witr salah, do i just stand or do i read something?

Q: Assalamu alaikum,

Here in our Masjid we do not make Dua Qunoot out loud in witr prayer after taraweeh. What are you required to do or say after the Imaam says Allahu Akbar and everyone folds their hands and stands silently. Do you simply make your own dua in any language? Why is that time period so short? In Haram people raise their hands for dua, here it is folded, why? Jazakallahu khair!

Time: Saturday August 21, 2010 at 11:15 am

Q: Do I say amen loud in dua e qunoot? (text)

Q: Imaam I always read witr salah two rakats and one rakat. I have researched the matter and sense without prejudice shows me that both ways are correct. Also our Imam who is arab acknowledges that both methods are correct. I am still confused because he says both ways are correct but never fixers a dua when I know that the three rakat str8 method has a fixing of a dua. Do I just still  pray my own dua? What do I do? Also what is your opinion  as to the both ways. Any you give preference to? (email)

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Answers: وعليكم السلام ورحمة الله وبركاته

First off, i appreciate the above question. I apologize for the delay. Agreement as to validity to both methods remains imperative, or else such caring to do the right thing would have not taken place. Also, we are pleased to know and share that both methods remain established through sunnah and consensus.  Each group has their own set of proofs as to the validity of witr and its correctness.

In the 3rd Rakat, if the Imaam after raising his hands just merely stood there after tying it, (chances are great) he is not only Hanafee, but also reciting the following dua which you to as a follower would be called upon to recite: (this is what followers just do, they recite what the imaam recites when such a situation arises.)

اللهم انا نستعينك ونستغفرك ونومن بك ونتوكل عليك ونثني عليك الخير كله ونشكرك ولا نكفرك ونخنع لك ونترك من يكفرك
اللهم اياك نعبد ولك نصلي ونسجد واليك نسعى ونحفد نرجو رحمتك ونخاف عذابك الجد.ان عذابك بالكافرين ملحق

Following the Imaam requires you to learn and recite the above beneficial dua. (other versions of this dua do exist. Due to my lack of computer savvy, if someone can send us other versions, we would also appreciate it.)

If you do not know the above dua the Imaam is reciting, merely make an attempt to learn it. As for now, you can read a dua of your choice in the Arabic language. If you are a new Muslim, then you may recite a short praise of Allah in Arabic as you make yourself familiar with the Arabic language. Should this too be impossible, then you may make a prayer in your native language, (as you are learning the Arabic)

Our true position on the matter for our balanced audience:

Opinion1: under ideal condition wherein minds are diverse and nonjudgmental, shafees, malikies, hanbalies, hanfees that are the followers of Imaams Muhammad and Yusuf must read and be Imaam of each other, since all these great scholars are of the opinion that the niyah of the Witr salah is sunnah. *By contrast, those that accept Imaam Abu Hanifa on majority of their juristic rulings must read there witr salah with their group of like thinking, since their intention is that witr is wajib and NOT sunnah. Niyah of the imam and follower must be compatible.

*For shafees specifically, Imaams shafee and malik give greater leeway, they say that so long as the Imaam reads three rakats witr salah, they can follow the imam (even if he is hanafee.) Thus, the followers of the maliki and shafee madhab would have greater latitude in following a hanafee based Imaam. Should you be the follower of imaam Shafee or Malik, you would be at ease to know this.

Option2: Perform behind the Imaam and do as he does and repeat the given salah later if there is incompatibility regarding niyah (as outlined above.)

Option3: To avoid conflict, merely follow the imam. Read silently what he reads. If you are following an imam that is making a loud dua and you are hanafee, merely stand in the back with your hands to the sides and say amen in your mind or loud enough to that of a very very soft whisper. Likewise, if you are not a hanafee and following a hanfee Imaam, accept what he does and read as he does the above shared dua.

My personal ruling:

I go with the minority on this matter and prefer opinion 1. If i walk into a gathering and the witr is being performed, i would join them based on the ayah: ‘be with those that are praying,’ and ‘fitna is worst then killing.’ Later i would repeat this salah in privacy.

Allah certainly Knows Best.

*sunnah=sunnah Muakadah (the highly emphasized sunnah.)

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