What is the rule of delaying prayers beyond their proper times at particular times of education and training at school, what should be done? Is it permissible to perform prayers by combining two prayers?

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What is the rule of delaying prayers beyond their proper times at particular times of education and training at school, what should be done? Is it permissible to perform prayers by combining two prayers?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Salah (Prayer) is one of the most important worships ordered to be performed by our religion, Islam. After reciting the kalima shahadah, it is the first one of the five principles upon which Islam is founded. It is obligatory without an exception to every Muslim who is sane and has reached the age of puberty. Its obligation is explicit in the Holy Book, Sunnah (the sayings and living habits of Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h)) and ijma (consensus of scholars). It is one of the great sins to skip or delay a prayer beyond its proper time and to make up for it at a later time without an excuse. Therefore, it is important for every Muslim to perform daily prayers at designated times and not to delay a prayer beyond its proper time unless there is a legitimate excuse that makes delaying permissible.

According to Islamic principles, no one is enjoined to exercise something that s/he is not able to fulfill and no one will be held responsible for that. As a matter of fact, the following is stated in the Qur’an:

On no soul doth Allah Place a burden greater than it can bear” (al-Baqara, 2/286)

Therefore, a person who is not able to perform a prayer at its designated time with a valid excuse and then make up for it at a later time will not be held responsible from religious viewpoint. However, those who do not perform prayers at their designated times without a valid excuse and make up for it at a later time will not escape the responsibility for carrying out the order of performing prayers at designated times. These people need to repent for their sins and, perform good deeds and extra worships to compensate their responsibility.

In Islam, specific times are designated for worships such as prayers and fasting. In case of missing any one of designated times for worships, not performing the worship but making up for it will be in question. It is mandatory to perform mandatory prayers at their designated times. It is considered a great sin to miss a prayer without an excuse. Even though making up for a prayer that has been missed removes the duty of the prayer, the sin caused by delaying the prayer beyond its proper time still proceeds. For this reason, a person who has made up for a prayer s/he missed needs to repent to Allah. With excuses such as fear of enemy or a pregnant woman being afraid of her child’s death, mandatory prayer may be delayed beyond its proper time to be made up for at a later time. Fear of a thief and a highwayman for a passenger is included in the scope of the fear of enemy. (1)

Daily tasks, jobs and occupations, and journeys cannot be regarded as excuses for delaying prayers beyond their proper times. The following is stated in the Qur’an:

Those men, whom neither any bargain nor any trade distracts from the Remembrance of Allah and from establishing the prayer and from paying the charity – they fear the day when the hearts and the eyes will be overturned” (an-Nur, 24/37). 

When Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) was asked about what deed was more virtuous, he responded that it was the prayer performed at the first part of its designated time. (2)

The Messenger of Allah was prevented from performing four prayers by Mushriks (polytheists) during the Battle of Khandaq, even some part of night had already passed. Finally, the Messenger of Allah, ordered Bilal Habashi to recite the adhan. Bilal recited the adhan, then the iqama and they performed the zuhr (noon) prayer. Then, he recited the iqama and they performed the asr (afternoon) prayer; then he recited the iqama and they performed the maghrib (evening) prayer, and then he recited the iqama and they performed the isha (night) prayer. Abu Said al-Khudri (may Allah be pleased with him) said that the following verse was sent down in the meantime:

And Allah turned back the Unbelievers for (all) their fury: no advantage did they gain; and enough is Allah for the believers in their fight. And Allah is full of Strength, able to enforce His Will” (al-Ahzab, 33/ 25)

However, during the Battle of Khandaq, the verse concerning the fear prayer had not been sent down yet. Allah, the Almighty, states the following in that verse:

But if you are in danger, [pray] walking or riding; and when you are again secure, bear God in mind - since it is He who taught you what you did not previously know.” (al-Baqara 2/239: see also an-Nisa 4/101-103)

Accordingly, it is not permissible for a student to miss a prayer for school. It is necessary to pay attention to prayer times, perform ablution beforehand if possible and at least perform the mandatory part of prayers. If there is no possibility of performing prayers during breaks, it is necessary to ask permission from teachers or authorized people to perform prayers at designated times. If that prayer has not been performed, then one needs to consider it as a sin and ask for repentance as soon as possible, and make up for the prayer and be careful not to delay a prayer beyond its proper time again.

That being said, if there is no possibility at all and it is not possible to resolve it, then it will be permissible for them to intend to combine prayers and perform one prayer after the other at home.

Footnotes:

(1)  See Ibnu'l Humam, Fathu'l-Qadir, Egypt 1389/1970, I, 485 ff.; al-Fatawa'l Hindiyya, Beirut 1400/1980, I, 121 ff.; Ibn Abidin Raddu'l-Mukhtar ala'd-Durri'l-Mukhtar, İstanbul 1984, II, 62.

(2) See Abu Dawud, Salah, 9; Tirmidhi, Mawarid, 13; Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, VI, 374, 375, 440

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