Prayer For A Musafir (Traveller) – How And How Long?
The School holiday is getting closer. Many people want to take advantage of this coming holiday with activities and spending time with family or friends. If you are planning to travel out of town or overseas, there are many things that need to be prepared. And usually when the day finally comes, we are faced with new things that need to be done at the last minutes before departing. In addition, the times of prayer often are disturbed when we are on a vacation.
We are usually in a hurry for many reasons: may be due to flight time, bus schedules, trains, etc. Then how do we honor our prayer? There is NO reason for us to leave our obligatory worship to Allah (SWT). Allah (SWT) has declared the dispensation of prayer in the form of jama’ (combining two prayer times) and qashar (shortening the number of raka’at), and Allah (SWT) likes if His people adhere to the dispensation given.
It is mentioned in the following hadith how the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) prayed during his journey:
Narrated Salim’s father: The Prophet used to offer the Maghrib and `Isha’ prayers together whenever he was in a hurry on a journey. Narrated Ibn `Abbas: Allah’s Apostle used to offer the Zuhr and `Asr prayers together on journeys and also used to offer the Maghrib and `Isha’ prayers together. Narrated Anas bin Malik: The Prophet used to offer the Maghrib and the `Isha’ prayers together on journeys. (hadith narrated by Bukhari).
Narrated Az−Zuhri: Salim told me, “`Abdullah bin `Umar said, ‘I saw Allah’s Apostle delaying the Maghrib prayer till he offered it along with the `Isha prayer whenever he was in a hurry during the journey.’ ” Salim said, “Abdullah bin `Umar used to do the same whenever he was in a hurry during the journey. After making the call for Iqama, for the Maghrib prayer he used to offer three rak`at and then perform Taslim. After waiting for a short while, he would pronounce the Iqama for the `Isha’ prayer and offer two rak`at and perform Taslim. He never prayed any Nawafil in between the two prayers or after the `Isha’ prayers till he got up in the middle of the night (for Tahajjud prayer).” (hadith narrated by Bukhari).
Then where is our qiblah when we are in a vehicle? It is stated in the following hadith:
Narrated `Abdullah bin ‘Amir from his father who said: I saw the Prophet (p.b.u.h) offering the prayer on his mount (Rahila) whatever direction it took. (hadith narrated by Bukhari).
But there are also several hadiths which say that the Prophet (SAW) prayed towards any direction, but he performed the obligatory prayer facing the qiblah.
Narrated Jabir bin `Abdullah The Prophet used to pray (the Nawafil) on his Mount facing east and whenever he wanted to offer the compulsory prayer, he used to dismount and face the Qibla. (hadith narrated by Bukhari).
When we arrive at our destination, we are still able to adhere to Allah’s (SWT) dispensation while staying in a place that is not our permanent living space. Some hadiths mentioned the dispensation is for up to 10 days, 15 days, 17 days, 18 days, or 19 days. To combine the various hadith, our reference is the 19 days, because this hadith is the strongest and most authentic. The hadith is reinforced by historians that the Prophet entered Mecca on Tuesday morning 17th of Ramadan and out towards Hunain on Saturday the 6th of Shawwal. It means that the total days including the entry and exit of Mecca is 19 days.
Narrated Ibn `Abbas : The Prophet once stayed for nineteen days and prayed shortened prayers. So when we travel led (and stayed) for nineteen days, we used to shorten the prayer but if we traveled (and stayed) for a longer period we used to offer the full prayer. (hadith narrated by Bukhari).
Source: Syarah Bulughul Maram