Question # 207: If I have prayed Witr at the beginning of the night after Taraweeh, then I get up to pray qiyaam at the end of the night, how should I pray?

Bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: The following two options are available: 

  1. Pray Witr with the imam (after taraweeh), then if one can get up for tahajjud after that, he/she can prayer whatever Allah wills, two by two rak’ahs, without repeating Witr, because one cannot pray two Witrs in one night.
  2. Delay Witr until the end of the night (to be prayed after tahajjud). When the imam says the salaam at the end of Witr (after taraweeh), do not say the salaam with him, rather stand up and do an extra rak’ah, so that Witr will then be the last of the prayers at the end of the night. Alternatively, instead of adding an extra rak’ah, he/she may leave and not pray the Witr with the imam.

Hence, it is mustahabb (recommended and not obligatory) for the last prayer that a Muslim prays at night to be Witr, because the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Make the last of your prayer at night Witr.” However, at the same time, it is proven from ‘Aa’ishah (رضي الله عنها) that he (صلى الله عليه و سلم) prayed two rak’ahs after Witr whilst sitting down.  

Long Answer: There is nothing wrong with the person who prays Witr in the first part of the night or the middle of the night offering any naafil prayers he wants after Witr, even though it is mustahabb for the last of his prayer at night to be Witr. In this case he should not repeat Witr, rather the Witr that he prayed at the beginning of the night is sufficient.

It was narrated that ‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Umar (رضي الله عنه) said: The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Make the last of your prayer at night Witr.” (Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim)

It was narrated that Jabir (رضي الله عنه) said: The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Whoever fears that he will not get up at the end of the night, let him pray Witr at the beginning. Whoever is sure that he will get up at the end of the night, let him pray Witr at the end, for prayer at the end of the night is witnessed, and that is better” (Narrated by Muslim)

[In another hadith,] it was narrated by Abu Dawood, at-Tirmidhi, an-Nasa’i and Ahmad from Qays ibn Talq who said: Talq ibn ‘Ali visited us one day in Ramadan, and he stayed with us until the evening and broke his fast, then he led us in praying the night prayers and led us in praying Witr. Then he went to his own mosque, and led his companions in prayer, then when only Witr was left, he asked a man to go forward and lead the prayer, and said: Lead your companions in praying Witr, for I heard the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) say: “There should not be two Witrs in one night.” (This hadith was classed as hasan by Ibn al-Mulaqqin in al-Badr al-Muneer and by al-Haafiz in al-Fath. It was classed as hasan by the commentators on al-Musnad, and as sahih by al-Albani in Saheeh Sunan Abi Dawood)

Ibn Hazm said in al-Muhalla: “Witr at the end of the night is better, but whoever prays Witr at the beginning of the night, that is fine. It is permissible to pray after Witr but one should not repeat Witr.”

Al-Nawawi said in al-Majmoo: “If a person prays Witr then he wants to offer a naafil prayer at night, that is permissible and is not makrooh, but he should not repeat Witr. The evidence for that is the hadith of ‘Aa’ishah (رضي الله عنها) who was asked about the Witr of the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم). She said: “We used to prepare his siwaak (tooth stick) and water for wudu’ for him, then Allah would cause him to wake up at any time He willed at night. He would use the tooth stick, do wudu’ and pray nine rak’ahs, in which he would not sit except in the eighth, when he would remember Allah, glorify Him and make du’aa’.  Then he would get up without saying salaam, and pray the ninth rak’ah. Then he would sit down and again remember Allah, glorify Him and make du’aa’. Then he would say a salaam that we could hear, then he would pray two rak’ahs after that, whilst sitting down.” (Narrated by Muslim; this is part of a lengthy hadith, which is to be understood as meaning that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) prayed two rak’ahs after Witr to show that it is permissible to pray after Witr)

Shaykh Ibn Baaz  said: “If you have prayed Witr at the beginning of the night then Allah enables you to get up at the end of the night, then pray whatever you can two by two – without Witr, because the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “There cannot be no two Witrs in one night.” And it was narrated from ‘Aa’ishah (رضي الله عنها) that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) used to pray two rak’ahs after Witr sitting down. The reason for that – and Allah knows best – was to show the people that it is permissible to pray after Witr.” (Majmoo’ Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn Baaz)

[Alternatively,] Shaykh Ibn Jibreen (may Allah preserve him) was asked a similar question and he replied: “…Some scholars regarded it as preferable to pray Witr with the imam and do an additional rak’ah, by standing up after the imam says the salaam and then doing another rak’ah and saying the salaam, and then praying Witr at the end of tahajjud…” (Fatawa Ramadan) [Alternatively, instead of adding an extra rak’ah, he/she may leave and not pray the Witr with the imam.]

(The above reply is based on various answers by Islamqa.info)

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.

Wassalaam