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].
O Muslims! Indeed, prayer is the link between a person and his Lord. It is the first act for which a person will be brought to account on the Day of Resurrection. On the authority of Tamim Ad-Dari, the Prophet, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), said, “The first thing concerning which a person will be brought to account will be his Salâh ” (Ibn Majah).
The Messenger of Allâh, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) has stressed the issue of neglecting the prayers. Jabir bin Abdullah narrated that he heard the Messenger of Allâh, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) say, “Between a man and disbelief and paganism is the abandonment of Salâh (prayer)” (Muslim).
In addition, Abdullah bin Shaqeeq Al-‘Uqaili said, ” The Companions of the Messenger of Allâh, Muhammad (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) did not consider the abandonment of any action as disbelief except neglecting Salâh ” (At-Tirmidhi).
Moreover, Islam has never given any excuse for the sane adult to neglect prayer except for the person who is unconscious, the menstruating women and those undergoing post-natal bleeding. Even the patient prays according to his condition, sitting, reclining, or lying or even by means of the movement of his eyelashes or by his heart. Even a traveler who has left his homeland to engage in travel must observe the prayer even if by shortening and combining them. Moreover, the one who lacks water for ablutions has to pray with tayammum (dry or alternative ablution). The naked one who does not find what to wear must also pray by gesture. Allâh, the Almighty, has asked the mujahid (one fighting in the holy war) who is seeking or is being sought by the enemy to observe the prayer of fear (Salatul-Khauf). Moreover, those who have been afflicted by some disease such as urinary incontinence or loose wind or abnormal menstruation (haemorrhage or istihadhah) must pray according to their situation…
Our conversation today is going to be about such people from among the people with excuses with respect to performing prayers.
O Muslims! Sickness is the most frequent excuse that people may have. Hence, the sick has to pray standing, and he may rely on a wall or stick if he needs that. However, if he is unable to pray standing or finds it difficult, or fears that the illness may deteriorate or some delay in healing due to praying standing, then he may pray sitting, but he should select the sitting position that is easier and more comfortable for him, and prays nodding during ruku’ (bowing) by lowering his head saying, ((Subhana Rabbi Al-‘Adheem)) Purified be my Lord, the Great. As regards sujud (prostration), if he can prostrate with his head on the ground, then he must do so. Nevertheless, if he cannot, then he may nod his head in prostration, though he should lower his head more than he does during ruku’ and say, ((Subhana Rabbi Al-‘A’la)) Purified be my Lord, the Most High.
If he cannot pray sitting, he should pray reclining on his side. However, it is better to recline on his right side. If he cannot face the direction of qiblah, or does not have anybody to direct him towards it, and fears the expiration of the time of prayer, he should pray according to his situation, to any direction that is easy for him nodding during ruku’ (bowing) by lowering his head saying, ((Subhana Rabbi Al-‘Adheem)) – Glory be to my Lord, the Great. Then he lifts his head and says, ((Rabbana wa lakal-hamd)) – ‘O our Lord! And to You belongs all praise. Then nods his head in prostration (sujud) making it lower than he did during the ruku’, and says, ((Subahana Rabbial-A’la)) – Glory be to my Lord the Most High. Then he lifts his head from prostration, and says, ((Rabbi Ighfir-li)) – O My Lord, forgive me. Then he nods his head for the second prostration just as he did during the first.
If the patient cannot pray while reclining on his side, he should pray lying on his back, placing his feet towards the qiblah direction, if possible, and nodding his head for bowing (ruku’) and prostrating (sujud) as already explained.. The proof of all this, is the saying of the Prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) to Imran bin Husayn, may Allâh be pleased with him, when he suffered hemorrhoids (piles), “Pray while standing and if you can’t, pray while sitting and if you cannot do even that, then pray lying on your side” (Al-Bukhari).
However, what should the sick do if the sickness is intensified and cannot even nod his head? A group of learned scholars has replied thus, “he gestures with his eyes for bowing and prostrating”.
In any case, the patient prays in any situation he can. He should pray even if his clothes were impure and he finds it difficult to replace them. He should pray with tayammum even if he cannot perform ablution, or he cannot find pure sand or dust by which he can perform tayammum. He should pray without ablution or tayammum if he cannot perform tayammum either. He may pray facing a direction, which is not qiblah if he cannot face it. Moreover, he may combine two prayers, Zuhr and Asr at the time of any of them, either earlier or later, or Maghrib and Isha at the time of any of them, either earlier or later, if he needs that… The obligation of all what a human being is unable to do is lifted from him, according to the fundamental principle enshrined in the words of Allâh, the Most Glorified and Exalted,
( فَٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ مَا ٱسۡتَطَعۡتُمۡ )
So keep your duty to Allâh and fear Him as much as you can [At-Taghabun: 16].
And His saying, the Most Glorified and Exalted,
( لَا يُكَلِّفُ ٱللَّهُ نَفۡسًا إِلَّا وُسۡعَهَا )ۚ
Allâh burdens not a person beyond his scope [Al-Baqarah: 286].
Based on the foregoing, we realize that something is wrong with some patients who do not pray throughout the period they stay in the hospital with the intention of making up for them when discharged from the hospital! This is a great error, which they must repent from.
O Muslims! Among those who have special legal provisions in prayer is the traveler whose journey covers a distance in which he is legally allowed to shorten the prayers, which according to the most preponderant opinion is eighty kilometers and more. Some of his legal provisions in prayer are as follows:
First: Al-Qasr. He may shorten the four-rak’ah prayers to two. This is mustahabb (desirable act) and a leave from Allâh, the Most High. The fundamental rule concerning this is the saying of Allâh, the Most High,
( وَإِذَا ضَرَبۡتُمۡ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ فَلَيۡسَ عَلَيۡكُمۡ جُنَاحٌ أَن تَقۡصُرُواْ مِنَ ٱلصَّلَوٰةِ )
And when you (Muslims) travel in the land, there is no sin on you if you shorten As-Salâh (the prayer) [An-Nisa: 101].
Even though this verse was revealed on the account of the prayer of fear, the Prophet, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) has made its ruling to be general and all-embracing for anyone traveling in obedience to Allâh. Yahya bin Umayyah said, I told ‘Umar bin al-Khattab that Allâh had said,
( وَإِذَا ضَرَبۡتُمۡ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ فَلَيۡسَ عَلَيۡكُمۡ جُنَاحٌ أَن تَقۡصُرُواْ مِنَ ٱلصَّلَوٰةِ إِنۡ خِفۡتُمۡ أَن يَفۡتِنَكُمُ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوٓاْ)
And when you (Muslims) travel in the land, there is no sin on you if you shorten As-Salâh (the prayer) only if you fear that those who are unbelievers may afflict you [An-Nisa: 101].
Whereas the people are now safe. He replied: I wondered about it in the same way as you wonder about it, so I asked the Messenger of Allâh (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) about it and he said, “It is an act of charity which Allâh has done to you, so accept His charity.” (Muslim).
The traveler prays two rak’ahs in lieu of four rak’ahs, during Zuhr, Asr and Isha prayers. As for the Maghrib and Fajr prayers, they are not to be shortened according to the unanimous concession of the learned scholars; because Maghrib is the witr (odd-number prayer) of the day, while Fajr has been legislated two rak’ahs both at home and on journey.
The traveler starts to shorten the prayers when he leaves his hometown and is off its buildings. He continues to shorten prayers throughout his trip, except if he prays behind a resident, then he must complete the prayer as four rak’ahs. In addition, if he intends to stay more than four days during the journey, he will also have to complete his prayers for the interruption of the legal provisions of travel with respect to him; because he will have become just like the resident and thus his rules become applicable to him. This is unlike when a person intends to stay for a period less than four days, or intends to stay for a non-specific period. In this case, he may shorten his prayers due to interruption of the legal provisions of travel with respect to him.
The traveler is exempted from performing all supererogatory prayers except Al-Witr, qiyamullail (mid-night supererogatory prayers) and the special nafilah prayer observed before Fajr (dawn prayer); due to the emphatic nature of these nawafil prayers and because the Prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) never left them. Isa bin Hafs bin Asim said, My father told me: ‘I was with Ibn Umar on a journey, and he prayed Zuhr and ‘Asr with two rak’ahs each, then he went and sat on his carpet. He saw some people offering voluntary prayers and said: What are these people doing? I said: They are offering voluntary prayers. He said: If I had wanted to pray before and after (the obligatory prayer), I would have offered it in full. I accompanied the Messenger of Allâh (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) and he did not pray more than two rak’ahs when traveling, and Abu Bakr (did likewise) until he died, as did ‘Umar and ‘Uthman, May Allâh the most Glorified and Exalted, be pleased with them all “(Agreed upon).
Second: Al-Jam’ (Combination): While traveling, one may combine between Zuhr and Asr at the time of any of them, either earlier or later, or Maghrib and Isha at the time of any of them, either earlier or later, as easier for him. On the authority of Anas bin Malik, ” When the Messenger of Allâh (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) set out on a journey before the sun declined (from the meridian), he delayed the noon prayer (Zuhr) till the afternoon prayer (Asr), and then dismounted (his ride) and combined them (noon and afternoon prayers), but if the sun had declined before his setting out on a journey, he observed the noon prayer and then mounted (the ride). “(Agreed upon).
This is for the Zuhr and Asr prayers. As for Maghrib and Isha, Ibn Umar says, “When the Messenger of Allâh (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) was in a state of hurry on a journey, he combined the sunset (Maghrib) and ‘Isha’ prayers” (Agreed upon).
O believers! Among the people of excuses are those under the state of terror, those prevented by fear from praying perfectly in the manner one who is in a state of security prays. Such people have been asked to pray according to their conditions. However, two cases shall be taken note of regarding one in a state of fear:
The first case: The case of extreme fear, such as one who runs away from an enemy or a monster, as well as at the confluence of rows in the battle field. In this case, the people may pray walking or riding facing or not facing the direction of qiblah; for the saying of Allâh, the Almighty,
( فَإِنۡ خِفۡتُمۡ فَرِجَالاً أَوۡ رُكۡبَانً۬ا)
And if you fear (an enemy), perfrom Salâh (pray) on foot or riding [Al-Baqarah: 239].
This means that you cannot pray with obedience and humility fulfilling the rights of prayer regarding bowing and prostration and humility; for fear of an enemy or others, and then pray while walking or riding your beasts, facing or not facing the direction of qiblah and this is in the event of war and physical combat in the battlefield. (Tafseer Al-Khazin).
Second case: If the fear is not intense, and the enemy was near to them but they fear his treachery. It is this case that is intended in the words of Allâh, the Almighty:
( وَإِذَا كُنتَ فِيہِمۡ فَأَقَمۡتَ لَهُمُ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ فَلۡتَقُمۡ طَآٮِٕفَةٌ۬ مِّنۡہُم مَّعَكَ وَلۡيَأۡخُذُوٓاْ أَسۡلِحَتَہُمۡ فَإِذَا سَجَدُواْ فَلۡيَكُونُواْ مِن وَرَآٮِٕڪُمۡ وَلۡتَأۡتِ طَآٮِٕفَةٌ أُخۡرَىٰ لَمۡ يُصَلُّواْ فَلۡيُصَلُّواْ مَعَكَ وَلۡيَأۡخُذُواْ حِذۡرَهُمۡ وَأَسۡلِحَتَہُمۡۗ وَدَّ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ لَوۡ تَغۡفُلُونَ عَنۡ أَسۡلِحَتِكُمۡ وَأَمۡتِعَتِكُمۡ فَيَمِيلُونَ عَلَيۡڪُم مَّيۡلَةً۬ وَٲحِدَةً۬ۚ وَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيۡڪُمۡ إِن كَانَ بِكُمۡ أَذً۬ى مِّن مَّطَرٍ أَوۡ كُنتُم مَّرۡضَىٰٓ أَن تَضَعُوٓاْ أَسۡلِحَتَكُمۡۖ وَخُذُواْ حِذۡرَكُمۡۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ أَعَدَّ لِلۡكَـٰفِرِينَ عَذَابً۬ا مُّهِينً۬ا )
When you (O Messenger Muhammad) are among them, and lead them in Salâh (the prayer), let one party of them stand up [in Salâh (prayer)] with you taking their arms with them; when they finish their prostrations, let them take their positions in the rear and let the other party come up which have not yet prayed, and let them pray with you taking all the precautions and bearing arms. Those who disbelieve wish, if you were negligent of your arms and your baggage, to attack you in a single rush, but there is no sin on you if you put away your arms because of the inconvenience of rain or because you are ill, but take every precaution for yourselves. Verily, Allâh has prepared a humiliating torment for the disbelievers [An-Nisa: 102].
Here, the Imam divides the soldiers into two parties. The first party prays with him, while the second stays on guard. When he had led the first party in the first rak’ah of the prayer, he would remain standing for them to complete the second rak’ah for themselves. Then they would leave him to stay on guard and the second party would come and pray the second rak’ah with the Imam. Then they would complete the remaining rak’ah for themselves while the Imam waits for them seated, and then say salaam with them … The prayer of fear has several other patterns of observation, each pattern suits a particular situation of the situations of war, and ahadith have been related on their account.
All praise is due and belongs to Allâh alone, and may the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon the last Prophet.
Slaves of Allâh! All that we have said and established regarding the legal leaves and facilitations in the worship of prayer with respect to the sick, traveler, one in a state of terror and others, does reflect to us that Islam is a religion of tolerance, ease and dispelling of inconvenience. Allâh, the Most Exalted and Glorified, indeed spoke the truth when He said,
( وَمَا جَعَلَ عَلَيۡكُمۡ فِى ٱلدِّينِ مِنۡ حَرَجٍ۬ۚ )
And He has not laid upon you in religion any hardship [Al-Hajj: 78].
Moreover, after mentioning tayammum as a substitute for ablution, Allâh, the Almighty, said,
( مَا يُرِيدُ ٱللَّهُ لِيَجۡعَلَ عَلَيۡڪُم مِّنۡ حَرَجٍ۬ )
Allâh does not want to place you in difficulty [Al-Maedah: 6].
Even, the noble Qur’an stated that there should be no stress on some of the people with excuses. Allâh said,
( لَّيۡسَ عَلَى ٱلۡأَعۡمَىٰ حَرَجٌ۬ وَلَا عَلَى ٱلۡأَعۡرَجِ حَرَجٌ۬ وَلَا عَلَى ٱلۡمَرِيضِ حَرَجٌ۬ )
There is no restriction on the blind, nor any restriction on the lame, nor any restriction on the sick [An-Nur: 61].
The Messenger of Allâh (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), said: “The most beloved religion to Allâh is Al-Haneefiyyah As-Samhah (The tolerant religion of Islam” (At-Tabarani) … Based on these verses from the Qur’an, the learned scholars of Islam have evolved a grand principle and rule that says, ” Hardship shall give rise to facilitation “, and you can see the application of this rule and its manifestations in every area of our religion.
All praise is due and belongs to Allâh, who made our religion a religion of ease, moderation and consideration of human conditions…
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 Salâh (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 Salâh on (ask Allâh to bless) him (Muhammad), and (you should) greet him with the Islamic way of greeting [Al-Ahzab: 56].