BEING A MUSAFIR (TRAVELER)
It means traveling, making a journey. As a fiqh term, traveling means covering a certain distance. That distance is a three-day or eighteen-hour distance with a medium walking style. That distance is also called three-phase distance.
There are two different views as to when someone becomes a musafir:
1- Those considering the distance. According to that view, if a person travels to a distance of 90 km, he shortens his prayers because he is regarded a musafir.
2- Those considering the time. According to them, a three-day journey makes a person musafir. They can only shorten their prayers then. Otherwise, they cannot shorten their prayers.
According to Hanafis, a musafir has to shorten the four-rakat fard prayers to two rakats. However, if he prays it as four, it is valid. According to Shafiis, it is better to pray fully even if one is a musafir. Let us suppose that we perform our prayers fully when we are really musafirs; our prayers will be valid. If we are not musafirs really, then shortening the prayers makes our prayers invalid. Then, we think that it is better to perform the fard prayers fully. However, it is necessary to accept a view and act accordingly and not to criticize the people accepting other views.
Decrees about Musafir
There are some facilities, ease and permissions for musafirs. It is permissible for a Muslim to fast later if he is a musafir. The masah (wiping over socks) period of a musafir is three days and three nights. Musafirs pray the four-rakat fards as two rakats. It is called qasr salah (shortening the prayer).
It is permissible to shorten the four-rakat prayers for a musafir by the Quran, sunnah and ijma (consensus).
Allah, the exalted, states the following:
“When ye travel through the earth, there is no blame on you, if ye shorten your prayers, for fear the Unbelievers may attack you." (an-Nisa, 4/101).
The fact that the reason of the shortening is limited to the condition of fear is to determine the event at that time because most of the travels of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) were not free from fear.
Ya'la b. Umayya (may Allah be pleased with him), from the companions said to Hazrat Umar:
Why are we shortening our prayers? We are safe now. Hazrat Umar answered him as follows:
I had asked Hazrat Prophet the same thing; he said:
"This is a grant of Allah to you. Accept what he has given you." (Muslim, Misafir, 4; Tirmidhi, Tahara, 4, 20; Nasai, Taqsir, I).
The news about Hazrat Prophet that he shortened his prayers in his travels for umra, hajj or war has the degree of tawatur. Abdullah Ibn Umar said the following:
"I accompanied Hazrat Prophet (pbuh) in his travels. He did not pray more than two rakats. Hazrat Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman did the same" (Ibn Majah, Iqama, 75).
It is reported that Hazrat Umar said the following: "The prayer of the musafir is two rakats without shortening with the words of your Prophet." (Bukhari, Taqsir, 11; Kusuf, 4; Ibn Majah, Iqama, 73, 124).
Is it obligatory for a musafir to shorten four-rakat fard prayers or is he free to shorten them or to pray them fully?
According to Hanafis, it is wajib and also azimah for a musafir to shorten his prayers. It is makrooh (abominable) for a musafir to pray four rakats deliberately. However, if he performs two rakats and sits for tashahhud and then stands up and performs two more rakats, he is regarded to have performed the fard and the last two rakats are regarded as nafilah (supererogatory). However, he is regarded to have done something wrong because he has delayed the salutations. However, if he skips tashahhud or if he does not read the Quran in the first two rakats, he is not regarded to have performed the fard. As a matter of fact, the decree about the morning prayer and Friday prayer is the same.
The following is reported from Hazrat Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her):
"When the prayers were first enjoined they were of two rakats each. Later the prayer in a journey was kept as it was but the prayers for non-travelers were increased (Bukhari, Salat,1; Muslim, Musafirin,1; Abu Dawud, II, 3).
Ibn Abbas is reported to have said the following:
"Allah enjoined prayers as four rakats for muqims and two rakats for musafirs with the tongue of our Prophet." (Muslim, Musafirin, 5, 6; Abu Dawud Safar, 18; Nasai, Khawf 4; Ibn Majah Iqama, 75).
According to Malikis, it is sunnah muakkad to shorten prayers while traveling; according to Shafii and Hanbalis, a musafir is free to shorten the prayer or not; it is a permission. A musafir can pray by shortening his prayers or fully. However, according to Hanbalis, it is more virtuous to shorten than to pray fully because Hazrat Prophet and the four Caliphs did so.
It is permissible to shorten prayers during a journey whether the journey is for worshipping, something permissible or something bad. For instance a person who travels for robbing people, for an illegitimate enjoyment or for committing a haram can benefit from the shortening of the prayer because the verses and hadiths about it are certain; no distinction is made between a legitimate or illegitimate journey in the following verse;
"When ye travel through the earth, there is no blame on you, if ye shorten your prayers" (an-Nisa, 4/104) (Ibnul-Humam, ibid, I, 405 et al.; Ibn Abidin, Raddul-Mukhtar, I, 733, 736).
According to most of the mujtahids except Hanafis, permissions like shortening the prayers, combining the prayers, not having to fast, masah for three days, performing nafilah prayers on animals are not in question for musafirs who travel to rob people, to buy or sell wine and other haram things, etc because those people travel to disobey Allah. The rule about the issue is as follows:
"Permissions cannot be used to support evil and bad things."
Besides, Allah permits a person who is in real need to eat dead meat with the condition of "without willful disobedience, or transgressing due limits" (al-Baqara, 2/173). Then, permissions cannot be used to support evil and bad things (Ibn Qudama, al-Mughni, Cairo 1970, II, 261; Zuhayli, II, 323 et al.; Ibn Rushd Bidayatul-Mujtahid, I, 163).
When a musafir has the intention of staying fifteen days or more in a town, he becomes a muqim and performs his prayers fully. If he intends to stay there less than fifteen days, he continues to be a musafir. The evidence that the decree is compared to is the cleaning period of women. The cleaning period makes it necessary for a woman to restart praying and fasting that she was freed from due to menses. To stay in a place permanently makes it necessary for a musafir to return to some religious duties. Therefore, since the maximum cleaning period is fifteen days, the period of staying in a place should be calculated as maximum fifteen days. That view is based on the following words reported by Ibn Abbas and Ibn Umar:
If you are a musafir and enter a town intending to stay there fifteen days, perform your prayers fully. If you do not know when you will leave that town, shorten your prayers." (az-Zuhayli, al-Fiqhul-Islami wa Adillatuh, Damascus 1405/1985, II, 323)
If a musafir stays in a town and waits to meet a certain need of his, he shortens his prayers even if he waits for it for years. He is regarded a musafir since he has not intended to stay there more than fifteen days. As a matter of fact, Ibn Umar stayed in Azerbaijan for six months and shortened his prayers accordingly. It is reported that some companions did the same.
If an army enters a town and even if the soldiers intend to stay there more than fifteen days, they shorten their prayers because there always exists the probability of staying there or being defeated and leaving that place; thus, the intention related to the period is not valid.
According to Shafiis and Malikis, if a musafir intends to stay four days in a place, he performs his prayers fully because it is explained in sunnah that staying somewhere less than four days will not break the judgment about a journey. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) stated the following:
"Muhajir stays for three days after he performs his worshipping related to hajj.” As a matter of fact, when Hazrat Prophet performed umra, he shortened his prayers though he stayed in Makkah for three days" (ash-Shawkani, Naylul-Awtar, III, 207 et al.).
According to Hanbalis, if a musafir intends to stay somewhere more than four days or twenty prayer times, he performs his prayers fully. If he intends to stay less than that period, he shortens his prayers.
In terms of being a musafir or muqim, the intention of the person to be followed (leader) is valid not the intention of the person who follows or depends on someone. Therefore, a soldier, an employee, a student and a wife become a muqim or musafir depending on the intention of the commander, employer, teacher and husband respectively.
The decrees of being a musafir are not valid for a child who has not reached the age of puberty. According to Shafiis, the intention of a mumayyiz child (child who has attained the age of mental discrimination) about being a musafir is valid and he can shorten his prayers.
If a person who is traveling does not know where the person he is following is going and about the intention of that person and if he cannot get an answer from him, he performs his prayers fully for the distance of three days; then, he starts to shorten his prayers.
If the head of the Islamic state travels around his country for a while without intending to be a musafir, he performs his prayers fully; however, if he intends to travel as long as the period of being a musafir, he shortens his prayers. That is the correct way.
The qada (missed) prayers of a muqim do not change when he becomes a musafir; the qada prayers of a musafir do not change when he becomes a muqim either. Therefore, a muqim performs the prayers that he missed when he was a musafir as two rakats. A musafir performs the prayers that he missed when he was a muqim as four rakats.
A muqim can follow a musafir imam and a musafir can follow a muqim imam in congregation. When the musafir imam gives salutations at the end of the second rakat, the muqim stands up and, according to the sound view, completes his prayer without reciting the Quran; he does not perform sajdah sahw if he makes a mistake because that muqim is like a lahiq in this situation. It is mustahab (recommended) for the musafir imam to say, "I am a musafir, you should complete your prayer."
A musafir can follow a muqim imam only during the prescribed time of that prayer. He performs a four-rakat fard prayer fully like a muqim when he follows a muqim imam. When he follows the imam during the prescribed time of that prayer, his prayer turns to a four-rakat prayer from two. When Ibn Abbas was asked, "What do you say for the situation of a musafir? He prays two rakats when he prays alone and four rakats when he follows a muqim imam”, he said, "It is sunnah to do like that" (az-Zuhayli, ibid, II, 335).
Nafi said the following:
"When Ibn Umar was a musafir and followed a muqim imam, he would pray four rakats; when he prayed alone, he would pray two rakats. " (az-Zuhayli, ibid, II, 335)
A person cannot follow the imam in a four-rakat prayer that he missed while he was a musafir because that prayer had occurred as two rakats.
It is not permissible to perform two prayers at one time due to an excuse like traveling, rain and snow. It is permissible to combine the noon (zuhr) and afternoon (asr) prayer only in Arafat, and the evening (maghrib) and night (isha) prayer only in Muzdalifa in congregation.
According to the three madhhabs except Hanafis, it is permissible to combine the noon and afternoon prayers, and the evening and night prayers in the form of early or late combination. For instance, the noon and afternoon prayers can be performed either in the time of noon prayer or afternoon prayer together; the evening and night prayers can be performed either in the time of evening prayer or night prayer together, too. All of the scholars accept Hanafis have the opinion that early combination and late combination of prayers are permissible. However, it has some conditions; it is not always valid.
The prayers that are missed when one is muqim do not change when a person becomes a misafir; similarly, the prayers that are missed when one is musafir do not change when a person becomes a muqim. Therefore, the four-rakat prayers that are missed when one is a musafir are performed as two rakats whether the person peforms them when he is a musafir or muqim. The prayers that are missed when one is a muqim are performed fully if they are performed when one is a musafir.
The end of being a musafir:
When a person returns to watan asli, his state of being a musafir ends. It does not matter whether he intends to stay there or not. When he returns to watan iqama, the intention of staying there is necessary.
There are three kinds of watan.
1. Watan asli: A place where someone was born or got married and decided to live permanently is called “watan asli”.
2. Watan iqama: A place where someone was not born or did not get married and did not decide to live permanently but settled with the intention of living more than fifteen days is called “watan iqama. The places where someone goes to and live for military service, attending a school, working as an employee or official, etc are regarded “watan iqama” due to the intention of staying more than fifteen days.
3. Watan sukna: A place where a musafir wants to stay for less than fifteen days is his watan sukna. Watan sukna is not taken into consideration. It does not change watan asli or watan iqama. Such a traveler is regarded a musafir both during his journey and during his stay less than fifteen days there. During the journeys to watan asli or watan iqama, decrees of being a musafir are valid only during the journey. When a person reaches those watans, he is regarded a muqim.
Those watans become invalid only by a watan equal to or superior to them in terms of being a musafir. Therefore, watan asli does not become valid by watan iqama or watan sukna. That is, if a person who is in watan iqama returns to watan asli, he does not become a musafir. If a person reaches the place where he was born or the place where his wife settled, he does not become a musafir. Only if the place he will go to is far away enough for the distance of being a musafir, he becomes a musafir only during the journey; when he reaches there, he becomes a muqim.
If a person abandons a place that he had settled and moves to another place in order to settle there, the new place he goes to becomes his watan asli; the place he abandoned is no longer his watan asli because when Hazrat Prophet (pbuh) went to Makkah, he regarded himself a musafir and said, “We are musafirs.” (ash-Shawkani, ibid, III, 270).
Watan asli does not become invalid by watan iqama. If a person leaves the place where he was born or where his wife lives for attending a school, military service or working in order to stay less than fifteen days, his previous watan asli does not change. When he returns there, he is not regarded a musafir even if he stays there only three days because watan iqama does not invalidate watan asli.
While living in a city, if a person gets married in another city but does not transfer his family there, both cities become watan asli for him. He becomes a muqim no matter which one of the two cities he goes to. Watan iqama becomes invalid if a person goes to another watan iqama, or leaves that place for a journey or returns to watan asli. That is, if a person who leaves watan iqama returns there again, he is regarded a musafir if he intends to stay there less than fifteen days.
Watan sukna, which is a place to be stayed less than fifteen days, has no importance. A person is regarded a musafir there. That watan does not change the other two types of watan. A person is regarded a musafir in all of his journeys that will last for less than fifteen days and that have a distance to be regarded a musafir as soon as he leaves the inhabited parts of the town and in the places he goes to. The state of being a musafir goes on until he returns.
If a muqim follows a musafir imam, the musafir imam gives salutations after completing two rakats and the muqim does not give salutations but completes the four rakats. He does not read anything in the third and fourth rakats because he has performed the beginning part with the imam and the fard reading has been fulfilled. (Ibnul-Humam, I, 405; Ibn Abidin, I, 733 et al.; Zaylai, at-Tabyin, I, 215).
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- Prayers of a Traveler (Musafir)
- How many kilometers should a man go in order to be regarded a musafir (traveler)?
- Is there any objection for a musafir (traveler) to perform his/her prayers fully instead of shortening them?
- If the environment in which we are musafir (traveler) is comfortable, is there any objection for performing prayers in full? Which one is better; performing prayers fully or shortening them?
- Should bus drivers and workers on ships who are constantly travelling perform their prayers by shortening them according to the decrees about musafir (traveler)?
- Is it permissible to intend to combine prayers if there is a possibility of missing a prayer? and In what situations can one imitate other madhhabs (sects) and combine prayers?
- SALAT (PRAYER)-II
- What are the sunna prayers (the prayers performed by our Prophet Muhammad-pbuh-, and performing of which are recommended but not obligatory)?
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