Qunut du’a is recommended at times of calamity as it was the practice of the Prophet ( peace and blessing of Allah be upon him). The issue of how this du’a is to be said is debatable among Muslim schools of law. Some say that the du’a is to be performed loudly after ruku’ (bowing down) while others say that it must be read silently before ruku’.
In this regard Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid, a prominent Saudi Muslim lecturer and author, illustrates: Qunut, according to the definition of the fuqaha’, “is the name of a du’a’ (supplication) offered during prayer at a specific point while standing.” It is prescribed in Witr prayer after the ruku’ (bowing), according to the more correct of the two scholarly opinions. If a calamity (nazilah) befalls the Muslims, it is prescribed to say Du’a’ al- Qunut after standing up from ruku’’ in the last rak’ah of each of the five daily obligatory prayers, until Allah relieves the Muslims of that calamity. With regard to saying Du’a’ al-Qunou in Fajr prayer all the time, in all circumstances, there is no authentic report that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) singled out Fajr for Qunut, or that he always recited it in Fajr prayer. Rather what is proven is that he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said Du’aa’ al-Qunut at times of calamity with words that were appropriate to the situation. He said Du’a’ al-Qunut 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 Allah be upon him) had sent to them in order to teach them their religion.
The Rightly-Guided Caliphs after him followed the same practice. It is better for the imam to limit Qunut to times of calamity, following the example of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), as it was proven that Abu Malik al-Ash’ari said: “I said to my father, ‘O my father, you prayed behind the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and behind Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthmaan and ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with them). Did they used to say Du’a’ al-Qunut 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 Allah be upon him).
If you ask, is there a specific wording for Qunut during Witr prayer, or Qunut at times of calamity?
The answer is: for Du’a’ al-Qunut in Witr prayer a number of wordings have been narrated, including the following:
1 – The version which the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) taught to al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him), which is:
“Allahumma 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 Allah, 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 honored 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 Dawod, 1213; al-Nasaa’i, 1725; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Irwa’, 429).