If a person cannot find water, is it better for him to delay his prayer or to pray at the beginning of the time?

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As-Salaamu-Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)
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Is it better for a person who cannot find water to delay his prayer until the end of the time, hoping to find water, or to do tayammum and pray at the beginning of the time?
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Answer:
Praise be to Allaah.

That depends. It is preferable to delay the prayer until the end of the time in two cases: 

1 – If he knows that he will find water, then it is preferable to delay the prayer, although it was not said that this is obligatory, because there is no certainty that he will find water.  

2 – If he thinks it most likely that he will find water, then he should delay the prayer, because by doing so he is maintaining one of the necessary conditions of the prayer, which is purifying oneself with water, whereas praying at the beginning of the time is maintaining one of its virtues only. 

In this case, delaying the prayer and purifying oneself with water is preferable. 

Secondly, it is preferable to do the prayer at the beginning of the time in three cases: 

1 – If he knows that he will not be able to find any water.

2 – If he thinks it most likely that he will not be able to find any water.

3 – If he is uncertain and is not sure in either case. 

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

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