Article: A Brief Glimpse at the Traveller’s Prayer

Abū ‘Āsim, An-Nidā Publications

The Ulama of Islam have defined the Journey (Safar) as: “مفارقة محل الإقامة” which is “leaving the place of living to another place”, thus the Traveler is the one who leaves where he lives to another place. Allah – تعالى – said in the Qur’an:

النساء: 43((وإن كنتم مرضى أو على سفر أو جاء أحد منكم من الغائط…))

“And if you are sick or on a SAFR (journey) or any of you comes out of the toilet…” AN-NISA 43

Allah – تعالى – willed that the Salat (Prayer) of the MUSAFIR (Traveler) should be shortened if compared to the Salat of the MUQIM (Resident) for many reasons known best to Allah. This can be seen clearly in the Ahadith of the Rasul – صلى الله عليه وسلم.

عن عائشة – رضي الله عنها – قالت: ((أوّل ما فرضت الضلاة ركعتين، فأقرّت صلاة السفر وأتيت صلاة الحضر)) متفق عليه

From A’isha – رضي الله عنها – she said: “The Salat were originally ordained to be 2 Raka’ats, then the Salat of the Journey was ratified as such whereas the Salat of the Resident was commanded to be made complete”: Bukhari & Muslim

And in a narration of Imam Bukhari, she – رضي الله عنها – said:

((ثم هاجر ففرضت أربعا، وأقرت صلاة السفر على الأوّل))

“Then He – صلى الله عليه وسلم – made the Hijrah (Migration) and the Salat was made obligatory to be four, and the Salat of the journey ratified as the original (2 raka’at)”

And in the narration of Imam Ahmad, He added:

((إلا المغرب فإنها وتر النهار، وإلا الصبح فإنها تطوِل فيها القراءة))

“But for Maghrib for it is the WITR (Odd) prayer of the Day; and except SUBH for recitation is made prolonged during its standing.” MUSNAD AHMAD.

From the hadith mentioned above, we derive many lessons among which are:

  1. That before the Hijrah, with the exemption of Maghrib, all the Salat were observed as 2 raka’at.
  2. That after the Hijrah, the Traveler was asked/ ordered to maintain the Salat and the number of Raka’at as it was before the Hijrah, whereas, the Resident was commanded to observe all the 2 raka’at as 4 with the only exemption of SUB’H.
  3. The importance of observing the Traveler’s Prayer (Salat) in compliance to what has been ordained.

The Fuqaha (Jurists) have differed relating to the Traveler’s Prayer, whether it is obligatory or not:

  • The hanifiyyah and Dhahiriyyah explained that observing the 2 raka;ats is obligatory upon the traveler
  • The Shafi’is and the Hanbaliyyah gave the verdict on the dislike (Makruh) of observing 4 raka’at by the traveler, but they do not oblige making it 2 raka’at.
  • The Malikis consider observing the shortened (Qasr) Prayer of 2 raka’at to be a matter of Permissibility (Ibahah) for the Traveler, and not an obligation (Fard).

But what the Evidences from Qur’an and Sunnah have explained is the fatwa (verdict) of the Hanbaliyyah: that it is Makruh to observe the Salat complete if a person is a traveler for many reason; some of them:

  • That the Prophet – صلى الله عليه وسلم – was never reported to have observed the Salat complete while on journey.
  • The Hadith of A’ishah – رضي الله عنها – quoted above shows that the original ruling of the Traveler’s Journey is 2 raka’at and that is what was commanded by Allah.
  • During the Caliphate of uthman bn Affan – رضي الله عنه – he tried to observe the Salat complete during the Hajj at Mina, and the Companions of the Rasul – صلى الله عليه وسلم – rebuked Uthman greatly, and it is reported that when Abdullah bn Mas’ud heard of the Prayer of Uthman, he said in exclamation “Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Ilayhi Raji’un”.


While some of the Scholars explain that the reason behind it is due to the tiredness experienced by the travelers, the evidences from Kitab and Sunnah shows that the reason is simply the fact of being on journey, and not due to tiredness. This is because of the same hadith of A’isha – رضي الله عنها – quoted above.


There has been no authentic and sound Hadith that has been reported by any of the Companions restricting the number of days in which the traveler can observe the QASR (shortened Prayer). Were there to have been, it would have been something well known among the Muslim Community Rather what is authentically reported is that while he was at Tabuk, he observed Salat as Qasr there for a period of the entire 20 days he spent there. Thus as long as a person doesn’t feel to be a resident in wherever he traveled to, then he may observe the Qasr


There is no specification, and the affair is left to the custom of the people. Thus, if in a community, 70 kilometers is regarded as a journey, then a person should observe Qasr in it. The ruling is referred back to what the people refer to as journey.

All of the verdicts of some scholars restricting the distance to 1.7km and above, 48Miles and above, are all Intellectual Reasoning which hold no weight due to the lack of evidences that buttress them.

Thus, as long as a person can be greeted as “How was your journey, hope you arrived safely”, a person can observe the QASR.


The Ulama have explained that the Traveler is entitled to

  1. Shortening the Prayer
  2. Combining the Prayer
  3. Breaking the Fast
  4. Wiping the foot wear for 3 days
  5. Sadaqat
  6. Hospitality

It is allowed for him to perform Dhuhr and Asr at the same time; and Maghrib and Isha at the same time.

What is known of the Rasul – صلى الله عليه وسلم – is that if the time of Dhuhr meets him at his residence before departing for the journey, he observes Dhuhr and Asr before he leaves his residence, otherwise he departs and then observe Dhuhr with Asr at Asr time. The same thing applies to Maghrib and Isha.


  1. Only Dhuhr and Asr, Maghrib and Isha, that can be combined and not Asr & Maghrib, Isha & Subh, or Subh and Dhuhr.
  2. It is permissible for the traveler to observe the Jam’ (combination) even when he has reached his place of Journey, even when he stays there for a while as stranger.
  3. Attending the Masjid is also obligatory on the Traveler and the Stranger as it is obligatory on the Resident.
  4. Whenever a traveler/ stranger meets with Residents, the Residents have the right to lead the Salat, and not the Traveler/ Stranger, as opposed to what many Muslims think. The right to lead the Salat is to the Residents and not to the traveler/ Stranger UNLESS if they relinquish their right to him to lead them.
  5. Whenever a traveler/ stranger prays behind a resident, it is obligatory upon him to complete his Salat as the Imam has done, and he may not enjoy the Qasr (shortened prayer); this is even if he did not meet the Salat complete, like if he meets the Imam on the third raka’a of Dhuhr, he must still rise up to observe the 2 raka’at he missed.

All of these are what is known from the evidences of Qur’an and Sunnah and the explanations of the Pious Predecessors (the Salaf), the Illuminaries among the Ulama (scholars). All explanations and Fatawah (verdicts) different from these are either Independent Reasoning by some Fuqaha or Weak; And a detailed explanation of all of that aside a mention of the verses and the Ahadith related to all of that is beyond the scope of this writing and should be referred to the literatures already written about that.

وآخر دعوانا أن الحمد لله رب العالمين

وصلى الله على سيدنا محمد وعلى وصحبه وسلم

Your Brother;

2:45AM; Thursday 17th Dhul Qa’dah 1432

13th October 2011


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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