Why do some individuals perform witir prayer in different ways?
Praying one rakaat is the quickest way to perform witir. Rasulullah s.a.w. said: “Witir is one rakaat at the end of the night.” (Hadith narrated by Imam Muslim).
If an individual performs one rakaat of witir, then they have performed the sunnah. Witir can also be performed with three, five, seven, nine rakaat.
If a person performs three rakaat of witir, there are two ways to do so, based on the narrated hadith:
• Performing witir in three rakaat at once with one tasyahhud. This way is narrated by Sayyidatina Aishah r.a., who explains how Rasulullah s.a.w. performs witir prayer: “Verily the Prophet performed witir prayer as much as three rakaat, and he does not sit (tasyahhud) in between them except in the last rakaat.” (Hadith narrated by Al-Nasa’i and Al-Baihaqi).
• Doing tasyahhud and salam after the second rakaat, followed by one rakaat. This is based on the actions of Ibn Umar r.a., who separated the first two rakaat and the third rakaat with a salam (after the second rakaat). He said that Rasulullah s.a.w. has performed his witir prayers as such. (Hadith narrated by Ibn Hibban).
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