Answered by Ustadh Tariq Abdul-Rasheed
Question: If a person travels regularly for halal reasons, but repeatedly engages in acts that are haram during his travels, is he permitted to a) cut his prayers short?, and b) do tayammum?
Answer: In the name of Allah the Beneficent the Merciful
Travelling for Permissible or Impermissible Reasons
The scholars of the Maliki school differentiate between a person travelling for the clear intention of committing sin and a person travelling for the intention of something permissible, encouraged or obligatory. The former would be like one travelling to Las Vegas in order to gamble. The latter would be like one travelling to Las Vegas to visit family and during the visit engages in gambling.
If travelling to engage in sinful acts then shortening the prayer is impermissible. If travelling for permissible reasons but thereafter falling into sin then it is permissible to shorten the prayer.
Tayammum for the Traveler
Tayammum is only valid for the traveler due to particular causes. Namely;
Inability to find water. Meaning:
1. Inability to find any water at all.
2. Water is available but not a sufficient amount to wash the limbs which are obligatory to wash in wudu (or ghusl as may be the case).
Inability to use water. Meaning:
1. Due to illness where there is a legitimate fear that using water will increase ones illness or delay recovery.
2. A legitimate fear that one will become ill by using water (as in the case of extreme cold).
3. Inability to get water due to fear of being attack (such as in remote areas with wild animals).
4. Fear of wealth being destroyed by getting or purchasing water (such as being stolen or attacked and stolen by force).
5. Legitimate fear that the prayer time will exit by the time water it found.
If one does not meet these condition then it would not be permissible to make tayammum while travelling. Since water it generally available and not difficult to store for later use. One should be cautious to prepare and have water available when needed.
Repentance is an Obligation
We ask Allah (Most High) to protect from every sinful act and foul habit. We are reminded that repentance is obligatory for every sin and that is it not permissible to delay it. Be mindful as the unintentional sin that becomes repetitive my leave a sweetness in the heart (Allah forbid). So the unintentional sins of today may become the intentional sins of tomorrow.
Please see A Reader on Tawba (Repentance)
And Allah knows best