“And [by] the even [number] and the odd”. (Al-Fajr 89:3)
Witr Prayer is a single prayer (an odd number of rak`ahs) performed during the time between `Isha’(Night Prayer) prayer and Fajr prayer. It must be the last prayers to be offered before the Fajr prayer (Dawn). It is also preferred to be offered at the last third of the night.
Shaf` in Arabic refers to pairs or even numbers, and is the opposite of witr which means odd-numbered.
Ibn Hibban narrated from Ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with them) that he used to separate between his even-numbered prayer (shaf`) and odd-numbered prayer with a tasleem, and he said that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to do that.
This hadith indicates that what is meant by shaf` is two rak`ahs before the one rak`ah (unit of prayer) of witr.
To know more about the rulings of shaf` and witr, watch this interesting talk with Dr. Muhammad Salah.
The Night Prayer is the habit of the true believers who turn to Allah, complain to Him their affairs, and ask Him for His favor. It is one of the greatest worships that strengthen one’s faith and encourage one to do the good deeds and avoid the bad ones. There are many texts that explain the virtues of Night Prayer:
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The best of prayer after the obligatory (five) prayers is night prayer” (Muslim)
Fajr (Dawn) Prayer
A Muslim must strictly observe offering Fajr prayer due to the fact that angels are sent down by Allah Almighty to witness the Fajr prayer offered by a Muslim. Allah says:
Establish prayer at the decline of the sun [from its meridian] until the darkness of the night and [also] the Qur’an of dawn. Indeed, the recitation of dawn is ever witnessed. ( Al-Israa’ 17:78)
In this short video, Sheikh Ahmad Saeed provides some tips that could help the Muslim to wake up at night:
1- Do not eat food after `Isha’ Prayer,
2- Take a nap after the Dhuhr Prayer which is a missed Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him)