Prayer and Exams

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by Qibla.com

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Some of my exams will start @ 2 and end @ 4:30. Maghrib is around 4:40pm, which means that if someone has to pray Asr, it’ll be within 5 minutes of Maghrib. Last year, I got these exams rescheduled an hour early. However, to do that again, I need more people. The problem is, most of them say that since there is time, they can just pray after 4:30 and it wont be kazaa. My point is, when we can get the exams rescheduled, then why not? What’s the ruling on this situation? Some of them also said that the administration is going to think that Muslims are always wanting weird accommodations, etc.

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

Prayer at its time is the most important of duties in the life of a believer, for the very wisdom behind Allah creating the entire universe is the worship of Allah Most High. Allah said,

“I created jinn and humans only that they might worship Me.” [Qur’an, 051.056]

Prayer cannot be delayed beyond its time except when there is a life-threatening type of situation. As such, the solution to your case is simple:

Take a prayer mat, and simply pray at the corner of the exam room when the time enters. Explain this to the invigilator (and it may be wise to go to your professor and explain it in advance, before the exam), and just pray.

The following are hadiths from Shaykh al-Islam al-Nawawi’s Riyad al-Salihin (tr. Ust. Bewley) :

193. Chapter: On the command to persevere in the prescribed prayers and the strongest prohibition against abandoning them

Allah says, “Safeguard the prayer – especially the middle one,” (W2:236; H2:238) and He says, “If they repent and establish the prayer and pay zakat, let them go on their way.” (9:5)

1074. Ibn Mas’ud said, “I asked the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, ‘What is the best action?’ He said, ‘The prayer in its time,.’ I said, ‘Then what?’ He said, ‘Dutifulness to parents.’ I said, ‘Then what?’ He said, ‘Jihad in the way of Allah.'” [Agreed upon]

1075. Ibn ‘Umar reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Islam is based on five: the testimony that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, performing the prayer, paying the zakat, hajj to the House and fasting Ramadan.” [Agreed upon]

1076. Ibn ‘Umar reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “I have been commanded to fight people until they testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah and establish the prayer and pay the zakat. If they do that, their lives and property are protected from me except for the right of Islam, and their reckoning is up to Allah.” [Agreed upon]

1077. Mu’adh said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, sent me to Yemen and said, ‘You are going to a people who have a Book. When you come to them, call on them to testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. If they obey you in respect of that, then tell them that Allah has made the five prayers obligatory for them every night and day. If they obey you in respect of that, inform them that Allah has made it obligatory for zakat to be taken from their property and given to their poor. If they obey you in respect of that, beware of the things on which people place great value and beware of the supplication of the wronged. There is no screen between him and Allah.'” [Agreed upon]

1078. Jabir said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, ‘All that lies between a man and shirk and disbelief is abandoning the prayer.'” [Muslim]

1079. Burayda reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “The contract which is between us and them rests on the prayer. Anyone who abandons it, has rejected belief.” [at-Tirmidhi]

1080. Shaqiq ibn ‘Abdullah the Follower said, “The Companions of Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, did not think that abandoning any action denoted disbelief, except abandoning the prayer.” [at-Tirmidhi]

1081. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “The first action which the slave will be called to account for on the Day of Rising is his prayer. If it is in order, he will have success and win through. If it is not in order, he will be disappointed and lose out. If any of his obligatory prayers are lacking, the Lord, the Mighty and Exalted, will say, ‘See if My slave has any supererogatory actions and use them to complete his obligatory prayer.’ Then the rest of his actions will be assessed in the same way.” [at-Tirmidhi]

Wassalam,

Faraz Rabbani

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