by Ashur Shamis
Rule of Prayer while travelling
When one goes travelling, it is expected of him that he performs
only two rak'ahs for the prayers of four rak'ahs. Performing the
Salah like this people commonly refer to as praying qasr (reduced).
In fact however, it is not qasr merely tamaam (complete number),
considering the following hadiths: 'A'ishah, may Allah be pleased
with her, stated
"The Salah which was first of all made compulsory was two
rak'ahs, thereupon the Salatu-l hadar (Salah while resident in
a community) was increased and the Salaatu-s safar (Salah while
travelling) was confirmed: inna-s salaata awwala maa furidat kaanat
rakatayni, thumma ziidat Salaatu hadari wa uqirrat salaatu-s safar."
(Bukhari and Muslim-Bulughu-l Maram, compiled by Al Hafiz Ibn
Hajar al 'Asqalani).
'Umar bin al Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "The
Salah while travelling is two rak'ahs, and the Salah of Jumu'ah
is two rak'ahs, and Al Adha is two rak'ahs and Al Fitr is two rak'ahs-complete,
not reduced-from the tongue of your Prophet: Salaatu-s safari rakatayni,
wa Salaatu-l Jumu'ati rakatayni wa-l adhaa rakaatayni, wa-lfitrirak'atayni
tamaamunghayru qasrin-' blaa lisaani Nabiyyikum. "(An Nasaa'i -
Tafsir Ibn Kathir, i : 545)
Ibn'Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "Salah, when prayed
with two rak'ahs during a journey, is the complete number: inna-s
salaata, idhaa sulliyat rakatayni fi-s safari, fahiya tamaamun".
(Tafsir Ibn Kathir, i : 545).
Ibn' Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "The Salaatu-s Safar
is two rak'ahs complete not reduced: rather the reduction is in
Salaatul-Makhaafah (salah during alarm): Salaatu-s safari rakatayni
tamaamun ghayru qasrin: innama-l qasru fi salaati-l makhaafati.
" (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, i : 545).
The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, Abu Bakr and 'Umar
never performed zuhr, 'asr and 'ishaa with four rak'ahs while journeying.
'A'ishah, Mother of Believers, may Allah be pleased with her, stated,
"The Salah of two rak'ahs was made compulsory as two rak'ahs at
Mecca. Then after the messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of
Allah be upon him, arrived at Medina there was added with each two
rak'ahs except in Maghrib because it is the Witr of the Daytime
and Salaatu-l Fajr due to the length of its recital (qiraa'ah).
But he would when journeying pray the first salah, namely, that
which was made compulsory at Mecca: qad furidati-s salaatu rakatayni
rak'atayni bimakkata. Falamma qadima Rasoolu-Llaahi sala-Llaahu
'alayhi wa sallama-l Madinata zaada maa kulli rak'atayni rakatayni
illaa fir Maghribi fa'annahaa Witru-n Nahaari, wa salaati-l Fairi
litouli qiraaatihaa. Wa kaana, idhaa saafara, sala-s Salaata-1 oulaa,
ay allatiy furidat bi Makkata. "All the components of this hadith
(reported by Ahmad, Al Bayhaqi, Ibn Hibbaan and Ibn Khuzaymah) are
believable (Fiqh-us Sunnah, compiled by Sayyid Sabiq, ii : 204).
Ibnu-l Qayyim said, "And he, peace and blessings of Allah be upon
him, reduced the Quaternaries (rubaaiyyah: Salah of four rak'ahs)
and he performed two rak'ahs from the time he left the house to
go journeying until he returned to Medina. It cannot be firmly established
that he offered the full number of rak'ahs of quaternary salah.
None of the Imams differs on this, even though they differ about
the regulation of qasr. 'Umar, Ali, Ibn Mas'oud, Ibn 'Abbas, Ibn
'Umar, Jaabir say that it is necessary (waajib). This is the way
of the Hanafiyyah.
The Hanafiyyah consider that a musaafir who prayed the quaternary
fard prayers (fard prayers of four rak'ahs ie. zuhr,'asr,'ishaa')
along with one offering four rak'ahs, then if he remain seated
after the tashahhud1 in the second his salah would
hold good with the reprehensibility (karaahah) of postponing the
salaam and whatever is beyond the two rak'ahs is nafl, and if
he did not remain sitting at the second rak'ah his fard prayer
would be nullified (not valid)." (Fiqh-us Sunnah, ii : 204).
The Malikiyah are of the opinion that the Reduction is sunnatun
muakkadah (a Sunnah which is emphasised) which is more important
than the decree to congregate in' prayer (jama'ah). Therefore if
a person is unable to find another who is similarly on a journey
to follow, he should pray the eduction alone. It is detestable (makruh)
for him to follow those who are muqim, (locally resident).
The Hanbaliyyah are of the opinion that the Reduction is authorised
(jaaiz) and is more, excellent than tamaam (completed number). This
is also the opinion of the Shafi'iyyah if the journey reaches the
quintessence, (masaafah) of the Reduction.
Journeys which permit qasr and permit jam'aat
A. Concerning Qasr
It is a point about which there is no doubt that Allah, subhaanahu
wa ta'ala, has decreed the regulations of safar (journeying) while
knowing that the means of travel will change following the progress
of time. And Allah has not made qasr conditional upon a certain
type of safar nor upon one particular vehicle, and He has not
made difficulty a condition either. Allah has merely clarified
safar, that is "to go from the place of residence to another place
carrying pro- visions commensurate with the situation of a person
who wishes to travel depending upon individual circumstances."
Certainly that which is quickly understood from the ayat of
the qur'an is that"any kind of safar, long or short, permits because
of it qasr, iam' and the breaking of fast." There is nothing in
the Sunnah which seeks to confine this lack of restriction.
Abu Bakr ibnu-i Mundhir and other 'ulama. have quoted more than
twenty statements on this question, but we shall mention here
the most sahih of that which has been said on this.
It is reported by Ahmad, Muslim, Abu Da'oud, and Al Bayhaqi from
Yahya bin azid who said, "I asked Anas bin Malik about qasr of salah,
and Anas said 'the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, if
he went out on a journey of three miles or farsakh2 would
pray with two rak'ahs: 'kaana-n Nabiyyu salla-Llaahu 'alayhi wa
sallama idhaa kharaja masirati thalaathati amyaali aw faraasikha
yusalliy rakatayn"' Al Hafiz ibnu Hajjar says in Al Fathu-l Bari,
"this is the most sahih and unambiguous mentioned in that list."
Any uncertainty in clarifying 'three miles or farsakhs' in this
hadith is dispelled by the statement of Abu Sa'id al Khudri, "The
Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, if he were
travelling one farsakh would shorten (qasr) his salah." This is
reported by Sa'id bin Mansour and it is mentioned by Al Hafiz in
At Talkhiis without stating his source. As is well-known one farsakh
is three miles, and so the hadith of Abou Sa'iid dispels any uncertainty
in the hadith of Anas bin Malik, and it is clear that the least
distance in which the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be
upon him, made his Salah qasr was three miles.
A farsakh is 5541 metres(5715yds)and a mile is 1748 metres (1905
yds). And the shortest mentioned in the distances of qasr is one
mile which is reported by Ibn Abou 'Shaybah with a reliable chain
of transmission (bisnaadin sahihin) from Ibn 'Umar, and it is
this which is held by Imam Ibn Hazm. That which can correctly
be termed safar is a journey of a minimum of one mile. Ibn' Umar
said, "Even though I go one mile I shorten the Salah: law kharajtu
milan laqasartu-s salaah. "
The opinions of those fuqahaa3 who stipulate a distance
of at least two marhalahs (one marhalah or way station, is equivalent
to one day's journey) according to one group, or three marhalahs
according to another group, have been refuted by Imam Abu-l- Qasim
al Khiraqiy. In Al Mughni, Ibn Qudamah says; "The composer (musannif,
'i.e. al Khiraqiy) says; "I do not regard that which the Imams
have arrived at in this as evidenced, since the statements of
the sahabahs (Companions) are in contradiction, and there can
be no evidence for it with disagreement. There is transmitted
from Ibn 'Umar and Ibn 'Abbas other than that which has been pleaded
by our associates (Hanbaliyyah' ulama), moreover if it weren't
to be found thus there could not be any evidence for their statement
which is not in the sayings of the Prophet, peace and blessings
be upon him or his actions. And if their statements cannot be
firmly established, this renders impossible the development of
their work to the assessments (taqdir) which they have indicated
in either method, as
(a) they contradict the words of the Prophet, peace and blessings
be upon him, which we have reported above and the clear meaning
of the Qur'an, on the grounds that the apparent meaning of the
Qur'an authorises qasr for he who is 'journeying in the land'.
Allah, subhaanahu wa taala, says, "And when you are journeying
in the land there is no fault in you that you shorten the prayer:
wa idhaa darabatum fi-l ardi fai'aysa 'alaykum jinaahun an taqsurou
mina-s 'alaykum (Qur'an, Suratu-n Nisa', 4 : 101).
The condition of Alarm (or fear - khawf) is cancelled by the
hadith from Ya'iaa bin Umayyah, so the literal application of
the ayah remains available to all journeying in the land.
(b) The way to assessing (taqdir) is erecting on firm foundations
(tawqif) and a result based upon mere opinion is particularly
not allowable. There can't be returned a sound source for it nor
any parallel to compare with in this. The weight of evidence must
be with those who permit qasr for every musafir until there is
a consensus (ijma') over the disagreement in this."
Journeying by aeroplane or by railway is the same in this as
voluntary journeying or otherwise. And he whose work necessitates
continuous journeying (such as a sailor or mule-carter , for example)
is permitted to qasr and break fast (fitr) just as though he were
a true musafir. (Fiqh us Sunnah, see section on Salaatu-s Safar).
B. Concerning Jam'aat
Jam'aat (combining) while journeying is a rukhsatun 'aridah
(broad concession), that is, when we are on a safar and need to
leave the stopping place before noon (zawaal) the beginning of
the time for the zuhr salah) we can postpone (jamu-t takhir) the
zuhr salah till 'asr, or if we need to leave after zuhr, we can
bring forward (jamu-t taqdim.)'asr to zuhr. However, if were stat
a stopping place it would be better if we performed the relevant
salah qasr. Abou Ya'faa said, "The permission to jam' the salah
during safar pertains when the person who is going to jam' is
facing the sort of difficulties which would enable him to miss
communal salah (jama'ah) and salaatu-i Jumu'ah ("Friday Prayers")
for example, not having arrived at a stopping place."
Some muhaddiths (scientists of hadith) permit jam'aat during
safar even though one has already broken the journey at a stopping
place. Further, take note of this analysis: It is permitted for
a musallin (worshipper) that he combine salaat-ul-zuhr and salaatu-l
'asr by 'bringing forward' (taqdim) : performing the two salahs
during the time allotted to the earlier) or 'postponing' (ta'khir:
performing the two during the time for the later), and similarly
with Salaatu-t maghrib and Salaatu-l Isha', whenever a situation
is found to fall under the, circumstances given below:
1. THROUGH BEING AT 'ARAFAH MUZDALIFAH
The 'ulama' are agreed that the jam'aat of zuhr and 'asr
by 'bringing forward' during the time of zuhr at 'Arafah and between
maghrib and 'ishaa' by 'postponing' to the time of 'ishaa' at
Muzdalifah is a Sunnah (an authorised practice by the actions,
speech or consent of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings
be upon him), because that is what was done by the Messenger of
Allah. peace and blessings be upon him.
2. THROUGH JOURNEYING
The jam'aah of two salahs while journeying in the time of one
of them is authorised (jaiz) by the statements of most experts
(ahlu-l 'ilm) there is no distinction between the fact of stopping
over or proceeding.
(a) Mu'aadh clarified that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon
him, at the Tabuk Campaign when noon came before he moved off combined
'Asr with Zuhr and when he moved off before noon, he postponed Zuhr
until he stopped to perform Salaatu-'Asr. Similarly with maghrib;
if the sun set before he moved off, he combined 'ishaa' with maghrib,
if he moved off before sunset, he postponed maghrib until he stopped
for salatu-l Isha' when he combined the two. (Abu Da'oud and At
Tirmidhi. At Tirmidhi said that this hadith is hasan).
(b) Kurayb reported from Ibn 'Abbas that he said, "Should I not
inform you about the salah of the Messenger of Allah, peace and
blessings be upon him, while journeying?" We said, "Certainly".
He said. "if the Sun passed its zenith while he was at his stopping
place (fii manzilihil he would combine 'asr with zuhr before he
travelled, and if it had not yet passed its zenith while he was
at his stopping-place, he would proceed until the time for Salaatu-l
'asr had come when he would stop and then combine zuhr with 'asr.
And if the time for maghrib came while he was at his stopping
place he would combine 'isha' with it, and if it had not come
while he was at his stopping place he would travel until it was
'isha' when he would stop and then combine the two."
(c) It is recorded by Imam Malik in Al Muwattaa' from Mu'aadh that
the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, on one day during
the Tabuk campaign postponed the salah and then he came out and
performed zuhr and'asr together, then he went in; then he came out
and performed maghrib and 'isha together.
This hadith is recorded by Imam Ahmad, and something similar by
Imam Ash Shaafi' in his Musnad. Imam Ash Shaafi's wording states,
"if he proceeded before the Sun had passed its zenith he would
postpone zuhr until he combined it with 'asr in the time of 'asr."
This hadith is recorded too by Al Bayhaqi with an excellent chain
of authorities, (bi isnaadin jayyid) who comments, "The jam'aat
of two salahs by reason of journeying is from those matters whose
employment by the sahabahs and tabi'iin (the generation following
the death of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him) is
Imam Ash Shaafi commented, "'then he went in; then he came out'
cannot be other than he was stopping over (thumma dakhala thutnma
kharaia laa yakounu illa wa huwa naazil)". Ibn Qudaamah says in
Al Mughniy, after mentioning this hadith, "Ibn 'Abd-l Barr says,
'this hadith is sahih (authoritative), the isnaad (chain of transmitters)
is firmly established"4 (Al Mughniy ii : 115-116).
Historians (or 'biographers':ahlu-s siyar) state that the Tabuk
Campaign was during year Nine. And in this hadith is the clearest
demonstration and the strongest evidence for the refutation of
those who say that there is no jam'aat of two salahs except if
the travelling be renewed. The Prophet, peace and blessings be
upon him, had been combining while he was encamped and not proceeding;
he was staying in his tent, he came out and performed two salahs
together and then he withdrew into his tent. And Muslim recorded
this hadith in his ahih, saying, "Thus he had combined uhr and
'asr together, and maghrib and 'isha' together".
Adherence to this hadith is obligatory because of its sureness,
it being unequivocal in its provision, there being no contradiction
to it, and because jam' is one of the concessions of safar (journeying)
which is not a special function of actually being in the process
of journeying, as with qasr and mas'ah (during wudu, stroking
with wet fingers the footwear or headgear instead of uncovering
to wash completely); however a'khir (postponing) is better.
3. BECAUSE OF RAIN
It is recorded by Al Athram in his Sunan from Abou Salamah bin'Abdu-r
Rahman that he said, "it is from the Sunnah that if the day is rainy
to jam' maghrib with 'ishaa"'. It is reported by Al Bukhari that
the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, combined maghrib with
'ishaa' during a rainy night. The summary of the Paths (madhhabs)
in this matter is
(a) The Shafi'iyyah authorise the combining (jam'aat) of zuhr
with 'asr and maghrib with 'isha by 'bringing forward' (jam'u-t
taqdim) only for one who is domiciled at a place (muqim), with
the conditions that there is rain at the takbiratu-l ihraam of
the first salah, at the cession of it, and at the beginning of
(b) According to Imam Malik, jam'u-t taqdim is authorised for
maghrib and 'isha' in the mosque because of rain which is actually
failing or which is expected to fail, and because of mud and darkness
if the mud has much impeded the hard core of people who wear shoes,
and is detested (makruh) for zuhr and 'asr because of rain.
(c) The Hanbaliyyah authorise the jam' of maghrib and 'isha'
only whether by bringing forward' or 'postponing', resulting from
snow, ice, mud, intense cold, and rain which soaks the clothes.
This concession is a special favour for he who would perform his
salah communally at the mosque coming straight there from a distance.
As for he who is already in the mosque, or is performing his salah
communally at his house, or who can walk to the mosque covered
by something, or who has a mosque close to his home, jam' is not
authorised for him.
4. THROUGH SICKNESS OR EXCUSING CIRCUMSTANCES
Imam Ahmad, Qadi Husayn, Al Khuttabiy, and Al Mutawai are of
one opinion with the Shaafi'iyyah that jam'aat (whether taqdim
or ta'khir) is authorised with the excuse of sickness because
the distress involved in it is considerably greater than with
rain. An Nawawi commented, "This is strongly proved."
Ibn Qudamah states in Al Mughniy that the sort of sickness which
permits jam'aat is that which, when the performance of each salah
in its own time is adhered to, results in distress and weakness.
The Hanbaliyyah widen the scope and authorise jam'aat (whether
taqdim or ta'khir) for all who have excusing circumstances ('udhur);
one who is afraid, a woman who is breast feeding for whom it would
be a hardship to wash her clothes at the time of each salaah,
a woman who is about to begin her monthly period or just finish
(mustahaadah), one who is incontinent, one who is unable to clean
himself (tahaarah : wudu', tayammum, or bathing), or one who fears
for his life, his belongings, or his merchandise.
Ibn Taymiyah states that the madhhab which is the widest in
scope over jam'aat is the madhhab of Imam Ahmad (ibn Hanbal),
which authorises jam' if there is work as An Nasaa'i reports (traceable
back to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him) that it
is said, "jam'ut is also authorised for cooks, bakers, and the
like, and for he who is afraid his goods will spoil."
5. THROUGH NEED.
An Nawawi says in Sharh Muslim, "A proportion of the imams hold
an opinion that authorises jam'ut through need for one who is
resident in a community as long as it is not adopted as a customary
practice". This is the opinion of Ibn Sirin and Ash'hab from the
friends of Imam Malik. This is related also by Al Khutabi from
Al Qaffai and Ash Shashiy Al Kabir from the followers of Imam
Ash Shafi'iy, and from Abou Is'haq, Al Marwaziy, and a body of
principals of hadith (ashabu-l hadith). Ibn Mundhir preferred
This opinion is strengthened by the statement of Ibn 'Abbas,
"The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, wished not to hem
in his ummat" Ibn 'Abbas did not say because of sickness or similar.
This hadith from Ibn 'Abbas (which is reported by Muslim) states,
"The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, combined
zuhr and 'asr and maghrib and 'isha at Medina with no Alarm and
no Rain." A man asked Ibn'Abbas, "What was the aim of the Prophet,
peace and blessings be upon him, in doing that?" He replied, "He
desired that his ummah should not be hemmed in: armada an laa
It is reported by Al Bukhari and Muslim from Ibn 'Abbas that
the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, prayed at Medina
seven rak'ahs (jam'aat) and eight rak'ahs (jam'aat). That is zuhr
with 'asr and maghrib with 'isha'.
It is reported by Muslim from 'Abdullah bin haqiq that Ibn 'Abbas
gave a lecture one day after 'asr until the sun had set and the
stars were visible, upon which one of the people cried "Salah,
Salah," 'Abdullah said, "A person from Banu Tamim (maybe indicating
himself) cried, 'Salah, Salah' whereupon Ibn 'Abbas replied, "Do
you teach me the Sunnah? You son without a mother!" Then Ibn 'Abbas
said, "I saw the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon
him, jam' between zuhr and 'asr and maghrib and 'isha"' 'Abdullah
bin Shaqiq said that this did not satisfy my heart, so I asked
Abu Hurayrah. Abu Hurayrah verified the statement of Ibn 'Abbas."
If, after we have completed offering two alahs during the time
of one of them, then excusing circumstances finish before entering
the time that the second salah is due, it is not necessary for
us to perform the second salah again, it is enough that we have
done it, for that salah was performed validly and so the responsibility
has been fulfilled. (Fiqh-us Sunnah, 'Salaat-us Safar'). Prior
Intention is not a Pre-condition for Jam'aat and Qasr Imam Ibn
Taymiyah states-and this is the consensus of 'ulama:- "Whenever
the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, prayed qasr or jam'aat
together with the Sahabahs, he never told any of them to make
niyyah (prior intention) to iam' or qasr. indeed, the Prophet,
peace and blessings be upon him, left Medina for Mecca and offered
two rak'ahs without jam'aat. Again the Prophet, peace and blessings
be upon him, offered salaatu-zuhr at 'Arafah without informing
the people that he aimed to offer Salaat-ul 'Asr as well afterwards.
After the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, had offered
zuhr he offered 'asr. The Sahabahs thus did not make a niyah to
jam'. That was jam'u-t taqdim. It was like that also when he left
Medina he offered 'asr two rak'ahs for' Asr at Dhu-l Hulayfah.
He did not tell them to make a niyah for qasr."
Concerning the muwalah6 of the two salahs, Imam Ibn
Taymmiyah says, "The reliable opinion does not make this a condition
(share) at all, neither for the time of the first salah nor for
the time of the second. It ought to be seen that muwalah would
defeat the purpose of the concession (rukhsah )'6,, Imam Ash Shaafi'
says, "One can offer maghrib at one's home with the intention
of jam', and then go to the mosque and offer 'isha'." The same
opinion is recorded from Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal. Rules about Musaafir
following Muqim, and vice versa
'Imraan bin Husayn states, "The Messenger of Allah did not travel
a journey without praying two rak'ahs until he returned, and he
resided at Mecca at the time of the Conquest for eighteen nights;
he prayed with the people two rak'ahs, except for maghrib, and
then he said, 'People of Mecca, stand up and then pray the other
two rak'ahs, for we are a group of travellers': maa saafara Rasoulu-Llaahi
safaran illaa sallaa rakatayni hattaa yarjia wa annahu aqaama
bimakkata zamana-l Fathi thamaaniya 'ashrata laylatan, yusalliy
bin naasi rakatayni, illaa-l maghriba, thumma yaqoulu, Yaa Ahla
Makkata, qoumou fasallou rak'atayni akhiratayni, fainnaa qawmu
safarin. " (Abu Da'oud, recorded by Imam Ibn Qudaamah in Al Mughniy
i : 130.)
It is recorded by Imam Malik that "Abdullah bin 'Umar had prayed
four behind the Imam at Mina, and when he prayed on his own he
prayed two rak'ahs: inna 'Abdallaahi-bna 'Umara kaana yusalliy
waraaa-l Imaami biminaa arbaan, wa idhaa sallaa linafsihi sallaa
rakatayni. " (Imam Malik, Al Muwattaa', i:164). Further than that,
Imam Ibn Hazm says in Al Muhalla Sharahu-l Mujallah (5:31) that
it is possible for us to suffice with only two rak'ahs, even though
we pray behind and Imam who is muqim (locally domiciled).
Translated from the Indonesian, and adapted from "Pedoman Shatat",
compiled by Shaykh Muhammad Hasbi As Siddiqi, Jakarta.
1. tashahhud: saying "I testify that there is no God but Allah
and Muhammad is His Messenger."
2. farsakh ("parasang"): an old Persian measure of length reckoned
at 30 stadia, or between 3 and 4 miles. A stadia (stadium) was
an old Greek measure of length, 600 Greek or 6063/4 English feet.
3. Faqih (plur. fuqahaa')-jurisprudent, legist.
4. Al Mughniy, compiled by Imam Muwaffaqud Din Ibn Qudamah.
5. mukaarin: muleteer, carter, etc. who works for hire. The implications
of this for long-distance train crews, air crews, or TIR drivers
are interesting - Ed.
6. muwalah: performing the second salah immediately after having
finished the first.