Shortening The Prayer While Travelling

Question

I want to clarify my doubts about the qasar Prayer during travel. My questions in this regard follow:

1) If a person travels from Lahore to Gujranwala (Around 63 k.m), will he start to pray qasr Prayer as soon as he embarks on the journey?

2) When a person travels from Bahrain to US, he gains nearly one day due to the time zone difference. In this case should he pray for the day he has gained during travel? The opposite applies to when he travels back, when he looses one day.

3) What if a person travels for Bahrain to UAE and stays there for 15 days and then travels on the 16th day to Doha for 5 days and comes back to UAE for 10 Days again before flying back to Bahrain. Will he pray qasar throughout this trip?

4) If a person leaves Lahore in the morning and travels nearly 200 KM towards Rawalpindi and then returns in the night back to Lahore. During the day will he pray qasr Prayer? I would be extremely grateful if Mr Ghamidi can shed some light on these questions.


Answer

I will try to explain our understanding of the question of qasar Prayer ass a whole and will not treat the specific questions you have raised. I hope you will be able to form a view on all these issues if I have communicated to you a principle stance in this regard. Please note that all these issues are left to the believer to decide. That is another reason why I would not pronounce a judgment on them.

First of all, please consider the verse of the Holy Qur'ān that deals with the issue. A simple translation of the verse is produced below:

When you set out in the land there is no blame on you if you shorten your Prayers, if you fear that the disbelievers may attack you. Indeed these disbelievers are your open enemies. (Al-Nisā 4: 101)

This verse clearly guides that one can cut his Prayer short when he is travelling and is in fear. The basic reason of the allowance is the presence of fear (or anxiety to be more accurate). This fear was felt from the attacks of the enemy during the period the Holy Qur'ān which led to the issuance of this directive. Obviously it is the fear that is the cause for the allowance. A fear of attack from the enemy entails anxiety. It can significantly hinder our concentration and mental involvement in the Prayers. Nevertheless, this state of mind can be caused by any other factor, for example, if one thinks that one may miss a bus from the next station or may miss a plane for one's destination and because of that will be stranded for days. There can be numerous examples of mental anxieties, while one is in a state of travelling. Such circumstances, obviously, cause a comparable unrest and mental disturbance and make one anxious.

The Prophet (sws) applied the directive of the Holy Qur'ān, regarding the allowance of shortening of Prayers in a state of fear and war, to other situations which could cause a similar mental and psychological state for a traveller. Such extensions of directives can only be made in situations entailing similar causes.

In the light of the foregoing discussion you can decide where you find it necessary for you to take this allowance and where you should offer the complete Prayer.

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