teacher and student



In reply to the following question:

"Assalamu Alaikum, I am aware that shortining prayers as traveller is permitted at 48-50 miles for a length of 3-15 days according to the different madhabs. But I am also aware of there being a hadith used by Ibn Hazm allowing 3 miles. I was also reading in Fiqh as Sunnah by Said Sabiq that in Shahih Bukhari the Prophet ﷺ prayed as a traveller for 19 days. It is also said that Ibn Umar (ra) shortend his prayers in Azerbaijan for six months due to snow block, and that Anas ibn Malik (ra) prayed as a traveller in Shams for two years. Can you please explain to me why the scholars of the four Madhabs haven't used these hadiths and examples of the Sahabah? Can you also give the correct distances and times stated by the different madhabs, including the Zahirites?"

Wa ʿalaykum as-Salam,

There are two parts to your question: one is about ijtihads outside the positions of the Four Schools, such as Ibn Hazm and the Zahiris. It is difficult to ascertain their fiqh on the question as that school is defunct. But it would not surprise me to find similarly marginal views on time/distance by a madhhab-mujtahid inside one or more of the 4 Schools. But prudence dictates to disregard any and all such isolated views as anomalous (shadhdh) and stick to the Jumhur and/or the sahih fatwa of one of the living Schools.

Regarding the second part of the question - the evidence - it does not contradict the fiqh of the schools, as the latter also stipulated that if a traveller does not form the niyya to reside in his location, and is ready to leave it at any time according to his/her circumstances, then he retains his traveller-status, even if such a scenario lasts for years. For example: a garrisoned soldier, or a merchant on the move, or a short-term visitor stranded for some reason, all of whom do not know how long they will be staying in such-and-such a location nor forms a Niyya to stay there, e.g. Ibn ʿUmar in Azerbaijan or Anas radiyallahu ʿanhum.

However, the fatwa of Bin Baz to Muslim students in the US and Europe that they can shorten the prayers for as long as they study in those continents, is of course an aberrant fatwa wal-ʿiyadhu billah. Similarly aberrant is the fatwa of the Saudis to shorten prayer, to pilgrims whose niyya is to reside in the two Sanctuaries for over the allowable period of shortening, and Allah knows best.

Hajj Gibril

GF Haddad ©




latest update: Thu, 12 Feb 2009
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