Fiqh Series: The Prayer Of The Traveller

The Prayer Of The Traveller

One is allowed to shorten the prayers of Zhur, Asr and Isha when travelling.

Allah says, “And when you (Muslims) travel in the land, there is no sin on you if you shorten As-Salat (the prayer) if you fear that the disbelievers may put you in trial (attack you etc.), verily, the disbelievers are ever unto you open enemies.[1]

‘A’isha, the wife of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), reported: “The prayer was prescribed as two rak’ahs, two rak’ahs both in journey and at the place of residence. The prayer while travelling remained as it was (originally prescribed 2 rakah), but an addition was made in the prayer (observed) at the place of residence.”[2]

Abdullah ibn Abbas said, “Allah obliged the prayer upon the tongue of your Prophet (ﷺ): while resident four rakah, while travelling two rakahs and while in fear one rakah.[3]

 

 The Distance Of The Journey

  • The scholars have differed greatly over the minimum length of a journey.
  • The strongest view is: “There is no limit set in principle, except for what may be described as ‘Travelling’ in the language of the Arabs addressed by the Prophet (ﷺ). If there were a specific limit for travelling other than the point that we just mentioned, why would the Prophet (ﷺ) completely neglect to mention it and why did they neglect to ask him about it and why would they agree upon not passing on that limitation to us?”[4]

 

When The Shortening Of The Prayer Begins

The majority of the scholars state that the shortening of the prayer is allowed when one departs from his residence and leaves his city and this condition is not met until one leaves the last of its houses:

Imam Ibn Munzir said, “I do not know of the Prophet (ﷺ) shortening his prayers during any of his travels until after he completely left Madinah.’[5]

Anas said, “I prayed the Noon prayer as four rakah with the Prophet (ﷺ) in Madinah and at Dhul-Hulayfah as two rakahs.”[6]

 

When The Shortening Of The Prayer Ends

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah: The traveler is allowed the allowance of shortening and combining his prayers, and of not fasting so long as he is still intending to return to his homeland. But if he is intending to stay there indefinitely, then the ruling on travelling no longer applies in his case.

 

References: 

[1] Surah Nisa :101

[2] Recorded in Muslim

[3] Recorded Muslim, Abu Dawud and Nasa’i

[4] Ibn Hazm in al-Muhalla, vol. 5, p.21

[5] From Fiqh Us-Sunnah by as-Sayyid Saabiq

[6] Recorded by Bukhari, Muslim, Sunan Abu Dawud, Tirmizi and Nasa’i. The prayer that he was referring to at Dhul-Hulayfah was the Asr prayer, as is made clear in narrations other than that of Bukhari.

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