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The two rak’ahs after Witr salah

Question

What is the tatbiq (reconciliation) between the following two narrations:

One indicates that the last Salah should be Witr while the other indicates that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) read two rak’ahs after the Witr.

عن عبدالله بن عمر: اجْعَلُوا آخِرَ صَلاتِكُمْ باللَّيْلِ وِتْرًا
صحيح مسلم ٧٥١

عن عائشة أم المؤمنين: سَأَلْتُ عائِشَةَ، عن صَلاةِ رَسولِ اللهِ ﷺ، فَقالَتْ: كانَ يُصَلِّي ثَلاثَ عَشْرَةَ رَكْعَةً، يُصَلِّي ثَمانَ رَكَعاتٍ، ثُمَّ يُوتِرُ، ثُمَّ يُصَلِّي رَكْعَتَيْنِ وَهو جالِسٌ، فَإِذا أَرادَ أَنْ يَرْكَعَ قامَ فَرَكَعَ، ثُمَّ يُصَلِّي رَكْعَتَيْنِ بيْنَ النِّداءِ والإِقامَةِ مِن صَلاةِ الصُّبْحِ
صحيح مسلم ٧٣٨

 

Answer

This is a common misunderstanding.

The first Hadith states: ‘Make the last of your Salah at night the Witr Salah.’

While the second Hadith [and other narrations] show that Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) offered/encouraged offering two rak’ahs after the Witr.

There is no actual contradiction between these two types of Hadiths.

They have been explained as follows:

1) Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) offered the two rak’ahs after Witr to demonstrate that this is permissible, and that it is not wajib to ensure the Witr be the last Salah of the night.

(Sharhun Nawawi ‘ala Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 1721)

2) Ibnul Qayyim (rahimahullah) explains that these two rak’ats should be understood to be a sort of completion for the Witr Salah. Like after Maghrib Salah we offer two rak’ahs Sunnah, similarly after the three Witr, these two are like those Sunnah rak’ahs.

(Zadul Ma’ad, vol.1 pg.244, Fathul Mulhim, vol.5 pg.26-27 and I’laus Sunan, vol.6 pg.126-128. Also see Maqalat Abul Ma-Tahir, vol.1 pg.51)

Note: Imam Tahawi (rahimahullah) has also dedicated a chapter to this issue in his Sharh Ma’anil Athar, hadith: 1952-1979.

 

And Allah Ta’ala Knows best,

 

Answered by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar