Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Jama' Prayer Part 1


Many people tend to mix up the the issues of Jama‘ Prayer and the Qasar Prayer. It is no surprise that many are confused in both issues since these 2 topics are discussed as one merged topic in many books of Hadeets and especially Fiqh. To avoid confusion, one should separate these 2 issues by concentrating on the 'illah (reason) as to why a Qasar prayer or Jama’ prayer is performed. There are instances when one performs the Qasar prayer only without doing Jama‘ and the other way around, doing Jama‘ but not performing the Qasar and in other occassions, perform both Jama‘ and Qasar. Having said that, we are going to address these issues separately and then taking many examples to clarify them.

Jama' Prayer:
Jama' linguistically means “join or combine”. [1]
The definition of Jama‘ prayer: "Joining the Timeframes of 2 obligatory prayers so that the 2 timeframes merge and become 1 timeframe. The 2 prayers then can be performed at any of the “merged or joined” timeframe. [2]
For example: Zohor and Asar timeframes joined together and merge to become 1 timeframe. Instead of the normal Zohor timeframe (eg starts 1pm – ends 4.15pm) to pray Zohor and normal Asar timeframe (eg starts 4.15pm ends 7pm) for Asar prayer, the 2 timeframes become 1 (1pm to 7pm) such that Zohor and Asar can be performed at any time within this merged timeframe. Hence one can either perform both Zohor and Asar at 1.30pm, one prayer after another or performing both the same manner at 5pm for example.
Prayers which can be performed in the Jama‘ manner: Zohor with Asar and Maghrib with ‘Isyã only.
For easier understanding, the Daytime prayers (Zohor and Asar) can be joined (Jama‘) and Night time prayers too (Maghrib and Isya‘) can performed in the Jama‘ manner. Meaning one cannot do Jama‘ or to join Asar and Maghrib (Daytime with Night time) and not to join Subuh/Fajar with any of the 5 times obligatory prayers.
Method of performing Jama‘ Prayers; 2 methods; Jama‘ Taqdiem & Jama‘ Ta’khier:
If it is time for the “Azan” to be called out, (depends on the situation – if for eg praying at the beginning of Zohor or beginning of Asar, especially in congregation), let the Azan be called out. Immediately call out the “Iqamah” and perform the Zohor prayer[3]. Once completed the Zohor prayer, call out the Iqamah again for the Asar prayer to be performed.
Jama‘ Taqdiem/Advanced: Whether this is done at the beginning of Zohor (or anytime within Zohor’s timeframe), meaning the Asar prayer being brought forward. Instead of praying Asar within the timeframe of Asar, it is being offered within Zohor’s timeframe. When Asar time arrives, he/she need not perform Asar, as it has been performed earlier.[4]
OR Jama‘ Ta’khier/Deferred: Perform both prayers within the time of Asar (Unable to perform Zohor prayer within it’s timeframe till the time passes for Zohor Prayer and offer it within Asar’s Time.
The same goes for Maghrib and Isya‘ prayers.
For eg: At anytime within the timeframe of Maghrib), the Isya‘ prayer is being brought forward. Instead of praying Isya‘ within the timeframe of Isya‘, it is being offered within Maghrib’s timeframe (Advanced – Jama‘ Taqdiem). So, when Isya‘ time arrives, he/she need not perform his/her Isya‘ as it has already been performed earlier.
OR: Perform both prayers within the time of Isya‘ (Unable to perform Maghrib prayer within it’s timeframe till the time passes for Maghrib Prayer and offer it within the timeframe of Isya‘ (Deferred – Jama‘ Ta’khier)

'Illah (reason/cause/factor) why Prayers are joined (why do Jama‘):
Darurat (Emergency or a situation where one is compelled to do something and has no option or desperate) or Hajat (Neccessity);
In circumstance when there is limited time due to a crisis that cannot be avoided, or there is a need or “Hajat” to complete a certain task, and having the fear of missing any of these prayers as they cannot be performed except in the Jama‘ manner.
A crisis need not necessarily take place overseas. One who is in the country could also face a hard time. For example if a catastrophe or disaster befall a nation, the people can perform their Solat in the Jama‘ way since, they would be facing a very difficult situation; loss of lives, dwelling places and properties, many casualties and involvement in rescue efforts and so forth. The same applies to Firemen putting out Fire when there is an outbreak. The police attending to a crucial case.
An example of “Hajat” would be a soldier who is involved in a training. The training starts before Asar and ends after dusk (Maghrib). He will miss his Asar prayer, unless he performs it with Zohor right after lunch for eg. So after lunch before the training starts, he performs Zohor 4 rakaats, then Asar 4 rakaats unless he is training in a foreign country, whereby being a traveller he only needs to perform Zohor 2 rakaats and Asar 2 rakaats.
Another eg. If a person needs to travel to his destination and to reach there as soon as possible. Furthermore he is uncertain whether the resting stations are conducive places for him to perform his Solat (source of water available, not crowded, suitable place, no traffic jam, fear for safety or of crimes). He can perform Jama‘.
However, to determine these situations and circumstances whether one is eligible or permitted to do Jama‘ or not, one must bear in mind that Allah is the All-knower and He will put to account every single thing that one does and his/her choices. Hence, Jama‘ is to be done on the basis of peity as well as the urgency or state of emergency or neccessity to perform it, such that an obligatory solat is not missed.
According to the principles of Fiqh (قواعد فقهية) “الضرورة تبيح المحظورات” meaning “at times of urgency/emergency or desperation, what is non-permissble is made permissible”. For eg consuming carcass (meat of dead animals) or the swine is not permissible in it’s original ruling in Islam, but it is made lawful for the sake of preserving life, when there is no other food available. In this case, to perform a solat before it’s appointed time will cause it to be invalid, but in the case of doing Jama‘ prayer, the Asar performed before it’s time is valid. Likewise, delaying a solat until it’s timeframe has passed, is not permissible and considered a sinful act, but performing Zohor after it’s time has passed, in Asar’s time, is made legal in the issue of Jama‘ Prayer. That is why some scholars hold the opinion that there is no such thing as Jama‘ Taqdiem, because the ahaadeets did not reach them or that they rejected the ahaadeets as being peculiar due to it’s contradiction to the common understanding and original ruling that a prayer cannot be performed in advance before the arrival of it’s time. Some even rejected Jama‘ altogether except for Zohor to be performed at the very end of it’s timeframe and Asar upon the arrival of it’s time, a form of Jama‘ which in reality is no Jama‘.
Besides that, another principle states: “الضرورة تقدر بقدرها” it implies “Any form of desperation or state or urgency is measured by the level or degree of it’s circumstance or severity”. In the previous example of a “condition of no food”, one can consume the non-permissible for what deems sufficient to sustain life, not consumption of a stomach full. Hence, when the state of emergency or desperation or severe difficulty subsides, the status reverts back to its original.
This, in the context of Jama‘ prayer, will be made clear when we describe the Prophet’s Pilgrimage of Hajj and the manner he performed all his Solat (Jama‘ or not) as a guideline for doing Jama‘.
Yet, one is to take note that, Jama‘ has been legislated by our Lord the Almighty and our Messenger as a form of Rukhsah (رخصة), a gift and a concession from Allah, to ease His servants.
Once asy-Syeikh al-Albaniy was asked: A man who was about to start his journey (travel), performed his solat of Zohor in congregation with the imam of a masjid. He thought of doing Jama‘, doing his Asar right after he had completed his Zohor, but he forgot to do it. He only remembered it (i.e to pray his Asar) after a period of time, that is, when he was about to set out for his journey, while it was still in Zohor’s timeframe. Is it permissible for him to perform his Asar at the point when he remembered? Or he should wait for the arrival of Asar time to perform his Asar, thus invalidate his intention to do Jama‘.
Asy-Syeikh replied: There is no proof that makes it compulsory upon him to wait for the arrival of Asar’s time, because Jama‘ is a Rukhsah (رخصة – a gift and a concession from Allah, to ease His servants). As for what mentioned by some Schools (Madzhab) of Fiqh with regards to the obligation to “make the intention/niyyah” in one’s heart or mind in order fror him/her to do Jama‘ before he/she performs the first Solat (either Zohor or Maghrib), in reality there is no proof to support that ruling. As a matter of fact, there is a proof to indicate otherwise (it is not neccessary to have niyyah in mind or heart prior to doing Jama‘ Prayer). In Sahih Muslim on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas who narrated:

"جمع رسول الله في المدينة بين الظهر و العصر ، و بين المغرب و العشاء بدون سفر و لا مطر" قالوا: ماذا أراد بذلك يا أبا العباس؟! قال:"أراد أن لا يحرج أمته"

The Messenger performed Jama‘ Prayers in Medinah, joining Zohor with Asar and Maghrib with Isya’ without travel or rain”. So they (audience) asked: What he meant by doing so, O’ Aba al-‘Abbas (nickname of Ibn ‘Abbas). He replied: “He (the Prophet ) intended to ease his ummah (such that they can perform Jama‘ when there is a need for it – translator)[5]
However we found the narration with this wording:
جَمَعَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ بَيْنَ الظُّهْرِ وَالْعَصْرِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ وَالْعِشَاءِ بِالْمَدِينَةِ فِي غَيْرِ خَوْفٍ وَلَا مَطَرٍ فِي حَدِيثِ وَكِيعٍ قَالَ قُلْتُ لِابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ لِمَ فَعَلَ ذَلِكَ قَالَ كَيْ لَا يُحْرِجَ أُمَّتَهُ وَفِي حَدِيثِ أَبِي مُعَاوِيَةَ قِيلَ لِابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ مَا أَرَادَ إِلَى ذَلِكَ قَالَ أَرَادَ أَنْ لَا يُحْرِجَ أُمَّتَهُ
Probably it was a mistake of the listener in doing the transcription of the Q and A – yet al-Imam Muslim gave the title for hadeets no: 1146 and 1147 as: “من غير خوف و لا سفر
Al-Imam al-Bukhariy narrated another hadeets with the same content:
حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو النُّعْمَانِ قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا حَمَّادٌ هُوَ ابْنُ زَيْدٍ عَنْ عَمْرِو بْنِ دِينَارٍ عَنْ جَابِرِ بْنِ زَيْدٍ عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى بِالْمَدِينَةِ سَبْعًا وَثَمَانِيًا الظُّهْرَ وَالْعَصْرَ وَالْمَغْرِبَ وَالْعِشَاءَ فَقَالَ أَيُّوبُ لَعَلَّهُ فِي لَيْلَةٍ مَطِيرَةٍ قَالَ عَسَى
Verily the Prophet while he was in Medinah, performed 7 (rakaahs) and 8 (rakaahs)(doing Jama‘) of Zohor with Asar and Maghrib with Isya’. Aiyub (a narrator) said: May be it was raining at night? Ibn ‘Abbas responded saying: It wasn’t like that.[6]
Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar stated that scholars made various conclusions to the meaning of this hadeets. Apart from that, this hadeets has a supportive route from the narration of Abu Hurayrah (not only Ibn ‘Abbas) with a marfu‘ status (the Prophet’s own action) in Imam Muslim’s collection. Imam Malik also narrated with: من غير خوف و لا سفر. Imam at-Timidzi also verified that there is a supportive route with marfu‘ status supporting this hadeets. As for at-Tabaraniy, he narrated a hadeets with a similar content from Ibn Mas‘ud. [7]
Then asy-Syeikh al-Albaniy clarified that there is no hadeets in relation to Jama‘ Prayers, not a single hadeets, in which the Messenger reminded the Companions to make or have niyyah. Only with proofs then a ruling or an opinion is justified as a ruling in Islam. Furthermore, Jama‘ has been legislated to ease the ummah and the unjustified ruling came to contradict this.
Having said that, in his opinion, it is permissible for that man to perform his Asar before Asar’s time and to leave for his journey, even though he performed his Asar after a period of time from the time he prayed his Zohor. This applies not only for the case of forgetfulness but also if he deliberately did so. [8]
It is clearly understood from the narration that the Prophet performed Jama‘ Prayer in his homeland (Medinah) without Qasar, 7 rakaahs (Maghrib with Isya’ – separated with salam – the translator) and 8 rakaahs (Zohor and Asar).

[1] Mu‘jam Lughat al-Fuqaha’: 166
[2] Ibid. with some addition by the translator.
[3] 4 rakaats as per normal unless one is a traveller performing Qasar Prayer (shortened), then instead he/she performs Zohor (4 rakaats become) 2 rakaats only. The same goes to Asar i.e. 4 rakaats for non-traveller and 2 rakaats for traveller doing Qasar.
[4] This clearly shows the following: 1. Islam is a complete deen/religion. Such that it teaches mankind how to worship their Lord in different ways depending on the situation they are in, to ease them of any difficulty and yet not depriving them from the benefits of the act of worship (such is the case with Jama‘ and Qasar Prayers). 2.There is flexibility in Islam’s rulings, yet one need to understand correctly that it is a “controlled/restricted flexibility” or with certain limits. The significance behind it, such that it is made easy and simple for mankind, yet simultaneously, limit them with principles and guidelines, so that they can exercise freedom, yet limit this freedom such that they do not harm themselves or others; people, animals, nature and the environment or that they may enjoy freedom, yet do not deprive themselves from any benefit they should get.
[5] NB Muslim (K: Solat al-Musafirien wa Qasriha: hadeets no: 1151), at-Tirmidzi: (K: as-Solah: hadeets no: 172), Abu Dawud (K: as-Solah: hadeets no: 1025 and Ahmad (1852, 3095 and 3152)
[6] NB al-Bukhariy (K: Mawaqiet as-Solah: B: 12: Ta’khier al-Zuhr ila al-‘Asri: hadeets no: 543 – al-Fath: 2/29, and also mentioned in hadeets no: 562 and 1174).
[7] Fath al-Bari bi Syarh Sahih al-Bukhariy: 2/29
[8] Fatawa al-Madeenah al-Munawwarah li asy-Syeikh Muhammad Nasiruddien al-Albaniy: pg. 27
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