The Imam who leads Tarawih prayer in Ramadan delays the Witr (Prayer with an odd number of units) until after Fajr (Dawn) Prayer is over.
Moreover, there is a tradition that the Imam turns his face towards the Ma'mums (persons being led by an Imam in Prayer) after concluding Tarawih saying to them, 'Determine your intention to offer Shaf` (two units of Prayer, particularly before the final unit of the odd-number prayer) and Witr. Was this act observed by the Salaf or not? (Part No. 7; Page No. 189) If so, what differentiates between these three Rak`ahs (Witr and Shaf`) from other supererogatory prayers singling them out with a specific intention and utterance even though all supererogatory prayers are Shaf` (dual)? Is it an act of Bid`ah (innovation in religion) to utter such saying or does it have special merit, and thus should be uttered?
We know of no Shari`ah proof supporting that the Imam should turn his face towards the Ma'mums after concluding Tarawih saying to them, 'Determine your intention to offer Shaf` and Witr.' Moreover, none of the Salaf followed this act as far as we know. Whoever claims that this is an act of the Messenger (peace be upon him) has to bring the evidence affirming this claim or it is to be rejected. It was authentically narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said,
Whoever introduces something extraneous to our matter (i.e. Islam), will have it rejected.
Additionally, it was authentically reported in the authentic Hadith from the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) that the Witr should be performed before the Fajr Prayer. Among these Hadith is the one authentically reported in the Two Sahihs (authentic Hadith books) on the authority of
Ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with them both) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,
Prayers at night are to be offered two by two (two Rak`ahs at a time). If any of you fears that the time of dawn is approaching, let him pray one Rak`ah as Witr.
May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.