Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Qasar Prayer (3)

Besides, there are some opinions, among them, what is popularly known as the opinion of Imam Ibn Hazm and the Madzhab of az-Zahiriyah, that there is no determinant at all, for any journey to be considered as travelling, to the extent that even if it is just 5.5 kilometres to the destination, based on the face value or literal meaning of some narrations, among others, the aforementioned hadeets of Anas. In other words, to these scholars (Ibn Hazm and the az-Zahiriyah School of Fiqh), as long as a journey is 5km and further, regardless of its distance to its destination, that is considered to be travelling. [1]


To my personal understanding, asy-Syeikh Ibn Budayr was addressing this issue in view of this opinion as well the emergence of a new group, having misconstrued the ahli at-Tahqieq’s conclusion and argumentation as well as mannerism. The ahli at-Tahqieq or the Muhaqqiqoun, were great scholars of their times. They were great men of vast knowledge and were well-versed with the teachings of their pious predecessors. They respected and honoured their predecessors and yet reviewed their views, with these principles as their basis:

  1. For the sake of attaining the Pleasures of Allah by strictly following the Messenger’s teachings. As it is obvious from the points mentioned, why they choose to differ from these great imams who set a specific distance (whether 2 or 3 marhalahs), that is:
    1. Firstly; restricting “travel” to these distances is contradictory to the texts of Quran and as-Sunnah as the texts never specified any distance and
    2. Secondly; the determinant should be provided by the texts per se (tauqief – based on revelation), hence not permissible to fix what the Syari‘ah never determined (like playing god). Therefore, they chose to differ from their predecessors in this issue due to their piety, preserving the Syari‘ah as it was revealed and not to let people to judge others based on the restrictions set by scholars, as if those people and even scholars who did not follow what the predecessors determined of distance, transgressed the law of Syari‘ah.
  2. Having acquired vast and sound knowledge such that they were well-versed with the scholars opinions, the evidences they used to support them, their variety of argument and justification. Meaning they gave due respect and honour to them, took their opinions into consideration yet, when their opinions contradict the truth, they honoured the truth of what was clear to them, from the Revelation, more than the honour they gave to their predecessors, since no one is to be followed at the expense of disobedience or defiance or not following the Messenger shallallahu 'alayhi wasallam. In other words, when the views of these predecessors were correct, according to their research, these scholars of Ahli at-Tahqieq, supported the most righteous view since it is, to them, the very teaching of the Revelation, the truth. Likewise when the predecessors came to a consensus over certain issues, these Muhaqqiqoun, followed their consensus. This is as pointed out by asy-Syaikh Ibn Budayr, that is, with regards to following scholars with respect and knowledge and not like the way People of the Book of followed their priests.
  3. They would only produce their opinions after quoting their predecessors, evaluate and analyse their views. Meaning, they did not oppose out of nothing and not based merely on their personal interpretations but rather, inherited their knowledge and then evaluate. This is as asserted by asy-Syaikh Ibn Budayr when he explained about “not all khilaf are recognised”

Having said that, we can understand that for us to have the correct stance and attitude as well as mannerism towards Fiqh issues and our respected predecessor scholars, we have to be firstly sincere, being truth seekers. Secondly, in seeking the truth, since we have not acquired the knowledge of ahlu at-Tahqieq, we are merely following them based on their righteous evaluation and they were the best to be followed after the era of the 4 Imams. We are to follow them in their etiquette towards our predecessors and never to demean or disrespect them. We have no right, on our own accord, to oppose or evaluate the predecessors opinions since we are not eligible for that. Thirdly, we are not to produce our own justification without clear proofs from the inherited knowledge of our predecessors as that leads to misguidance and misinterpretation of the texts of the Revelation due to our lack of knowledge. Wallahu a‘lam.

Therefore, we are to consider the ahlu at-Tahqieq’s resolution too, that is, there is no daleel, no determinant in this matter and they redirected it to Allah’s and His Messenger’s Words by considering ‘Urf and Niyyah (intention) as the determinant, since Allah and His Messenger conveyed the message according to mankind’s understanding in matters of their concern, like in this case, travelling.

Asy-Syeikh al-Bassam explained: “The author of ar-Raud and al-Hasyiyah, in both books, he said: When one has left his dwelling place (neighbourhood) or settlement,[2] he/she should start performing the Qasar Prayer, in order to abide by the teachings of the 3 Imams of the most renowned Madzhabs and the Majority of scholars from among the Companions (Sahabah) and those who succeeded them. Ibn al-Mundzir stated that it is a consensus among them, because Allah permitted the Qasar Prayer for anyone among His slaves who sets out to travel in a journey. As long as he is still within his country/state, he is not considered a traveller and not making a journey of travel, because the Prophet shallallahu 'alayhi wasallam only did Qasar when he travelled and made the necessary preparation to travel and mounted his horse or camel for a far distant journey.

Syeikhul Islam said: A traveller has the right to perform the Qasar Prayer and not fast (the month of Ramadan) as long as he does not intend to stay as a temporary or a permanent resident. As for differentiating a traveller to a resident by means of niyyah/intention based on the number of days of one’s stay, then it is a thing unknown (disregarded) in Syari‘ah and not even ‘Urf (of the people – norms of society) [3]

1. Situation
Imam Ibn Rusyd stated: The reason for their differences in opinions is their differences in understanding the wording in the narration[4], as to why Qasar is legislated for a traveller and that it is due to the difficulties while travelling, as how it (travelling) affects a traveller to observe fasting (of Ramadan – travel is the reason for not observing fasting as it is heavy and difficult for a traveller), consequently, Qasar is also legislated due to the difficulty while travelling….some others viewed that Qasar is only to be done by a traveller who fears a threat of the enemies…to the extent that some even made the claim that it was the Madzhab (opinion) of ‘A-isyah radhiyallahu 'anha and they said: the Prophet only did Qasar when he was facing a threat …[5]

Since he used the word “claim”, it indicates that the opinion of those who said that, the concession granted to travellers is due to the situation or their difficulty while travelling, is weak. The following is the explanation by asy-Syeikh Saliem al-Hilaly dan asy-Syeikh Hasan al-Halabi which provides an understanding that is easily accepted with inner peace and satisfaction, Insyaa Allah, with regards to taking up the concession or rukhsah of not observing the fasting and those related to the rukhsahs of travel in general: Some people might have the misconception that not observing fasting in the context of our current times, is not permissible. They would even detest and criticize whoever takes the concession (rukhsah) granted by Allah, since fasting is no longer difficult or heavy for a traveller to observe, having the privilege of our modern, luxurious, comfortable and sophisticated transportation. Ironically, those who criticize and detest do not contemplate the Word of Allah, the all-Knowing:

“And your Lord is never forgetful”[6]
And He says:
“And Allah knows (everything) and you know not” [7]

Our Lord also said when He explains about the rukhsah (concession) of not observing fasting while travelling:

“Allah intends for you ease and He does not want to make things difficult for you.” [8]

Meaning, the ease and comfort for a traveller are the intended things which Allah wants and they are part of Maqasid asy-Syari‘ah[9]. Do contemplate, He is the One who legislated these rulings and He is the One who created time, place and mankind, as such, He knows best of mankind’s needs, what is good for them and for their own good. He says:

“Should not He Who has created know? And He is the Most Kind and Courteous (to His slaves), All-Aware (of everything)”[10]

We elaborated on this with the hope that every Muslim knows and realizes that when Allah and His Messenger had determined and chose a matter, he has no other choice or option in it. In fact, he should be with the believers, the obedient slaves of Allah who would not transgress the borders of Allah and His Messenger, manifesting their attitude by saying:

“We hear and we obey, Your Forgiveness O our Lord (we are hopeful for) and all will return to You.” [11] [12]

I hope, the above extensive elaboration has made it very clear to us and we can have peace of mind and calmness of the heart, that the best conclusion as to who is a traveller in Syari‘ah, and has the rights and is eligible to take the rukhsahs (concessions) related to travel, is:

i. Out of one’s state or province, not necessarily one’s country. The same is applicable for one who leaves his neighbourhood/settlement and with that, will not see places of dwelling, amenities except a few far distant rest areas for travellers.
ii. The destination is 90km or more (subjected and related to no: i)
iii. Having the intention (Niyyah) as a traveller (more obvious if one makes preparation; packing of clothes, food and etc)
iv. According to ‘Urf (the Norms of the Society) almost everyone of the society agrees that he/she is a traveller.

WalLahu ‘alam.

However, the most important point is that we respect all the different views of these scholars and we are to apply or practise what is regarded as piety and based on the most righteous opinion and we are responsible and will be brought to account in the Hereafter, in front of our Lord Most High the All-Knower.


[1] This is my conclusion deduced from the explanation of al-Imam Ibn Rusyd, al-Qadi Abu al-Walied Muhammad bin Ahmad Ibn Rusyd al-Hafied 520-595H; Bidayat al-Mujtahid wa Nihayat al-Muqtasid, 1/404

[2] To be understood according to 2 context:
i. out of his neighbourhood or settlement/estate or
ii. out of his country/state/province/district. Yet the middle path is the most righteous: i.e. based on ‘Urf and context when this determinant was set as an example by the actions of the Prophet himself. Medinah from one angle could considered a state because of it’s large area and it has been known as the “Land/Country of Hijrah” and during the time of Revelation and even centuries later, the places of dwelling of the inhabitants of Medinah were focused at the centre of Medinah, such that if a person went to the outskirts of Medinah away from the centre, there were very few people or houses and mostly there were only tents, and with that, one was regarded as had begun his travel. Yet from another angle, Medinah is called a city or province rather than a state/country. As a comparison, if we take the current situation in Singapore, whereby it’s area is somewhat the size of the City of Medinah today (City Centre). While one is still in Singapore, there are the amenities and facilities almost everywhere, such that it would be clearly much more approriate/applicable to consider one as a traveller, when he/she leaves the country, not just by leaving his/her estate/neighbourhood for eg. Bedok or Tampines or Jurong. Nevertheless, the context is different in certain parts of Malaysia, as an example, because in it’s context, at times, when one leaves his kampong/settlement, he might only see fields of plantation, densely vegetated terrain and not settlements and no amenities and probably no masjid too. Hence very similar to the context of a traveller and in view of another aspect, one starts to face difficulties in his journey. Wallahu a‘lam.

[3] Tawdieh al-Ahkam min Bulugh al-Maram: 2/303-305

[4] Translator’s note: some understood it at face value and some others took the underlying meaning i.e as to why a traveller is given concessions. He then elaborated on those who took the underlying meaning.

[5] Bidayat al-Mujtahid wa Nihayat al-Muqtasid: 1/404-405

[6] Surah Maryam: 64

[7] Surah al-Baqarah: 232

[8] Surah al-Baqarah: 185

[9] The objectives aimed to be achieved for every legislation or ruling in the Syari‘ah (Islamic Law). It is an important field of study in the Syari‘ah Law.

[10] Surah al-Mulk: 14

[11] Surah al-Baqarah: 285

[12] Sifat Saum an-Nabiy, Bab “YuriedulLahu bikumul Yusro” pg. 45
 
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