Praise be to Allah, and may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah, his family and his companions.
As to what follows:
Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.
It has been established on the Prophet (peace be on him) that he used to readsurah al-A’laa, al-Kafirun and al-Ikhlas in witr prayer. This is mentioned in the hadith naraated by Ubayy Ibn Ka’b, Aishah and Abdul Rahman Ibn Abza (may Allah be pleased with them). This is the view held by majority of scholars without differentiating on whether he performed witr with 1 taslim (i.e in one set) or 2 taslims (i.e in two sets).
What has been said that it is not permissible to recite surah al-A’la, al-Kafirun and al-Ikhlas if witr is performed with 2 taslims basing on the proof that it will not be witr, is a view that contradicts the apparent meaning of the hadith. I do not know of any scholar who holds that view.
Arguing that it is not witr when the taslims are separated and is not included in the hadith is not a correct view because a prayer of one unit can be made witr (odd) by adding what has been performed before whether in one set or in separate sets.
This is supported by the hadith narrated by Ibn Umar that:
“A man came to the Prophet (peace be on him) while he was delivering the sermon and asked him how to offer the night prayers. The Prophet (peace be on him) replied, 'Pray two rak`at at a time and then two and then two and so on and if you are afraid of dawn (the approach of the time of the Fajr prayer) pray one rak`a and that will be the witr for all the rak`at which you have prayed.” [Bikhari and Muslim].
So 3 rak’ats are called witr whether they are performed together or separately.
In brief, it is sunnah to recite surah al-A’laa, al-Kafirun and al-Ikhlas in witr prayer whether the rak’ats are done together or separately.
My advice to my brothers who are students of knowledge and to those that transmit knowledge from them is that they should take their time and verify before criticizing the work of scholars that has been there since many centuries ago.
May Allah guide everyone to have the correct intention and do righteous deeds..
18 / 9 / 1436 AH