What are the circumstances for Jama’ (join) prayers. Is it permissible for a traveller to join two prayers together sometimes and not join them at other times?
In the Name of Allāh, Most Gracious, Most Merciful;
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
Allah Says: “Verily, As‑Salāh (the prayer) is enjoined on the believers at fixed hours” (Al-Nisa’, 4:103).
But on certain circumstances a person is given concession to perform Jama’ (join, combine) the prayers, Zuhur and ‘Asar, and Maghrib and ‘Isha’ except Fajar Prayer, at the time of the earlier (haqiqi) or later (formal) prayers, depending on which is convenient to him. Imam Shāfie prefers the haqiqi combination of prayer while Hanafi prefers the formal combination, and both are permissible.
The concession for Jama’ Prayers notably are much broader, not only limited for a traveller but include fear, rain, sickness or other extraordinary circumstances too.
Ibn ‘Abbas (radiallahu`anhu) said: The Messenger of Allah (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) combined the Zuhur prayer with the ‘Asar prayers and the Maghrib prayer with the ‘Isha prayer in Medinah without being in a state of danger or rainfall. And in the hadith transmitted by Waki’ (the words are): “I said to Ibn ‘Abbas: What prompted him to do that? He said: So that his (Prophet’s) Ummah should not be put to (unnecessary) hardship.” ...” [Muslim 1520]
Besides travelling, fear and rain the words of Ibn ‘Abbās (radialahu`anhu) indicate that the hardship and difficulty that a person may face make it permissible for him to join the two prayers which may be joined together at the time of either earlier or later of them. This indicates of Allāh’s provision in making religion easy for this ummah. The basis of which is seen in the verses:
- “Allāh intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you” [Al-Baqarah, 2:185]
- “Allāh does not want to place you in difficulty” [Al-Mā’idah, 5:6]
- “and has not laid upon you in religion any hardship” [Al-Hajj, 22:78]
1. A Traveller
As a traveller a person is permissible to jama’( join) the prayers, or to offer each prayer at its own time, as he wishes, but it is better for him not to join prayers unless it will be too difficult for him to offer the prayers at their own times.
It is indicated by many ahādith, such as the following:
1. Anas ibn Malik (radiallahu`anhu) reported: The Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) jama’ the Maghrib and ‘Isha’ prayers when traveling. [Al-Bukhari (1108)]
2. Ibn ‘Abbas reported: The Messenger of Allah (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) jama’ two prayers whilst traveling. [Ahmad (3178); Shaykh Ahmad Shakir (3288) said: Its isnad is sahih].
3. It was narrated that Mu’adz Ibn Jabal (radiallahu`anhu) said: “We went out with the Messenger of Allah (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) on the campaign of Tabuk, and he used to pray Zuhur and ‘Asar together, and Maghrib and ‘Isha’ together.” [Muslim (706)]
1.1. The Distance
The view of the scholars varies, some says 81 km. But according to the majority of scholars, the distance which avails for a traveller is defined as being two marhalah approximately fifty-six miles or ninety-one kilometers. The distance in which the concession of traveling is allowed is that which is customarily regarded as travelling, which is approximately eighty five kilometers. Whoever is going to travel this distance or more is allowed to avail him of the concessions granted to travellers, namely wiping over the socks for three days and nights, and joining and shortening prayers, and not fasting in Ramadhān.
Ibn Qudāmah said in al-Mughni:
The view of Abu ‘Abd-Allah [i.e., Imam Ahmad] is that it is not permissible to qasar the prayers for a distance not of less than sixteen farsakhs, and a farsakh is three miles, so the distance is forty-eight miles. Ibn ‘Abbas estimated [He said]: From ‘Usfan to Makkah, or from al-Ta’if to Makkah, or from Jeddah to Makkah. Based on this, the distance at which it is permissible to shorten prayers (qasar) is the distance of two days’ travel directly for that destination. This is the view of Ibn ‘Abbas and Ibn ‘Umar, and the view of Malik, al-Layth and al-Shafi’e. The equivalent in kilometers is approximately 91 km.
1.2. Duration and Intention.
If the traveller intends to stay in a place for more than four days then he is not entitled for the concession as a traveler. It falls under the same ruling as a resident according to the majority of fuqaha’. He is entitled for the concession if he intends to stay for four days or less; he must offer the solāt in full, not in the Qasar form. According to Imam Shafi’e the time limit is four days with previous intentions and eighteen days without intention. Imam Shafi’e has inferred from a hadith of Anas ibn Malik as four days stay on the basis that the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) stayed in Makkah only three days, i.e 5th, 6th, and 7th of Dzulhijjah during Farewell Hajj (Muslim 1473). The rest of the days he has been moving in Mina and Arafat for Hajj ceremonies.
1.3. When Compelled to stay or unsure the conclusion of job.
If the traveller who stays in a place are compelled to stay more days to conclude what he came for, he may avail himself of the concessions granted to the traveller, even if that is for a long time. And there is no difference concession between travel by land or by sea.
[Fatawa al-Lajnah al-Da’imah (8/99)]
1.4. The two situations.
Firstly, when he is actually on the road, secondly, when he has made a stop, i.e., he is not on the road; either he has reached the place to which he is traveling, or he has made a stop on his journey and stayed there for a while.
It is permissible for any traveler to jama’ (join) prayers, whether he has made a stop or is on the road. But which is better for the traveler to jama’ (join) the prayers or to offer each prayer at its proper time?
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said: It is better for the traveler who has made a stop not to join the prayers, but if he joins them there is nothing wrong with it, unless he needs to join them because he is tired and needs to rest, or because it is hard for him to find water each time, and so on, in which case it is better for him to join the prayers and avail himself of the concession. But for the traveler who is on the road, it is better for him to join Zuhur and ‘Asar, and Maghrib and ‘Isha’ – in the way it is convenient for him, either doing it at the earlier prayer or the time of the later prayer.
[Mawaqeet al-Salāh, p. 26).
The Messenger of Allah (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) when given the choice between two things but he would choose that which was easier, so long as it was not a sin, in which case he would be the most careful of people to avoid it. [Narrated by Muslim, 3560; Muslim, 2327]
The Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) did not join prayers on all his journeys, rather he joined them sometimes and sometimes he did not. Based on this some scholars are of the view that it is permissible for the traveller to join his prayers unless he is on the road, but if he made a stop it is permissible for him to join them.
The Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) joined his prayers during the campaign to Tabuk when he had made a stop. [Hadith narrated by Ahmad and Abu Dawud; classified as sahih by al-Albani in al-Silsilah al-Sahihah (164)]
The apparent meaning of these ahādith is that the Prophet joined his prayers when he had made a stop. That was either to show that it is permissible, because there may a need to join prayers.
But the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) did not join his prayers when he stopped at Mina during the Farewell Hajj. Based on this, the traveller who has made a stop need not to join prayers but there is nothing wrong with it if he does join his prayers. He may needs to join his prayers, either because he is too tired and needs to rest, or because it is too hard to find water every time, and so on, then it is better for him to join them, and avail himself of the concession.
Thus, traveller who has made a stop has the choice: if he wishes he may join the prayers at the time of the later prayer or at the time of the earlier prayer. It is better for him to offer each prayer at its proper time, as the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) did in Mina. And, it should be noted that prayer in congregation is essential for a traveller and it is not permissible for him to join prayers and pray alone.
The Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) granted a concession to the woman who suffered from istihadah (non-menstrual bleeding), and he allowed her to jama’ (join) the prayers.
[Narrated by Abu Dawud (287) and al-Tirmidzi (128); classified as hasan by al-Albani in Sahih al-Tirmidzi]
Istihadah is a kind of sickness, and Imam Ahmad quoted as evidence for it being permissible for a sick person to join prayers the fact that sickness is worse than travel. He was treated with cupping after sunset, then he ate supper then he joined Maghrib and ‘Isha’ prayers. [Kashshaf al-Qina’ (2/5)]
It should be noted that the sick person for whom it is permissible to jama’ (join) prayers should offer each prayer in full without shortening it, because shortening of the prayers is only permitted for the traveller. Some people may think that if a person jama’ the prayers at home because of sickness he is also allowed to qasar them as well. No, it is incorrect to do so.
Ibn Taymiyah (rahimahullah) said: The reason for qasar prayers is travel only, and it is not permitted when one is not travelling. As for jama’ prayers when one has an excuse or a need for it, if he needs to, he may jama’ them when travelling a short or long distances, and he may jama’ them when it is raining and the like, or when he is sick and the like, or for other reasons. The aim behind this is to spare the ummah from hardship. The reasons which make it permissible to jama’ prayers are broader than those which make it permissible to qasar them.
3. Other extraordinary circumstances
Jama’ prayers is permissible for every traveller, and for the non-traveller if the circumstances is too difficult for him to offer every prayer on time, such as one who is sick, or if there is rain, or he is busy with some work that he cannot delay in order to pray, such as a student taking an exam or a doctor who is doing surgery and so on. [Majmū’ al-Fatawa (22/293)]
Jama’ of Solat are broader in scope than Qasar the prayers, the reasons for doing Jama’ are more numerous.
A person may jama’ the prayers as when travelling, or when not travelling, because of sickness or istihādah (non-menstrual vaginal bleeding) or because he fears for himself or his property, or because of heavy rain and other excuses that permit joining prayers, without shortening them, because prayers may only be shortened when travelling.
And Allāh knows best.
[Adapted from Fatwa No: 111916 Islam Q&A]