How to Pray Witr

The Witr prayer is an odd-numbered prayer of 3 rakats after Isha. The time for witr prayer starts after Isha and ends at the break of dawn. It is a perfect way to strengthen the bond with Allah SWT and to gain his pleasure and mercy. Witr is sometimes also referred to as salat ul witr and is one of the Sunnah of Muhammad SAW. Its significance came to a point where the Prophet SAW instructed the people to make witr prayer the last prayer at night.

Witr According to the Four Fiqh


According to fiqh-e-Hanafi, witr is a wajib salah, and whoever leaves it without a valid Islamic excuse is grave. Also, if someone misses the witr prayer, they should make up for it. This fiqha also states that witr is a 3-rakat prayer. The correct way of praying witr in fiqh-e-Hanafi is below:

  • Pray two rakats as usual.
  • After Tashahhud (Attahiyyaat) in the second rakat, stand up for the third rakat.
  • Read Surah Fatiha and any other surah.
  • After reciting both surahs, one should raise one’s hands and say takbeer (Allahu Akbar), then fold them again.
  • Read Dua e Qunoot.
  • After this, make rukooh and complete the salat as normal.


Fiqh-e-Shafi considers the witr prayer as a sunnah e maukkada (confirmed Sunnah), and whoever leaves it is not sinful; neither does he have to make up for it, but he will miss out on a great reward. The Shafi also states that the witr prayer can be of one, three, five, or seven rakats. The correct way of praying witr in fiqh e shafi is below:

  • Pray two rakats as usual, but don’t sit in the second rakat.
  • Pray the third rakat as usual.
  • Recite Dua e Qunoot after the ruku.
  • Pray the rest of the salat as you normally would.

This way of praying is also acceptable in Fiqh e Hanbali.


The Malikis also consider witr prayer as a confirmed sunnah and state that the witr prayer can be made up of one, three, five, or seven rakats. The correct way of praying witr in fiqh-e-maliki is as follows:

  • Pray two rakats like normal, but say salaam in the second rakat.
  • Take a slight pause and then stand up for the third rakat.
  • Pray the third rakat as usual.

The Exception

Praying witr as one rakat is considered undesirable in both Hanafi and Maliki (also endorsed by some scholars of Hanbali). However, they insist that it should be prayed in such a manner if the imam follows this method.

Dua e Qunoot

Dua e Qunoot is a powerful dua recited to gain Allah’s pleasure, mercy, and closeness. There are various versions of the Dua for witr, each unique in its significance.

Dua Witr for Hanafi Fiqh

اَللَّهُمَّ إنا نَسْتَعِينُكَ وَنَسْتَغْفِرُكَ وَنُؤْمِنُ بِكَ وَنَتَوَكَّلُ عَلَيْكَ وَنُثْنِئْ عَلَيْكَ الخَيْرَ وَنَشْكُرُكَ وَلَا نَكْفُرُكَ وَنَخْلَعُ وَنَتْرُكُ مَنْ ئَّفْجُرُكَ اَللَّهُمَّ إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَلَكَ نُصَلِّئ وَنَسْجُدُ وَإِلَيْكَ نَسْعأئ وَنَحْفِدُ وَنَرْجُو رَحْمَتَكَ وَنَخْشآئ عَذَابَكَ إِنَّ عَذَابَكَ بِالكُفَّارِ مُلْحَقٌ


“Allah humma inna nasta-eenoka wa nastaghfiruka wa nu’minu bika wa natawakkalu alaika wa nusni alaikal khair, wa nashkuruka wala nakfuruka wa nakhla-oo wa natruku mai yafjuruka, Allah humma iyyaka na’budu wa laka nusalli wa nasjud wa ilaika nas aaa wa nahfizu wa narju rahma taka wa nakhshaa azaabaka inna azaabaka bil kuffari mulhik.”


“O Allah! We implore You for help and beg forgiveness of You and believe in You and rely on You and extol You and we are thankful to You and are not ungrateful to You and we alienate and forsake those who disobey You. O Allah! You alone do we worship and for You do we pray and prostrate and we betake to please You and present ourselves for the service in Your cause and we hope for Your mercy and fear Your chastisement. Undoubtedly, Your torment is going to overtake infidels O Allah!”

Dua Witr for Shafi Fiqh

اللَّهُمَّ اهْدِنِي فِيمَنْ هَدَيْتَ وَعَافِنِي فِيمَنْ عَافَيْتَ وَتَوَلَّنِي فِيمَنْ تَوَلَّيْتَ وَبَارِكْ لِي فِيمَا أَعْطَيْتَ وَقِنِي شَرَّ مَا قَضَيْتَ إِنَّكَ تَقْضِي وَلاَ يُقْضَى عَلَيْكَ وَإِنَّهُ لاَ يَذِلُّ مَنْ وَالَيْتَ وَلاَ يَعِزُّ مَنْ عَادَيْتَ تَبَارَكْتَ رَبَّنَا وَتَعَالَيْتَ


“Allahumma ihdini feeman hadayt, wa a’fini fiman afait, wa tawallani fiman tawallait, wa barik Li fima atait, wa qini sharra ma qadait, fa Innaka taqdi wa la yuqda Alaik, wa innahu la yadhillu man walait, Wa lā ya’izzu man ‘ādait, tabarakta Rabbana wa ta’alait.”


“O Allah guide me among those You have guided, pardon me among those You have pardoned, befriend me among those You have befriended, bless me in what You have granted, and save me from the evil that You decreed. Indeed You decree, and none can pass decree, and none can pass decree upon You, indeed he is not humiliated whom You have befriended, blessed are You our Lord and Exalted.”

Omitting Witr Salah

In Fiqh Hanafi, if someone skips the witr salah, they are considered sinful. Since Hanafi states that witr salah is wajib, it should be made up for if skipped. However, skipping witr Salah does not invalidate the Isha prayer. This ruling is based on many authentic narrations, such as:

Narrated by Buraydah ibn al-Hasib, he heard the Prophet SAW said that observing the witr prayer is obligatory, and those who do not perform it are not part of our community. Observing the witr prayer is obligatory, and those who do not perform it are not part of our community. Observing the witr prayer is obligatory, and those who do not perform it are not part of our community.

[Sunan Abi Dawud, 1419]

In Fiqh Shafi, a person who skips the witr salah is not sinful since the Shafi states the witr as a sunnah Muakkada. But such a person is missing out on a great reward and is also missing out on making up for any shortcomings in any of their obligations. On the day of judgment, any shortcomings in one’s obligations may be compensated with one’s recommended actions. The Hanbali and Maliki fiqhs also state the same. This opinion is based on authentic narrations, one of which is below:

A man came to the Prophet SAW and asked about Islam, and the Prophet SAW said that You must perform prayers accurately five times each day and night (24 hours). The man asked again if there were any more prayers. So the Prophet SAW replied no, but you can do voluntary prayers if you want to.

[Sahih al-Bukhari 46]

How to Pray Tahajjud and Witr

It is Sunnah to delay the witr until tahajjud, as the Prophet SAW said thatwhoever hopes that he will wake up at the end of the night, then let him pray witr at the end of the night because the recitation of the Quran at night is attended by the angels and it is better.” But in the same hadith, the Prophet also said, “Whoever fears he will not wake up at the end of the night, he should pray at the beginning of the night and then go to sleep.”

[Sunan Ibn Majah, 1187]

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