The Prayer Of A Traveller (Musafir)
Shortening Of Prayers (Qasr)
A traveler is one of the excused persons for it is permissible for him to shorten the prayer consisting of four rak’ahs (units of prayer) to only two rak’ahs as stated in the Noble Qur’an, the Sunnah, and the consensus of Muslim scholars.
Allah , Exalted be He , says:
“And when you travel throughout the land , there is no blame upon you for the shortening prayer ..”
(Surah An-Nisa:101 )
Anas ibn Maalik (may Allah be pleased with him) said: We went out with the Prophet (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) from Madinah to Makkah, and he offered his prayers with two rak‘ahs every time until we returned to Madinah.
(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1081; Muslim, 724)
Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said: I accompanied the Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) and during the journey he did not pray more than two rak’ahs (in any prayer), and Abu Bakr, ‘Umar and ‘Uthmaan (may Allah be pleased with them) did likewise.
(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1102; Muslim, 689)
Joining prayers is permissible for every traveller, and for the non-traveller if it is too difficult for him to offer every prayer on time, such as one who is sick, or if there is rain, or he is busy with some work that he cannot delay in order to pray, such as a student taking an exam or a doctor who is doing surgery and so on. With regard to shortening prayers, that is only permissible when travelling.
It was narrated that Ibn ‘Abbaas said: The Messenger of Allaah (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) prayed Zuhr and ‘Asr, & Maghrib and Isha’ in Madeenah, at a time when there was no fear and he was not travelling. Abu’l-Zubayr said: I asked Sa’eed [i.e., ibn Jubayr], Why did he do that? He said, I asked Ibn ‘Abbas the same question, and he said, He did not want anyone among his ummah to suffer hardship.
(Narrated by Muslim, 705)
Note: When joining prayers, you can only combine Zuhur with Asr, and Maghrib with Isha’.
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said:
The specific reason for shortening the prayers is travelling, and it is not permissible to shorten prayers when not travelling. With regard to joining prayers, the reason for it is if there is a need or an excuse. So if a person needs to do so, he may join prayers whilst travelling, whether he is travelling a long distance or a short one, and he may join prayers because of rain etc., or because of sickness etc., or for any other reason, because the point is to spare the Muslims any difficulty or hardship.
(Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 22/293; published by King Fahd Complex)