Q&A (Fatwa)

#188: Ruling on Salāt during Traffic Hold-Up



“If someone is stuck in a traffic and the time for a particular salah is almost terminated. For example maghrib salah. And there’s no place to park and pray either. Plus if one says they’d leave the car in the traffic to find a place to pray, it will cause distress for others behind him. Plus that person has no wudhu either. What can they do or should they do rather?”


Alhamdulillaahu Rabbi Al-‘alameen!

My brother, it is imperative to know that observance of each Salaat within its prescribed time is one of the Shurut (conditions) for the acceptance of Salaat and the most important of them.
Allaah – ta’aala – said:

إن الصلاة كانت علي المؤمنين كتابا موقوت
“Indeed Salaat was ordained on the believers to be observed only within their prescribed times.” Suratu An-Nisaa

Therefore, whosoever observes a Salaat before its appointed time has not observed Salaat.

The same applies to the one who observed the Salaat after its time has elapsed, unless he has a valid excuse.

The Rasul – salallaahu alayhi wasallam – mentioned the excuses that are considered as excuses in the Shari’a for the observance of Salaat after its time has elapsed.

The Rasul – salallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam – said:

(ومن نام عن صلاة أو نسيها فليصلها إذا ذكرها لا كفارة لها إلا ذالك)

“Whosoever sleeps through the time of a Salaat or forgets it, then let him observe it whenever he remembers it. There is no expiation for it other than that.”

This Hadith is transmitted and recorded by Imaam Al-Bukhaari in his Sahih from the Companion Anas bn Maalik.

The Rasul – salallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam – did not excuse a conscious person. This is why the Fuqahaa are at a consensus that there is no excuse for a person who does not observe his Salaat within the stipulated time other than unconsiousness caused by sleep, madness or whatsoever, and an unintentional forgetfulness.

To look at this, Imaam Muhammad bn Ahmad Al-Ansaari Al-Qurtubi – rahimahullaah – said in his tafsir while explaining the verse on Salaatu Al-Khawf:

“So, if (the obligation of observing) the Salaat (within its stipulated time) is not lifted due to extreme fear (of been attacked and killed in war) then it is more deserving that it should not be lifted due to illness and its likes, for the command of Allaah – sub’haanahu wa ta’aala – to watch out resolutely for the (times of observance) of the Salawaat in whatever condition one is whether in soundness of health or illness, whether at home or on a journey, whether in strenght or weakness, whether in security or fear. (This obligation) is not lifted from the Mukallaf (i.e. The sane Muslim with discernable faculties) in whatever condition, just as nothing can affect the fact that it is an obligation… What is meant here is that we must observe the Salaat in whatever condition we are in whichever way we can. And this obligation is never lifted even if its observance cannot allow but an illustration with the eyes – it must still be observed that way – and it is by this that it (i.e. Salaat) becomes distinct from all the other forms of worship (Ibaadaat) for all of them cease to be obligatory whenever there are considerable excuses and dispensation (rukhsah) is granted when there are causes for it…”

All of this was in the cause of explaining the verse in Suratu Al-Baqara:

(فإن خفتم فرجالا أو ركبانا فإذا أمنتم فذكروا الله كما علمكم مالم تكونوا تعلمون)

“And if you experience fear, then (observe the salaat) on foot or on a mount. And when you are in security, then remember Allaah in the way He has taught you that which you had no knowledge of”

Then he – Al-Qurtubi – rahimahullaah – went ahead saying:

“When Allaah – ta’aala – commanded that the Salaat be observed toward Him in an attentive way filled with tranquility, composure and the calmness of all the limbs – and this is the predominant state of tranquility when in security – He now mentioned the unusual condition that comes up once in a while which is the state of immense fear. And He explained that even at that condition, the obligation of observing this ‘Ibaadah is not lifted from the Servant (of His), whatever condition he is in. He only facilitated for His servant a dispensation to observe the Salaat while walking on foot or on riding on horses and camels, and its likes whether by illustrating or nodding with head movements in whichever direction he seems to be facing at the time. This is the statement of the Ulamaa, and this is the Salaat of the single individual who extreme fear could make stringency on him during the clashing of swords or while been chased by wild animals or by a fierce enemy chasing him or a flood that may drown him. In summary, for everything from which compelling fear is experienced, it is permissible that he takes to what is contained in this Aayah…”

Ref: ‘Al-Jaami’ Li Ahkaami Al-Qur’an

For the one who experiences severity of illness too, the Rasul – salallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam – did not lift from him the obligation of observing the Salaat within its prescribed time. He – salallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam – said to ‘Imraan bn Husayn – radiyallaahu ‘anhu –

“Observe the Salaat while standing, and if you cannot, then while sitting, and then if you cannot then (observe it) while lying on your side.”

This is the wording of Imaam Al-Bukhaari in his Sahih.

Imaam An-Nasa’i – rahimahullaah – in his own recording of the Hadith added:

“And if you cannot, then observe it while lying on your back”

The author of ‘Al-Fiqh ‘alaa Al-Madhaahibi Al-‘arba” said:

“The Maalikis, the Shaafi’is and the Hanbalis are agreed on the fact that observing the Salaat within its prescribed time is the most important of the Conditions for the acceptability of Salaat”

The Maalikis, the Shafi’is and the Hanbalis agree that whosoever experiences any form of fear to come down from his mount is to observe the Salaat on his mount. Though, the Maalikis have stringent conditions and restrictions attached to this.

As for the Hanbalis, the writer of Zaadu Al-Mustaqni’ said:

“And obligatory Salaat is acceptable if observed on a mount due to the fear of harm”

Then the author of ‘Ar-Rawdu Al-Murbi” said:

“And the same is the case if he fears that by stoping during the journey to observe his salaat he would lose his traveling companions or he fears for himself of he is incapable of mounting again if he dismounts. In such a case, he must then try as much as he can to face the Qiblah…”

Their evidence in this regard is the Hadith naratted from Ya’ala bn Murra – radiyallaahu ‘anhu – that they were once with the Prophet – salallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam – on a journey and they reached a narrow passway and the time of Salaat approached. It was raining from above them and the excessive mud had occupied beneath them. So, the Messenger of Allaah – salallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam – made the Adhaan while he was on his mount, he made the Iqaamah and then advanced to their front and led them in Salaat. He was illustrating and bowing and making the bowing of the Sujud lower than that of the ruku'”

The Hadith is transmitted from At-Tirmidhi in his Sunan and he mentioned that it is weak buit supported it by reffering to an athar (report) from Anas bn Maalik that he prayed on his mount due to a flooded and mud surrounding.

My brother, the situation you described hardly occurs and it is obligatory on a Muslim to always watch and plan ahead of his time. If he knows that he can observe the Salaat before even embarking on a road that is prone to have a traffic-jam, then that is waajib on him. Likewise, we have to emphasize that excuses in the Shari’a are measured with respect to the necessities of those excuses and not more. It follows then, that you must not claim that there is an excuse where there is not.

In the situation you have described, you must observe the Salaat in your car in whatever position that you can and with the utmost attention and concentration you can muster. If you cannot observe Wudu even if it is with a satchet water through your window, then you must observe tayammum. And it will be haraam for you to allow the time of Salaat to escape you on the claim that you are in a traffic hold-up.




Islamnode is a platform for the dissemination of sound Knowledge of Islam and an orientation of Muslims of the Sciences of the Din in accordance with the Pristine Knowledge taught by the Rasul – Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam – to the Companions – Ridwanullah ‘Alayhim – and understood by them, their Students and those who followed them of the earliest generations. We follow the Sunnah of the Rasul – Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam – and promote the Works of the Ulama of Sunnah from the first generation to date. Our goal is to propagate the Sciences of Islam, to disseminate the sound understanding of the Salaf and to enable the sound education of Muslims in this era.

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