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[Sharh Muwatta Imam Malik – Shaikh Zubair Ali Zai] – Hadith No.35 –:– The Description (Explanation) of Praying 11 Rakats for Witr at Night

Itihaf ul-Basim Fi Tahqiq Muwatta al-Imam Malik [Talkhis al-Qabisi] Riwayah Abdur Rahman ibn al-Qasim

Tahqiq, Takhrij, Sharh

Muhadith Zubair Ali Zai

Translated Abu Ubaydah
Translated, Checked & Additional Notes
Abu Hibban & Abu Khuzaimah Ansaari

The Description of Praying 11 Rakahs for Witr at Night

Abdullah Ibn Aamir Ibn Rabia al-Adawi: One hadith

[35] And with the same chain of narration that the Messenger of Allah (Sallalahu Alayhi Was-Sallam) used to pray eleven rakahs in the night, making them odd by a single one (at the end), and when he would finished, he would lie down on his right side.


Ibn Shihab az-Zuhri clarified hearing (this hadith from Urwa Ibn az-Zubayr) in Ibn Hiban (al-Ihsan: (no.2422 [no.2431])


Al-Muwatta (Yahya’s narration 1/120 hadith no.261, book 7, chapter 2, hadith no.8) at-Tamhid (8/121), al-Istidhkar: (no.232)    

Transmitted by Muslim (no.736) from the hadith of Malik.


1) The 11 rakahs of the night prayer should be prayed by performing the salaam after every two rakahs (meaning should be prayed in 2 units and conclude with 1 unit). A’isha (RadhiAllahu Anha) says that, “The Messenger of Allah (Sallalahu Alayhi Was-Sallam) used to pray 11 rakahs until (the adhan of) Fajr after finishing the Esha prayer and people called this prayer the night prayer. He used to perform the salaam after every two rakahs and prayed 1 witr. (Sahih Muslim: (122/736)

2) Praying 1 rakah for witr is clearly established from this hadith and other mutawatir hadith.

3) The proof of the Prophet (Sallalahu Alayhi Was-Sallam) praying 1 rakat witr is established by both his words and actions. (Sahih Bukhari: (no.996) and Sahih Muslim: (745- 751)

4) Abu Ayub Al-Ansari (RadiAllahu Anhu) said: “Witr is a duty, so whoever wants to pray witr with five rak’ahs let him do so, whoever wants to pray witr with three, let him do so; and whoever wants to pray witr with one, let him do so.” (Sunan an-Nasa’i (2/239) hadith (no.1713), and its chain is authentic)

5) It is established to pray one witr from the Salaf al-Salihin just like Sa’d Ibn Abi Waqas, Mu’awiyah Ibn Abu Sufyan and Uthman Ibn Affan and other than them (RadiAllahu Anhum). (Sahih Bukhari: (no.6356, no.3764, no.3765), Sharh Ma’ani al-Athar of Tahawi (1/294) and Sunan al-Daraqutni (2/34) hadith (no.1657), and its chain is hasan and Nimawi said in Athar as-Sunan: (no.604) “and its chain is hasan”)

6) The Prophet (Sallalahu Alayhi Was-Sallam) prohibited praying three witr like the Maghrib prayer. (Sahih Ibn Hibban, al-Ihsan: (no.2420) and its chain is authentic, Mustadrak al-Hakim 1/304 and Nimawi related from al-Iraqi he said, “its chain is authentic”(Athar as-Sunan no.592)

7) Umar (RadiAllahu Anhu) used to pray 2 rakahs separately and 1 rakah separately. (Sahih Bukhari: (no.991) This hadith is also marfu. Sahih Ibn Hibban (al-Ihsan: (no.2426 [no.2435]) and its chain is hasan)

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