Intention for Witr Ṣalāh in Ḥaramayn
I have read your in-depth article regarding Witr Ṣalāh in Ḥaramayn and found it useful. I am travelling for ʿUmrah and have a quick question. What intention should I make for the first two Rakʿah of the Witr Ṣalāh considering that Witr Ṣalah is odd and considering that Witr Ṣalāh is Wājib according to us and Sunnah according to the Imam leading it? If you can provide an answer as soon as possible.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم
When performing Witr Ṣalāh behind the Imam in Ḥaramayn, you should make intention of performing three Rakʿah Witr Ṣalāh, which is Wājib according to the Ḥanafī school of thought.
The fact that the Imam says the Salām after the second Rakʿah does not mean that the Ṣalāh is not three Rakʿah. It is worth noting that sometimes the Imams in Ḥaramayn lead three Rakʿah Witr Ṣalāh without the Ṣalām after the second Rakʿah.
Similarly, the fact that the Ṣalāh is Sunnah according to the Imām will not affect the validity of the Ṣalāh. In fact, the jurists have mentioned that to make intention of Witr Ṣalāh is sufficient without stipulating whether it is Wājib or otherwise due to the differing opinions. The jurists have also explicitly mentioned that Witr Ṣalāh will be valid behind an Imām who regards it as Sunnah, similar to Eid Ṣalāh.
Allah knows best
24 Shaʿbān 1437 / 30 May 2016
 Al-Baḥr al-Rāʾiq (1: 297; 2: 42); al-Bināyah (2: 141); Radd al-Muḥtār (1: 419; 2: 8).
 Al-Baḥr al-Rāʾiq (2: 43); Tabyīn al-Ḥaqāʾiq (1: 171); al-Durr al-Mukhtār (1: 590).
 Al-Baḥr al-Rāʾiq (2: 42).