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Praying Tarawih & departing before the Imam prays Witr

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I offer the Tarawih prayer at the local mosque along with the imam. However, I do not observe the Witr prayer with the imam, since I want to offer more prayers when I go home. Is this correct?

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It would be better for you to complete the Tarâwîh prayer along with the imam, including the Witr prayer. In doing so, you receive the reward of offering prayer at the late watches of the night.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever observes prayer along with the imam until the imam is finished, that person will have written for him the credit of offering the late night prayer.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhi – and authenticated by al-Albânî]

You have two options for completing the prayer with the imam:

  1. You can simply offer the odd-numbered Witr prayer along with the imam. If you wish to, you are free to offer more prayers on your own later on at night.

However, in this case you do not offer a second Witr prayer when you have finished praying for the night, since the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “There should not be two Witr prayers in one night.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhî (470)]

  1. Alternatively, you may stand up for one extra unit of prayer when the imam says the taslîm. In this case, you do not say the taslîm with the imam, but stand and offer another unit, maling it an even prayer. Then, at the end of the night, when you finish your extra prayers, you may offer the odd-numbered Witr prayer on your own.

And Allah knows best.

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