Answered by Shaykh Yūsuf Badāt
I travel long distances. Can I offer my prayers while seated when the car is stopped?
Jazāk Allāh Khayr/ Thank you for your question.
Nafl (optional) prayers are permitted while seated in a vehicle or conveyance. However, the reward and blessings are reduced. As for Fardh prayers, one must stand and perform them if one has the ability to stand.
The Dārul Iftā of Jām’iah Islāmiyah Masīḥul-‘Ulūm has stated the following:
“Qiyām, meaning to stand, is a “rukn (integral part)” in Fardh Ṣalāh. Fardh Ṣalāh will be incomplete, if performed while seated by an individual who is capable of standing. The Prophet (peace and blessings upon him), while traveling would at times perform Nafl Ṣalāh (optional prayers) on his conveyance, but would always descend (climbing off the conveyance) when performing the Fardh Ṣalāh. Never once in his life, did he (peace and blessings upon him) perform his Fardh Ṣalāh while travelling on his conveyance. If Qiyām had not been a rukn in Ṣalāh, the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) would have at least once performed his Ṣalāh while mounted on his conveyance to confirm the permissibility of doing so.”
Jābir (may Allāh be pleased with him) reports,
“The Messenger of Allāh (peace and blessings upon him) offered his prayers upon his conveyance (transportation) in whichever direction the (conveyance animal) was facing. When he intended to perform the Fardh prayer, he would climb down and face the Qiblah”. (Bukhārī)
Some jurists are of the opinion that if the vehicle or airplane cannot be stopped, one can perform the fardh prayers while seated but will be required to repeat the prayer once they get a chance after the travel. The sin for not standing despite having the ability to do so will not be applicable when the prayer is repeated after the travel.
And Allāh Knows Best