In Sahih Muslim there are about 10 ahadith on combining prayers while a resident (i.e. not travelling, raining, or fear). I have heard that travel, rain, and fear were the only reasons for which we are allowed to join prayers. Is it permissible to do this and under which circumstances? How are these ahadith understood by the ulama? JazakAllah khair.
Country: Saudi Arabia
Wa alaykum salam wa rahmatuLlahi wa barakatuHu,
The relied-upon opinion in the Shafi’i School is that prayers may be combined for rain or travel; but combining for reasons such as illness, fear, etc. is not permissible. (al-Hawashy al-Madaniyyah 2/54; Kifayat al-Akhyar 193; Minhaj al-Talibin w/ Khatib 1/529, 533)
There are narrations that the Prophet Muhammad would combine prayers in Medina without a reason such as fear, travel, or rain. (Sahih Muslim 5/938-940)
Here, three views will be mentioned:
1) Some authorities understood these to establish it being permissible to combine prayers due to an illness; this is Imam Nawawi’s preferred view. Adhra’i mentioned that it is also related from Imam Shafi’i in Mukhtasar al-Muzani. Zarkashi reports Imam Shafi’i to have held two views [qawlayn] regarding this issue.
Also, the Prophet Muhammad is reported to have instructed that a woman with irregular vaginal discharge may combine prayers. Sulayman al-Kurdi mentioned that some of the As-hab, like Khattabi, Qadi Husayn, Ruyani, Mawardi, Darimi, and others, maintained this view; and irregular vaginal discharge is a type of illness. Others ascribed this view to the As-hab without specifying irregular vaginal discharge, but rather illness without qualification.
Analogously, illness allows one to break the fast, similar to traveling; therefore, combining prayers should be permitted due to illness. And likewise other difficulties warrant combining prayers, such as rain; in fact, an illness can be more of a difficulty than walking for prayer in the rain. (Kifayat al-Akhyar p. 173-174; al-Mawahib al-Madaniyyah 248; Rawdat al-Talibin 1/503)
2) Some other authorities understood the narrations more literally. Mohammad b. Sirin, Imam Malik’s student Ash-hab, a group of scholars from Ahl al-Hadith, and Abu Is-haq al-Marwazi opined that prayers may be combined while resident without a specific reason. Ibn al-Mundhir preferred this view.
This is supported by a literal understanding of the narrations along with what Ibn Jubayr asked Ibn ‘Abbas as to why the Prophet Muhammad had done so; to which Ibn ‘Abbas replied, “He desired that he not make things difficult on his ummah.” Thus, Ibn ‘Abbas did not explain the Prophet Muhammad’s action as being for a specific reason. (Kifayat al-Akhyar 174; al-Mawahib al-Madaniyyah 248; Sharh Sahih Muslim 5/938-41)
3) The relied-upon opinion in the Shafi’i School, as mentioned above, is that prayers may be combined for rain or travel; but combining for reasons such as illness, fear, etc. is not permissible.
And Allah knows best.
Shafiifiqh.com Fatwa Dept.