Hadrat Kharija bin Huzafa told of Allah’s Messenger coming out to them and saying, ALLAH has given you an extra Salaah which is better for you than the high bred camels, the Witar which ALLAH has appointed for you between the evening Salaah and the daybreak. [Tirmiz Abu, Dawud]
Hadrat Jabir (Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anha) reported ALLAH’s Messenger as saying, if anyone is afraid that he may not get up in the latter part of the night, he should observe a Witr in the first part of it, if anyone is eager to get up in the last part of it he should observe Witar at the end of the night, for Salaah at the end of night is attended by angels and that time is most excellent”. [Muslim]
Hadrat Abu Sad narrated ALLAH’s Messenger as saying, if anyone oversleeps and misses the Witar or forgets it, he should perform Salaah when he remembers and when he awakes. [Sunan Abu Dawud]
The Messenger of ALLAH (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) used to observe Witar Salaah in the later part of night before dawn, some time he did so in the earlier and sometimes in the middle part of the night and if after that he got up for Tahajjud Salaah, he did not repeat the Witar Salaah.
In a tradition appearing in Tirmizi, it has been reported that there is only one Witar Salaah in one night and not two. In Sharh-e-Hidaya, Shaikh lbnul Hamam has clarified that if one who after observing Witar Salaah in the earlier part of the night gets up for Tahajjud Salaah need not repeat Witr Salaah. [Madarijun Nubuwah]
Hadrat Aishah (Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anha) narrated that the Messenger of ALLAH observed Witar Salaah in every part of the night, in the earlier, in the middle and in the later part of the night, his Witar finishing at dawn (last sixth part of night). [Bukhari – Muslim – Mishkat]
Hadrat Abdullah bin Abu Qais (Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu) narrated he asked Hadrat Aishah (Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anha) how many rakahs ALLAH’s Messenger performed when observing a Witar and she replied, “He used to observe a Witar with four and three and ten and three, never observing one with less than seven or more then thirteen.” [Abu Dawud Mishkat]
Note: Some of the noble companions of the Prophet used to term Tahajjud Salaah and Witar Salaah taken together as Witar. This was also the practice of Hadrat Aishah (Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anha). In her reply to Hadrat Abdullah bin Abu Qais as reported in the above tradition, she meant that the Prophet used to say before the Witar Salaah sometimes four, at other times six or eight or ten rakahs. But it was not his custom to say less than four or more then ten rakhs for Tahajjud Salaah after which he said three rakahs of Witar Salaah. [Ma’rif -ul- Hadis]
In a lengthy tradition reported by Hadrat Ibn – Abbas, it appears that one night he had an occasion to say his Salaah with the Prophet, who said two rak’ahs repeatedly. Ma’n (May Allah bless him) who is the narrator of this tradition, says that the Prophet did so six times. (Mullu Al Qari says that according to Imam-e- Azam (Abu Hanifa) Tahajjud Salaah has twelve rakahs). Then after saying Witar Salaah, he went to bed. When Bilal came to call him for Fajr Salaah, the Prophet said two rak’ahs (sunan) with a brief recitation of the Holy QURAAN (Qiraat) and then went to lead the Fajr Salaah. [Shamail -i- Tirmizi]
Hadrat Abul Aziz bin Juraij said he asked Hadrat Aisha (Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anha) the surahs of the Holy QURAAN which the Prophet used to recite in Witar Salaah, and she replied: In the first rakah he recited surah al-Ala (LXXXVII), in the second rakah, surah al-Kafirun (CIX) and in the third surah al-Ikhlas (CXII) and sometimes al-Muawwizatain ,Surah al-Falaq (CXIII) and surah an-Nas (CXIV). [Tirmizi, Abu Dawud]
And after the taslim (salutation) he said:
(Glory to the sovereign, the Holy One) three times; in the third time, he raised his voice laying stress on each word. [Madarijun, Nubuwah]
According to Hanafi school of thought, in the third rakah, the normal recitation of QURAAN has to be followed by Qunutul-Witar – a special supplication.