Somebody mentioned that the Prophet (SAW) used to offer 2 sunnats and 1 witr. And if we offer 3 witr, we shouldn’t sit down after the 2nd Rak`ah to say Atta Heeyat.
Please tell me what is the correct process.
The word “witr“, in the Arabic language means “odd” (as in “odd number”, as opposed to “even number”).
The “witr” prayer that the Muslims generally offer after “`isha” prayers are basically a part of the “tahajjud” prayers, which were obligatory for the Prophet (pbuh) and are a “naf’l” (supererogatory) prayer for other Muslims besides the Prophet (pbuh). The Prophet (pbuh) offered his tahajjud prayers in such a way that the number of the rakaat totaled to an odd number. When some Muslims came to the Prophet (pbuh) informing him that it was very difficult for them to wake up in the middle of the night for their tahajjud prayers, and inquiring from the Prophet (pbuh) regarding what should they do to earn the rewards of offering tahajjud prayers, the Prophet (pbuh) allowed them to offer their “witr” prayers, after `isha.
It must be kept in mind that the Prophet (pbuh), never in his life, offered his “witr” prayers after `isha.
As far as the method of offering tahajjud prayers is concerned, the following few facts can be derived from the actions and/or words of the Prophet (pbuh) in this respect:
The Prophet (pbuh) never exceeded eleven rakaat in this prayer;
The following three methods may be adopted in offering these rakaats:
the rakaats may be offered two at a time, and finally one rakat may offered separately;
the rakats may be offered four at a time, and finally three rakaat may be offered separately, without sitting in tashahhud; and
all the rakaats may be offered in one go, without sitting for tashahhud, that is two, four, six, eight or ten rakats may be offered one after the other, without sitting for tashahhud. And finally one rakat may be offered separately.
It must also be kept in mind that the Taraweeh prayer, normally offered during the month of Ramadhan, after the `isha prayers is also the tahajjud prayer, which was offered by the Prophet (pbuh) only in the middle of the night, and never after the `isha prayers.
31st October 1998