Fatawa >Section Two: Prayer -- Chapter One: The Daily Prayers


Section Two: Prayer -- Chapter One: The Daily Prayers

1. The Five Daily Prayers                  

We have already mentioned that the obligatory prayers are six. The most important among which are the five daily prayers. Accordingly, we will divide the discussion on these obligatory prayers into two chapters, one for the daily prayers and the other for the rest of them.


The obligatory daily prayers are five. Although, they share certain common rituals and rules, they differ in some respects. These prayers comprise seventeen ruka’a’. There are however thirty four ruka’a’, in a day and a night, which are voluntary. These are called the daily supererogatory (nawafil) devotions. They are also called arranged supererogatory performances because they are characterized by their own appointed times to distinguish them from the other optional prayers which have no predetermined time.

Fajir Prayer and its Twin Voluntary One

5. Fajir prayer is the first of the daily prayers. The Holy Qur’an has described it as the Prayer of Fajir- dawn: "… and the morning recitation; surely the morning recitation is witnessed" .  (17/78). It is also called by another name, i.e. Subh, because morning starts with dawn. It consists of two ruka’a. A male worshipper should recite al-Fatiha and the other surah at his own voice pitch, as will be discussed in para. 97      of the Chapter on General Guidelines.

6. There is a prescribed time for Fajir prayer. It starts with dawn until sunrise. Its time span is roughly an hour and a half.

Fajir is the inaugural part of daylight which precedes sunrise. This light appears in the horizon as a column surrounded by darkness. The column then starts expanding sideways as well as upwards.

The moment of Fajir is the actual spread of light horizontally which is readily distinguishable from the darkness of night.

As for the duration before that, where the light is a mere column, it is called false dawn. Prayer cannot be performed during that spell of time.

7. The time for Fajir prayer draws to an end with sunrise. However, the ideal time for prayer should, from a Shari’a standpoint, be before sunrise. Prior to sunrise there should appear in the horizon the morning glow, which heralds the rising of the sun. With the appearance of that glow, the prime time for Fajir prayer ends.

Should a person delay the saying of prayer till the time of the glow, thus performing it before sunrise, they would have missed the superior time of Fajir. However, they are deemed as though they have discharged what is required of them; thus they should not be deemed guilty.

8. There is a voluntary prayer which could be said either before or in tandem with Fajir prayer. It is a two-raka’a prayer identical to that of Fajir. Once embarked on, the worshipper must perform it with the niyyah of qurbah.

9. The time of this prayer starts with the last sixth portion of the night. Its time continues until sunrise. However, it is more meritorious, as a matter of ihtiyat, that it should not be delayed till the time of the morning dusk when the end of the prime time for Fajir prayer sets in.

10. Accordingly, this voluntary prayer should not be performed before the last sixth of the night. There is one exception though, in that it could be said immediately after salatul lail (night prayer) which is another form of voluntary prayer that will be discussed in some detail.

11. Fajir voluntary prayer should be performed before the obligatory Fajir one. Should the time for saying the obligatory one become critical, the voluntary prayer could be said after it, but before sunrise.

Dhuhr Prayer and its Twin Voluntary One

12. Dhuhr prayer is the second of the daily prayers. It is called the middle prayer. They Holy Qur’an has reiterated its importance, "Attend constantly to prayers and to the middle prayer and stand up truly obedient to Allah". (2/238).

It has been said that it was named thus because it falls half way between two daily prayers, i.e. those of fajir and asr.

13. Dhuhr consists of four ruka’a. However, it could be reduced to two ruka’a as a concession for a person on the move in accordance with a certain criterion that will be discussed in the Chapter on the General Guidelines and Rules of the daily prayers.

The recitation of the two surahs in the first two ruka’as should be inaudible  apart from the basmalah. However, dhuhr prayer performed on a Friday can be recited audibly. Recitation of tasbeeh ,The utterance of "Subhanal Lahi, wal Hamdu Lillahi, wala Illaha Illal Lahu, Wallahu Akbar" - Glory be to Allah, Praise be to Allah, there is no god but Allah, and Allah is Greater( in the remaining two ruka’as should be done in a whispered manner all the time.

14. The time for dhuhr prayer starts half way between sunrise and sunset, i.e. midday. The start of time for dhuhr prayer is called zawaal. That is, the start falls in the second period of the day.

Zawaal may be determined through a number of ways.

15. a. Once you have fixed the times of both sunrise and sunset, you can determine zawaal being the half way mark between the two.

16. b. By way of shade. When the sun shines it creates a shadow for the object it shines on. For example, a wall situated exactly between North and South. At the start of the day, the wall will have a shadow on the opposite side of the sun, i.e. to the West. So long as the sun keeps rising, the shadow keeps shrinking. At the point of zawaal, it more or less, disappears insofar as its western side is concerned. Thereafter, the shadow begins to form on the eastern side of the wall.

Once one notices the complete disappearance of the shadow from the western side and its appearance on the eastern one, they should conclude that the time for dhuhr prayer has come.

17. c. The third method of determining zawaal is by identifying the direction of the South. By setting your face towards the South and noticing the decline of the sun towards your right-hand side eyebrow, you should conclude that the time for dhuhr has come.

18. The time for dhuhr can extend as far as sunset. However, if a person has not said both the prayers, i.e. dhuhr and asr, so much so that there will not be ample time to say both save one, they should assume that the time for dhuhr is up for the sake of saying asr.

However, if there are but five minutes left, assuming that each ruka’a takes one minute, the person should start saying dhuhr and immediately on completion should say asr.

19. However, although the time for dhuhr may extend to sunset, it is better to say it on its prime time, which, by the way, does not extend to sunset. It starts with the time of zawaal and ends when the shadow of any object reaches four seventh of its height. So, if, say, a wall was seven meters high, its shadow should be four meters long.

20. Dhuhr obligatory prayer has a voluntary sister. The latter comprises four prayers, each of which comprises two ruka’as. It should be said with the niyyah of qurbah.

21. The time of this voluntary prayer is as that of dhuhr. It can be said before the obligatory one. Yet, should the worshipper delay saying dhuhr at an earlier time, thus missing its prime time, it is preferable to start saying the obligatory one.

22. Accordingly, it is not permissible to bring forward voluntary dhuhr prayer, i.e. to say it before time. However, there are two exemptions:

a. On a Friday, a person can say voluntary dhuhr prayer before zawaal.

b. Should you be aware that you might, around zawaal time, be attending to some sort of a private business, you can say this voluntary prayer before zawaal.

Asr Prayer and its Voluntary Sister

23. This is the third obligatory daily prayer. Its format is identical to that of dhuhr. The only difference is in the niyyah where the worshipper should specify that it is asr they are performing.

However, there is also no substitute for asr, as in the case of dhuhr where Friday prayer can substitute it on certain occasions.

24. The time for asr prayer is zawaal. However, it must be performed after dhuhr. Accordingly, the worshipper is not allowed to switch, especially if they are aware of the prohibition. Should they nevertheless do so, they have to say dhuhr and repeat asr after it.

25. Should a person realize, during asr prayer that he did not say dhuhr before that, he must assume that the prayer in progress is that of dhuhr. Once he has finished with it, he should say asr.

26 Should the person be unaware until he has finished the prayer in hand, it (asr)shall be in order, irrespective of whether he started the prayer at the start of zawaal or midway. He must though perform dhuhr after that.

In exactly the same situation, a person who is not aware of the rules can be excused for saying asr before dhuhr. That is, he is not required to repeat his prayer.

27. The time for asr prayer is until sunset. Should there not be ample time to accommodate both the prayers, i.e. those of dhuhr and asr, asr takes precedence over dhuhr, contrary to the earlier time where it is obligatory to start with dhuhr first.

28. However, the ideal time span for asr is zawaal till the shadow, already discussed, extends between two and six sevenths of the original height of the object (i.e. the wall in the example given above).

29. There is a voluntary prayer which may be said between dhuhr and asr. It consists of four prayers of two-ruka’a each, i.e. similar to the voluntary dhuhr prayer. However, it could be reduced to either three or two prayers of two-ruka’a each. Should there not be enough time for asr, it is preferable to say Asr, then the voluntary one.

Maghrib Prayer and its Voluntary Sister

30. This is the fourth of the obligatory daily prayers. It comprises three ruka’as. The niyyah of qurbah is an integral part of it. In the first two ruka’as. the recitation of the two surahs should be audible. Recitation of tasbeeh in the third ruka’a should be inaudible.

31. The time for maghrib prayer starts with sunset, i.e. the disappearance of the sun disc beyond the horizon. However, the disappearance of the sun to the naked eye shall not be complete unless the bronze glow in the East disappears. When the latter vanishes, the actual time for maghrib starts. That said, there is no harm, from an ihtiyat perspective, to wait for the disappearance of that glow from the East, but it is not essential.

32. Maghrib time could extend to midnight, i.e. between sunset and dawn. There are though some exceptions. Women in haydh could delay prayer until after midnight till dawn. So do the person who has been asleep all the time and that who forgot about saying the prayer.

However, the ideal time span for maghrib starts with the start of its time and ends with the early part of the night, i.e. with the disappearance of twilight. The disappearance of the twilight should be complete after roughly one hour of sunset.

33. In the event of delaying maghrib until just before midnight, so much so that there is only time for performing four ruka’as, it is obligatory to defer maghrib and say isha’’ instead. Should there be ample time to accommodate saying five ruka’as maghrib should be performed, to be immediately followed by isha’

34. There is a voluntary prayer that goes hand in hand with maghrib. It consists of two prayers of two-ruka’a each with the niyyah of qurbah. However, one can confine it to only one two-ruka’a prayer.

35. The time for this prayer goes in tandem with that of its sister, maghrib prayer. It is obligatory to delay it until one has finished maghrib. Its ideal time though is that of its sister, maghrib.

Isha’ Prayer and its Voluntary Sister

36. This is the fifth and last of the obligatory daily prayers. It consists of four ruka’as

37. Its format is similar to that of dhuhr, in that the niyyah of qurbah should be identified as saying isha’. The other difference is that the recitation of the two surahs in the first two ruka’as should be audible.

38. The time for isha’ prayer starts with sunset till midnight, i.e. the same as that of maghrib. However, one should not say it before maghrib. Should a person do so deliberately, their prayer is deemed batil. They should, therefore, say maghrib followed by isha’.

If a person inadvertently or through ignorance said isha’ before maghrib, they are not required to repeat it, regardless of whether they performed it at the start of the time or half way through it. They should therefore say maghrib only.

39. Should a person embark on isha’ prayer in the belief that he has already said maghrib, then realized this was not the case, he must immediately change his niyyah to that of praying maghrib and finish it thus. Afterwards, he should say isha’. The only exception is the situation where the worshipper has passed the point in prayer where taking remedial action is not feasible, i.e. going into the fourth ruka’a. In such a case, they must start both the prayers afresh.

Isha’ prime time is the first third of the night. Should this time be up before the worshipper could say the prayer, they would miss the extra reward. However, they would not be deemed guilty as long as they say it before midnight.

40. After isha’ prayer the worshipper can say a two-ruka’a voluntary prayer from a sitting position. Bending for ruku would be considered as good as an ordinary ruka’a’. However, this prayer would count as one ruka’a’ because it is said while the worshipper is seated. Its time span is that of isha’, and so long as the worshipper can perform it after isha’ and before midnight, it should be accepted by Allah, the Exalted.

Night Prayer

41. Night prayer, or salatul lail, is very highly meritorious. It consists of six prayers, the first four of which comprise two ruka’a’؛ the fifth prayer also has two ruka’a’ and called shafi’ whereas the sixth has one ruka’a and called watr. Accordingly, the total ruka’a’ of this prayer is eleven. However, if they so wish, the worshipper may confine it to shafi’ and watr or to watr only.

42. The time span of this prayer starts from midnight, as has already been discussed in para. (32), to fajir, when the time for subh or fajir prayers sets in. However, the prime time for night prayer is the last third of night.

It is to be noted, though, that no sin be committed for not observing those voluntary prayers. That said, observing them should carry great favor with Allah, the Most High.

2.Juma’ Prayer                 Back

43. Juma’ prayer is amongst the greatest of Islam’s observances. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an, "O you who believe! when the call for prayer on Friday is made, hasten to the remembrance of Allah and leave off trading; that is better for you, if you know".(9/62).

It has been related from Imam As-Sadiq (a.s. ), "Allah shall spare the body of the believer, who had set foot in pursuit of [observing] Juma’ ]prayer, from Hellfire"

Juma’ prayer could supersede dhuhr prayer as will be discussed. Allah, the Most High, has put it in a separate category to distinguish it from the other prayers, in that He made it obligatory that it should be said in context of a congregational prayer. He ordained that one should be held in any one area, that everybody should be expected to attend, except for a valid reason.

Thus, it can be said that Juma’ is a weekly gathering for the worshippers and the faithful, that starts with preaching and dissemination of education and knowledge through the two sermons and ends with devotion and seeking audience with Allah through the prayer itself.

The format of the prayer is identical to that of subh, except for the niyyah. However, it may diverge from subh, in that it is mustahab to perform two qunoots, the first before the first ruka’a’ and the second after going into an upright position after the second ruka’a’. In order for it to be accepted, Juma’ prayer has to be observed within the following framework:

Conditions for Observing Juma’ Prayer

44. a. It has to be held congregationally. Accordingly, for Juma’ prayer to be performed correctly, all the conditions of a congregational prayer have to be fulfilled, as will be discussed in detail.

45. b. The number of worshippers should not be less than five including the Imam. Thus, any smaller number would not be sufficient to hold it; instead they can say dhuhr prayer.

46. c. Juma’ prayer must be preceded by two sermons by the Imam; the bare minimum of these sermons could be that the Imam standing up to address the worshippers by chanting the praise of the Almighty, enjoining God-fearing, and reciting a Surah from the Holy Book.

That done, he should retire for a short time, only to stand again for the second sermon. After praising Allah and thanking Him for His graces, he should invoke peace to be with Mohammad and the Imams of Muslims, and ask forgiveness for the believers.

After that, the prayer should be held. The Imam must raise his voice so that those present can hear him. Insofar as the sermon is concerned, it is not a condition that only Arabic be used albeit it is preferable, as a matter of voluntary precaution; that said, any Qur’anic quotations have to be in Arabic. Should the audience not be conversant with Arabic, the Imam may resort to the language they understand.

47. d. There should not be another Juma’ prayer held in the same vicinity, i.e. within a radius of roughly five and a half km. Should there be two Juma’ prayers, i.e. within the same neighborhood, both will be deemed batil, if they were started at the same time. In the event of one of them starting where the first had finished, the one started later will be deemed batil. However, if one of the two prayers has been deemed batil, for any reason, it should not affect the outcome of the other prayer.

However, there may be a case for two Juma’ prayers that were held in a prohibited proximity, as has already been explained, without any of the two congregations knowing. Both the prayers are in order, irrespective of whether they finished at the same time or having started at different times and finished at the same time.

Rules of Juma’ Prayer

48. Holding Juma’ prayer becomes an absolute obligation in the presence of a just ruler, i.e. in the person of the Imam or his representative. By "just ruler", we mean the person or persons who legitimately rule and uphold justice and fairness between the ruled.

49. Should there be no just ruler, holding Juma’ prayer is obligatory too. However, its being obligatory is a matter of choice to start with; and its being obligatory as a matter of necessity to finish with. That is, the worshippers have to observe the obligation at midday of Juma’, either by holding Juma’ prayer in congregation according to the aforesaid conditions or by holding dhuhr prayer. However, whichever prayer the worshipper performed, it will suffice. That said, holding Juma’ prayer is more superior and more meritorious. Saying that holding Juma’ prayer as a matter of fixed obligation may have a justification.

50. Five worshippers may choose to hold Juma’ prayer pursuant to the second rule. Among them there may exist a person who is known to be of an unblemished character and thus fit to deliver the sermon and lead the prayer. Should such a prayer be held, it becomes absolutely obligatory on all worshippers to attend and take part in it. This is because holding it has come about as a response to the call for Juma’ prayer which must be answered. This is the third rule.

51. The following categories of worshippers may be excused of holding Juma’ prayer in the light of the third rule:

a. Those whose attending the prayer may cause them undue difficulty, harm, or put them in an untenable situation.

b. The blind.

c. The sick.

d. Women.

e. The elderly.

f. The traveler whose journey justifies his saying his prayer qasr.

g. Those who live 8-10 kms. away from the place where the prayer is held.

All such people are exempt from attending and taking part in Juma’ prayer thus described. However, should they choose to take part in it, it will be in order.

Should those, described in point )g(, choose to travel to the place where Juma’ prayer is held, they have to take part in it.

52. When the call for Juma’ prayer is initiated, those who are obligated within the duty of attending the prayer are not justified in carrying on with trade or work or any other business which may hold them back from performing it. However, if the nature of business does not constitute such a barrier, there is no harm in it.

54. Just as it is obligatory to attend Juma’ prayer and take part in it pursuant to the third rule, so is it obligatory to attend the two sermons and be attentive to what is being preached. Should a person become lethargic and not attend in good time for the sermon as well as the prayer itself, so much so that they missed the sermon, it shall be accepted.

55. The time span for Juma’ prayer is from the beginning of noon. As a matter of ihtiyat and pursuant to what is lawfully required, those holding it should not delay it beyond noon, or zawaal, any longer. It should be performed within the boundaries of the prime time of dhuhr prayer. Better still, it should be held in the earlier part of the time span. That is, despite the fact that the time for Juma’ prayer extends from zawaal till the time for asr prayer.

Ostensibly, delivering the two sermons before zawaal is not permitted.

56. Should the worshipper miss Juma’ prayer, they are not justified in holding it, even though its time has not elapsed. Instead, they must say dhuhr prayer.

3 . General Guidelines of Daily Prayer                 Back

1. Code of Practice

The worshipper has to observe a voluntary etiquette called for in performing the obligatory daily prayers. However, they cannot be held accountable should they choose not to observe the said rituals which are of two types. The first is performed before starting prayer and the second after it is done with. The first consists of adhan and iqamah and the second consists of supplication (ta’qeeb). We shall discuss these in some detail later on.

1. Adhan and Iqamah

57. Linguistically, adhan is informing. Technically, it is a specific liturgy, heralding the onset of time for prayer. Thus, there is an informative type of adhan, letting the worshippers know that it is time for prayer; it is mustahab, irrespective of whether or not the person announcing it wanted to pray. There is another adhan with which one inaugurates prayer, which is again mustahab for the person intending to say prayer, regardless of the point in time within the time span they wanted to start it.

58. Linguistically, iqamah has many connotations, one of which is promotion. Technically, it is a procedure applied immediately before the start of the actual prayer, including the announcement that, "Prayer has begun".

The Components of Adhan and Iqamah

59. Adhan consists of eighteen parts:

Allahu Akbar(Allah is greater). Four times

Ashhadu alla ilaha illalallah, (I bear witness that there is no god but Allah), twice.

Ashhadu anna Muhammadan rasulullah, (I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah), twice.

Hayya alas salah, (Hasten to prayer), twice.

Hayya alal falah, (Hasten to salvation), twice.

Hayya ala khayril amal, (Hasten to the most noble of actions), twice.

Allahu Akbar, (Allah is greater), twice.

La ilaha illallah, (I bear witness that there is no god but Allah), twice.

However, there is no harm in confining the above utterances to one time each, in case one is in a hurry.

60. Iqamah has a lot in common with adhan; these are the utterances of iqama

Allahu Akbar, (Allah is greater). twice times

Ashhadu alla ilaha illalallah, I( bear witness that there is no god but Allah), twice.

Ashhadu anna Muhammadan rasulullah, (I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah), twice.

Hayya alas salah, (Hasten to prayer), twice.

Hayya alal falah, (Hasten to salvation), twice.

Hayya ala khayril amal, (Hasten to the most noble of actions), twice.

Qad qamatis salah, (Prayer has begun), twice.

Allahu Akbar, (Allah is greater), twice.

La ilaha illallah, (I bear witness that there is no god but Allah), once.

According to Shari’a law, the formats of both adhan and iqamah are what we have appended above. It is, therefore, not permissible for the worshipper to add anything more as though it were part of the said formats. However, any inadvertent words, i.e. not a deliberate ploy by the worshipper to give the impression that it is part thereof, can be tolerated. Yet, as a matter of ihtiyat, it is advisable to abandon it in iqamah.

Requirements of Adhan and Iqamah

There is a number of conditions that must be met in adhan and iqamah:

61. a. The niyyah of qurbah, because both, i.e. adhan and iqamah, are acts of worship.

62. b. Adhan should precede iqamah, in that should iqamah be recited first, it should be deemed in order whereas the adhan not.

63. c. The order of the utterances detailed in both the adhan and the iqamah should be adhered to. Should the worshipper make a mistake by reciting one line prematurely, they should make remedial action by reverting to the proper order.

64. d. Sequential implementation of each and every part of both the adhan and the iqamah is a must. There should also not be a pause between iqamah and prayer. A break between adhan and iqamah can be tolerated, especially in view of the fact that it is mustahab to perform a two-ruka’a voluntary prayer, or any other devotion, between the two.

65. e. The setting in of prayer time, in that reciting them before the time has come is not in order. The only exception is adhan of fajir, i.e. it can be embarked on before the actual time of the Fajir prayer itself, provided that this does not entail misleading others [into believing that fajir prayer has come]. However, it should be repeated when the actual time sets in.

66. f. Both the adhan and iqamah must be recited in classical Arabic.

67. g. It is a prerequisite that the worshipper is in a state of taharah while reciting iqamah; they should set their face in the direction of qiblah while in a standing posture. These requirements are mustahab in adhan. It is makrouh to engage in ordinary conversation during adhan and iqamah. This becomes even more makrouh when the caller of iqamah recites, "Prayer has begun".

Adhan or iqamah by a woman is not good enough for a man, even if they are related to one another, as a matter of obligatory ihtiyat The same rule applies in the case of an insane person and a boy not capable of rational action.

Prayers Which Require Adhan and Iqamah

68. It is mustahab for the worshipper, engaged in performing the five obligatory daily prayers, to recite adhan and iqamah for each and every prayer whether it is performed ada’ or qadha’, be him healthy or sick, man or woman, staying put or traveling. The recommendation to recite them becomes even more emphatic for men in particular. Shari’a has placed special emphasis on iqamah, i.e. more than adhan.

69. There should be no adhan or iqamah for voluntary prayers, such as the prayer for portents (ayat) and The two Eids prayers.

When should adhan become redundant?

The importance of adhan diminishes in a number of cases:

70. a. When the worshippers hear another adhan; however, if they choose to recite adhan there is no harm in that.

71. b. Should the worshipper embark on saying a number of prayers by way of qadha’ in one session, they are free to recite one adhan throughout. They have to recite iqamah for each and every prayer. That said, if they choose to recite adhan for each and every prayer, this is good enough.

72. c. The worshipper may choose to say two prayers, such as dhuhr and asr after zawaal, or maghrib and isha’ after sunset. One adhan for both the prayers would suffice. Should they choose to recite adhan for the second prayer, there is no harm in that. However, the only exceptions to this routine are the combined prayers of dhuhr and asr at Arafat and the combined maghrib and isha’ prayers at Muzdelifah on the eve of Eidul Adhha. The mukallaf should though be mindful of their obligation when combining Juma’ prayer with asr and avoid reciting adhan for asr prayer, in that the adhan for Juma’ prayer would suffice.

When should adhan and iqamah become redundant?

73. In a congregational prayer, one adhan and one iqamah by the imam or any of the worshippers would suffice, i.e. the worshippers taking part in the prayer need not recite either.

74. On entering a place where congregational prayer is either still in progress or has just finished, the worshipper can say their prayer without the need for either adhan or iqamah. That is, as long as the participants in that prayer have not dispersed. It is irrelevant too if the worshipper joined in the prayer as an imam or one of those following the imam, or said their prayer alone.

That said, should the worshipper choose to recite adhan and iqamah, they are free to do so, provided they do not contravene the code of conduct, in that they should respect the atmosphere of congregational prayer. However, it is highly recommended, as a matter of ihtiyat, that they refrain from reciting adhan.

What would happen if the worshipper said his prayer with neither adhan nor iqamah?

75. Should the mukallaf say his prayer without adhan or iqamah, this would not detract from the prayer; and they would not incur any penalty. In case they start their prayer and remember at some stage that they did not recite adhan and iqamah, they need not cut short the prayer to recite them. However, they would be justified in taking remedial action, if they remembered in the first ruka’a’, provided that it is done before actually going to ruku’.

The same thing applies in the case of forgetting the iqamah; nonetheless, this should apply even after performing ruku’ in both the cases, i.e. adhan and iqamah or iqamah only. Cutting short one’s prayer for the sake of upholding these two devotions or either is called for.

b. Supplications

It is mustahab to invoke Allah’s mercy after prayer has been said. This may take different forms, some of which could be chanting the praise of the Almighty and thanking Him for His bounties; chanting His praise in the way Fatimah, daughter of the Prophet (s.a.w), used to do could be another route; this entails saying Allahu Akbar( 34 times, )Alhamdu Lillah( 33 times, and )Subhanallah( 33 times)_.

Imam Mousa Al-Kazim (a.s. ), was quoted as saying, "Any believer going about observing an act of worship, as ordained by Allah, should be rest assured that their prayer would be answered".

Among the mustahab things in the supplications after prayers is the recitation of Suratul Fatiha and the ayah of al-Kursi.

In an authentic hadith from Imam Al-Baqir (a.s. ) , it has been related that he said, "The bare minimum of supplication after the obligatory prayer is saying: O Allah! I ask You of all the grace You know, and seek refuge with You from all the evil You know. O Allah! I ask You to bestow favor on me in all my affairs, and seek refuge with You from the shame of this world and the torment of the Hereafter".


2. The Time of Prayer

76. Embarking on prayer before its prescribed time is not allowed; nor can assuming or thinking that the time has come be tolerated. Should this happen, the worshipper must make sure that the actual time for prayer has set in, then say their prayer.

77. From a Shari’a viewpoint determining the exact prayer time could be achieved by any of the following:

a. First hand knowledge.

b. Indisputable evidence.

c. The adhan of the caller to prayer, provided they are knowledgeable and of an upright character.

d. The testimony of a person who is both knowledgeable and of unblemished character.

78. Suppose that a person said his prayer in the knowledge that prayer time has come in the light of one of the aforesaid ways. On finishing prayer he discovered that the time has not started yet. What should he do?

A. If the whole prayer was over and done with outside the prescribed time, it would not count. Should the appointed time set in while the person is still praying, even if he is in the concluding part thereof, i.e. tasleem, it would count as a fully-fledged prayer.

79. Someone may say his prayer without making sure that prayer time has started. He realized that the time has actually started. His prayer is good enough. However, should he realize that the time has set in while he is still praying or after he has finished it, such a prayer is batil (invalid).

80. On finishing his prayer, a person could not determine whether he had said it on time or before it. Such a prayer would not suffice, especially determining the actual time for prayer was still a matter for debate at that moment in time.

81. Should there be not enough time left for saying prayer within its time span, the person is not justified in delaying it. He should therefore hasten to say it in its entirety within the approved time span.

However, should the person keep putting off prayer or forgetting about it to the extent that only a very short time is left to perform one ruka’a, which could on average be done in one minute, he should hasten to say prayer.

If there was not enough time left even to perform one ruka’a, albeit in a shortened form, prayer time is deemed as though it has come to an end. Thus, saying it turns from ada’ to qadha’.

82. For a good reason, the person may not be in a position to say his prayer at the earlier part of its time. Can he embark on prayer at the earlier segment of time, although he may perform it in a kneeling position, or with najasah, for example? Or should he wait until just before the end of the period to allow for the possibility of alleviating his position to say the prayer while he is in good shape?

A. People with valid reason can embark on prayer at its earliest possible time. This is so even if there was a possibility that their situation might improve with time. Should the reason for saying prayer in not an ideal enough form be lifted while time is not up, they do not have to repeat their prayer. That is so, provided that the state the person were experiencing did not entail encroaching upon an essential part (rukn)of the prayer.

83. The worshippers can, at the start of the time of an obligatory prayer, say any voluntary or compensatory prayers before they embark on the obligatory prayer. That is, so long as they are absolutely sure that they would be able to perform the obligatory prayer after that in the form it has been ordained.

However, it is mustahab to hasten to prayer at its prime time because doing so is more superior and more meritorious. The best of times in which to perform an obligatory prayer is the closest to the start of its time span, thus allowing for its twin voluntary prayer, should it have one, to be said.

3. Number of Ruka’as

84. We have already mentioned that the total number of ruka’as of the five obligatory daily prayers is seventeen and the total number of ruka’as of the eighteen optional prayers is thirty four.

The total number of ruka’as of the obligatory prayers is ordained on the mukallaf who is at home, i.e. not on journey. Thus, those at home should say duhr, asr, and isha’ four ruka’as each; it is called tamam prayer. Should the worshipper embark on a legitimate journey, the obligatory four-ruka’a prayers would be reduced to two-ruka’a ones; a number of voluntary prayers would no longer be required.

Accordingly, a traveler should say dhuhr with two ruka’a in the same way they says Subh; the same goes for asr and isha’. This is called qasr prayer, for Allah says, "And when you journey in the earth, there is no blame on you if you shorten the prayer.." (4/101).There is no qasr in maghrib and subh.

That said, we turn now to discussing what we mean by those at “home” who are required to say the four-ruka’a prayers fully ,then the nature of travel which entails qasr prayer; and the rules of qasr prayer which emanate from a legitimate travel.

Those at home

85. Presence is an opposite state of travel. It means that the individual is present at their place of domicile. What we mean by “home” is town, village… etc where the person lives, in the following sense:

Classification of ‘home’

86. a. Historically, the town where the person’s parents and family live and where they were born, is “home”. It therefore follows that they should say dhuhr, asr, and isha’ prayers in full. That is, irrespective of whether they are still residing there or moved out to live somewhere else, so long as there is even the slightest possibility of returning to live there one day. Should the person decide not to return to live in their original town, they are no longer required to say their prayer, on visiting it, in full. They should instead pray qasr.

78. b. Once a person moves to a new town and takes it for a lifetime residence, they should say their prayer in full. The same ruling applies to the person’s spouse and their dependants.

88. c. In the event of a person taking a town for residence for a long period of time, which cannot be treated as a journey, such as a student enrolling in a university away from their home town, they should say their prayer in full. The same applies to their spouse and dependants.

89. d. Anyone, who does not fit any of the previous three cases, decides to take as home anywhere, that neighborhood or town would become their “home”. They, their spouse and dependants should say their prayer in full. The most appropriate example one can think of in this regard is an employee in a company, which decides to relocate; thus choosing to stick by his employer and move house to a different town.

So long as the person is within the boundaries of his ‘home’, he is required to say his prayer in full.

Should he embark on a journey, it is obligatory on him to say his prayer qasr according to the following guidelines:

90. A person may have two “homes”.


a. A student moving house to spend some five years working for their degree in town (x), only to return to his home town on completion of his study. So, both places are now considered his home.

b. A businessperson  moves between their residence in their home town and his holiday home, at summer resort (x), spending in the process five months of the year in the latter and the remaining months in his home town residence. He has to say his prayer in full, [i.e. without the concession of qasr for a traveler].

c. A person may have two residences in two different towns, such as one who has two wives, spending one week here and the other there so long as he lived or stayed thus indefinitely.

91. A person may have a “home” fitting the description of any of the four categories already discussed. Should he become undecided as to relinquishing it, this does not render that ‘home’ as non-existent.

92. You may pose the question that many people choose to migrate to far away lands in pursuit of either lawful work or study. Should those people, who stay years on end in their adoptive country, say their prayers in full, or should they be allowed to say them qasr?

A. Should the immigrants decide not to return to their native country, they must act as though the country they immigrated to is their homeland, in that they should say their prayers in full. That is, irrespective of whether they decided to stay for a long or a short period of time. Thus, their adoptive country becomes their ‘home’, i.e. of the fourth category already discussed under 92 -d.

If the immigrants did not contemplate the idea of not returning to their homeland, their situation would be determined by the length of time they intend to stay in the second country. Should the period of their stay be, say, four years or more, the second country would be deemed as ‘home’. Thus, they will be required to say their prayers in full. Their new ’home’ would be of the third category (91.c)already discussed.

If the period of their stay is shorter, i.e. one or two years, the second country would not count as ‘home’. It will be treated as any country other than their own. Accordingly, their religious duty is to say their prayers in full; that is if their travel fits the definition which will be discussed in paras. (168) onward of this Section. Otherwise, their obligation will be qasr. However, if the stay was for two years, the ruling regarding it as a ‘home’ could also cover it.

Requirements of Lawful Travel

By ‘lawful travel’ we mean that kind of travel which warrants saying the four-ruka’a prayer qasr (shortened). However, qasr would not come about if the travel did not satisfy the following:

93. a. The distance covered in a journey should not be less than eight farsakh, )i.e. roughly forty three and one fifth km(. Whether this distance is covered in one direction or in both directions is immaterial. That is, it may cover the outward and the return journeys. The other thing which does not affect the result is the time spent in traveling, i.e. be it few minutes, hours, or days. The periphery of the town, be it big or small, should be taken as a point for calculating the distance..

94. b. The entire distance should be in the mind of the traveling person, i.e. until it is all covered.

Example 1: If a passenger was either asleep or unconscious during the trip so much so that they were not aware that they were traveling, such a journey is of no consequence.

Example 2: A person headed towards a point which covers half of the distance in question. Upon reaching their destination, they had second thoughts about going further, thus covering, say the second half of the distance. So long as the entire distance was not intended to be covered at the outset, such a travel is of no consequence, although they covered the entire distance.

Example 3: The same ruling applies to a person intending to cover the entire distance, yet while en-route, i.e. half way, they became reluctant whether to carry on with their journey. Such a person will not be allowed to say their prayer qasr, even if they covered the whole distance at that lethargic pace. This is so because there was no continuity in their intention to complete the journey to their intended destination.

By ‘intention’ we mean not only the individual’s desire and choice, but their unwavering feeling that they are going to cover the entire distance. That is, irrespective of whether this feeling had emanated from their own free will to travel, or they were coerced, or had no choice.

95. c. Covering the distance should be in accordance with established practice (urf), in that it should be widely held that whomsoever covered it, it cannot be said that they do not come under the banner of ‘traveler’. For example, if one chooses to jog some hundred meters away from their home, going in circles, and covering in the end the entire distance of over forty three km; such should not qualify for the definition of ‘traveler’.

d. Nothing of the following should occur to the traveler before covering the said distance:

96. a. Passing through one’s ‘home’. Should the traveler get passed their ‘home’, or any other place they consider ‘home’, before completing the distance of just over forty three km., this would not count as a journey because it was interrupted by passing through one’s ‘home’, before exhausting the whole distance.

97. b. Staying at any place on the way for a month before completing the entire distance - of just over forty three km. That is, regardless of whether the traveler intended, at the outset, to stay for a month, or kept delaying their departure many times on end for this reason or the other.

The one month mentioned here should be thirty days. Thus, any lunar month consisting of less than thirty days would not do.

98. c. Staying at a place en-route for ten days before covering the whole distance. Here the traveler must stay the entire period of ten days, having made up their mind on arrival at that place. The decision to stay the course for ten days is akin to staying thirty days without the intention to do so. To sum up, any stay of ten days, so described, takes place in a journey[ intended to] cover the whole distance, yet stops short of completing it, has no bearing from a Shri’a viewpoint .

Jurists call "passing through one’s ’home’", "staying at any place on the way for a month before completing the entire distance", and "staying at a place en-route for ten days before covering the whole distance",  the disrupters of travel.

Thus, the fourth of the characteristics of ’lawful travel’ is that any of these ‘disrupters’ should not take place during the journey before the entire distance is covered.

So long as these four conditions are met, prayers have to be said qasr. However, some types of travel are exempt as will be discussed in paras (158) onward.

Additional Details and Applications Concerning the General Requirements

The First Requirement

99. Insofar as the first of the requirements is concerned, i.e. covering the distance, one may pose the following questions:

Is there any difference between covering the distance horizontally, like traveling on land, and vertically, such as in the case of air travel?

A. There is no difference between the two cases, provided that in the case of air travel, the traveler is not said to be still in the air space of their ‘home’.

100. Should you cover the required distance, of just over forty-three km., not necessarily in a straight line, would the traveler in this case qualify for qasr prayers?

A. Yes, they would. For example, suppose the ‘home’ of the traveler is located on the periphery of a circle, the distance of which, apart from what their ‘home’ occupies, is equal to the required distance for travel. Should they embark on walking the distance on route of the circle, this would suffice.

101. Should a person cover the required distance to and fro, i.e. by way of repeating a given segment of say five km. many times until the entire distance is covered, would they qualify for qasr prayers?

A. This does not count as a lawful travel and thus does not qualify for qasr prayers.

102. Suppose the road between two towns is not straight because of the terrain; it may twist and turn, etc. Should the required distance, for a return journey on such a road, be calculated as though it was a straight line?

A.. No, the actual distance, including the twists and turns, should count, as long

as the traveler covered it in the usual way, i.e. as everyone else does.

103. Suppose there were two villages in a mountainous terrain, one the top of mountain, and the other at its foot. The road linking the two villages twists and turns. Drawing a straight nominal line between the two destinations will tell us that it falls far short of the shari’i distance. What is the criterion?

A. The criterion is that you calculate what the traveler covers of the actual road distance, including the twists and turns, should this be the usual route people take to get to either village.

104. Should you travel from your ‘home’ to another town and back, covering in the process the required distance of just over forty -three km, you have to say your prayers qasr. This is because a return journey is considered one, unless it is interrupted by one of the ‘disrupters’ of travel mentioned in paras. (98 to 100), in that should you choose to stay in the other town ten days and return home after that, no qasr must ensue.

105. Suppose there are two routes to get to the second town, one is shorter than the other?

A. The traveler may choose the longer route which may constitute two thirds of the required distance, on the outward and the return journeys. They may have as well used the longer route for one leg of the journey and used the shorter route, which may constitute one third of the required distance, for, say the return journey. In such a case, they qualify for qasr prayers. Should they choose to use the shorter of the two routes for the outward journey as well as the return one, no qasr prayers shall be allowed.

106. Suppose the traveler used one route for their outward journey and did not make up their mind as to the route they were going to use on the return journey, what should they do?

A. Should they use the longer route for the outward journey, they have to qualify for qasr prayers, so long as they were intent on using one of the two routes on their return journey. If they used the shorter of the two routes for the outward journey, and were undecided as to the route they were going to use on the return journey, no qasr prayer is allowed, although they might have made up their mind as to choosing the longer route on return.

Should one of the routes represent half the distance and the other one quarter, what is the ruling?

A. If the traveler used the longer route for their outward as well as return journey, it is obligatory on them to say their prayers qasr. Should they choose to use the shorter of the two routes, for both legs of the journey or for at least one of them, no qasr prayers should be performed. The same ruling applies, if they used the longer route for the outward journey and were not sure as to which of the two routes they were going to use for the return journey. That is, even if they later on resolved the matter and decided to use the longer route on return.

107. A traveler may cover the required distance, of just over forty-three km., in order to get to their intended destination. It may just happen that another traveler embarks on a journey just for the sake of driving a car to test its reliability. Does the same ruling apply to both the travelers?

A. Yes, the same ruling applies to both of them, in that they both should say their prayers qasr.

108. Determining the [shari’i]distance can be achieved in a variety of ways. First hand knowledge is one of them. The testimony of two witnesses of impeccable character is another. Through the report of a knowledgeable trustworthy person is a third. If any of these is hard to come by, the traveler should maintain full prayer (tamam). The same ruling applies in case of contradictory testimonies.

109. The traveler is not required to gauge the distance for himself to ascertain that he really covered the forty three and one fifth km. So long as he relied on one of the aforementioned ways, [i.e. in para. 110], he is allowed to say his prayer qasr. Again, if he does not come by any of them and remained doubtful, he must say his prayer in full.

110. If while en-route a traveler realized that the distance he is covering is equal to that required by law (Shari’a), he should say his prayer qasr. That is, even only if a short distance is left to cover the entire distance. This is because what is of value is the start of the distance at the outset not when he came to know that it was equal to the required distance.

111. Should a traveler say his prayers qasr relying on one of the ways of determining the required distance, then realized he was wrong, his qasr prayers are null and void; thus, he has to repeat them in full.

112. On the understanding that he dos not cover the entire distance in his trip, a traveler said his prayer in full (tamam). In another case, he may have done so, in the light of the above-mentioned para. (111), out of doubt. The contrary was proved, in that he found out that he covered the entire distance as prescribed by law. In this case, he should repeat his prayers by way of qasr, should there still be time for that.

The Second Requirement

113. Insofar as the second of the requirements is concerned, i.e. the intended distance, you may pose the following questions:

Setting out on a journey, the traveler had no idea how far away their intended destination was. While en-route they found out that the distance warrants qasr prayers. How should they go about it?

A. They should say their prayers qasr. This is because what is of importance is the intention to get to one’s destination, covering the distance, regardless of whether or not they are going to achieve that.

114. Should their aim be to travel to a destination, which falls short of covering the entire distance, and upon reaching it, they decided to go further, what should they do?

A.. This is considered as though they have just started their journey, i.e. the calculation of distance should start from the time and place they decided to continue their journey to a new destination. All the distance they covered before should not count. Now, if the total of the new distance and back would be equal to the required distance, they should say their prayers qasr. That is, provided that none of the ‘disrupters’ of travel did arise en-route.


A person decided to travel from their ‘home’ to a destination, the distance of which constitutes one third of the required distance. Upon getting there, he decided to go to another place, the distance of which again constitutes one third; he further decided that to return home by the same route. Accordingly, the total distance covered will equal the required distance, i.e. one third for the outward journey and two thirds for the return one. Here, the person should say his prayer qasr.

115. Those who are in pursuit of things, such as a lost animal, pasture [for their animal to graze], and the tramp, are required to say their prayer in full.

116. The person may be intent on making the journey; yet they are not sure whether they are going to cover the entire distance, for this reason or the other. In such a case, the intention is deemed non-existent and thus qasr prayers shall not be in order. That is, if the possibility of not completing the journey was slim.

117. Anyone making their journey contingent upon certain things, which may or may not happen, are treated as though they are not serious in the first place. Thus, they should be treated as though they are still at ‘home’؛ accordingly, they should say their prayers in full.

118. The decision to travel and cover the required distance has no bearing on the fact that it is made independently or it is one resulting from another decision, such as in the case of a wife accompanying her husband. There is also no difference between a member of a group traveling of their own accord and another traveler who is coerced to make the journey, like a soldier and a prisoner.

119. If the followers in travel are not aware of the intention of the person they are following, they should say their prayer in full, even if the journey took a long time. That is, unless while en-route they came to know of an alternative route; they should then act accordingly. In all circumstances, it is not incumbent on the followers to find out about the intention of the person they are following whether directly or indirectly.

120. If the followers harbored the intention of parting company with the person they are following at the first possible opportunity, what form should their prayers take?

A. ‘Following’ per se has no value at all. What is important is the intention to travel and cover the distance by any means possible. There is no doubt though that intending to break away from the person being followed runs contrary to the intention of travel. Accordingly, prayers should be said in full. That is, unless the intention of the follower is far-fetched in which case the ‘intention’ to travel and cover the distance exists as a matter of course. It, therefore, follows that qasr becomes obligatory.

121. The travelers may aim for a destination, between which and their ‘home’ is the required distance, then change their mind and go to another destination which is away from their ‘home’ by the same distance. This shift does not detract from the original intention of travel. Accordingly, they should remain committed to praying qasr.

The same applies in the case of the travelers intending to travel to one of any two destinations, without necessarily identifying which one he is intending to go to. That is, as long as both the destinations are located on the same required distance away from the traveler’s ‘home’.

122. They may embark on an intended travel. After covering some distance, they wavered for a while only to resolve the matter by reinforcing their original intention. Should they say their prayer in full or qasr?

A. If they did not cover any segment of the road while still wavering, they can stick with qasr, even if what is left of the distance does not amount to the lawful distance. Indeed, the same applies even if they covered any stretch of the road during the period of wavering.

They may decide not to continue the journey, only to abrogate this decision by going back to their original intention and continued the journey. Should they, [during the decision making time], remain in the same place en-route, i.e. without returning, and resumed their journey there and then, it is obligatory on them to say their prayer qasr.

If they turned back and walked ]or drove[ few miles, only to change their mind again and resume travel, the distance already covered will not count towards the calculation of the required distance. They have to start calculating it from the place they resumed their journey. If the remaining distance, together with the distance which will be covered on the return journey, does amount to the required distance, qasr is the norm; otherwise, they have to say their prayer in full (tamam).

The Fourth Requirement

123. Insofar as the third requirement, considering the covering of the distance according to the established practice (urf), as travel, one could pose the following questions:

In metropolitan cities, one can cover the required distance, from their ‘home’ to any other district in it and back, i.e. without even going out of boundaries of the city. Does such a travel warrant qasr?

A. Such a travel does not fit the definition of ‘travel’, because moving around in one’s city, irrespective of its sprawling suburbia, does not amount to a journey; ‘travel’ should entail being away from one’s ‘home’.

124. On the way between town (a) and town (b) there may be other towns. The distance between the two towns is equal to that of the lawful distance. Should a person travel from their town (a) to town (b), they must say their prayer qasr.

These towns may expand. What should the worshippers do?

A. They should say their prayers qasr, unless the expansion of, and the interaction between, these towns were such that they form one sprawling metropolis, according to urf . This will be discussed further under para. (175) onward.

The Fourth Requirement

125. Insofar as the fourth requirement, concerning the ‘disrupters’ of travel, is concerned, you may ask:

The persons may be intent on staying at their ‘home’, which is on route to their final destination. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, they could not. Thus, they covered the entire distance as required by law. Do they have to say their prayers qasr?

A. They should not, because of their intention to stop on the way at their ‘home’. Since staying or stopping at ‘home’ is considered one of the ‘disrupters’ of a journey, they were not determined to cover the entire distance of the journey at the outset. Thus, they lack the second of the four requirements.

126. What about the person who, when deciding on embarking on a journey, were not sure whether they were going to stop at their ‘home’?

A. Such persons do not qualify for qasr prayers for the same reason [discussed in the previous answer].

127. A person on a journey not knowing whether, while on the way, he is going to stay ten days at a place, or one month without the intention of staying that long, before completing the whole distance. While still en-route, they dropped the idea of stopping on the way and thus stayed the whole course. What should they do?

A. They have to say their prayer qasr. The same ruling applies in the case of the travelers deciding to stay at a place on the way for ten days, should they change their mind and continue their journey to his final destination.

128. Likewise, if on reaching a certain location on the way, they fancied the idea of staying for ten days only to drop it and complete their journey, i.e. qasr prayers should be the norm.

When does qasr start and when does it end?

We already know that when ‘travel’ fulfills the four requirements, it becomes obligatory that the worshipper say their prayers qasr.

So, when should the traveler begin applying qasr and when should it cease?

Let us start by the answer to the second part of the question:

1. When should qasr cease?

Qasr ceases for one of the following reasons:

a. Arriving at one’s ‘Home’

129. When the travelers get to their ‘home’ or town, their journey comes to an end. This applies to both ways, i.e. whether they started their journey from that town and returned to it or started somewhere else and ended in their town. It also applies to the traveler who adopted two towns, separated by the required distance, as their ‘home’.

Travel comes to an end when the travelers enter the point on the periphery of the town where building environment and the like could be seen. Conversely, the ruling of qasr should be upheld.

130. Arriving at one’s ‘home’ for any reason, be it to stay or just passing by, renders the concession of qasr prayers redundant. It can though be applied again when the worshippers set out on a fresh lawful journey.

If the traveler is aboard a plane that passes in the air space of their ‘home’, the ‘travel’ as such comes to an end. That is, unless the aircraft is flying on a very high altitude so much so that it is not, according to urf (established practice), considered among the air space of their hometown.

131. The time, during which the traveler used to be present at their ‘home’, does not constitute a barrier to interrupting ‘travel’. Example: A university student away from his ‘home’ decided to return to his original ‘home’ during summer recess. Should he choose to go back to the town where he is studying during summer time, his travel comes to an end on getting there.

b. Staying for a Period of Ten Days

132. Having covered the required distance, a person decided to stay at a place for ten days. He is, therefore, called ’resident’. ’Residence’ brings ’travel’ to an end. Accordingly, this ’resident’ person has to say his prayer in full, unless he starts a new journey.

133. The decision to stay ten days should have the ingredients, on the part of the decision maker, of confidence that he really is going to stay. However, whether this confidence stemmed from he own free will, feeling that he has no choice but to stay, or for reasons beyond his control, such as in the case of a prisoner is immaterial. So, where confidence inspires certainty, or peace of mind, (Consult the meaning of ’peace of mind’ and its requirements under para. ’21’ of the Chapter on n,) this leads to the required result.

Accordingly, if the travelers wanted to stay ten days, yet they were not so sure that they would stay the whole period, or they might have anticipated an emergency, they are not considered to be ’resident’s, because of the absence of certitude that they would stay.

134. By ’ten days’, we mean ten days and nine nights; the nights are those which fall between the first day and the last one. The beginning of the day is dawn. So, whoever decides to stay at a place, say,  from the dawn of the first day of the month to sunset of the tenth day, this will be considered ’residence’. The same applies in the case of starting the ten-day period at midday of the first day, which should end at midday of the eleventh, and so on.

The ten-day period does not have to be specific, i.e. any ten days would do.

However, should a person arrive in a town at the first night of the month and decide to stay ten nights, i.e. till the tenth night, this would not do. This is because the said period does not consist of ten days.

135. By ’staying’ during the ten days, we mean that the travelers should stay overnight in that town and go about their affairs there. Also, they should not engage in any other lawful travel during that stay. However, this does not mean that they are not free to move about within the vicinity of that town and its suburbs, and even nearby towns and villages, provided that the distance separating these and the town they chose to stay does not amount the required distance [of just over forty three km].

136. By ’place of stay’, we mean any particular place in a town, village, neighborhood… etc. That is, splitting the stay, say, on two different places is not good enough. Thus, in order to interrupt ’travel’ by way of ’stay’, or residence, you have to be intent on spending the full ten days, or more, in one place.

137. Mere staying for ten days in one place, i.e. without the intention to do so, ’travel’ will not be deemed to have been disrupted. Of the same nature too is someone contemplating staying at a place, making it contingent on, say, the hope that the cold weather is not going to worsen. Since, the weather did not worsen, they stayed the ten days. In such cases, no qasr is warranted.

138. The obligation of prayer is not a requirement [ for certain categories of people] of the ten-day period of stay. For example, if a woman in a state of haydh embarked on a journey and decided to stay for ten days, she should be described as such; she should therefore say her prayers in full once she became tahir. The same applies to a boy who has not yet attained adulthood; should he complete fifteen years of age during the ten-day period, he must say his prayers in full.

139. If the travelers, who had completed the ten-day period and thus said their prayer in full, decided to extend their stay, do they need to renew their intention to stay that extra period?

A. They should perform their prayers in full until they travel whenever they liked without the need for a new intention (niyyah).

140. On arriving at a place, a traveler did not contemplate to stay ten days; accordingly, he performed his prayers qasr. He is free to change his mind and take up the option of staying the ten-day period. However, this period should start from the day he has made up his mind; so if it was the fifth day after his arrival, this should take his stay to the fifteenth day. Thus, he can be considered a fully-fledged ’resident’ and should, therefore, observe prayers in full.

Should he reach a decision during the time of dhuhr or asr prayers, it is obligatory on him to say his prayers in full )tamam).

141. Someone reached a decision to observe the ten-day stay. Before performing either isha’ or dhuhr or asr, he changed their mind. He should observe qasr prayers. However, should he change his mind after he has said any of the four-ruka’a prayers in full, he should stick with saying tamam prayers, for he is not allowed to say his prayers qasr.

142. A. Traveler, who has made up his mind to observe the ten-day period, forgot about their new situation and said either isha’, dhuhr or asr in full, i.e. as though they were still at home not in a travel. Would this be sufficient for them to uphold tamam prayers?

A. This should be sufficient. However, as for the prayer performed by a traveler instead of a full prayer by way of compensation, it would not do for the purpose of remaining observant of full prayers. That is, even if the compensatory prayers were for those missed during their ’stay’.

143. If certain travelers decided to observe the ten-day stay and thus said their prayer in full. Shortly afterwards, they changed their mind as to the ’stay’. However, they discovered that the prayer they performed in full was batil. In such a case, they have to revert to qasr. This is because when something is deemed batil, all its consequences are deemed void as though it did not exist at the outset.

144. A person decided to observe the ten-day stay and started saying dhuhr prayer. Halfway through prayer, he changed his mind. What should he do?

A. The answer could be one of three:

a. If the decision to changing his mind occurred during the first two ruka’a, he should change his niyyah (intention) to qasr and finish his prayer as such.

b. Should he change his mind after the second ruka’a leading to the third, but before he actually executed ruka’a, he should change to the niyyah of qasr. This entails canceling the third ruka’a, going to a sitting position, and thus finishing the prayer.

c. If he changed his mind after executing the third ruka’a, their prayer would be deemed null and void )batil(. He should, therefore, say it again.

145. A traveler decided to drop the idea of observing the ten-day stay. However, he was not sure whether or not he said his prayers in full, so that he can maintain them as such. He should resolve the matter by assuming that they did not. This means that he should observe qasr prayers.

c. Staying for Thirty Days

146. The third reason for ’travel’ coming to an end is staying in one place for thirty days, even without the intention to do so. This situation arises when travelers arrives at their destination, not knowing when they are going to leave. If they remained undecided for thirty days, they should observe qasr prayers for all that period. Should they remain in that place beyond the thirty days, they must say their prayers in full. That is even if they decided to leave the place in an hour’s time.

147. The thirty-day period should consist of thirty days and twenty nine nights which fall between the first and the last days.

148. The lunar month of less than thirty days would not do for this purpose.

149. Should the travelers be frequenting a number of proximate places or thirty days, they must observe qasr prayers, even if the distance between these places was less than the established one. That is because the ’stay’ all this time was not confined to one place.

2. When should qasr start?

150. Should qasr prayers start with setting out on the journey and covering the prescribed distance, taking account of the requirements, or after the said distance has been covered?

A. The stipulation of qasr starts from the moment the traveler sets out from their ’home’, or the place in which they observed the ten-day stay, or the place where they spent thirty days due to indecision. The qasr starts with the first step with which they started the journey.

However, traveling from one’s ’home’ has a slight variation, in that the stipulation of qasr becomes operative when the traveler is no longer visible to the naked eye from a point on the periphery of the built environment (imran).

The sight of the built environment to the traveler is immaterial here. This criterion is constant, i.e. the magnitude of the buildings has no bearing on it; this runs contrary to the fact, if qasr was linked to the disappearance of buildings because it varies according to the type of architecture in this country or that.

151. If the travelers can no longer be seen because of some sort of barrier, such as entering a tunnel, this is not sufficient for activating qasr. Qasr becomes operative only when the travelers disappear completely, in that they cannot be seen by, say, those who are bidding them farewell; and by the same token they cannot see those seeing them off. This assumes an open terrain, i.e. with no barriers; this is called had et tarakhus, i.e. the point from which the traveler is allowed to observe qasr.

152. Someone set on a journey from his home. He was not certain as to reaching had et tarakhus to pray qasr. He should uphold tamam prayer until he is sure that he had reached the point.

153. Someone embarked on a journey. After few steps, they thought that they reached had et tarakhus. He stopped to say prayer in its qasr format. Thereafter, he discovered he was wrong. What would become of his prayer?

His prayer would be batil. On reaching a conclusion that he was still short of had et tarakhus and wished to say prayer there and then, he has to say it in full. However, he is free to delay it until he has got passed had et tarakhus, in which case he can say it qasr; that is, as long as there was still ample time ]for prayer].

Adjourning Travel

154. A person set out on a journey. On covering some distance, he said his prayer qasr. Shortly afterwards, he decided to cancel the journey and return home. What would become of the prayer he said by way of qasr?

A. Should the distance covered in the outward journey, to the point where the decision to cancel it was taken, and back be equal to the approved distance [of just over forty three kms.], he must continue to observe qasr until he returns home.

If not, he has to repeat the prayer in full and on time where possible; otherwise, at some other time as a matter of obligatory precaution.

155. Suppose he covered half the distance where he decided to stay for ten days. How should he go about his prayer?

A. He should repeat it, as has already been mentioned in the answer of the previous question.

156. A resident of town (a)decided to travel to town (b). On getting as far as town (c) which is closer to his hometown (a, ) he said his prayer qasr. Immediately after that, he had second thoughts whereby he decided to go to town (d) which is also on the route to his provisionally intended destination, i.e. town (b), and return home.

Now, should the total distance, i.e. to and from, between towns (a)and (d ), [their new final destination], be equal to the prescribed distance], his qasr prayer is in order. He should, therefore, maintain qasr prayers. Conversely, he should repeat the prayer and maintain full ones.

157. The resident of town(a) already mentioned in para. 158 had a variation in his plan, in that upon getting as far as town (c), he started observing qasr prayers. Having become undecided, he remained in the latter for a month; he then continued his journey to his originally intended destination, i.e. town (b). What would become of the prayer he said qasr?

A. He must repeat them in full (tamam).

To sum up, any person setting out on a journey, and intending to cover the whole prescribed distance [of just over forty three km.], then said qasr prayers before any of the ’disrupters’ of travel set in, it is obligatory on them to repeat their prayer in full.

Barring any ‘disrupters’, but prior to staying the course he changed his mind or actually returned home, he should take into account the actual distance covered and the one he decided to cover in the light of his new intention. Should they equal the prescribed distance, his qasr prayers are in order; otherwise, he must repeat them.

Who of the travelers is exempt?

There are two types of travelers who cannot be covered by the concession of saying qasr prayers. The first is he who travels in pursuit of a sinful act; the second is he whose travel is his means of earning a living.

1.The Traveler in Pursuit of a Sinful Act

Traveling for doing evil can be any of the following:

158. a. Any type of travel which aims to rebel against Allah’s injunctions by committing that which is haraam, such as trading in intoxicants, killing the prohibited soul, highway robbery, aiding a wrongdoer, or preventing someone from discharging his lawful duty.

The main aim and motivation for travel could be a lawful thing in itself, such as going on a picnic. Should a misdeed be commissioned on the way, such as lying, backbiting, or eating that which is najis, this cannot be termed as ’travel in pursuit of a sinful act’.

159. b. Any type of travel which the travelers resort to as a means of escaping from discharging a lawful obligation, such as hiding with a view to avoiding paying a debt, especially when they are in a position to do so.

160. c. The travel which is haraam in itself, i.e. neither of the two previous ones, such as one making an oath that he would never travel on a rainy day, or the one that was called upon not to travel by someone whom he should not disobey because of his solemn authority. Should he go ahead and embark on the journeys so described, the journeys themselves are deemed haraam and thus termed ’travel in pursuit of a sinful act’.

shortened161. A person traveling in pursuit of a sinful act should not warrant such concession as saying ( qasr ) prayer. Thus, he must say his prayer in full (tamam).

162. In the first two categories of such a travel, the travelers may achieve that unlawful act they set out to do and want to return. If the distance of the return journey was equal to the prescribed one, they should say their prayer qasr, irrespective of whether or not they repented. Should the distance be less than that required by Islamic law, no qasr prayer is allowed.

Should the return journey, of the third category type, entail a sinful act also, no qasr prayer is allowed. If the commissioning of the haraam act be restricted to the outward journey, the ruling concerning the first two categories applies.

163. Trips made for pursuit for sensual pleasure are treated as a kind of ‘travel in pursuit of a sinful act’. However, the person involved in such a travel should say their prayer in full in the outward journey; for the return journey, qasr prayer applies, if the distance of that leg is equal to that required by law. If hunting was a source of earning a living for the person embarking on it, they are covered by the same rules applicable to those journeying in pursuit of legitimate business.

164. Any one who sets out on a lawful journey, yet he commits another unlawful act on the way, such as using a usurped means of transport or passing through a usurped land, he should say their prayer qasr.

However, if a person usurped a car and drove off     for the required distance, as thieves do, he should say his prayer in full.

165. At its inception, travel may not be of the type that entails commissioning an unlawful act. While en-route, it could turn to be an unlawful one, such as a business man embarking on a journey to strike a deal of grain; yet he turned to dabbling in intoxicants. Such change from a lawful activity to an unlawful one could happen while on the way, but prior to completing the journey; it could also happen after staying the whole course. These two cases have two different outcomes:

a. In the first case, the change nullifies the lawful travel; consequently, the prayer reverts to full (tamam), from a qasr one. If the person has already said their prayer qasr, he has to repeat it in full this time round, time permitting; if not, he has to say it in full by way of qadha.

b. In the second case, the qasr prayers that have been said are deemed in order, because the lawful travel has already been initiated. Should he switch to a journey entailing committing a haraam act, they have to combine both, i.e. saying his prayers in full as well as qasr, as a matter of recommended precaution (ihtiyat). Thus, each of dhuhr, asr, and isha’ prayers has to be said once in full and a second time qasr. However, it is more likely (al-aqwa) that saying prayers in full is preferable.

166. There is though the case which is a reverse of the previous one, in that the traveler sets out intent on committing that which is haraam (unlawful), then renounces it by switching to that which is lawful. So, if the remaining distance, from where the switch took place, plus the distance of the return journey is equal to that required by law, their prayer should be qasr. It should be said in full before the switch takes place.

167. Applying the rule of qasr for the traveler embarking on a lawful journey, then switching to a lawful one should begin at the time and place of the change, without losing sight of the distance prescribed by law. That said, the rule is enforceable, even if the person concerned is still within the boundaries of the place where the change took place.

The same ruling applies to the person who went ahead and committed that which is haraam and returned home with the intention of covering the required distance ]i.e. just over forty three km.]. That is, qasr prayer applies from the start of the return journey, in that it is not contingent on going out of the [boundaries] of the town.

2. The Person Whose Means of Earning a Living Entail Traveling

168. People whose job, business, or profession necessitates traveling are not permitted to say their prayers qasr. The most vivid example of such persons are the drivers of a vehicle, especially when it entails making [long] journeys. This also applies to the persons who volunteer to work as drivers for other people gratuitously.

As for the persons who drive their car for leisure [for example], they cannot be treated as though traveling is part and parcel of their job. Nevertheless, they should say their prayer in full. This is because the criterion in reaching such a ruling is the frequency of traveling.

Categories of those whose job entails traveling are:

169. a. The persons who are required to travel due to the nature of their job, such as drivers, pilots, airhost/ess, seafarers... etc.

170. b. The persons, although not required to travel as a direct result of the nature of their job, yet their job still entails some travel, which could, among other things, be called for, because they want to be away from their base to see matters for themselves directly, instead of deputizing others.

However, there are two categories of such travelers, [producing two different rulings]:

a. The destinations covered by traveling, in this category, should be dispersed or temporary which should not be considered as the traveler’s ’home’, already discussed in paras. (87-89) . Such people should be saying their prayer in full at these destinations or on the way to them.

b. There must be a strong bond between the traveling persons and the place they are required to travel to, in that they treat it as their [second] ’home’ by way of deciding to stay there, say, for a period of four years or more.

An example of such a person is a university student doing his degree away from his hometown; this has already been discussed in para; (89).Thus, such a person should say his prayer in full in his second ’home’, and say it qasr while traveling to and from it, unlike the previous case. This is because traveling is not the main feature of his job.

171. We will discuss below some examples drawn from real life situations so that the worshipper may be in a position to deduce the ruling for each case:

a. A student resident of town (a)commutes daily to his place of study in town (b) which is away from his town by the required distance. His obligation is to say his prayer in full, at his residence, place of study, and on the way to and from it.

b. Doing a course of six months or one year, the same student decided to stay a week, or more, in the place where he studies before he returned to spend, say, the weekend with his family. He has to say his prayer in full at both places and on the way.

c. Should the student choose to take the place of study as a [second] ’home’, for embarking on a long-term course of study of, say, four years or more, he has to say his prayer in full at the place where he studies. During his journeys, he has to observe qasr prayer, provided that the distance between the two destinations is equal to the one required by law [or more].

d. What applies to the student [n the previous examples] should apply to any other person working away from ’home’.

e. A resident engineer, in charge of a project located away from his ’home’, is required to travel between his place of work and his ’home’ at different intervals, which could be long or short. he should say them in full throughout, i.e. be he present at either destination or on the move.

f. Soldiers of any elk based away from their ’home’ have to say their prayer in full. That is, regardless of the period of absence from ’home’. Similarly, should they be sent on a mission away from their base, whether individually or as part of a company of soldiers, they should observe prayers in full.

g. A school drop-out joined a six-month course in a learning center located away from his ’home’ by the minimum distance required by law or more. he has to say his prayer in full throughout, irrespective of whether he decided to commute regularly or make intermittent trips to and from the learning center .

h. An engineer, doctor, administrator and the like were sent abroad for further study to widen their experience. Their absence may extend for one year. They are required to say their prayer in full at the place where they are studying or training.

i. Business men who set up a business away from their place of domicile by the same distance required by law. The nature of the business being set up requires them to be present there for a few days/weeks on end. They have to say their prayer in full, both at the place of the business and while journeying.

j. A roving inspector and the like working for a bank or a company are required to say their prayer in full while they are on the move.

k. A contractor, a tradesman, and the like, who are required to travel the full required distance between a number of towns or villages to attend to certain jobs, are required to say their prayers in full while going about their work.

172. Unlike the previous situations, where full prayers are called for, we give below some other examples, apart from (e, f, and g), where qasr prayers be the norm:

a. Technicians on a call-out type of work in a particular vicinity happened to be asked by their employer to go outside their appointed area to do a job; as a result, they had to travel to the new place whereby they covered the distance required by law. In such a case, it is obligatory on them to observe qasr prayer, because it is a one-off task.

b. A company employee’s job requires them to make one or two journeys a month outside their base on duty, thus covering the required distance. Their obligation is to say prayers qasr.

c. A religious instructor who goes about his job in his hometown. He may be occasionally required to travel to other towns to deliver sermons. He must say his prayers qasr, should he cover the required distance his travel.

However, if travel was an integral part of his job such that he could be called a roving preacher, he must say his prayer in full. He should also be praying qasr, if he becomes a habitual traveler, even if these journeys teem from other things not related to his actual job.

d. Part-time taxi drivers have to say their prayer qasr, if they cover the required distance in any of their trips. This is because their original job does not entail travel and working as a driver is considered a temporary job.

If these persons embark on, say, one trip a year during which they are required to carry out very important work, such as hajj guidance, they must say their prayers in full.

e. Whomsoever becomes a habitual traveler not for business, but for leisure and voluntary devotional work, such as frequenting the holy shrines, they should observe qasr prayer. )Please see para(861).

f. Someone may mix work with pleasure, such as a painter or an artist, where they seek enjoyment by traveling from one place to the other. In the process, they earn a living from their paintings. Their obligation vis-5vis prayers must be that they should perform them in full. This is because the criterion is the frequency of travel, albeit their prime concern is not earning a living by way of traveling.

g. Those whose job entails traveling as and when required and therefore say prayers in full are required to do likewise, when they make a journey that falls outside the requirements of their job. Example: A taxi driver taking his family on a trip to the holy shrines, he should say his prayers in full.

To sum up, any one working away from his ‘home’ should observe prayers in full whether during the journey to his workplace or at it. That is, if he does not take the workplace as a second home.

Should travel form an integral part of the job by the very nature of the job, he must be saying their prayer in full.

The person who is regarded as frequent traveler, although his job does not require him to travel, should also observe prayers in full.

Big and Small Towns

173. As you are already aware that (a) persons residing in their hometown are required to perform prayer in full, (b) the traveling persons deciding to stay in one place ten days are required to do the same, and (c) the traveling persons passing through their hometown must bring their journey to an end and observe prayer in full.

All of that may pose the question:

Where should one draw the line as to the boundaries of a town?

In straightforward situations, where the boundaries of towns and neighborhoods do not overlap, the answer is simple, in that the last one sees of his buildings should constitute his boundaries.

But, if the town is a sprawling metropolis, whose buildings may extend and overflow into other towns, doubt could arise as to its known boundaries. That is, can overlapping towns, which may form one metropolitan city, be considered thus for the purposes of observing religious obligations or not?.

A. The following will shed some light on the different situations in order to reach the legal opinion commensurate to each case:

174. a. Take town (x) for example whose old boundaries are known. As a result of either outward or inward expansion, i.e. of new neighborhoods springing here and there around it, these new built areas are considered part of the town. Accordingly, the last building on the periphery of the town should be taken as a guide to determine the required distance of travel away from it, which could eventually have a bearing on whether or not the traveler should say their prayer qasr.

Should the travelers choose to divide their ten-day stay in the town on a number of the town’s new suburbs, they must say their prayer in full because they count as parts of the same town.

175. b. Two historically distinct towns may expand each in the direction of the other so much so that their buildings become almost one, such as Kufa and Najaf, and Baghdad and Kadhimain in Iraq. In such a case, each town retains its independence and distinction, i.e. they do not become one town.

So, if a Kufan travels to Kerbala and on the way back he got to Najaf, his travel will not cease; should he perform prayer at Najaf, it must be qasr. If a traveler sets out on a journey from Baghdad, intending to spend five days in Kufa and another five days in Najaf, he shall not be treated as a ’resident’, unless he decides to stay in one of them [for the whole period of ten days].

176. c. Suppose one of the two towns, that later formed one metropolis, was small and the other big. Gradually, the smaller of the two got swollen up by its bigger sister. Both of them will loose their independence to form one metropolis, similar to the first case (174/a).

Precepts Concerning Prayers in Travel

As we have already explained, lawful travel - which entails covering the required distance according to certain stipulations - entails a concession to the traveler by making them say their prayers qasr.

The precepts concerning payers while in a journey are as follows:

177. a. The four-ruka’a prayers, i.e. dhuhr, asr, and isha’ are reduced to two ruka’as each.

178. b. The superegotory prayers usually said at the same time of dhuhr and asr are dropped. Some jurists are of the opinion that isha’ supererogatory prayer should be cancelled. However, there is no harm in performing it in the hope of attaining Allah’s pleasure. The supererogatory prayers that usually go hand in hand with maghrib and fajir prayers, and Night prayer no doubt remain fixed.

179. There is a number of situations where the travelers, whose obligation is to say their prayers qasr, could be saying them in full:

a. They could knowingly be contravening the Shari’a law vis-vis qasr prayer. Such a prayer is null and void (batil)؛ it is, therefore, incumbent on them to repeat it.

b. They may not be aware of the rule regarding qasr prayer. Their prayer should be good enough.

c. They may be aware of the dictate, yet their understanding of it falls short of being a comprehensive one. That is, they may decide to cover half the required distance in the outward journey and the other half in the return in the knowledge that traveling thus does not require qasr prayer. Such a prayer is deemed in order.

d. The travelers may forget they are traveling, and thus say their prayer in full. If they remember, while still on the move, that it was an oversight, they have to repeat their prayer. If they did not remember until the time for prayers was up, they are not required to repeat the prayers by way of qadha’.

e. They are aware of the Shari’a ruling concerning qasr prayer, yet they forgot about it at the moment they started their prayer. Since they did not forget about being in a state of traveling, rather forgetting the ruling, they should do as the persons in the previous example had done.

f. The travelers may be under the impression that the distance they are covering in their travel from point (a) to point (b)falls below what is required by law. Thus, they said their prayer in full. If they realized that it was not, they should follow the rulings discussed under the previous two examples, i.e. (d) and(e).

180. d. Should praying in full be required, yet they say it qasr, it shall not be accepted; thus, it is obligatory on them to say it tamam (in full). That is, irrespective of whether they realized the lapse during the prayer or after it has been said.

There is one exception though; it concerns the travelers observing the ten-day stay in the intended destination; if they , through ignorance, said their prayer by way of qasr, their prayer should be in order.

The persons may be required to say their prayer in full such as in a travel in pursuit of sinful act or hunting for pleasure. Yet, they may not be aware that they should do so. Ruling that their qasr prayer is in order should not be ruled out, although repeating it is preferable, as a matter of ihtiyat (precaution).

181. e. Should the time for an obligatory daily prayer set in while the persons concerned are till at ’home’, yet they did not say it, because they embarked on a lawful journey. If they want to say that prayer in their travel, while there is still time, it is obligatory on them to say it by way of qasr.

182. f. An obligatory daily prayer may become due nevertheless, they decided to return home. They arrived there while there was still time to say it. In this case, they should say it in full.

183. g. Due to forgetfulness, travelers set out to say prayer in full, while the prayer was still in progress, they realized that they had meant to say it qasr. Such a prayer be deemed batil, should they become aware after executing the third ruka’a. Should they remember before that, they have to conclude it come the end of the second ruka’a; such a prayer should be in order. If they remember while they are still in a standing posture for the third ruka’a, they have to cancel it, go back to a sitting posture to say tashahhud and tasleem. Such a prayer is also in order.

184. h. It is mustahab for a traveler who is required to say dhuhr, asr, and isha’ prayers qasr, to recite after each one of them the following invocation, "Subahanal Lah, wal Hamdu Lillah, wala Illah Illal Lah, wal Lahu Akbar". (May Allah be exalted, May Allah be praised, There is no god, but Allah, and Allah is greater). Such supplication should be a sort of compensation for the third and fourth ruka’a of each of the said prayers.