Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Should one Qasar or pray in the congregation?

Should a traveller offer Qasar Solat in his house or pray in congregation?

If I stay in a city for a temporary period whilst travelling, is it permissible to offer qasar solat in my house or to offer them in complete form in congregation in the mosque?

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All the praise and thanks is due to Allah, Subhanahu wata`ala. Peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

The obligation to pray in congregation is not waived for the traveller

The Prophet (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said:

“Whoever hears the call [adzan] and does not come, there is no prayer for him (i.e., his prayer is not valid), except for one who has an excuse.”

[Narrated by al-Tirmidzi, 217: Sahih]

Prayer in congregation is obligatory and it is not permissible for a Muslim not to do that unless he has an excuse. Based on this, you have to offer the prayers in congregation in the mosque. If the imam is a resident (is not travelling) then you should offer the prayer in full with him, and not shorten it.

Shaykh Abd al-‘Azeez Ibn Baaz was asked: If a person travels to Jeddah, for example, is he allowed shortening his prayers or does he have to pray with the congregation in the mosque?

Shaykh Ibn Baaz replied:

If the traveller is still en route, it does not matter, but if he has reached his destination then he should not pray on his own, rather he has to pray with the people and offer the prayer in full. But if he is still on the road and is alone and the time for prayer comes, there is nothing wrong with him praying on his own and shortening the prayers whilst travelling, making the four-rak’ah prayers two rak’ahs.

[Majmu’ Fatawa wa Maqalat Mutanawwi’ah li’l-Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (12/297)]

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen was asked: when and how should a traveller pray?

Ibn ‘Uthaymeen replied:

The traveller may pray a two rak’ahs from when he leaves his city or town, until he returns to it, because ‘Aa’ishah (radiallahu’anha) said:

“When the prayer was first enjoined it was a two rak’ahs, then the prayer of the traveller remained like that but the prayer of one who is not travelling was increased to four.”

[Narrated by al-Bukhari, 1090; Muslim, 685].

Anas bin Malik (radiallahu’anhu) said:

“We went out with the Prophet (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) from Madinah to Makkah, and we prayed a two rak’ahs each time, until we came back to Madinah”.

[Narrated by al-Bukhari, 1081; Muslim, 693]

If a musafir prays with an imam he should solat a four rak’ahs

But if a traveller prays with an imam he should pray four rak’ahs, whether he catches up with the solat from the beginning or he misses part of it, because the general meaning of the Prophet’s (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) words:

“When you hear the iqamah, then walk to the prayer, and you should be tranquil and dignified, and not rush. Whatever you catch up with, prays, and whatever you miss, complete it.”

[Narrated by al-Bukhari, 636; Muslim, 602]

The general meaning of the phrase “Whatever you catch up with, pray, and whatever you miss, complete it” includes travellers who pray behind an imam who is offering a four-rak’ah prayer, and others.

Ibn ‘Abbas (radiallahu’anhu) was asked why a traveller should pray two-rak’ahs when he is alone and four when he prays behind a resident. He said: “That is the Sunnah.”

[Narrated by Muslim, 688; Ahmad, 1865].

The obligation to solat in congregation is not waived for the traveller, because Allah has enjoined that even in the case of fighting. Allah says:

“When you (O Messenger Muhammad) are among them, and lead them in As-Solah (the prayer), let one party of them stand up [in Solah (prayer)] with you taking their arms with them; when they finish their prostrations, let them take their positions in the rear and let the other party come up which have not yet prayed, and let them pray with you…”

[Al-Nisa’, 4:102]

If the traveller in the city, hears the adzan he has to attend prayers in congregation

Based on this, if the traveller is in a city or town other than his own, he has to attend prayers in congregation in the mosque if he hears the call to prayer, unless he is far away or fears that he may miss meeting up with his travelling companions, because of the general meaning of the evidence which indicates that the one who hears the adzan or iqamah is obliged to pray in congregation.

[Majmu’ Fatawa wa Rasa’il al-Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, 15/252].

Ibn ‘Uthaymeen was also asked:

If I am travelling and I hear the call to prayer, do I have to pray in the mosque? If I pray in the place where I am staying, is there anything wrong with that? If the duration of my trip is more than four consecutive days, should I shorten my prayers or offer them in full?

Ibn ‘Uthaymeen replied: If you hear the adzan when you are in the place where you are staying, then you have to attend the mosque, because the Prophet (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam ) said to a man who asked him for permission not to pray in congregation:

“Can you hear the call?” He said, “Yes.” He (s.a.w) said: “Then answer it.”

[Narrated by Muslim, 6533]

And the Prophet (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said:

“Whoever hears the call [adzan] and does not come, there is no prayer for him (i.e., his prayer is not valid), except for one who has an excuse.”

[Narrated by al-Tirmidzi, 217; classified as sahih by al-Albani in Sahih al-Tirmidzi]

This evidence to indicate that this ruling applies to a traveller, unless by going to the mosque it will disrupt your journey, you want to pray in the place where you are staying, or you are uncertain that if you go to the mosque the imam will delay the prayer, and you want to leave and you are worried that you may miss the train or plane, etc.

[Majmu’ Fatawa wa Rasaa’il al-Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, 15/422].

[Excerpted with modification from Fatwa No: 40299 Islam QA]

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