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Prayer while on Journey

Place : Saudi Arabia / Riyadh / None / None /
Business Category : Prayer
date of publication : 1439/05/24
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Elements speech
1- Allâh's commandment to travel and its benefits. 2- Travelling entails some hardship that necessitates easing . 3- Prayer while travelling and its rules. 4- In which journey shall prayer be combined and shortened? 5- There is no excuse for neglecting prayers.

First Sermon:


All praise is due and belongs to Allâh. We praise Him, seek His help and forgiveness and repent to Him. We seek refuge with Allâh from the evils of ourselves and from the wickedness of our own deeds. Whomever that Allâh guides, none can mislead him, and whomever He sends astray, none can guide. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allâh alone with no partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.


(يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ اتَّقُواْ اللّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلاَ تَمُوتُنَّ إِلاَّ وَأَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ)

(O you who believe, fear Allâh as he should be feared and die not unless you are Muslims) [Al-Imran: 102]


(يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُواْ رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُم مِّن نَّفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ وَخَلَقَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا وَبَثَّ مِنْهُمَا رِجَالاً كَثِيرًا وَنِسَاء وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ الَّذِي تَسَاءلُونَ بِهِ وَالأَرْحَامَ إِنَّ اللّهَ كَانَ عَلَيْكُمْ رَقِيبًا)

(O people fear your Lord, who created you from a single soul. From it, He created its spouse, and from both of them scattered many men and women. Fear Allâh, by whom you ask one another, and (fear) the wombs (lest you sever its relationship). Allâh is ever watching over you). [An-Nisa: 1].


(يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَقُولُوا قَوْلًا سَدِيدًا * يُصْلِحْ لَكُمْ أَعْمَالَكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَمَن يُطِعْ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ فَازَ فَوْزًا عَظِيمًا)

(O you, who believe, fear Allâh and say sound statements. He will mend your deeds for you and forgive your sins. Whosoever obeys Allâh and His Messenger shall win a great victory) [Al-Ahzab: 70-71].

Purified be the Creator Who originated the universe perfectly, in its space, heaven and earth, mountains, hills and valleys, seas, oceans and rivers, vegetation, trees and fruits, human beings, animals and objects … Glory be to Him that indeed expanded this earth and extended it and created in it barren deserts and green pastures. What a diversity, beauty and perfection!


But this spanning earth has disparate parts, places and conditions. Climate different from climate, bitter cold or mordant heat or mild spring … Lands covered by snow, and lands ravaged by the floods, and lands getting cracked out of the scarcity of water … and different topographies. This is mountainous and rocky land and that is muddy or sandy and another third is limestone … varying conditions, a densely populated land, and another free of living things and then the middle ground between this and that … Some lands grow crops while the others do not grow, a land of a people trading, and another with people who manufacture. Another its people fish while a fourth one its people farm … A land rich with precious minerals, another with salts and a third poor and barren… A land whose population are as black as the darkness of the night, or as white  as the daylight, or as red as blood … A land dominated by peace and harmony, and another torn by war and strife … Glory be to Him that created all this!


But one cannot explore all of that unless he moves, journeys and travels, and he sees, hears and ponders. This is one of the benefits of traveling to see what one who is stationary does not see.

Allâh , the Most Exalted and Glorified, has prescribed for us to travel and move about for many various purposes. These include the pursuit of livelihood, as the Almighty said,


(هُوَ ٱلَّذِى جَعَلَ لَكُمُ ٱلۡأَرۡضَ ذَلُولاً۬ فَٱمۡشُواْ فِى مَنَاكِبِہَا وَكُلُواْ مِن رِّزۡقِهِۦ‌ۖ وَإِلَيۡهِ ٱلنُّشُورُ)

He is the One who has made the earth subservient to you, so walk in the path thereof, and eat out of His provision, and to Him is the Resurrection [Al-Mulk: 15].


Among the benefits of travel is to reflect on Allâh ‘s creation, as the Almighty said,

(إِنَّ فِى خَلۡقِ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَٱخۡتِلَـٰفِ ٱلَّيۡلِ وَٱلنَّہَارِ لَأَيَـٰتٍ۬ لِّأُوْلِى ٱلۡأَلۡبَـٰبِ (١٩٠) ٱلَّذِينَ يَذۡكُرُونَ ٱللَّهَ قِيَـٰمً۬ا وَقُعُودً۬ا وَعَلَىٰ جُنُوبِهِمۡ وَيَتَفَڪَّرُونَ فِى خَلۡقِ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ رَبَّنَا مَا خَلَقۡتَ هَـٰذَا بَـٰطِلاً۬ سُبۡحَـٰنَكَ فَقِنَا عَذَابَ ٱلنَّارِ)

Surely, in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, there are signs for the people of wisdom, (190) Who remember Allâh  standing and sitting, and (lying) on their sides, and ponder on the creation of the heavens and the earth (and say) “Our Lord, You have not created all this in vain. We proclaim Your purity. So, save us from the punishment of Fire. (191) [Al-Imran: 190-191 ].


The benefits also include deliberation and taking lessons from the ends of previous nations. Allâh , the Almighty said,


(قَدۡ خَلَتۡ مِن قَبۡلِكُمۡ سُنَنٌ۬ فَسِيرُواْ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ فَٱنظُرُواْ كَيۡفَ كَانَ عَـٰقِبَةُ ٱلۡمُكَذِّبِينَ)

Many similar ways (and mishaps of life) were faced by nations that have passed away before you, so travel through the earth, and see what was the end of those who disbelieved (in the Oneness of Allâh, and disobeyed Him and His Messengers). ( [Al-Imran: 137].


They also include the search in the wonders of the universe from its inception to its end. Allâh  the Almighty said,


(قُلۡ سِيرُواْ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ فَٱنظُرُواْ ڪَيۡفَ بَدَأَ ٱلۡخَلۡقَ‌ۚ ثُمَّ ٱللَّهُ يُنشِئُ ٱلنَّشۡأَةَ ٱلۡأَخِرَةَ‌ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَلَىٰ ڪُلِّ شَىۡءٍ۬ قَدِيرٌ۬)

Say: “Travel in the land and see how (Allâh) originated the creation, and then Allâh will bring forth the creation of the Hereafter (i.e. resurrection after death). Verily, Allâh is Able to do all things. [Al-‘Ankaboot: 20].


They further include migration in order to be able to practice one’s religious rites. Allâh , the Almighty said,


(يَـٰعِبَادِىَ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓاْ إِنَّ أَرۡضِى وَٲسِعَةٌ۬ فَإِيَّـٰىَ فَٱعۡبُدُونِ)

O My slaves who believe! Certainly, spacious is My earth. Therefore worship Me (Alone). [Al-‘Ankaboot: 56]. …


But travel even though it has many benefits, involves stress, hardship and disruption from the family, money and children, and psychological changes that affect one out of the feeling of alienation. The Messenger of Allâh , (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him), rightly stated: « Traveling is a kind of torture, as it prevents one from eating, drinking and sleeping! So when one has finished his job, he should return quickly to his family ». (Agreed upon). Moreover, in our religion there is a principle that hardship necessitates easing, as Allâh , the Almighty said:


(وَمَا جَعَلَ عَلَيۡكُمۡ فِى ٱلدِّينِ مِنۡ حَرَجٍ۬‌ۚ)

And He has not laid upon you in religion any hardship [Hajj: 78].


Moreover, Allâh  the Most Exalted and Glorified has made acts of worship during travel very easy. With respect to fasting the Almighty says:


(فَمَن كَانَ مِنكُم مَّرِيضًا أَوۡ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ۬ فَعِدَّةٌ۬ مِّنۡ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ‌ۚ)

But if any of you is ill or on a journey, the same number (should be made up) from other days [Al-Baqarah: 184].


We even heard the Prophet, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him),   saying, «It is not part of righteousness to fast on journey » (Agreed upon).

As for prayer while travelling, we shall have an exclusive discussion.

Slaves of Allâh ! Prayer is the perfect obligation, which does not fail while at home or on the journey, but it is part of the ease and simplicity of our religion that it legislated certain and special rules for prayer during the journey out of mercy and facilitation. Some of these rules are as follows:

The first rule: Shortening the prayer: The four rak’ah  prayer is shortened to two rak’ahs. Allâh , the Almighty, said,


(وَإِذَا ضَرَبۡتُمۡ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ فَلَيۡسَ عَلَيۡكُمۡ جُنَاحٌ أَن تَقۡصُرُواْ مِنَ ٱلصَّلَوٰةِ إِنۡ خِفۡتُمۡ أَن يَفۡتِنَكُمُ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوٓاْ‌ۚ إِنَّ ٱلۡكَـٰفِرِينَ كَانُواْ لَكُمۡ عَدُوًّ۬ا مُّبِينً۬ا)

 And when you (Muslims) travel in the land, there is no sin on you if you shorten As-Salât (the prayer) if you fear that the disbelievers may put you in trial (attack you etc.), verily, the disbelievers are ever unto you open enemies [An-Nisa: 101].


However, if you are amazed about the fact that the verse was revealed on account of a state of fear, Ya’la bin Umayyah has also wondered before you when he asked Umar bin al-Khattab about this verse:


(فَلَيۡسَ عَلَيۡكُمۡ جُنَاحٌ أَن تَقۡصُرُواْ مِنَ ٱلصَّلَوٰةِ إِنۡ خِفۡتُمۡ أَن يَفۡتِنَكُمُ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوٓاْ‌ۚ)

There is no sin on you if you shorten As-Salât (the prayer) if you fear that the disbelievers may put you in trial (attack you etc.)


Saying that people are now secure?! But Umar said: I was astonished at that which you are astonished, and I asked the Messenger of Allâh , (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him), about it, but he said: «It is a charity that Allâh  has given to you, therefore accept His charity» (Muslim).


It was narrated on the authority of the mother of the believers, Aishah, that she said: « Allâh  enjoined the prayer when He enjoined it, it was two rak`ahs only (in every prayer) both when in residence or on journey. Then the prayers offered on journey remained the same, but (the rak`ahs of) the prayers for non-travelers were increased » (Agreed upon).


The traveler shortens the three prayers; Zuhr, Asr and ‘Esha but Fajr and Maghrib are not to be shortened.

If the obligatory prayers are shortened, the special supererogatory ones (Sunan Rawaatib) are more likely to be done with except for the Sunan of Fajr and Witr prayer. Isa bin Hafs bin Asim bin Umar bin Al-Khattab narrated from his father, saying, ” I accompanied Ibn ‘Umar on the road to Makkah and he led us in two rak’ahs at the noon prayer, then he went forward and we too went along with him to a place where he alighted, and he sat and we sat along with him, and he cast a glance to the side where he said the prayer and he saw people standing and asked: What are they doing? I said: They are engaged in glorifying Allâh , offering Sunnah prayer. He said: If I had done so I would have completed my prayer; O my nephew! I accompanied the Messenger of Allâh  (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him), on a journey, and he made no addition to two rak’ahs, till Allâh  called him. I accompanied Abu Bakr and he made no addition to two rak’ahs till Allâh  caused him to die. I accompanied ‘Umar and he made no addition to two rak’ahs till Allâh  caused him to die. I accompanied ‘Uthman and he made no addition to two rak’ahs, till Allâh  caused him to die, and Allâh  has said:


(لَّقَدۡ كَانَ لَكُمۡ فِى رَسُولِ ٱللَّهِ أُسۡوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ۬)

Indeed in the Messenger of Allâh (Muhammad) you have a good example to follow [Al-Ahzab: 21] » (Agreed upon).


If you may ask about the distance at which the prayer can be shortened, Yahya bin Yazid Al-Hinai has asked Anas bin Malik about it and he replied: « When the Messenger of’ Allâh  (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him), had covered a distance of three miles or three farsakh (Shu’ba, one of the narrators, had some doubt about it) he observed two rak’ahs». (Muslim). Majority of the learned scholars have approximated this to be eighty kilometers roughly. Though, some learned scholars have given the permission to shorten the prayer in everything that can be called travel.


As for the duration of shortening, it is permissible for a traveler to shorten his prayer as long as he is on the journey. He can also shorten it if he intends to stay less than four days, but if he intends to stay for four days or more he should not shorten the prayer.


Second rule: Combining prayers: The traveler may combine Zuhr and Asr prayers earlier or later if he needs that as well as between Maghrib and ‘Isha earlier or later according to his needs. Ibn Abbas, may Allâh  be pleased with them, said, «The Messenger of Allâh  (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him), used to offer the Zuhr and `Asr prayers together on journeys, and also used to offer the Maghrib and `Isha’ prayers together.


If he is not in need of combination, the best practice is to avoid combination. However, if he combines there is no problem on that.


If you may ask: Does he call the adhan or make the Iqamah when he intends to combine the prayers? We reply by saying: he should say one adhan and repeats the Iqamah for each prayer, though he would not offer any (optional) prayer in between them. Ibn Umar, may Allâh  be pleased with them, said, « The Prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him),   offered the Maghrib and `Isha’ prayers together at Jam’ (i.e. Al-Muzdalifa) with a separate Iqama for each of them and he did not offer any optional prayer in between them or after each of them » (Agreed upon).


If the traveler shortens or combines the prayer and then returns to his home before the time of the prayer expires or even before entering it, he shall not repeat those prayers because he has offered them legitimately.


Third rule: Wiping over the khuff (Kind of socks made from leather): The traveler may wipe over the khuffs for three days and three nights.  Shurayh bin Hani said: I came to ‘A’ishah to ask her about wiping over the socks. She said: You better ask (‘Ali) son of Abu Talib for he used to travel with Allâh ‘s Messenger (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him). We asked him and he said: The Messenger of Allâh  (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him), stipulated (the upper limit) of three days and three nights for a traveller and one day and one night for the resident» (Muslim).


The origin of the khuff is socks made from leather, and the Islamic jurists have drawn analogy between it and the socks made from cloth of any kind. Hence, it is permissible to wipe over the socks if they are pure and cover the feet and ankles. It was narrated from Al-Mughirah bin Shu’bah that « the Messenger of Allâh  performed ablution and wiped over his socks and his sandals » (Ibn Majah).


The requirement for the permissibility to wipe over all these including the Khuff and socks is that one must have worn them while in the state of ablution. Al-Mughirah bin Shu’bah narrated saying, “Once I was in the company of the Prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him) on a journey, he then performed ablution and I dashed to take off his socks. He said, “Leave them for I had put them on after performing ablution”. So he wiped over them [Agreed Upon].


The period of wiping begins from the first wiping after having experienced the invalidation of ablution, not from the time of the invalidation of ablution itself. Here, we mean the minor invalidation of ablution. However, if one experiences the state of major impurity (Janabah), he must take off the two khuffs or his socks, to take the ritual bath.

Fourth rule: That Allâh , out of His grace and generosity, writes for the traveler the prayers he used to observe when he is resident, in case he is prevented from observing due to the journey. It was narrated from Abu Musa that the Messenger of Allâh , (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him), said: « When a slave of Allâh  suffers from illness or sets on a journey, he is credited with the equal of whatever good works he used to do when he was healthy or at home » (Al-Bukhari).


Second sermon:


All praise is due and belongs to Allâh alone. May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon the last Prophet.


Although, the obligation with respect to the traveler is to strive diligently in investigating the Qiblah direction, but if he is unable to identify it, or he prays in a plane or a car whose direction changes all the time, then he is not obliged to face the Qiblah direction. Hence, in the first case he prays towards any direction determined based on his diligence in investigating the Qiblah and he is not to repeat the prayer if he later discovers that he has made a mistake in identifying the Qiblah direction. In the second case, he should pray towards any direction headed to by the car or the plane … and Allâh  has spoken the truth when He said,


(وَلِلَّهِ ٱلۡمَشۡرِقُ وَٱلۡمَغۡرِبُ‌ۚ فَأَيۡنَمَا تُوَلُّواْ فَثَمَّ وَجۡهُ ٱللَّهِ‌ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ وَٲسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ۬)

And to Allâh belong the east and the west, so wherever you turn (yourselves or your faces) there is the Face of Allâh. Surely! Allâh is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knowing [Al-Baqarah: 115].


Moreover, he should pray standing, but if he could not and was riding, he should pray sitting down. This is the fifth rule among the rules of travel.


It should be emphasized that all these legal leaves shall only be utilized when one embarks on a journey for the obedience of Allâh  and not that which involves His disobedience and sin.


Slaves of Allâh ! Does there remain any excuse for anyone to neglect the prayer after all this ease! Allâh , the Most Exalted and Glorified has threatened anyone that misses the timings of prayer or neglects the prayer in totality saying,


(فَخَلَفَ مِنۢ بَعۡدِهِمۡ خَلۡفٌ أَضَاعُواْ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَٱتَّبَعُواْ ٱلشَّہَوَٲتِ‌ۖ فَسَوۡفَ يَلۡقَوۡنَ غَيًّا)

Then, there has succeeded them a posterity who have given up As-Salâh (the prayers) and have followed lusts. So they will be thrown in Hell. [Maryam: 59].


Moreover, with the Hell Allâh , the Almighty, has also cursed them, saying,

(فَوَيۡلٌ۬ لِّلۡمُصَلِّينَ (٤) ٱلَّذِينَ هُمۡ عَن صَلَاتِہِمۡ سَاهُونَ)

So woe unto those performers of Salâh (prayers) (hypocrites), (4) Those who neglect and delay their Salâh (prayer from their stated fixed times), [Al-Ma’un: 4-5].


O Slaves of Allâh ! Keep your prayers, and accept the leave of your Lord, and meet it with gratitude, for He will bless you …

Invoke prayers and blessings of Allâh upon the one Allâh, the Most Exalted and Glorified, has commanded you to do so when He said,


(إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا)

Allâh sends His Salah (Graces, Honours, Blessings, Mercy, etc.) on the Prophet (Muhammad) and also His angels too (ask Allâh to bless and forgive him). O you who believe! Send your Salah on (ask Allâh to bless) him (Muhammad), and (you should) greet him with the Islamic way of greeting [Al-Ahzab: 56].