Qasr (shortening prayers)


Initially, when Islam was renewed to Rasool (s.a.w), there was no Salah (prayer) for nearly 10 years, the people who accepted Islam did not pray.  Prayer was prescribed for the Muslims only during Mihraj that Rasool (s.a.w) undertook.  When Rasool (s.a.w) and his Ummah were ordered to pray 5 times a day, the Fard prayer was just 2 rakayats; later, the travelling prayer was kept as 2 rakayats and the prayer at home or Masjid was increased to 4 and 3.  Once when Rasool (s.a.w) travelled in Ramadan from Madina to Mecca, it so happened that he broke his fast and prayed Qasr 2 rakayats instead of 4 but Maghrib, he prayed 3 rakayats and also made Jammu (combining prayers).  He combined Dhur and Asr prayers with one Adhaan and 2 Iqama; he also combined the Maghrib prayer of 3 rakayats, with Isha prayer of 2 rakaayat with one Adhaan and 2 separate Iqamas, one for Maghrib prayer and one for Isha prayer.  Aisha (RA) came to him after nearly 19 days of his camping at Mecca, where throughout this period he prayed Qasr and did jammu,  and Aisha (RA) said to him; “Ya Rasoolullah(s.a.w), you broke your fast but I kept fasting, you prayed Qasr, but I prayed in full, you made jammu (combined prayers) but I prayed separately;  Rasool (s.a.w) said; “No problem Aisha;  Allah(swt) has given us a sadaqa, if you accept it, Allah(swt) is pleased with you.”




Also, there are a lot of confusion as to the number of miles or kilometers you can travel to avail this Qasr and jammu but Rasool (s.a.w), the shortest travel he made and prayed Qasr and jammu is one farsakh which is five and a half kilometers but his five and a half kilometers is from the boundary of the place that you are living in i.e.: from your locality.  Also understand that the times of Rasool(s.a.w) they used to walk, and ride camel, horses and donkeys so even this stretch of land was a journey worth Qasr and Jammu – though today we go by plane, car and buses etc we will have to follow the same pattern as the Prophet(s.a.w) and his Sahabas are our foremost model  -  they set the life pattern for us and the rules and regulations to be followed as Allah(swt) showed them. Also do remember that Allah(swt) always makes things as easy as possible - that is His Grace and Benevolence on us.




There is a much stronger hadees which says Rasool (s.a.w) prayed Qasr and jammu when he travelled 3 farsakhs which is sixteen and a half kilometers to our calculation.




Ahmad, Muslim, Abu Dawud, and al-Baihaqi record that Yahya ibn Yazid said: "I asked Anas ibn Malik about shortening the prayer, and he said: 'The Messenger of Allah(swt) would pray two rak'at if he had traveled a distance of three miles or (one) farsakh."' Ibn Hajar writes in Fath al-Bari: "This is the most authentic hadith which states and clarifies [that question]." The conflict between mile and farsakh is made clear in Abu Sa'id al-Khudri's statement: "If the Prophet traveled a distance of one farsakh, he would shorten his prayer." This was related by Sa'id ibn Mansur in his Sunan and by al-Hafiz ibn Hajar in at-Talkhis, and he implicitly accepted it by not making any further comments about it. It is well-known that a farsakh equals three miles and, therefore, Abu Sa'id's hadith removes the confusion which arises from Anas' hadith when he says that the shortest distance, due to which the Prophet shortened his prayer, was three miles. One farsakh is equivalent to 5,541 meters while one mile equals 1,748 meters. The shortest distance which has been mentioned with respect to the shortening of Salah is one mile. This was recorded by Ibn abi Shaibah, with a sahih chain, on the authority of Ibn 'Umar. Ibn Hazm follows this report, and argues that if the distance is less than one mile, one is not to shorten the Salah, the Messenger of Allah(swt) went to the graveyard of al-Baqi' to bury the dead and (similarly) he went off to answer the call of nature and did not shorten his Salah.


Fiqh 2.110




Mu'adh reports that while the Prophet was at Tabuk and the sun had passed the meridian, the Prophet (saw) combined the zuhr and 'asr prayers before he started his journey. If he started his journey before the sun passed its meridian, he would delay the zuhr prayer until the time when he stopped for the 'asr prayer. He would do likewise for the maghrib prayer. If the sun set before he began his journey, he would combine the maghrib and 'isha prayers [at that time]. If he began a journey before the sun had set, he would then combine them at the time of 'isha. This is related by Abu Dawud and at-Tirmidhi who call it hasan.




Kuraib reported that Ibn 'Abbas said: "Shall I not inform you of the Salah of the Prophet (saw) during a journey?" We said: "Certainly." He said: "If the sun passed its meridian while he stopped, he would combine the zuhr and 'asr prayers before remounting [i.e., moving on]. If the sun had not passed its meridian while he had stopped [i.e., before breaking camp], he would travel until the time of the 'asr prayer and then he would combine the zuhr and 'asr prayers. If the sun set while he had stopped, he would combine the magrib and 'isha prayers. If that did not occur while he had stopped, he would ride until the 'isha time and then combine them." This is related by Ahmad.


Fiqh 2.115c




Al-Athram records in his Sunnan that Abu Salamah ibn 'Abdurrahman said: "It is a sunnah to combine the maghrib and 'isha prayers when it is raining." Al-Bukhari records that the Prophet(saw) combined the maghrib and 'isha prayers on a rainy night, (but he prayed the prayer in full).


Fiqh 2.117




 There are also hadeeses which state that Rasool (s.a.w) while staying in Madina did jammu (combining of 2 prayers) but he prayed the prayers in full with 2 separate Iqamas.



On the authority of Saeed Ibn Jubair from Ibn Abbas (Allah(swt) be pleased with him), who said, "The Messenger of Allah(saw) prayed dhuhr and asr together in Medina without [m: reason of] peril or travel." Abu Al-Zubair said, "So I asked Saeed, 'Why did he do this?'" He said, "I asked Ibn Abbas what you asked me and he said, 'he didn't want to impose hardship on any member of his nation (on his Ummah).'" (Saheeh Muslim)




In another narration also on the authority of Ibn Abbas, he said, "The Messenger of Allah(saw) combined dhuhr with asr and maghrib with isha in Medina without [m: reason of] peril or rain."




Upon arriving in Muzdalifah the Prophet (saw) offered Maghrib and two rak'ahs for 'Isha (making qasr). He ordered one single call for both 'Isha and Maghrib, but a separate iqamah for each. No other supererogatory prayer is to be offered in between these two prayers. In the hadith recorded by Muslim, we read that the Prophet (peace be upon him) arrived in Muzdalifah and combined Maghrib and 'Isha prayers, with one adhan and two iqamahs. He did not offer any other prayer in between the two. Combining these prayers is, according to the consensus of the scholars, a sunnah.
Fiqh 5.100




When sahabaas discussed this, they said Rasool (s.a.w) knew the problems his ummah would face; hence, made things easy for them.  For example, today we are involved in so much work and so much commitments that sometimes, it becomes very difficult to offer the 5 times regular prayers. Sometimes, it becomes inevitable to not miss prayers, but this hadees simplifies matters and makes things easy for today’s people. Therefore, they can easily do jammu of their prayer rather than miss it.  Allah(swt) gives all these concessions so that Muslims would never never miss their prayers.  Rasool (s.a.w) said in case a person oversleeps and misses a prayer, if he prays as soon as he gets up, it would be enough compensation for it.  So also, if a person faints and misses a prayer, as soon as he comes out of his faint, he could make up for that missed prayer.  If a person becomes mad, as soon as he comes out of his madness, he could start praying.  The interim period would not be taken into account for him.  There are so many concessions and so many opportunities Allah(swt) gives to make us earn the virtues of Salah (prayer) which is far far more greater than even Hajj.  That is the reason Allah(swt) has made it Fard (obligatory). But at the same time there are no Kala prayers in Islam. Even if you miss fasting, you would have to do kala fasting in lieu of the missed fasting, but in Salah (prayer) if you miss them there is no Kala prayers – a whole life time of prayers would not be able to compensate it – it has to be done at the right stipulated time, if one forgets Salah (prayer) as soon as he remembers it he would have to execute it.




When ye pass (congregational) prayers celebrate Allah(swt)'s praises standing sitting down or lying down on your sides; but when ye are free from danger set up regular prayers: for such prayers are enjoined on believers at stated times. 


Quran: 4 - 103




If a person willfully misses prayers, he becomes a Kafir .  In the eyes of Allah(swt) amongst His creations, the worst of beings are the Kafirs.  There is none whom Allah(swt) has created as Kafir; it is they themselves with their own freedom who opted to be a Kafir and a Kafir ’s virtuous deeds are canceled and nullified; nothing of his virtuous deeds are taken into account.  They are floated like dust in the wind.




And We shall turn to whatever deeds they did (in this life) and We shall make such deeds as floating dust scattered about.
Quran: 25 -  23




The worst of the Kafirs are those who sell their souls to Satan.  They are no different from Satan himself.  They would be thrown into the most degraded, most grievous and deadliest of hell along with Satan and his companions to dwell there in forever and ever  in an everlasting manner, and they would taste every grievous punishment meted out to Satan and his comrades.




We have indeed created man in the best of molds


Then do We abase him (to be) the lowest of the low


Except such as believe and do righteous deeds: for they shall have a reward unfailing.


Quran: 95- 4,5,6




"Then they will be thrown headlong into the (Fire) they and those straying in Evil  
"And the whole hosts of Iblis together.


"They will say there in their mutual bickerings:       
" `By Allah we were truly in an error manifest

Quran: 26 - 94,95,96,97




Coming back to Qasr prayers, for how many days if we stay should we pray Qasr: Suppose one’s job is to travel the whole year thru – then he can avail Qasr and Jammu the whole year and more if he keeps travelling; there is no stipulated time for Qasr and Jammu prayers, :




Jabir ibn 'Abdullah said: "The Messenger of Allah(saw) stayed in Tabuk for twenty days and performed qasr Salah." Imam Ahmad related this in his Musnad. Al-Miswar ibn Makhramah reports: "We stayed with Sa'd in some of the cities of ash-Sham [Syria] for forty days, and Sa'd would perform qasr while we would offer the whole Salah." Naf'i relates: "Ibn 'Umar was in Azerbaijan for six months, as there was snow blocking the pass, and he would pray two rak'at." Hafs ibn 'Ubaidullah says: "Anas ibn Malik stayed in ash-Sham for two years and he prayed the Salah of a traveler." Anas relates: "The companions of the Prophet (saws) stayed in Ram Hurmuz for seven months and they shortened their Salah." Al-Hassan reports: "I stayed with 'Abdurrahman ibn Samurah for two years in Kabul, and he shortened his Salah but he did not combine the Salah." Ibrahim says: "We resided in Rai for a year or more and in Sijistan for two years . . . [and we prayed qasr].
Fiqh 2.112




The above hadeeses make it very clear as to Qasr and Jammu and we should know that these are Allah(swt)’s Sadaqa to us and availing them pleases Allah(swt) and as a Muslim our sole aim should be to please Allah(swt) the Most, those who ignore it do not sin but have rejected the charity that Allah(swt) bestows on us. Rasool(s.a.w) accepted it hence it is our duty to accept it – at this juncture I want to point out that the four imams have made contradictory statements to the above hadeeses but we should also know that all the four imams have stated “We teach what we know but if tomorrow you come across Saheeh Quran Ayaths and Hadeeses contradicting our statement or ruling, throw what we said and implicitly accept the Quran and Hadees –  and do not make us responsible for your contradicting deeds.” unfortunately and MOST despicably some people throw aside what Allah(swt) and His Prophet(s.a.w) have said and follow their imam though it is contradictory to Quran and Sahih Hadees – this is a most contemptible practice and should be refrained from.




 But, at the same time, if a person takes up a job and intends working there (abroad) or a different place or town, then he should pray his regular prayers at the place of stay and if he travels for more than one farsakh to his job from the place of stay – there they could avail Qasr and Jammu.  Also please understand that Qasr and Jammu does not in the least diminishes your virtues for the Salah – it is a concession given by Allah(swt) Himself and availing it would fetch you the full virtues that you would get for your full Salah and if you have the time and facility you could also pray your Nawafil prayers too but they are not obligatory, for during travel Rasool(s.a.w) offered the Nawafil prayers too (sometimes).




A.H.Nazeer Ahmed