Qunūt in Fajr and Witr (Adopting Views Outside the Madhhab)
Ml Yusuf Karaan
5 February 2023
Is it permissible to follow the minority opinion within the Shāfiʿī madhhab of reciting Qunūt in Witr daily and not to recite it in Fajr?
- It is apt that we begin our discussion with the issue of resorting to views outside the madhhab, an act generally held to be permissible. That being said, our scholars further stipulate that one should first investigate any adjacent views within the madhhab concurring with those held primarily in other madhāhib, as acting in accordance to these views may preclude any consequent talfīq (a situation whereby the individual ends up performing an action in a manner that no madhhab would authorise) from completely departing the madhhab’s frame.
- In the Shāfiʿī madhhab, there exists no real disagreement as to the istiḥbāb of qunūt in Fajr prayer after rukūʿ. Hence, abandoning this ruling would require one to step outside the bounds of the madhhab and take up the Ḥanafī view.
- With respect to qunūt in witr prayer, three views exist within the Shāfiʿī madhhab:
- the preponderant one being only during the latter half of Ramadan,
- the second throughout the entirety of Ramadan (which is also the Mālikī view),
- and the third throughout the whole year, not unlike the Ḥanafī view, with one exception in that we allow for it after rukūʿ, while the Ḥanafī madhhab holds that qunūt can only be done prior to it, a view held also by Ibn Surayj among the Shāfiʿiyyah.
- Ḥanafī practice is for takbīr to be read before the qunūt, and while this view does exist in our madhhab, qunūt without the preceding takbīr, building off of Ibn Surayj’s view, is held more strongly. In any case, our madhhab clearly accommodates for the Ḥanafī practice of qunūt preceding rukūʿ, with takbīr read before, and one has no need to resort to other madhāhib in this matter.
- I would, however, like to take the opportunity here to offer some advice to the Shāfiʿī individual living in a predominantly Ḥanafī community, that there is a way to adhere to the demands of his madhhab in relation to qunūt in Fajr congregational prayer, while not at all compromising the communal practice (according to Ḥanafī teachings) of omitting it, by understanding that from the Shāfi‘ī perspective, qunūt is simply duʿāʾ made during the i‘tidāl posture, which is to say that while we do prefer the ritual form taken from the Sunnah, any short du‘ā’ would still suffice.
- Taking this into consideration, it is not difficult for the Shāfiʿī individual to carry out a short duʿāʾ whilst in iʿtidāl during the moments allowed by the Imām in a Ḥanafī Fajr congregation (or even a witr congregation during Ramadan) without giving any indication that he is performing qunūt, such as raising the hands.
والله تعالى أعلم
And Allah knows best
DUAI Fatwā Department