What’s the difference between FARZ and WAJIB? Also, I heard some Hadith about Wit’r namaz. Is this obligatory? Are the related Hadith right?
In their literal connotation, the two Arabic words are synonymous. Both these words imply an obligation and are used for something, which is necessary to do or perform.
However, as terms specific to the Hanafite1 school of Muslim fiqh, the two words refer to two marginally different phenomena. The scholars of the Hanafite school use the word “Fard” to refer to a clear obligation of the Shari`ah. The term “Wajib”, in their usage, refers to something, which, on the one hand, is so highly recommended that not performing it would render a person accountable and even punishable, yet, on the other, does not fall in the category of “Fard”. Hence, it will be noticed that the distinction made in the two terms is conceptual in nature. From a practical standpoint, there is hardly any difference in the status of “Fard” and “Wajib”.
For the status of Wit’r prayers, please refer to one of my earlier responses to a question titled: “The Status of Sunnah and Wit’r Prayers…“. I am not aware of any Hadith, in which the Prophet (pbuh) has declared the Wit’r prayers to be obligatory.
I hope this helps.
May 6, 2002
- The followers of Abu Hanifah. [↩]