Assalamu‘alaikum SS Datuk Mufti. I often see people walk out of the mosque after the tarawih prayer without performing the witir prayer. When asked why they are not performing the witir prayer together with the imam, the answer would be that it is impermissible to perform other sunnah prayer after witir prayer (so, they will perform it later, for they have the intention to perform qiamullail). Is this true?
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the many countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
Before we answer this issue, we would first like to state the advantages of praying in congregation together with the imam until the end in the month of Ramadhan. In a hadith, it is stated that if someone prays together with the imam until the end, he is rewarded as if he has prayed the whole night. The hadith is from Abu Zar al-Ghifari RA, the Prophet PBUH said:
إنَّهُ مَنْ قَامَ مَعَ الإمَامِ حَتَّى يَنْصَرِفَ، كُتِبَ لَهُ قِيَامُ لَيْلَةٍ
“Whoever prays Qiyam with the Imam until he finishes, Allah (SWT) will record for him the Qiyam of a (whole) night.”
Sunan al-Tirmizi (734)
From the above hadith, it is understood that it is of great importance for someone to pray together with the imam to the end, which also includes the tarawih and witir prayer together with the imam to get the rewards stated in the above hadith.
Next, to answer the question asked, is it true that it is impermissible to perform other types of sunnah prayer after witir with the imam? In this issue, there are two opinions:
- First: It is permissible to perform other sunnah prayer even if he has performed the witir after the tarawih prayer with the imam without repeating the witir prayer.
This is the opinion of most Hanafiah, Malikiyyah, Hanabilah scholars as well as the recognized opinion of Syafi’eyyah scholars. This is also the opinion of al-Nakha’ie, al-Auza’ie, ‘Alqamah and it is also a narration of Abu Bakar, Sa’ad, ‘Ammar, Ibn ‘Abbas and ‘Aisyah R.Anhum.
This opinion is based on the following hadiths:
- Hadith from ‘Aisyah R.Anha:
ثُمَّ يُسَلِّمُ تَسْلِيمًا يُسْمِعُنَا ثُمَّ يُصَلِّي رَكْعَتَيْنِ بَعْدَ مَا يُسَلِّمُ وَهُوَ قَاعِدٌ...
“He would sit, make mention of Allah, supplicate Him and then utter the salutation so loudly that we could hear it.”
Sahih Muslim (746)
The above hadith is an excerpt from a long hadith and al-Imam al-Nawawi Rahimahullah stated the above hadith stated the possibility that the Prophet PBUH performed two rakaat sunnah prayer after the witir prayer and thus, explains the permissibility of sunnah prayer after witir. (See al-Majmu`. Dar al-Fikr, 4/16)
- Hadith from Ummu Salamah R.Anha:
أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ كَانَ يَرْكَعُ رَكْعَتَيْنِ بَعْدَ الْوِتْرِ، وَهُوَ جَالِسٌ
“The Prophet (ﷺ) used to pray two short Rak’ah after Witr, sitting down.”
Sunan al-Tirmizi (471) & Musnad al-Imam Ahmad (26553)
As for the prohibition of repeating witir in one night, it is stated in the hadith from Talq bin Ali, the Prophet PBUH said:
لاَ وِتْرَانِ فِي لَيْلَةٍ
“There are no two Witr in one night.”
Sunan Abu Daud (1439)
This is also the opinion of al-Imam Ibn Hazm Rahimahullah where he said; for those who has performed witir in the early night and sunnah prayer afterwards, it is permissible and it is unnecessary to be repeated. (See al-Muhalla. Dar al-Fikr, 2/91)
This is also stated by al-Imam al-Tirmizi Rahimahullah where he referred to the opinion of Sufyan al-Thauri, Ibn al-Mubarak which is the strongest opinion according to him. (See Sunan al-Tirmizi, 2/330)
- Second: It is impermissible to perform sunnah prayer after witir prayer unless the witir prayer is first invalidated, then he performs his sunnah prayer, then lastly perform his witir prayer again.
Invalidating the witir prayer in this context of discussion means starting the sunnah prayer with one rakaat of prayer, making the witir prayer before into even rakaat. Then, he performs other sunnah prayers and he ends his prayers with witir again.
This is the opinion of some Syafi’eyyah scholars as narrated by ‘Uthman, ‘Ali, Usamah, Ibn ‘Umar, Ibn Mas’ud and Ibn ‘Abbas R.Anhum.
The above discussion is an argument made from the hadith of the Prophet PBUH:
اجْعَلُوا آخِرَ صَلاَتِكُمْ بِاللَّيْلِ وِتْرًا
“Make the last of your prayer at night a witr.”
Sahih al-Bukhari (998) and Sahih Muslim (751)
According to the above discussion, in our opinion there is no issue for those who wishes to perform other sunnah prayer after the witir prayer. Furthermore, it is best to stay and pray together with the imam until the end to reap the rewards of as if praying the whole night. This is in accordance with the hadith narrated by Muslim, Ahmad and al-Tirmizi. This is the resolution and solution for this issue as written in al-Mu`tamad fi al-Fiqh al-Syafi`e.
Thus, the opinion that state that it is impermissible to perform other sunnah prayer after witir prayer is inaccurate and truthfully, it is permissible to perform other sunnah prayer after performing the witir prayer together with the imam without repeating the witir prayer, where the previous witir prayer is enough.