A few years ago i have been told that it is recommended to recite after the fatiha in shaf'a and witr or 3 rak'a witr prayer the following surahs:

  • 1st raka'a of shaf'a: surah al-A'la (87).
  • 2nd raka'a of shaf'a: surah al-Kafiroon (109).
  • In the only rak'a of witr: surah al-Ikhlass (112), then al-Falaq (113) followed by an-Nass (114).

Lately i checked sunnah.com about a reference for that but couldn't find any while i found hadith like this one in Jami' at-Tirmidhi or sunan an-Nasaai, where surah al-Falaq and an-Nass ar not quoted at all. Even on fatwa sites I couldn't find a backup or recommendation like this.

This is why I'd like to know how this deviation from the sunnah can be explained and what is the source or what madhab/sect is following or recommending the practice described above?

1 Answer 1


There's indeed a hadith where the way you explained for the three witr raka'a version is quoted:

“We asked ‘Aishah what the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) used to recite in Witr. She said: ‘He used to recite: “Glorify the Name of your Lord the Most High,” [Al-A’la (87)] in the first Rak’ah, ‘Say: “O disbelievers!’” [Al- Kafirun (109)] in the second Rak’ah, and ‘Say: Allah is One’ in the third and the Mu’awwidhatain (Chapter 113, 114).’”

(Sunan ibn Majah and a similar version in Jami' at-Tirmdihi and sunan abi Dawod)

Imam at-Tirmdhi also quoted a version were only al-'Ala, al-Kafiroon and al-Ikhlas were quoted (see here) and commented it by saying that this was the choice of most of the sahaba.

Note that imam Ahmad and his companion Yahya ibn Ma'een rejected the version of al-Ikhlass and al-Mu'awwidhatain in the last raka'a (therefore apparently hanbali scholars consider this hadith as da'if, while scholars such as a-Dahabi and al-Hakim considered it as authentic).

Beside this there's a hadith in sunan an-Nasa'i which can be taken as an evidence to recite what ever you want in witr or as an-evidence for reciting 100 verses from surat an-Nisa.

So basically what you quote is not a deviation of the sunnah as it has some background there.

This is one of the recommendations in the shafi'i and maliki school of fiqh.

Imam Malik has been quoted to do so in witr. Note that the malikis pray a single witr raka'a and consider anything before (as sets of two raka'a) shafa'.

Also read this Arabic fatwa on witr prayer.

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