Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Qasar Prayer (1)

Qasar Prayer:
Qasar “القَصْرُ” linguistically means shortened.
The definition of Qasar Prayer: Shortening the obligatory prayers of 4 raka‘ahs to 2 raka‘ahs.
Hence among the 5 Obligatory (Fard) Prayers which can be performed in the Qasar manner are: Zohor, ‘Asar and ‘Isyã (all are prayers of the 4 units of raka‘ah)

Method: Pray as how you would perform normally, an obligatory 4 raka‘ahs prayer, but when you have completed the 2nd rak’aat, instead of sitting for the 1st Tasyahhud, you change it to be the Final Tasyahhud (please take note, this is not related to the manner of how you sit, “al-iftirasy” or “at-tawarruk” position but rather the recitation/supplication).

Having the intention or “niyyat” at heart to initiate the Qasar prayer is sufficient. Expressing the intention/niyyat or saying it out verbally is not obligatory and the 4 Imams of the 4 Famous Schools of Fiqh and others, unanimously agreed or reached a consensus (ijma‘) that it is sufficient if one were to have the intention in one’s heart, without saying it with the tongue; it will suffice and is considered valid (sah).
'Illah (cause/factor/reason) for performing the Qasar Prayer is Safar i.e. Travel
Only a traveller is allowed to perform the Qasar prayer. As long as a person is considered in Syarie‘ah (Islamic law) a resident or a non-traveller, he/she is not permitted to do the Qasar prayer. The Syari‘ah legislated the Qasar prayer as a form of rukhsah for this ummah/nation of Muhammad.
When is one termed as a 'traveller'?
The Scholars differed with regards to when one is considered a traveller. There are many aspects to their differences in opinion.
Firstly, we address the issue of what determines a traveller or a non-traveller; i.e. whether by means of distance (make a journey of a distance far enough to be termed a traveller) or time (the time taken to reach a destination that is considered as “travelling”);
1. Time
Some scholars determined that one is a traveller by means of the “time taken for him/her to reach the destination”. This is based on some narrations for example, this hadeets:
, لَا يَحِلُّ لِامْرَأَةٍ تُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ تُسَافِرُ مَسِيرَةَ يَوْمٍ إِلَّا مَعَ ذِي مَحْرَمٍ -
It is not permissible for a woman who believes in Allah and the Hereafter to travel a journey of one day unless she is accompanied by her mahram (a next of kin – e.g.her father/brother).[1]
Al-Imam al-Qurtubisaid:
The scholars differed as to the start of the permissibility, whether by means of time or distance travelled. As for (Imam) Malik: (A journey) of a day and night, then he reviewed his opinion and said: 48 miel[2]. Ibn Khuwaiz Mandad commented: This is the more obvious (opinion) in his Madzhab.
There are a few other narrations (of his opinions) from him; 42 miel[3], 36 miel[4] and one day and one night, Journey of 2 days and 2 nights and asy-Syafi‘ie also shared the same view. In another occasion, he differentiated between travelling on land and on the sea: On the sea 1 day and night and on land 48 miel and the most popular in his Madzhab (al-Malikiyah) is 30 miel and another view in his Madzhab is 3 miel. Ibn ‘Umar and Ibn ‘Abbas as well as ats-Tsauri said: It is permissible not to fast (Ramadan fasting) for a journey of 3 days as narrated by Ibn ‘Atiyyah.[5]
However, taking the measurement of “time” to determine one is a traveller, is rather complicated in today’s context. Reason being, as we know, for example, one who takes a flight to his/her destination, can reach the other side of the globe in hours less than a day and night (24hrs) of travel. Thus, if time is the basis, one who travels from Singapore to London by plane, a journey of 18 hours, will not be considered a traveller, since it is not even a day and night journey.
Likewise, one who travels by bus from Singapore to Kelantan, a distance of about 700km and consumes 12hours will not be considered a traveller. This is clearly not applicable and inappropriate since the reason for the legislation of Qasar is to ease the ummah when they travel.
2. Distance
Anas narrated:

كان رسول الله إذا خرج مسيرةَ ثلاثةِ أَمْيال، أو ثلاثة فَراسِخَ صلى ركعتين

From his practices, the Messenger when he set off for a journey at a distance of 3 miel (5.544km) or 3 farsakh (16km 632m), he prayed 2 raka‘ats (performing Qasar)[6]
The Scholars differed in determining the distance when Qasar Prayer is eligible for a person who is on a journey, as well as the eligibility to take other rukhsahs. In other words, when a person is termed a traveller:
a. Al-Imam Abu Haniefah[7]: The least for the eligibility to start performing Qasar Prayer in a journey is 3 days (to reach the destination and it is estimated to 3 marhalah[8] and it is not permissible to perform Qasar for a journey which is less than this distance.
b. The other 3 Imams of the Most Prominent Madzhabs i.e. Malik[9], Asy-Syafi‘ie[10] dan Ahmad[11]: 2 marhalah[12] of a laden camel’s journey is the least permissible distance for one to perform the Qasar Prayer. Meaning it is 4 burud (baried) since 1 baried is 4 farsakh and 1 farsakh is 4 amyal (miel) and rounding it up to 89km. Hence (89km) is determined as the least distance for a journey to be considered as “travelling”, even if it is covered within a short time (e.g. 1 hour), as in today’s modes of transportation of motorcars or aeroplanes etc.
However, many among the scholars of ahli tahqieq[13] justified and concluded that there is no clear and definite saheeh daleel (no valid proof) which can provide a basis to determine the distance when it is permissible to perform Qasar, in fact, the Most Gracious Lord, the One who ordained and legislated this deen (religion of Islam) has permitted rukhsahs without setting any limit whether distance or time, such that, as long as a person sets out making a journey, he/she is already considered a traveller and all the rulings related to a traveller are applicable and he/she is eligible for them.
al-Imam Ibn Qudamah[14] said in al-Mughni: There are many narrations such that they reach the level of mutawatir[15] providing evidence that the Messenger performed Qasar in his journey when he travelled to perform the haj pilgrimage, umrah (minor pilgrimage) and battles. He never added any raka‘ah (of Solat) to the 2 raka‘ahs of Qasar and hence the consensus among the scholars that anyone who travels, he/she is to perform 2 raka‘ahs only for the 4 raka‘ahs obligatory prayers…
It has been narrated in a doubtful narration from Ibn ‘Abbas and Ibn ‘Umar what is contradictory to the limitations set by these scholars, but since it is uncertain that the narration is reliably from them, it is not befitting to use it as a source of justification and thus there is no proof to determine a traveller or a non traveller by means of the distance or time of his/her journey. This is in view of these 2 points:
  1. Setting a limit or restriction to determine that one is a traveller or not in his journey, contadicts the Sunnah, as well as the apparent meaning of the Quran, because the Quran permitted the Qasar Prayer to anyone who travels, such that it encompasses or applicable to any journey that a traveller makes (without any limit or restriction to determine it and regardless of the distance and time taken)
  2. Any limit or restriction in relation to this issue is in reality a matter of “tauqief” (totally base on revelation from Allah and there is no room to justify it by means of ijtihad (legal analogy) or opinion. Therefore it is not permissible to restrict or limit “travel” by means of reason and the truth is with those scholars permitting Qasar Prayer for anyone who travels.
Syeikhul Islam[16]said: The difference between a far, long distance journey and a near, short one is not determined or fixed (with limits or restriction) in the Quran and Sunnah of the Messenger, instead, the rulings related to travelling were revealed by Allah in a mutlaq (free from restrictions) form, such that one is considered a traveller based on al-‘Urf (the norms and understanding of a society) and what is accepted based on the ‘Urf of a society as “travel”, it is the “travel” that the Syari‘ (i.e. Lord Almighty Allah as the Legislator of the Syarie‘ah rulings) The Most Wise meant.

[1] NB al-Bukhari (as-Sahih: al-Jumu‘ah: 1026) and Muslim (as-Sahih: al-Hajj: 2387) and this wording is according to Muslim’s narration.
[2] As far as the eyes can see – miel in Syar‘ie al-Hasyimi measurement is 1000 ba‘, and 1 ba‘ = 2 hands fully stretched = 400 dzira‘ = 1848 metre (1 km 848m). So 48miel=88km 704m (equal to 2 marhalahs) – Mu‘jam Lughat al-Fuqaha’: 451 & 470.
[3] 77km 616m
[4] 66km 528m
[5] al-Jami‘ li Ahkam al-Quran: vol 1 part 2/258-259
[6] NB Muslim (no: 691, Syarh Sahih Muslim: 5/170)
[7] Imam Abu Haniefah, an-Nu‘mān bin Tsābit al-Koufi, a renowned scholar known to be the founder of Madzhab Hanafi. Born in 80H and wafat (died) in 150H and according to reliable reports, he was among Atbā‘ at-Tābi‘ien – since no authentic narration to support that he received narration from Sahabah [Companions] or that he ever met one of them. WalLahu a‘lam.
[8] Marhalah: the distance of 1 daytime travel that a laden camel can cover and it is measured as 24 miel Hasyimi = 8 Farsakh = 44km 352m. 1 marhalah= 44.352km, so 3 marhalahs = 133.056km – Mu‘jam Lughat al-Fuqaha’: 421 & 451.
[9] Imam Mālik bin Anas bin Mālik bin Abie ‘Amir al-Aşbahi, Abu ‘Abdillah Imam Dārul Hijrah. He was born in 93H and wafat died in 179H (among the Atbā‘ at-Tābi‘ien)
[10] Imam Muhammad bin Idries bin al-‘Abbās bin ‘Utsmān bin Syāfi‘ asy-Syāfi‘ie al-Qurasyi, a descendant of Muţţalib al-Hāsyimi and his ancestor’s lineage merges with the Prophet at their great grandfather ‘Abdu Manāf bin Quşay. He was born in 150H, the very year Imam Abu Haniefah died and he passed away in 204H.
[11] Imam Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Hanbal bin Hilāl asy-Syaibāni, Imam Ahli Sunnah, Abu ‘Abdillah known as the founder of Madzhab Hambali/Hanabilah. Born in 164H, and he died in 241H after facing hardship and trials of imprisonment and alienation due to his stern and obstinate stance preserving and upholding the as-Sunnah against Mu‘tazilite’s belief embraced by the Caliph of his time.
[12] 1 marhalah= 44.352km x 2 = 88.704km (round up figure: 89km)
[13] These were scholars of vast and sound knowledge, most prominent or masters of their time, being grand teachers of scholars who studied as their disciples. They analysed opinions (aqwal) and the evidences (daleels/adillah), arguments (hujaj) as well as justifications of their predeccessors and made conclusion as to which is the most righteous and justified opinions.
[14] Muwaffaq ad-Dien Abu Muhammad bin Qudamah al-Maqdisi ad-Dimasyqi al-Hambali 541-620H the author of the Encyclopedia of Fiqh; al-Mughni.
[15] A hadeets that has been transmitted by a group of many narrators (from various lands, far from each other). They were trustworthy, pious and had extraordinary memory known to their society and witnessed by them), at every level of the chain of narration, such that it is impossible to imagine that they met each other to fabricate and the narration is transmitted on the basis of what they received themselves directly from the narrators before them and they received it by their 5 senses.
[16] Ahmad bin ‘Abdul Halim bin ‘Abdis Salam al-Harraniy, ad-Dimasyqi, al-Hambali, Taqiyuddiin Abul ‘Abbas Syeikhul Islam Ibn Taimiyah, al-Hafiz al-Mujtahid, Ahlu Hadeets, Tafsir, Fiqh, one who abolished innovations, mastered a variety of disciplines of knowledge, wafat 728 H. His great beneficial works includes: Minhaj as- Sunnah an-Nabawiyah, Naqd al-Mantiq, Dar-ut Ta‘arudh al-‘Aql wa an-Naqli, Majmu‘ Fatawa of 36 volumes.
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