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I have been living and working in Saudi Arabia for the last 18 years. I go to Pakistan or some other place during my annual vacation for a month. My question is:1)Do I pray the full prayers in Pakistan, as I have blood relatives there ( the common Bohra practice) or do I shorten the prayers

Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,

As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.  (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)

 

One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:

What is the ruling on the prayers during travelling?

I have been living and working in Saudi Arabia for the last 18 years. I go to Pakistan or some other place during my annual vacation for a month.

My question is:

1)       Do I pray the full prayers in Pakistan, as I have blood relatives there ( the common Bohra practice) or do I shorten the prayers

2)       Does the period of stay have any effect. Sometimes I spend a week there and sometimes a month.

3)       Do we have to go to the Masjid to pray in Paksitan or can we pray at home. Also should we read the "witr" prayer.

4)       We go to Madina once a year to pray there. How do we offer prayers there. Should we only pray the farz prayer or can we pray the "sunnah and nawafel " also. There is some confusion here as some people beleive that since we are travelling we should only pray the "farz" 

 

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Answer:

 

Prayer while traveling Kasr

In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.

 

Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 4 Surah Nisa verse 101:

When you go on a journey, there is no harm, if you shorten your salaat, (especially) when you fear that the disbelievers might harass you, for the disbelievers are openly bent upon enmity against you.

 

Dear and Beloved Sister in Islam, to make the observance of the deen easy, the Lord Most Merciful has permitted the believers to shorten their prayers when they are on a journey as stated in the above Verse of Surah Nisaa.

 

There are several authentic narrations that the Messenger of Allah (saws) would shorten his prayers whenever he was on a journey. According to authentic tradition the Prophet (saws) did not stay out of Madinah for a period longer than 20 days at any one stretch where he (saws) did indeed shorten his prayers, the eminent scholars and jurists in Islam have differed on exactly how many days one may offer shortened prayers when one is on a journey, depending on which hadith they use as their evidence.

 

Some of the scholars have said four days, while others have allowed ten, fourteen, nineteen or twenty days, while others have said even six months and others have said that regardless of the time, as long as one has no intention to settle down in that place, he may shorten his prayers as long as he does not return to his place of residence! Each of the eminent scholars have given their evidence from the Sunnah or tradition of the Messenger of Allah (saws) and of his noble companions, thus regardless of which school of thought one prefers over the other, as long as one has evidence from the Sunnah, it would be deemed acceptable in Shariah.

 

Quoted below from the Fiqh-us-Sunnah are the various and diverse opinions of some of the eminent scholars based on their understanding of the practice of the Messenger of Allah (saws) and his noble companions.

 

Fiqh-us-Sunnah Fiqh 2.112

When the traveler is to pray the complete salah

A traveler may shorten his salah as long as he is on a journey. Likewise if he stays in some place for business or some other affair, then he may shorten his salah as long as he is there, even for years. If the person intends to stay in a place for a certain amount of time then, according to Ibn al-Qayyim, he remains a traveler, regardless of whether he plans to stay there for a long or short time, as long as he does not plan to stay [i.e., reside and not return] in the place that he has traveled to. The scholars differ on this point. Summing up and giving his own opinion, Ibn al-Qayyim says: "The Messenger of Allah (saws) stayed in Tabuk for twenty days and during that time he (saws) shortened his salah and he (saws) did not say that one may not shorten his salah if he stays longer than that, although there is agreement that he did stay there for that period of time."


In Sahih al-Bukhari, it is recorded that Ibn 'Abbas said: "The Prophet (saws) stayed, during some of his journeys, for nineteen day and he prayed only two rak'at. If we stayed in a place for nineteen days, we would not pray the complete salah. However, if we stayed longer than that, we would perform the whole salah." Ahmad states that ibn 'Abbas was referring to the Prophet's (saws) stay in Makkah at the time of its conquest when he said: "The Messenger of Allah (saws) stayed in Makkah for eighteen days during the time of the conquest as he (saws) had to go to Hunain and was not planning to stay there." This is his interpretation of Ibn 'Abbas' statement. Others say that Ibn 'Abbas was referring to the Prophet's (saws) stay in Tabuk as Jabir ibn 'Abdullah said: "The Messenger of Allah (saws) stayed in Tabuk for twenty days and performed qasr salah." Imam Ahmad related this in his Musnad. Al-Miswar ibn Makhramah reports: "We stayed with Sa'd in some of the cities of ash-Sham [Syria] for forty days, and Sa'd would perform qasr while we would offer the whole salah." Naf'i relates: "Ibn 'Umar was in Azerbaijan for six months, as there was snow blocking the pass, and he would pray two rak'at." Hafs ibn 'Ubaidullah says: "Anas ibn Malik stayed in ash-Sham for two years and he prayed the salah of a traveler." Anas relates: "The companions of the Prophet (saws) stayed in Ram Hurmuz for seven months and they shortened their salah." Al-Hassan reports: "I stayed with 'Abdurrahman ibn Samurah for two years in Kabul, and he shortened his salah but he did not combine the salah." Ibrahim says: "We resided in Rai for a year or more and in Sijistan for two years . . . [and we prayed qasr].

Concerning other opinions which people follow Imam Ahmad say: "If a person intends to stay for four days, he has to offer the whole salah and he may offer qasr if his intention is for less than that. This is based on an interpretation of the reports from the Prophet (saws) and his companions [i.e., they never intended to stay for longer than that and would always say: 'We will leave tomorrow,' and so on]. This interpretation is obviously suspect. The Prophet (saws) conquered Makkah and stayed there to establish Islam, eradicate polytheism, and to guide the Arabs. It definitely goes, without saying, that such an objective does take more than a day or two to complete. Similarly, his stay in Tabuk was in preparation for the impending war and he knew that this might take longer than just four days. In the same way, Ibn 'Umar's stay in Azerbaijan for six months, and his praying qasr during the entire time was with the knowledge that it takes more than two or three days for such snow to melt and the pass to become traversable. The same is the case with Anas' stay of two years in ash-Sham and his praying qasr and the companions' stay in Ram Hurmuz for seven months while shortening their prayers. It is well known that activities like theirs, such as jihad and guarding, took more than four days." The followers of Ahmad maintain: "If one is staying in a place for the purpose of jihad or due to imprisonment or sickness, then one may shorten one's salah regardless of whether the person thinks that such a situation may last for a short time or a long time." This is correct but there is no proof that such conditions have been stipulated in the Qur'an, Sunnah, ijma' (consensus), or practice of the Prophet's companions. They argued that such conditions are based on what is needed for the person to fulfill his need while remaining a traveler, and that is what is less than four days. His response to them was: 'From where do you derive those conditions, while the Prophet (saws) stayed for more than four days, shortening his salah, in Makkah and Tabuk, and he did not mention to anyone anything about it and he never told them that he never intended to stay for more than four days, even though he knew that the people would [strictly] follow his actions concerning the salah. They surely followed him in his shortening of the salah, and he (saws) did not object to their praying qasr if they were to stay for more than four nights. This should be made clear as it is very important. Similarly, the companions (as-sahabah) followed him in that and he did not say anything [in objection] to those who prayed with him."

Malik and ash-Shaf'i say: "If one intends to stay for more than four days, he should perform the whole salah, and if he intends to stay for less than that, he is to offer qasr."

Abu Hanifah holds: "If one intends to stay for fifteen days, he should do the qasr. If he intends to stay for less than that, he should not shorten the salah." This is also the opinion of al-Laith ibn Sa'd, and it has also been related from three companions: 'Umar, ibn 'Umar, and Ibn 'Abbas.

Sa'id ibn al-Musayyab is of the opinion that: "If you stay for four days, you pray four rak'at." A statement similar to that of Abu Hanifah's has also been related from him. 'Ali ibn Abi Talib says that if one stays for ten days, he is to perform the whole salah, and the same has been related from Ibn ' Abbas .

Al-Hassan says: "One who does not get to his destination or (city of residence) may shorten salah."

'Aishah says: "One who does not put down his provision is to shorten the salah."

The four imams agree that if one has some need to take care of and always has the intention of leaving the next day, then he may shorten his salah for as long as he is in that state. However, according to one statement of ash-Shaf'i, he may do so only for seventeen or eighteen days and he is not to shorten his salah after that time. Ibn al-Mundhir states in his Ishraf: "The people of knowledge are in agreement that a traveler may perform qasr as long as he does not intend to stay in a place, even though he stays there for years."

 

Now to answer your specific questions:

Q-1: Do I pray the full prayers in Pakistan, as I have blood relatives there ( the common Bohra practice) or do I shorten the prayers

First and foremost, according to Fiqh or Islamic Jurisprudence the availability of mehram relatives in a place has absolutely no bearings whatsoever on the permissibility of qasr or shortened prayers.

 

Beloved brother, since you are currently settled in Saudi Arabia, you would be considered in a state of travel when you visit Pakistan; thus it is permissible for you to offer your prayers qasr or shortened if you wish to do so.

 

Q-2: Does the period of stay have any effect. Sometimes I spend a week there and sometimes a month.

As long as one does not intend to permanently settle down in a place, one would be considered to be in a state of travel; and thus regardless of ones period of stay, the praying of qasr or shortened prayers would be permissible on such a person.

 

Q-3A: Do we have to go to the Masjid to pray in Paksitan or can we pray at home.

It is not obligatory for a traveler in Islam to offer his prayers in congregation; thus if one is in the state of traveling, one does not have to offer ones prayers in congregation. But if one does offer ones prayer in congregation while in the state of travel, there is absolutely no harm.

 

Q-3B: Also should we read the "witr" prayer.

It is reported that Hadrat Ali (r.a.) said: "The witr prayer is not required like your obligatory prayers, but the Prophet (saws) would perform the witr prayer and say: 'O you people [followers] of the Qur'an, perform the witr prayer, for Allah is One and He loves the witr.'"

 

The witr prayers are not considered obligatory prayers in Islam, but it was the practice of the Messenger of Allah (saws) and his noble companions that they would always make witr the last prayers of the night whether they were resident in a place or not.

 

The witr are considered nafl or supererogatory prayers in Islam, thus if one offers them they will earn a huge reward from Allah Subhanah; and if one is not able to offer them for any reason, there is absolutely no sin upon the person.

 

Q-4: We go to Madina once a year to pray there. How do we offer prayers there. Should we only pray the farz prayer or can we pray the "sunnah and nawafel " also. There is some confusion here as some people beleive that since we are travelling we should only pray the "farz" 

There is absolutely no restriction in Islam if one wishes to offer as many nafl or supererogatory prayers as they wish, while in the state of travel or otherwise.

 

Sunan of Abu-Dawood Hadith 1221 Narrated by Anas ibn Malik

When the Messenger of Allah (saws) was on a journey and wished to say nafl (supererogatory) prayers, he made his she-camel face the qiblah and uttered the takbir (Allah is Most Great), then prayed in whatever direction his mount made his face.

 

It is the established Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (saws) that he would offer many nafl or supererogatory prayers during his travels.

 

Q-4B: There is some confusion here as some people beleive that since we are travelling we should only pray the "farz" 

Although one is only accountable for offering ones obligatory prayers, it is highly meritorious and encouraged in Islam that one offers as many nafl and sunnah prayers as one possibly can, regardless of whether one is in the state of travel or otherwise.

 

Fiqh-us-Sunnah Fiqh 2.1

Their Significance, Supererogatory (Sunnah and Nafl) Prayers

The Sunnah or Nawafil (supererogatory prayers), have been legislated to make up for any deficiencies left in the performance of Fard salah (obligatory prayers). In Salah, there are virtues that are not found in any other form of worship. Abu Hurairah reports that the Prophet (saws) said: "The first thing that the people will be called to account for on the Day of Resurrection will be the prayers. Our Lord will say to the Angels, although He knows better: 'Look into the (Fard) Salah of my servant to see if he observed it perfectly or been negligent in it. So if he observed it perfectly it will be recorded to his credit, but if he had been negligent in it in any way, Allah would say: See if My servant has any supererogatory prayers. Then if he has any supererogatory prayers, Allah would say: Make up the deficiency in My servant's obligatory prayer with his supererogatory prayers.' Thereafter all his actions will be examined in like manner"

Related by Abu Dawud.

 

It is an absolutely false and incorrect belief and practice to restrict a believing traveler from offering nafl or supererogatory prayers, if he wishes to offer them.

 

If one trusts, obeys, and follows the guidance and commands of Allah and His Messenger (saws), one can be assured of never ever being misled; but if one believes, obeys and follows any other guidance, other than that of Allah and His Messenger (saws), one can be assured of being led astray.

 

Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me alone. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.

 

 

Your brother and well wisher in Islam,

 

Burhan

 


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