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Combining Maghrib and `Isha’ in Scandinavian Countries

Answered as per Maliki Fiqh by BinBayyah.net

We have a problem in the Scandinavian countries that we suffer in summer concerning `Isha’ Prayer. In the Scandinavian countries we, Muslims, have predetermined times for Prayers. But in the summer, `Isha Prayer is so late and this causes a great problem. For example, Maghrib Prayer is at 21:50 while `Isha’ Prayer is at 1:00 am. Each mosque applies this in its own way. In some mosques they combine Maghrib and `Isha, and in some others they pray `Isha an hour and half after Maghrib, while others wait until its 1:00 am. Will you make it clear which is better? May Allah bless you.

All praise is due to Allah. May the peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah. We know that the times of twilight cause a problem in Northern Europe, because the sun sometimes does not even set. Thus, the issue is broad. This can be summarized in the following points: 1) Muslims there can combine `Isha with Maghrib, 2) they can set some time between Maghrib and Fajr to pray `Isha, which is better, 3) if there is any hardship, they can combine the two Prayers, because combining them for one who is resident was permitted by some scholars. Imam Ahmad permitted this for a suckling woman, if it is difficult for her to perform each Prayer individually. A group of scholars also permitted it, such as Ibn Sireen and Ashhab, according to one of his two opinions. It is also the opinion of Ibn Habeeb from among the Malikites. All these scholars permitted combining Prayers without an excuse.
Ibn `Arafah, a Malikite scholar in the eighth century, said: One of our sheikhs would combine prayers when he wanted to go to the hammam (public hot bath). The basic evidence in this regard is the authentic hadith reported by Muslim (705) and others that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) combined Prayers without being in conditions of fear or on travel. In another narration: without being in conditions of fear or in times of rain. Ibn `Abbas was asked why he (the prophet (peace be upon him)) did that? He said: So as not to cause hardship for his ummah.
This is the basic evidence with regard to combining the Prayers. The important thing is that this should not be a habit.
If people combine Prayers for these reasons of hardship and necessity, particularly those who have jobs in the morning, this will be permissible and involve nothing wrong, but with the condition that this ought not to be a habit, in the sense that from time to time one should perform such Prayers in their due times. Allah knows best.

This answer was collected from BinBayyah.net, which contains of feature articles and fatawa by world renowned ‘Alim, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Bayyah, from Mauritania.

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