Witr Prayer And Travel

Do I Need to Repeat the Witr Prayers That I Have Been Doing as One Rak’a for a Long Time?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch


I have been praying Witr prayer as 1 rak‘a for many years, must I repeat them? How should I go about making up my missed prayers?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.

Witr Prayer in the Hanafi School

In the Hanafi school, the Witr prayer is necessary and must be prayer with 3 units of prayer (rak‘as). [Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah]

Witr Prayer in Other Schools

However, in the Shafi‘i school, the Witr prayer is deemed as a Sunna (i.e. not obligatory) and can be prayed as 1 unit of prayer (rak‘a). The secondary position of the Hanafi school also categorizes the Witr prayer to be Sunna as well. [Maydani, al-Lubab fi Sharh al-Kitab, Ibn Naqib, ‘Umdat al-Salik]

Relieving Undue Hardship

The above dispensation is given in regard to the past. This is because of the religious principle understood from the Quran that undue hardship must be averted. [Ibn Nujaym, al-Ashbah wa al-Naza’ir]

Allah Most High says, “(…) and He has not put upon you in the religion any undue hardship (…).” [Quran, 22:78]

Due to this principle clearly delineated in the above verse of the Quran, many scholars deemed having to make up vast amounts of prayer to be an undue hardship that should be averted if possible.

For this, they would take a secondary opinion of the school or even the opinion of another school to alleviate the necessity of making up prayers. [Birgivi, al-Tariqa al-Muhammadiya, Shaykh Adib al-Kallas from Shaykh Faraz Rabbani]

Moving Forward

Due to the opinion of the Shafi‘i school, the secondary opinion of the Hanafi school, and your circumstances in the light of the aforementioned principle – consider the Witr prayers that you have performed to date by praying 1 rak‘a to be valid and those Witr prayers which you did not pray to be excused (i.e. not requiring makeup).

However, moving forward, it is necessary for you to pray the Witr prayer 3 rak’as, according to the relied-upon position of the Hanafi school.

Hope this helps
Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch teaches Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he completed four years at the Darul Uloom Seminary in New York, where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences.

He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he studied for three years in Dar al-Mustafa under some of the most outstanding scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib.

In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Quran and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Quranic exegesis, Islamic history, and several texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.