Qunoot, according to the definition of the fuqaha’, “is the name of a du’aa’ (supplication) offered during prayer at a specific point while standing.” It is prescribed in Witr prayer after the rukoo’ (bowing), according to the more correct of the two scholarly opinions.
If a calamity (naazilah) befalls the Muslims, it is prescribed to say Du’aa’ al- Qunoot after standing up from rukoo’ in the last rak’ah of each of the five daily obligatory prayers, until Allaah relieves the Muslims of that calamity.
(See Tasheeh al-Du’aa’ by Shaykh Bakr Abu Zayd, p. 460).
With regard to saying Du’aa’ al-Qunoot in Fajr prayer all the time, in all circumstances, there is no saheeh report that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) singled out Fajr for Qunoot, or that he always recited it in Fajr prayer. Rather what is proven is that he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said Du’aa’ al-Qunoot at times of calamity with words that were appropriate to the situation. He said Du’aa’ al-Qunoot in Fajr and in other prayers, praying against Ra’l, Dhakwaan and ‘Usayyah for killing the Qur’aan-readers whom the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had sent to them in order to teach them their religion. And it was proven that he prayed in Fajr prayer and other prayers for the weak and oppressed believers, that Allaah would save them from their enemies. But he did not do that all the time. The Rightly-Guided khaleefahs after him followed the same practice. It is better for the imam to limit Qunoot to times of calamity, following the example of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), as it was proven that Abu Maalik al-Ash’ari said: “I said to my father, ‘O my father, you prayed behind the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and behind Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthmaan and ‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with them). Did they used to say Du’aa’ al-Qunoot in Fajr?’ He said, ‘O my son, this is a newly-invented matter.’” (Narrated by the five, apart from Abu Dawood; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Irwa’, 435). The best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).
And Allaah is the Source of strength. May Allaah send blessings and peace upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon his family and companions.
(al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah li’l-Buhooth al-‘Ilmiyyah wa’l-Iftaa’, 7/47)
If you ask, is there a specific wording for Qunoot during Witr prayer, or Qunoot at times of calamity?
The answer is: for Du’aa’ al-Qunoot in Witr prayer a number of wordings have been narrated, including the following:
1 – The version which the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) taught to al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him), which is:
“Allaahumma ihdini feeman hadayta wa ‘aafini feeman ‘aafayta wa tawallani feeman tawallayta wa baarik li feema a’tayta, wa qini sharra ma qadayta , fa innaka taqdi wa la yuqda ‘alayk, wa innahu laa yadhillu man waalayta wa laa ya’izzu man ‘aadayta, tabaarakta Rabbana wa ta’aalayta la munji minka illa ilayk
(O Allaah, guide me among those whom You have guided, pardon me among those whom You have pardoned, turn to me in friendship among those on whom You have turned in friendship, and bless me in what You have bestowed, and save me from the evil of what You have decreed. For verily You decree and none can influence You; and he is not humiliated whom You have befriended, nor is he honoured who is Your enemy. Blessed are You, O Lord, and Exalted. There is no place of safety from You except with You).”
(Narrated by Abu Dawood, 1213; al-Nasaa’i, 1725; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Irwa’, 429).
It was narrated from ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to say at the end of Witr:
“Allaahumma inni a’oodhu bi ridaaka min sakhatika wa bi mu’aafaatika min ‘uqoobatika wa a’oodhu bika minka, la uhsi thana’an ‘alayka anta kama athnayta ‘ala nafsika (O Allaah, I seek refuge in Your pleasure from Your wrath and in Your forgiveness from Your punishment. I cannot praise You enough; You are as You have praised Yourself.”
(Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 1727; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Irwa’, 430; Saheeh Abi Dawood, 1282).
Then he should send blessings upon the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) as it was narrated that some of the Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them) – including Ubayy ibn Ka’b and Mu’aadh al-Ansaary (may Allaah be pleased with them) – did that at the end of Qunoot al-Witr.
(See Tasheeh al-Du’aa’ by Shaykh Bakr Abu Zayd, p. 460).
When praying Qunoot at the time of calamity, one should make supplication as is appropriate to the situation, as it was narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) cursed some Arab tribes who had betrayed his companions and killed them, and he prayed for the weak and oppressed believers in Makkah, that Allaah would save them. It was narrated that ‘Umar prayed Qunoot with the following words:
“Allaahumma inna nasta’eenuka wa nu’minu bika, wa natawakkalu ‘alayka wa nuthni ‘alayka al-khayr, wa laa nakfuruka. Allaahumma iyyaaka na’budu wa laka nusalli wa nasjudu, wa ilayka nas’aa wa nahfid. Narju rahmataka wa nakhsha ‘adhaabaka, inna ‘adhaabaka al-jadd bil kuffaari mulhaq. Allaahumma ‘adhdhib il-kafarata ahl al-kitaab alladheena yasuddoona ‘an sabeelika
(O Allaah, verily we seek Your help, we believe in You, we put our trust in You and we praise You and we are not ungrateful to You. O Allaah, You alone we worship and to You we pray and prostrate, for Your sake we strive. We hope for Your mercy and fear Your punishment, for Your punishment will certainly reach the disbelievers. O Allaah, punish the infidels of the People of the Book who are preventing others from following Your way).”
(Narrated by al-Bayhaqi, 2/210; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Irwa’, 2/170. Al-Albaani said: This was reported from ‘Umar concerning Qunoot in Fajr, and it seems that this Qunoot is Qunoot al-Naazilah (Qunoot at times of calamity) as is indicated by his praying against the kuffaar).
If you ask, can we make du’aa’ using words other than those mentioned here?
The answer is:
Yes, that is permissible. Al-Nawawi said in al-Majmoo’ (3/497): “The correct view which was stated definitively by the majority of scholars is that there are no specific words, rather any du’aa’ may be said.”
The version narrated from ‘Umar is not something that we have to follow, and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not pray using these words, so there is nothing wrong with adding more to them. Shaykh al-Albaani (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “There is nothing wrong with adding more to this, cursing the infidels and sending blessings upon the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and praying for the Muslims.”
(Qiyaam Ramadaan by al-Albaani, 31).
We still have an important question which is: should Du’aa’ al-Qunoot be said before rukoo’ (bowing) or after?
The answer is: Most of the ahaadeeth and the opinion of most of the scholars state that Qunoot comes after rukoo’, but if you say Qunoot before rukoo’ that is acceptable. So you have the choice of doing rukoo’ when you have finished reciting Qur’aan, then standing up and saying “Rabbana wa laka al-hamd” then saying Qunoot… or saying Qunoot when you have finished reciting Qur’aan, then saying “Allaahu akbar” and bowing. Both of these were narrated in the Sunnah.
(Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him), al-Sharh al-Mumti’, 4/64)
Note: The questioner says that the best of prayer is that which has longer Qunoot. Perhaps he is referring to the hadeeth narrated by Muslim (1257) from Jaabir (may Allaah be pleased with him), which says that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The best of prayer is tool al-qunoot (the longest in standing).”
Al-Nawawi said: “What is meant by qunoot here is the standing, according to the consensus of the scholars, as far as I know.”
So the hadeeth is not referring to Qunoot in the sense of the du’aa’ said after standing up from rukoo’, rather it is referring to standing for a long time.
And Allaah knows best.