Witr – While Traveling (Ahadith 811 – 812)
Narrated Said bin Yasar:
I was going to Mecca in the company of ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar and when I apprehended the approaching dawn, I dismounted and offered the Witr prayer and then joined him. ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar said, “Where have you been?” I replied, “I apprehended the approaching dawn so I dismounted and prayed the Witr prayer.” ‘Abdullah said, “Isn’t it sufficient for you to follow the good example of Allah’s Apostle?” I replied, “Yes, by Allah.” He said, “Allah’s Apostle used to pray Witr on the back of the camel (while on a journey).”
Narrated Ibn ‘Umar:
The Prophet used to offer (Nawafil) prayers on his Rahila (mount) facing its direction by signals, but not the compulsory prayer. He also used to pray Witr on his (mount) Rahila.
1. Prophet (SAW) used to pray witr while traveling. Meaning, even while you’re shortening the prayers in your travel, you still pray the witr prayer.
The majority of scholars (jumhoor ul-‘ulmeaa’) assert that salaat ul-witr (witr prayer) is a sunnah mu’akkada (confirmed sunnah that the Prophet peace be upon him, practiced consistently), and that it is not obligatory. This is based on the hadith (saying) regarding the bedouin who once came to the Prophet asking about Islam, the Prophet answered, “Five prayers within one day-and-night.” The bedouin asked, “Am I obliged to other than those?” The Prophet replied, “Unless you volunteer of your own.” (al-hadith muttafaqun alaih.)
Some scholars have said that qiyaam ul-layl (prayer at the heart of night) and salaat ul-witr are the best of the voluntary prayers (al-nawaafil). Therefore, one should consistently practice them and not neglect them. The Prophet did not neglect the prayers during night nor two rak’ah before al-fajr neither in residence nor in travel (as related in al-sunnah al-sahihah).
2. He (SAW) used to pray witr on the mount (camel). Meaning, you need not get off your car in order to pray witr.
Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) said:
“The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to pray voluntary (nafl) prayers when riding on his camel, no matter what direction it was facing, when he came from Makkah to Madeenah.” Then Ibn ‘Umar recited this aayah (interpretation of the meaning): “And to Allaah belong the east and the west, so wherever you turn yourselves or your faces, there is the Face of Allaah (and He is High above, over His Throne)…” [al-Baqarah 2:115]
Ibn ‘Umar said: “It was concerning this that this aayah was revealed.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, 2883; he said, this is a saheeh hasan hadeeth)
And it (facing qiblah direction) does not apply to one who is praying a naafil prayer or witr prayer whilst riding on a riding-animal etc., but it is.. mustahabb for him to face the qiblah if he is able to do so when pronouncing the takbeer of ihraam (at the beginning of the prayer), then he may face whatever direction he is facing.
*The awkward moment when you can’t seem to make your keyboard type English from left to right* :/