاةٍ هِيَ خَيْرٌ لَكُمْ مِنْ حُمْرِ النَّعَمِ الْوِتْرُ جَعَلَهُ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ فِيمَا بَيْنَ صَلَاةِ الْعِشَاءِ إِلَى أَنْ يَطْلُعَ الْفَجْرُ
ابو داود
‘‘Allah Ta`ala has increased daily salaah by one salaah, and that salaah is better than red camels. The salaah is called witr. Allah Ta`ala has prescribed it to be performed between Esha and Subha Sadiq.’’(Tirmizi)

In a hadith of Mustadrak, the beloved prophet SAW said:
قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : « الوتر حق ، فمن لم يوتر فليس منا »
المستدرك للحاكم
‘‘Witr is an obligation. The one who don`t pray witr is not among us’’(Mustadrak Hakim)
 
Witr is hence wajib and better to read it before sleeping. It is reported in Bukhari that the beloved prophet SAW advised Abu Hureirah r.a. to read witr before he sleep. In fact the riwayahs of 20 rakaats of taraweeh also contain 3 witr after taraweeh.

So during Ramadhaan we would read witr immediately after taraweeh. (Only in Ramadhaan we would read in jamaat). Outside Ramadhaan it is better to read witr before sleeping, after sunnah of Esha(individually and not in jamaat).
To read witr before sleeping was the practice of Hazrat Abu Bakr r.a. Even though that you would wake up and pray tahajjud.

It is reported in Tirmizi that Hazrat Abdullah bin Umar r.a. said that maghrib salaah is called the witr of the day. Hence the witr of the night is also 3 rakaats: 

عَنْ عَطِيَّةَ وَنَافِعٍ عَنْ ابْنِ عُمَرَ قَالَ
صَلَّيْتُ مَعَ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فِي الْحَضَرِ وَالسَّفَرِ فَصَلَّيْتُ مَعَهُ فِي الْحَضَرِ الظُّهْرَ أَرْبَعًا وَبَعْدَهَا رَكْعَتَيْنِ وَصَلَّيْتُ مَعَهُ فِي السَّفَرِ الظُّهْرَ رَكْعَتَيْنِ وَبَعْدَهَا رَكْعَتَيْنِ وَالْعَصْرَ رَكْعَتَيْنِ وَلَمْ يُصَلِّ بَعْدَهَا شَيْئًا وَالْمَغْرِبَ فِي الْحَضَرِ وَالسَّفَرِ سَوَاءً ثَلَاثَ رَكَعَاتٍ لَا تَنْقُصُ فِي الْحَضَرِ وَلَا فِي السَّفَرِ
*هي وتر النهار* 
ترمذي

From the following hadith of Ibn Majah and the above mentioned ahadiths, we conclude that if we happen to miss witr, one should replace it. That is why we should do Qaza umri of witr also:
                                     - حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو مُصْعَبٍ أَحْمَدُ بْنُ أَبِي بَكْرٍ الْمَدِينِيُّ وَسُوَيْدُ بْنُ سَعِيدٍ قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنُ زَيْدِ بْنِ أَسْلَمَ عَنْ أَبِيهِ عَنْ عَطَاءِ بْنِ يَسَارٍ عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ قَالَ
قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مَنْ نَامَ عَنْ الْوِتْرِ أَوْ نَسِيَهُ فَلْيُصَلِّ إِذَا أَصْبَحَ أَوْ ذَكَرَهُ
ابن ماجة

It is reported by Nassai that the beloved prophet SAW used to read 3 rakaats of witr. In fact many a time, he used to read these surahs :  1st rakaat of witr: Sabihisma(Sourah A'la), 2nd Rakaat: Qul ya ayyalhul Kaafirun and 3rd : Qul houwalhou Ahad.

( سنن النسائي )
أخبرنا محمد بن عبد الأعلى قال حدثنا خالد قال حدثنا شعبة قال أخبرني سلمة وزبيد عن ذر عن ابن عبد الرحمن بن أبزى عن عبد الرحمن أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم كان يقرأ في الوتر بسبح اسم ربك الأعلى وقل يا أيها الكافرون وقل هو الله أحد ثم يقول إذا سلم سبحان الملك القدوس ويرفع بسبحان الملك القدوس صوته بالثالثة

This sahih hadith of Nassai mentions that the beloved prophet SAW used to read witr with one  salaam, 1st Rakaat Sabihis ma, 2nd Rakaats Kaafiroun and finally surah ikhlaas. Then after HIS SALAAM, he would read: Subhanal Malikil Quddous 3 times, raising his voice on the 3rd time.(Sahih Nassai)

Reported in Ibn Abi Shaibah that Abdullah Bin Mas`ood used to do one salaam in witr, like maghrib: 

حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو مُعَاوِيَةَ ، عَن الأَعْمَش ، عَنْ مَالِكِ بْنِ الْحَارِثِ ، عَنْ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنِ يَزِيدَ ، قَالَ : قَالَ عَبْدُ اللهِ : الْوِتْرُ ثَلاَثٌ رَكَعَاتٍ كَصَلاَةِ الْمَغْرِبِ.
ابن ابي شيبة
Abdur Razzaaq reports that Ubay bin Ka`b used to do witr 3 rakaats with one salaam:

عبد الرزاق عن معمر عن قتادة عن الحسن قال كان أبي بن كعب يوتر بثلاث لا يسلم إلا في الثالثة مثل المغرب
عبد الرزاق 

All these riwayats support the thesis that witr salaah is 3 rakaats with one salaam. Hanafis adopted this established practice from sunnah outsourced from these sahabahs.
We are aware that other sahabahs like Ibn Umar r.a. hold the view that one can do 1 rakaat witr also. Adopted by other Imaams. As a hanafi, one should stick to 3 rakaats. But one may follow the imaam in haram or a shafi'ee during their ways of witr. 

Tomorrow insha Allah we will send on Hanafi style witr and its best time.  
After witr, it sunnah to say 3 times  ‘‘Soubhanal Malikil Qudous’’.(Abu Dawood, Ibn Hibbaan)
سُبْحَانَ الْمَلِكِ الْقُدُّوسِ
(3 times)

Mufti Mackoojee
 
 
     
 
 
 
 
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Women Section
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