Prayer while traveling: (Qasr Salah) and its conditions

Answered by Shaykh Abu Usamah

I am on government duty at a district of about 220 kms from my home. I usually go on duty for 13 days than come home. The government has not provided me a house, nor I have rented. As per my home’s neighboring masjid’s imam’s order, I have to offer kasar salat for zohar, asar & isha. Now the imam of the local masjid at the place of my duty has ordered this practice invalid. What should I do in this matter? Please give me guidance.

Answer:
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Al-Salam `alaykum

Respected brother

You will have to offer Qasr Salah (i.e. 2 rak`ahs for Zuhr, `Asr and `Isha) at your place of duty. This is because it is more than 77km from your hometown and you do not intend to stay there for 15 days or more. Thus you remain a musafir. (Shar`i traveller)

If at any time you do intend to stay there for 15 days or more then you will NOT offer Qasr Salah.

Please refer to the full details of this on the Sunni Path website.

Below you will find some more information on this from the book Anis al-Musafir.

Abu Usamah

 

WHO IS A MUSĀFIR?

1. The person who sets out with the intention of eventually travelling three manzils (approx. 77 km) * is regarded as a musāfir in the Sharī‛ah.

2. The moment he comes out of the boundaries of his town or city he becomes a musāfir. Within the boundaries of his town or city, he will not be a musāfir.

If the airport is within the boundaries of the city (in the sense that the buildings of the city are linked to it without a considerable break in between) it will fall under the rule of the city and the person will not be considered a musāfir when he reaches it. If it is outside the boundaries, then upon reaching it, the person will be regarded as a musāfir.

PRINCIPLE: A person will not become a musāfir until he firmly intends to travel 77 km from the place he is in.

Thus a person who travels from place to place, intending to travel less than 77km each time, will not become a musāfir – even if he travels the entire world in this way!

THE (QASR) SALĀH OF A MUSĀFIR

1. When a person qualifies as a musāfir according to the Sharī‛ah he is required to offer two rak‛ahs for the Fard of Zuhr, ‛Asr and ‛Ishā’ salāh. The other salāhs remain as normal.

2. More than two rak‛ahs should not be offered for the Fard of Zuhr, ‛Asr and ‛Ishā’ salāh. If a person mistakenly offered four raka‛āt for these salāhs, and he had sat down for Tashahhud (al-Tahiyyāt) in the second rak‛ah, then the first two rak‛ahs will be regarded as Fard and the other two rak‛ahs as nafl.

3. In the above case he will have to make sajdah al-sahw. If he did not make sajdah al-sahw then he must repeat the salāh if its time still remains.

4. If he did not sit in the second rak‛ah then all four raka‛āt will become nafl and he will have to repeat his Fard salāh.

BECOMING A MUQĪM (RESIDENT)

1. A person will remain a musāfir and will continue offering two rak‛ahs for the four-raka‛āt salāhs until he makes the definite intention of staying at a place for fifteen days or more.

2. The place where he makes this intention is known as his Watan al-Iqāmah. He must offer four raka‛āt salāh here.

3. If he makes the intention of staying for 15 days whilst in salāh then he must offer this very salāh as a muqīm i.e. 4 raka‛āt.

PRINCIPLE: A musāfir will not become a muqīm until he firmly intends to stay at a place for a period of fifteen days from the time he makes this intention.

Based on the above principle consider the following two cases:

a) A person stops at a place intending to stay for two or three days. Due to circumstances every day he makes the intention of leaving the following day but he still does not leave. In this way fifteen days, twenty days, a month or even more passes, but he did not, at any point, make the firm intention of staying there for fifteen days. In this case he will remain a musāfir irrespective of how many days he stays at that place.

b) A person intends to stay at a place for ten days but after seven days he decides to extend his stay by an additional ten days (which will make his total stay twenty days.) In this case he will remain a musāfir. This is because after he had decided to stay ten more days there were thirteen days of his total stay remaining. Hence at no point did he make the intention to stay for fifteen days. In other words, ‘fifteen days’ is considered from the time he changed his intention and not from the beginning of his stay.

4. The intention of staying fifteen days has to be for staying the full fifteen days at one place. If he makes an intention of staying for 15 days at two different places, and the distance between the two places is such that the adhān of one place cannot be heard at the other, then he will be a musāfir in both those places.

E.G. If a person intends staying for 10 days in Makkah and 5 days in Minā he will be a musāfir both in Makkah and Minā.

Thus a Hāji who arrives in Makkah less than fifteen full days before the morning of the 8th of Dhū al-Hijjah will be a musāfir.

If he arrives in Makkah fifteen days or more before the 8th then he will be a muqīm both in Makkah and Minā.

5. If in the above case (i.e. Law 4) he intends spending all the fifteen nights at one place then he will be a muqīm in that place.

6. If both places are so close that each other’s adhān can be heard, then both places will be regarded as one place. He will become a muqīm in both places by intending to stay there for 15 days.

7. After becoming a muqīm (by firmly intending to stay at a place for fifteen days) if he changes his intention and decides to leave before fifteen days then he will not become a musāfir.

 

*When he leaves with the intention of eventually travelling to another place that is at a distance of 77 kilometres or more then only will he become a musāfir. If that place is less than 77 kilometres away, he will not become a musāfir