More from Imam Al-Buhuti on Shortening Prayers

Figure 1A: Muslims praying on the road.

Figure 1A: Muslims praying on the road.

As-Salaamu `Alaikum wa Rahmatullah, from Br. Abu Ja`far Al-Hanbali

Noble brother/sister,

The text below is a long quote from Imam Mansur Al-Buhuti (d. 1051 AH (AD 1654), may Allah have mercy upon him on the topic. The verses of the Qur’an and ahadith and their citations I have quoted in bold.

Please note that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, not only shortened on hajj (8th-12th) but also on the battle of Tabuk, which was the final battle he took part in and he was shortening for twenty days. Again, this was not hajj or some hardship, rather, he had passed over 16 farsakh, (i.e. 48 miles) so he was shortening, in addition to combining. Please read through below:

Ar. qasrAl-Buhuti, may Allah be pleased with him, gave a detailed response on the topic, “The evidence for shortening the prayer is the word of the Exalted One, When you move in the Earth, there is no harm for you if you shorten your prayer. {Surat un-Nisa (4), ayah 101}

Whoever intended to travel and set out on a permitted journey that was not disliked nor impermissible – and included with this is compulsory, praiseworthy, permitted travel in its’ widest sense, even if disliked or for travel, visit and sightseeing – and this travel reaches four burud which is 16 farsakh by land or see or it is two days of travel, it is the sunnah for him to shorten his compulsory prayers that are four raka`ah to two raka`ah.

The reason for this is that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, always did this on travel in his compulsory prayer, the only exception being the Maghrib and Subuh prayers, which are three and two raka`ah, respectively. These two prayers are never shortened and this ruling is Consensus as quoted by Ibn Al-Mundhir.

When the traveler passes by the last of built up areas of his town or city, whether it is the houses within the walls or outside or the tents of his tribe or clan or what is customarily known as the boundary of the city – such as the boundaries of castles or parks and gardens and the like – then it is permitted to shorten at that time. The reason for this is that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, only shortened when he traveled.

Whoever shortened his prayer with its’ condition then returned before completing the duration of time, he is not required to repeat the prayer again. Whoever has recently entered Islam, reached the age of adulthood or became purified would shorten on any permitted journey.

If the remainder of the journey was under the amount and it was not due to a journey of disobedience as one may not shorten on a journey of disobedience, it is permitted to shorten.

An individual should not shorten his prayers when he has doubt about whether he has traveled the distance required for shortening nor should anyone who did not intend to travel and became lost and had no direction in mind when he went far away.

An individual travelling to waste of time or just for the sake of shortening also may not shorten his prayer but one who is forced, such as in the case of prisoners, a woman for her husband, a prisoner for his master may shorten his or her prayer.

If someone began the prayer as a resident but began moving due to transportation or began the prayer while travelling but reached his destination while praying, then he needs to make the prayer in full as the prayer is upon the ruling of resident and travel but the dominant ruling is resident as he started the prayer as a resident in the first place or reached the destination not long after beginning the prayer in the second place.

The same ruling holds for someone who traveled after the time for the prayer arrived. He must complete the prayer in full as it is compulsory to do so.

If he remembered a prayer that he did not pray as a resident while on a journey, he must pray it in full as the make-up of the prayer is based on where the prayer became due and that is four due to him being resident.

If he remembered a prayer that he forgot on a journey while he was resident, then he should pray in full as the shortening of prayer is a dispensation for travel and this dispensation is lifted by the reason for it coming to a stop.

If the traveler leads the resident in prayer, the resident is to pray the full prayer. Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, ‘That is indeed the Sunnah.’ This is collected by Imam Ahmad in Al-Musnad.

Another point to be kept in mind is that if a traveler is leading another traveler in prayer and for some valid reason a resident joins the two travelers in the prayer the resident must complete his prayer.

If the traveler is in prayer and the one who joins him does not know whether the one leading the prayer is resident or not, the one who has joined the imam should make the prayer in full and even if he finds out that the imam was a traveler due to his not knowing his intention, his prayer is intact.

In the case that he knew or had a strong reason to believe that the imam is a traveler by seeing his clothes that are different to the residents around him and that his imam has intended to shorten the prayer, then the individual to join the prayer would do so as well based upon examining the outward action.

If the one to join the prayer says or intends, ‘If he makes the prayer in full then so will I and if he is shortening the prayer, then so will I,’ there is no harm in this action. If someone began the prayer, the general ruling is one makes the prayer in full as he is following a resident or if he did not intend shortening as his beginning intention, then he needs to pray in full as his intention has been negated.

If he did pray without the correct intention, then he needs to repeat the prayer as it is necessary for the resident to pray in full. If he began the prayer without intention to shorten, then he has to complete as the general rule in prayer is that it is made in full and this is the general ruling regarding intentions in the manner.

If someone doubts whether or not he has made the intention to shorten, then he is to complete. The general ruling is that he has not intended it so he maintains the foundation, which is praying in full. If someone intended to be resident in a land more than four days, then he must complete the prayers.

If he was resident for just four days, then he would shorten based upon what is the agreed upon hadith in the collections of Imams Al-Bukhari and Muslim as narrated by both Ibn `Abbas and Jabir that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, came to Makkah in the morning of the fourth of Dhul Hijjah and was resident there for the 4th-7thand prayed the Subuh on the 8th day and then went to Mina.

He was shortening the prayers on these days and combining them as well during that time.”

Al-Buhuti said further, “If the traveler was at sea journey and had with him his family and did not intend on residing in a land or becoming resident, then he would pray in full as he is not stopping there and he has his family and other matters with him. The same thing holds for the collector, shepherd or messenger of the sultan who must carry out his communications.

The traveler also prays in full when he passes his land or his city and his wife is there and he marries there and he stops by or if he intends on praying in full. If he has two directions he could take to get to the same place, one farther and one closer, then he travels the farther route in order to be a traveler and be able to shorten.

If the traveler while one his journey remembered a prayer that he had not made while on a journey, then he would shorten that prayer as well as its’ becoming compulsory and the act of doing it both came to pass while he was on a journey.

This is due to the fact that the prayer he is making up at that time is as if it is in its’ time as he is on a journey and has the time to make it up. Ibn Tamim and others said, ‘Making up some of the prayer in travel is like making up all of them.

Whatever needs to be made up from travel should be shortened. This has been discussed by Imam Burhan ud-Din Ibn Muflih in Al-Mubdi`.

If the traveler was detained due to some oppression, illness, rain or something such as that and did not intend to be resident, then he would shorten until the situation is resolved as based upon the action of Ibn `Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, when he was resident in Azerbaijan for six months and he shorted his prayers due to there being snow and ice between him and entrance into another land.

This is collected by Imam Abu Bakr Al-Athram. The easier situation is when someone knows that he is at war and will not be able to set out until after a number of days, he shortens his prayer as long as he is not resident in front of the enemy.

If the traveller is resident somewhere to complete some need without the intention to be resident and does not know when he will be able to complete his work, then he continues shortening based upon his knowledge of the matter, whether he is there for a long time or a short time.

The reason for this is that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was resident at Tabuk for twenty days and he shortened his prayer. This is collected by Imam Ahmad in Al-Musnad and others as well. The chain of transmission of this narration and its’ narrators are sound.

If the traveler believers that he will not complete his need or business except after more than four days, then he completes his prayers in full.

If he intended to make the journey for someone that was impermissible, it is not valid for him to shorten and his ruling is like someone resident attempting to shorten his prayer, so both of these acts are invalid and the worship will not be sound.”Ar-Rawd ul-Murbi` Bi-Sharhi Zad il-Mustaqni`, pp. 121-123.


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