Question # 397: Muhtaram, Asalaamualaikum Wa Rahmathullahi Wa Barakaathuhu. I hope and pray for your ardent state of Emaan with vibrant health. In sha Allah from 20-26th [month] I shall be alone in a booth of supplier in an expo venue for working hours of the day in [a different country than mine] where I will be flanked by or to be waited for visiting customers from my country… at any moment. Prayer hall is something like say 300 meters far from my booth. Any time any customer from my country may visit my booth of Italian supplier and missing any customer will not give 2nd chance to meet. It’s a 4 yearly intl fair very important. In this wake may I pray like – 1) Dhu’hr and Asr by combining in the fair. 2) Maghrib and Esha in my hotel room after coming back from expo venue at about 2200 hrs?.

bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) did not make it a habit to join his prayers on all his journeys; rather he joined prayers sometimes and did not join the other time and prayed each of the five prayers at its own time. Although it is advisable to offer every prayer on its fixed time, a person may combine prayers (Dhuhr and ‘Asr or Maghrib and ‘Isha) according to the opinion of Ibn Abbas and Hanabalis, in case of pressing need or emergencies. Further, it is absolutely permissible to combine prayers at the time of the earlier or later of the two while traveling (i.e., on the way) and upon arrival as well. Lastly, it must be noted that one must offer the prayer in full, not in shortened form, because the one who intends to stay in a place for more than four days comes under the same ruling as a resident according to the majority of fuqaha’. Also refer to Question # 10: Maximum allowed period for Shortening of Prayer (Qasr) and Question # 255: Combining / Joining Two Prayers when not Traveling.

Long Answer: The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) used to combine between the prayers of Dhuhr and ‘Asr or between Maghrib and ‘Isha during the time of either one of them at Arafah, Muzdalifa, while traveling or during rain. This is the opinion of the majority of Muslim scholars among them are Malikis, Shafi’is and also reported from Imam Ahmad in a narration. They restricted the combining of two prayers to the above-mentioned situations. But, the Hanafis believe that combining between two prayers is allowed only during Hajj at Arafah and Muzdalifah. However, the Sunnah proves combining between two prayers during all the above mentions situations.

Some scholars even believe that the resident can combine the prayers due to some pressing need. This is supported by the Hadith of Ibn Abbas, that has been recorded by Imam Muslim, who states: “The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) combined the Dhuhr and ‘Asr, and then the Maghrib and ‘Isha in Medinah without there being any danger or rain. Ibn Abbas was asked: ‘what did he desire by that action?’ He replied: ‘He did not want any hardship for his Ummah’.

These words of Ibn ‘Abbas (رضي الله عنه) indicate that the hardship and difficulty that a person may face make it permissible for him to join the two prayers which may be joined together at the time of either of them. This comes under the heading of Allah making religion easy for this ummah, the basis of which is seen in the verses:

  • “Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you” (Soorah al-Baqarah 2:185)
  • “Allah does not want to place you in difficulty” (Soorah al-Ma’idah 5:6)
  • “and has not laid upon you in religion any hardship” (Soorah al-Hajj 22:78)

And the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: ‘Religion is easy”. And there are many other texts which indicate that this religion is easy. (Majmoo’ah Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen)

Hanabalis are of the opinion that combining two prayers due to some illness or other excuses is permissible. They allow combining two prayers for a frightened person, breast-feeding woman if she faces hardship to clean herself from the frequent impurity of her infant, the woman who suffers from prolonged flow of blood or the one who suffers incontinence of urine or the one who fears for his life, property, and family. [Hence,] the reasons which make it permissible to join prayers are broader than those which make it permissible to shorten them. Joining prayers is permissible for every traveler, and for the non-traveler if it is too difficult for him to offer every prayer on time, such as one who is sick, or if there is rain, or he is busy with some work that he cannot delay in order to pray, such as a student taking an exam or a doctor who is doing surgery and so on.

In the light of the above details, [although it is advisable] to act according to the opinion of the majority of Muslim scholars [by performing] …every prayer on its fixed time, [a person] …may act according to the opinion of Ibn Abbas and Hanabalis, [if there is pressing need or emergencies.]

[Lastly,] the concession regarding prayer that are connected to travel is that one is allowed to join Dhuhr and ‘Asr, and Maghrib and ‘Isha’, at the time of the earlier or later of the two. However, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) did not make it a habit to join his prayers on all his journeys; rather he joined prayers sometimes and did not join prayers sometimes, praying each prayer at its own time instead. Hence the scholars said: it is better for the traveler not to join his prayers unless he needs to because it will be too difficult for him to do each prayer at its usual time, even though the concession allowing joining of prayers is established for every traveler. (See al-Mughni; al-Sharh al-Mumti’)

[Next, we want to point out that some scholars say that] …a traveler can join two prayers together during the journey, but when he reaches the place where he intends to stay…, then he should offer every prayer on time… [as] prayer in congregation is obligatory for travelers as well. [However, in fact,] scholars have different opinions regarding whether a traveler is permitted to combine prayers only while on the path or upon arrival as well. The preponderant opinion is that he is allowed to combine prayers in all cases. Mu’aath reported that while the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) was in Tabook, he combined the Dhuhr and ‘Asr prayers together. Then he entered and came out and prayed the Maghrib and ‘Isha prayers together and he did this on more than just one day. (Reported by Muslim) This hadith means that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) was camping in a certain place and not moving, as he would enter and come out of his tent.

(The above answer is based on various answers provided by Islamqa.info and Islamweb.net, a web site belonging to the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs in the State of Qatar on the topic)

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.

Wassalaam