The Witr Prayer

The Sahih Collection of al-Bukhari

by Imam Bukhari
Translated by: Ustadha Aisha Bewley

Chapter 20. The Witr Prayer

I: What has come about the Witr

946. It is related from Ibn 'Umar that a man asked the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, about the night prayer and the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Night prayers are two by two, and when you are afraid that the dawn is approaching, then pray one rak'at as witr to make what you have prayed odd." (Muwatta, Book 7, 13)

It is related that Ibn 'Umar used to say a taslim between the two rak'ats and the single rak'at of the Witr so that he could do anything he needed to do.

947. It is related that Ibn 'Abbas stated that he spent the night in the house of Maymuna, his aunt. He said, "I lay down crossways on the bed, and the Messenger of Allah and his wife lay down lengthways on it. He slept until halfway through the night or close to it when he awoke and wiped away the sleep from his face. Then, after reciting ten verses from Ali 'Imran, the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, got up and went over to a water-skin which was hanging up and did wudu', doing it thoroughly. Then he stood up to pray and I did the same, going to stand at his side. He put his right hand on my head and tweaked my ear. Then he prayed two rak'ats, then two rak'ats, then two rak'ats, then two rak'ats, then two rak'ats, then two rak'ats, and then the witr. Then he lay down until the mu'adhdhin came to him. He got up and prayed two rak'ats and then went out and prayed Subh."

948. It is related that 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar said that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The night prayers are two by two. When you want to finish, then pray one rak'at as witr."

Al-Qasim said, "Since we reached puberty, we have seen some people doing the witr with three consecutive rak'ats. Everything is possible. I hope that there is no harm in it."

949. It is related from 'A'isha, "The Messenger of Allah used to pray eleven rak'ats. Such was his prayer - meaning during the night. And he would stay in sajda in them for as long as it takes someone to recite fifty ayats, before lifting his head. He used to do two rak'ats before the Fajr prayer and then lie down on his right side until the mu'adhdhin came for the prayer."

II: The time of the witr

Abu Hurayra said, "The Prophet told me to pray the witr before going to sleep."

950. It is related that Anas ibn Sirin said, "I asked Ibn 'Umar, 'What do you think about the two rak'ats before the morning prayer? Should the recitation in them be long?' He said, 'The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to pray the night prayers two by two and then do the witr with one rak'at. He would pray two rak'ats before the morning prayer with the adhan still echoing in his ears.'"

Hammad said that this means "quickly".

951. It is related that 'A'isha said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to do the witr every night and the latest he did it was in the time just before dawn."

III: The Prophet waking up his family for the witr

952. It is related that 'A'isha said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, would pray with me lying across his bed asleep. When the time came for him to do the witr, he would wake me up and I would do the witr as well."

IV: Making the last prayer the witr

953. It is related from 'Abdullah that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Make the last of your prayers at night the witr."

V: Doing the witr on an animal

954. It is related that Sa'id ibn Yasar said, "I was travelling on the way to Makka with 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar." Sa'id continued, "When I feared that morning was coming, I dismounted, did the witr and then caught up with him. 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar said, 'Where were you?' I said, 'I feared that morning was coming and so I did the witr.' 'Abdullah said, 'Do you not have a good enough example in the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace?' I said, 'Yes, by Allah!' He said, 'The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to do the witr on his camel.'" (Muwatta

VI: The witr while travelling

955. It is related that Ibn 'Umar said, "While travelling, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to pray the night prayers, but not the obligatory prayers, by gesture on his camel whichever way it was facing. He also used to do the witr on his camel."

VII: The Qunut before and after ruku'

956. It is related that Muhammad (ibn Sirin) said, "Anas was asked, 'Did the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, do the qunut in Subh?' He said, 'Yes.' He was asked, 'Did he do the qunut before ruku'?' He said, 'For a time he did qunut after ruku'.'"

957. It is related that 'Asim said, "I asked Anas ibn Malik about the qunut and he said, 'The qunut definitely used to be done.' I said, 'Before or after ruku'?' He said, 'Before it.'" He said, "Someone told me that you said it was done after ruku'. He said, 'He lied. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, only did the qunut after ruku' for a month. I think that he sent out a group of people called " the reciters" numbering about seventy men to a group of idolaters numbering less than them who had a treaty with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, did the qunut for a month to make supplication against them.'"

958. It is related that Anas said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, did the qunut for a month making supplication against the tribes of  Ri'l and Dhakwan."

959. It is related that Anas said, "The qunut was done in the prayers of Maghrib and Fajr."