Fatwaa ID: 730
Assalam o Alaikum respected Mufti Sahab
I have some questions about praying in a “musaafir Masjid” (such as those next to petrol stations) or airports while travelling. Many people combine Zuhr with Asr or Maghrib with Isha, which leads to some confusion for those of us who follow the ruling that prayers cannot be combined like this during travel.
1) If I enter the Masjid during Isha time and see a Jama’at going on, should I join it without knowing whether they are praying Maghrib or Isha? Or should I pray by myself? Or should I wait until I can make out whether they are praying 2 Rakaat or 3 Rakaat and make the decision to join or not join accordingly?
2) If I did join and they were praying Maghrib, should I complete the 3 Rakaat with them or add a fourth (to make an even number of Nawaafil) after the Imam does Salam? I understand that in this case the prayer I prayed with them would be counted as Nafl and I would pray Isha afterwards.
3) In case I entered the Masjid during Zuhr time and I joined the Jama’at late and the others left before I completed my remaining Rakaats, and thus I couldn’t ask them whether they had just prayed Zuhr or Asr, then should I assume they prayed Zuhr? Or should I repeat my prayer out of caution since it could be that they were praying Asr?
4) If I join Zuhr/Asr late and can’t tell whether the Imam prayed 2 or 4 Rakaat (i.e. was a Musaafir or not), what should I do? Should I just complete 2 Rakaats and that will be sufficient in either case? Or should I repeat my prayer individually?
5) If there are some more general principles that can be used in similar cases please do enlighten me.
Apologies for the lengthy questions and JazakAllahu Khair for your time.
In the Name of Allaah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salaamu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullaahi wa-barakaatuh.
In principle, according to the Hanafi legal school, the fardh salaah of the imaam and the fardh salaah of the muqtadee must be the same. If the imaam is leading one salaah while the muqtadee is performing another, then the muqtadee’s salaah will not count as fardh.
Keeping the above in mind, the answers to your queries are as follows,
1-2. If you enter at ‘Ishaa time and find a congregation going on, you should join it with the intention of ‘Ishaa. If it turns out that they are performing Maghrib, then you should add a fourth rak’ah as nafl and then perform the ‘Ishaa Salaah again. The first salaah will count at nafl.
- If you enter the prayer place at Zuhr time, then regard the salaah as Zuhr unless you have genuine reasons to feel that the imaam led ‘Asr Salaah. There is no need to repeat it if you do not have genuine reasons to feel otherwise.
- If you are a muqeem, then you will perform four rak’ahs in all cases, irrespective of whether the imaam was a muqeem or musaafir. If you are a musaafir and you are unable to determine whether the congregation prayer two or four, then the default will be four rak’ahs. You too should complete four.
- The default is the salaah of that time.
Apply your dominant thought when you are unsure to confirm.
And Allaah Ta’aala knows best.
Mufti Muajul I. Chowdhury
Darul Iftaa New York
وصل اللهم وسلم وبارك على سيدنا محمد وعلى ءاله وصحبه أجمعين
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