Here, we are talking about the invocation of Qunut in Witr Salah. Abu Dawud, An-Nasa'y, and others reported on the authority of Al Hasan ibn Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: "The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) taught me some words that I say during the witr. (The version of Ibn Jawwas has: I say them in the supplication of the witr). They were: "Allahumma Ihdiny Fiman Hadayt Wa `Afiny Fiman `Afayt Wa Tawallany Fiman Tawallayt, Wa Barik Li Fima A`tayt Wa Qiny Sharra Ma Qadayt Innaka Taqdy Wala Yuqda `Alayk Wa Innahu La Yadhillu Man Walayt Wala Ya`izzu Man `Adayt, Tabarakata Rabbana Wata`alayt. [O Allah, guide me among those whom You have guided, grant me security among those whom You have granted security, take me into Your Charge among those whom You have taken into Your Charge, bless me in what You have given, guard me from the evil of what You have decreed, for You decree, and nothing is decreed for You. He whom You befriends is not humbled. Blessed and Exalted are You, our Lord]." [Sunan Abu Dawud No. 1425 and Sunan An-Nasa'y No. 1745, and Al Albany graded it as authentic in Sahih Abu Dawud No. 1263].
This is a great invocation that includes great requirements and objectives, where it seeks guidance and good health from Allah, seeks the guardianship, blessings, and protection of Allah along with admitting that all matters are in the hands of Allah and under His control. So, whatever Allah wills will happen and whatever He does not will not happen. [See the explanation of this invocation: Shifa' Al `Alil of Ibn Al Qayym, p. 111, and the lessons and Fatwas of the Imam of the Two Sacred masjids, Sheikh Muhammad ibn Salih Al `Uthaymain (may Allah bestow mercy on his soul) p. 131 - 137].
As for the Prophet's saying in the beginning of this invocation, "Allahumma Ihdiny Fiman Hadayt," it includes asking Allah for the complete and useful guidance and knowledge which entails actions, not guidance which is not followed by action, and not working without useful knowledge. So, useful guidance is embodied in teaching people knowledge and doing righteous actions.
As for the Prophet's saying: "Fiman Hadayt," it contains many benefits:
1- Asking Allah to include a person with the guided ones to gain their companionship in Paradise, and what a good companionship it is!
2- Asking Allah with His Benevolence and Favor; i.e., O Lord, You have guided many people out of Your Favor and Benevolence, so treat me kindly as you treated them and guide me as You guided them.
3- The guidance which was granted to those people was not from themselves but it was from You alone.
As for the Prophet's saying: "Wa `Afiny Fiman `Afayt," it includes asking Allah for absolute soundness: From disbelief, lewdness, disobedience, negligence, sickness, seditions, and doing what You do not like or leaving what You love because this is the reality of soundness. Therefore, the dearest thing which is asked from Allah is soundness because it is a comprehensive word to get rid of evil and its causes. The proof to this is the Hadith which was reported by Imam Al Bukhari in Al Adab Al Mufrad and others on the authority of Shakal ibn Humayd (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: "I said to the Messenger of Allah: O Messenger of Allah, teach me a supplication that will benefit me." He said: "Say: 'Allahumma `Afiny Min Sharri Sam`y Wabasary Walisany Waqalby Washarri Maniyy. [O Allah, protect me from the evil of my sight and hearing, my tongue, my heart, and the evil of my desire].'" [Al Adab Al Mufrad No. 663, and Al Albany (may Allah bestow mercy on his soul) graded it as authentic in Sahih Al Adab Al Mufrad No.515].
Therefore, it is a comprehensive invocation for prevention of all evils in this world as well as in the Hereafter. It was reported in Al Adab Al Mufrad and other books on the authority of Al `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him), the Prophet's uncle, that he said: "I said to the Messenger of Allah: O Messenger of Allah, teach me something that I may ask (thereby) Allah, the Mighty the Glorious." He said: "Ask Him for safety." I waited for a few days and then went to him and asked him, "O Messenger of Allah, teach me something whereby I Might ask Allah." he said: "O Abbas! O uncle of Allah's Messenger, ask for security in this world and the next." [Al Adab Al Mufrad No. 72, and Al Albany (may Allah bestow mercy on his soul) graded it as authentic in Sahih Al Adab Al Mufrad No. 558].
As for the Prophet's saying: "Wa Tawallany Fiman Tawallayt," it includes asking Allah for going under His Guardianship which entails granting a person success, help, victory, and keeping him away from all things that incite Allah's Wrath. The same meaning is taken from Allah's saying: "Allâh is the Walî (Protector or Guardian) of those who believe. He brings them out from darkness into light." [Surat Al Baqarah: 257]. And Allah's Saying: "Verily, my Walî (Protector, Supporter, and Helper) is Allâh Who has revealed the Book (the Qur'ân), and He protects (supports and helps) the righteous." [Surat Al A`raf: 196]. And Allah's Saying: "And Allâh is the Walî (Protector and Helper) of the believers." [Surat Al `Imran: 68]. And Allah's Saying: "But Allâh is the Walî (Helper, Protector) of the Muttaqûn (the pious)." [Surat Al Jathiyah: 19].
It is a special guardianship that entails preserving people, providing them with victory, help, aid, and protecting them from evils, all these are included in the Prophet's saying: "Innahu La Yadhillu Man Walayt," which means that a person shall be victorious because of Your Help and victory. There is an indication that the one who is humiliated by people surely misses the guardianship of Allah because by complete guardianship, humiliation is removed even if all enemies of the earth are gathered to humiliate a person.
As for the Prophet's saying: "Wa Barik Li Fima A`tayt," blessing is the ample continuous goodness. This implies asking Allah for blessing all the favors He grants such as: knowledge, money, children, home, and others, and ask Him to make the blessing continuous, expand it, and make it sound of plagues.
As for the Prophet's saying: "Wa Qiny Sharra Ma Qadayt," the evil which You predestined on me. Allah (Glory be to Him) may predestine evil for a high wisdom. Evil is done by some of His Creatures not created by Him or attributed to Him where His Actions are full of goodness. This invocation implies asking Allah for protection from evils, safety from plagues, and protection from afflictions and seditions.
As for the Prophet's saying: "Innaka Taqdy Wala Yuqday `Alayk," it implies asking Allah to eliminate everything because He has full control, will, and comprehensive ability, where He (Glory be to Him) decrees whatever He wills and judges as He likes where no one can object His Decree.
As for the Prophet's saying: "Wala Yuqda `Alayk," i.e., No one of His Servant can eliminate Him and servants cannot judge Him, but He judges them as He wills and with whatever He wants.
As for the Prophet's saying: "Innahu La Yadhillu Man Walayt wala Ya`izzu Man `Adayt," this is the reason for asking Allah for all these requests because when He takes over a person's affairs, a person is not humiliated, but when He opposes a person, a person will not be victorious. Allah (Glory be to Him) says: "Say (O Muhammad peace be upon him): "O Allâh! Possessor of the kingdom, You give the kingdom to whom You will, and You take the kingdom from whom You will, and You endue with honour whom You will, and You humiliate whom You will. In Your Hand is the good. Verily, You are Able to do all things." [Surat Al `Imran: 26].
As for the Prophet's saying: "Tabarakta Rabbana Wa Ta`alayt," You are exalted and Glorified, O Allah, to You is all Praise, Greatness, and Pride; Your Attributes are great and Your Favors and Benevolence have increased until they overwhelmed everything.
As for the Prophet's saying: "Wa Ta`alayt," i.e., You have the absolute highness for You are the Most High. Allah rose above His Throne as suitable for His Greatness and Perfection. He is the Most High with His Status and Attributes which are incomparable. He is the Most High with His Power where He subjected everything to His Power and all creatures subjected to Him, and the destiny of all creatures is in His Hands, so no one moves or stands still but after His Permission.
Anyhow, this is a great and comprehensive invocation to all gates of goodness and principles of happiness in this world and in the Hereafter, so a Muslim should keep to it particularly in Witr Salah by which he concludes the obligatory and optional Salah. There is no harm if a Muslim adds to this invocation a supplication for all Muslims with all goodness, seeking forgiveness to them, and invoking Allah against their enemies.
Finally, peace be upon the Messenger of Allah, and may Allah grant us success!