An Ignored Sunnah- Two Rakah after Witr Sitting

عَنْ أَبِى سَلَمَةَ قَالَ سَأَلْتُ عَائِشَةَ عَنْ صَلاَةِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- فَقَالَتْ كَانَ يُصَلِّى ثَلاَثَ عَشْرَةَ رَكْعَةً يُصَلِّى ثَمَانَ رَكَعَاتٍ ثُمَّ يُوتِرُ ثُمَّ يُصَلِّى رَكْعَتَيْنِ وَهُوَ جَالِسٌ فَإِذَا أَرَادَ أَنْ يَرْكَعَ قَامَ فَرَكَعَ ثُمَّ يُصَلِّى رَكْعَتَيْنِ بَيْنَ النِّدَاءِ وَالإِقَامَةِ مِنْ صَلاَةِ الصُّبْحِ.

Abu Salamah said, “I asked Aisha (radi Allahu anha) about the Prophet’s (sallahu alayhi wa salim) prayer. She (radi Allahu anha) said : ” He used to pray thirteen rakah. He would pray eight, then witr. After this he would pray two rakah while sitting down. When he wanted to bow, he would stand up to perform the Ruku’. Along with this he would pray two rakah between the Athan and Iqamah for Fajr.

Collected by Muslim (126/738)

Benefits for this subject:

  • Ibn Hajr wrote a detailed book about this topic. ” Kashfus Sitar an Hukm As Salah ba’d Witr” printed by Dar ibn Hazim1997 2ndedition.
  • Shaykul Islam ibn Tayeemah was asked about these two rakah. He said, “It’s been narrated in Saheeh Muslim that the Prophet (sallahu alayhi wa salim) used to pray two rakah after Witr while sitting down.
  • Some people call this prayer ” Salahtuz Zahafah” Furthermore they view that whoever doesn’t regularly pray this prayer isn’t from Ahulu Sunnah. This is incorrect! There is a consensus among the scholars that these two rakah after Witr aren’t obligatory. [ Majmu 23/93-96]
  • Imam An-Nawawee said: ” The Prophet (sallahu Alayhi wa Salim) prayed these two Rakah after Witr to show their permissibility. He didn’t regularly offer them. He prayed them maybe once, twice or few times. [ Sharul Muslim]
  • Shaykh Muhammad ibn Salih Al-Uthaymeen said:” If a person prays the two Rakah sometimes and at other times, he doesn’t, there is no harm in that action.[ Explanation for Saheeh Muslim page Vol 3/89 printed by Maktabah Al-Islamiyah 2008]


** An Issue of concern**

We have this hadeeth above where the Prophet (sallahu alayhi wa salim) prayed two rakah after Witr while sitting and another hadeeth where He (sallahu alayhi wa salim) said,

اجْعَلُوا آخِرَ صَلاَتِكُمْ بِاللَّيْلِ وِتْرًا

“Make your last prayer of the night Witr” [ Muslim 1791]

Shaykh Muhammad Bazmoul said: “The command in this hadeeth serves as a recommendation and not an obligation. This hadeeth doesn’t imply that there isn’t a prayer after Witr Salah. In fact ,what this hadeeth means is Witr is the night prayer. The Muslim should maintain this prayer at night… Praying after Witr is permissible for whoever wants to do so. These two rakah which the Prophet (sallahu alayhi wa salim) did aren’t specific to him only and not the rest of his nation. The Prophet (sallahu alayhi wa salim) ordered us to pray two rakah after Witr as a Sunnah and merit, not as a command and an obligation.

He ( sallahu alayhi wa salim) said,

إِنَّ هَذَا السَّفَرَ جُهْدٌ وَثُقْلٌ ، فَإِذَا أَوْتَرَ أَحَدُكُمْ فَلْيَرْكَعْ رَكْعَتَيْنِ ،

فَإِنِ اسْتَيْقَظَ وَإِلاَّ كَانَتَا لَهُ.

This journey is strenuous and exhausting. If you pray Witr, offer two rakah afterwards if you wake up, otherwise they will be written for you.[ Ibn Hibban 2577][ Explanation of the Prophet’s Prayer Described page 244]

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Compiled and translated by :

Abu Aaliyah Abdullah ibn Dwight Lamont Battle sr

Doha, Qatar 1433©

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