| Question: Can we offer one Rak‘at
for S~alatu’l-Witr? Are there any
special circumstances under which one Rak‘at is allowed?
Answer: If we collect all the texts of the Ah~a#di#th which mention S~ala#tu’l-Witr and S~ala#tu’l-Layl, the picture which emerges is the Witr prayer is actually a part of the Tahajjud prayer, which it seems from the Qur’a#n was obligatory for the Prophet (sws). He used to pray Tahajjud so that the total number of Rak‘a#t would be odd in number. The manner in which he did this was that he would first pray even number of Rak‘a#t and then make them odd by praying one more Rak‘at and at times three more Rak‘a#t. The additional odd Rak‘at (or Rak‘a#t) is called Witr – for the word Witr literally means ‘odd’ in Arabic. Consequently, Witr is not a separate type of prayer as some people think, and there is no such thing as praying one Witr.