Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Qasar Prayer (4)

Case study (applied knowledge):

i. Singapore is a state and a country. As long as one who is a citizen of this country has not left Singapore, he is not a traveller. Hence, a “despatch rider or courier service representative” or a “taxi driver” even though had travelled hundreds of kilometres within Singapore, is not a traveller according to the ‘Urf standard and personal evaluation and niyyah (intention).

ii. As for Malaysia, it is a state and a country made up of many states. Thus, if a person living in Johor set out for a journey to Kelantan or K.L., he/she can be considered a traveller because he/she has left his/her state (Johor) to another state of a distance more than 2 marhalahs (± 90km), even though he/she has not left his country (Malaysia).

iii. Yet the condition of “has left one’s state/country” is very subjective. For eg. one who lives in Mersing (Eastern/East Coast of Johor) makes his/her journey to Pontian/Kukup (Western/West Coast of Johor), from one end of Johor to another, a distance of 2 marhalahs and more, but the whole journey is within the State of Johor, by means of this condition, he/she is not regarded as a traveller, since through out the journey he/she has not left his/her state/country. However, the boundaries of states and countries are considered a subjective matter (the area of a country/state varies) and we can appreciate the wisdom behind the original rulings of the Syari‘ah, as what the ahlu at-Tahqieq/muhaqqiqoun highlighted i.e. the Syari‘ah never determined or restricted “travel”. As the Messenger himself never determined this condition “has left one’s state/country”, we can understand that this is a condition mentioned by scholars as a general guideline, to ensure that people do not take rulings to their own hands and desires. Therefore, as long as there is a tendency that in a journey, one is likely to face difficulties and the distance is far, one can assure him/herself that Allah legislated these concessions/rukhsahs in order to ease mankind in their journey. The Principles of Fiqh/Rulings (Qawa‘id Fiqhiyah) also justified this as one of it’s principles, i.e.: “الأمر إذا ضاق اتسع و إذا التسع ضاق” meaning “a matter of Syari‘ah (rulings) when it is easy (upon the mukallafs) it becomes stringent (for them) and when it is difficult (upon them) it becomes flexible (with allowances)” as in this case, the ruling is stringent upon a non traveller such that he must observe fasting and pray Itmam without Qasar, but when he is travelling, he has the option of not obeserving fasting and allowed to pray Qasar. Hence, in this case, a journey from Mersing to Pontian and the other way around, is considered a tiring and tedious one, more than 2 marhalahs of bendy roads and other difficulties (eg very dark at night, crossing plantations with almost no nearby amenities), although is within one state, can be considered travelling. Wallahu a‘lam.

iv. On the contrary, one who lives in Muar and goes to Malacca, just by crossing the bridge (over Sungai Muar), though crossing the border from one state (Johor) to another (Malacca), is he/she considered a traveller, just because he/she left the state? He/she is not travelling a distance of at least 2 marhalahs and by ‘Urf (norms of the society), he/she is not regarded as a traveller.

v. However, if a person travels from Singapore to Batam, somewhat 30km apart, by boat or ferry, even though the distance is less than 2 marhalahs, but he /she is not familiar with Batam, such that if being left on his/her own, cannot find his/her way or whereabouts. He/she has left the country, but the distance is less than 2 marhalahs, yet, he/she faces some degrees of difficulties. Should he/she be regarded as traveller? 2 out 3 conditions met; Out of the country and facing difficulties. If we take the muhaqqiqoun’s resolution, in this case he/she is a traveller. Wallahu a‘lam. This is also applicable to a journey from Singapore to Desaru, by road not by ferry/boat, as it meets the 3 criteria. Yet, even by boat, the case is almost the same like a journey to Batam. Wallahu a‘lam.

vi. Another eg, a person who resides in Singapore set out to Malacca (200km), but made a stop at a shopping mall in Tampoi, Johor for eg (7-10km from Singapore Immigration/border), he/she can start to perform the Qasar prayer because he/she has left the country and travelling in a journey of a distance of 200km to the destination. This is obviously in accordance to the action of Rasulullah as in the hadeets of Anas. Wallahu a’lam.

vii. Taking the previous eg. (vi.), while he/she at that shopping mall, after performing the prayers of Zohor and Asar in the Qasar manner (having the intention to continue going to Malacca), he/she received a phone call of emegency and had to return back to Singapore and cancelled the trip. In this case, after he/she cancelled the trip, he/she is no longer considered a traveller. If he/she arrives home within Zohor’s time, the Zohor prayer need to be repeated 4 rakaats. But if Zohor’s time is over, he/she only needs to redo the ‘Asar prayer in 4 rakaats. This clearly shows the role of “niyyah” or intention in considering the status of a traveller.

viii. Taking both egs (vi. and vii) into consideration (and bearing in mind the conditions mentioned with regards to determine a journey as “travel” in Syari‘ah), if a person leaves his/her country Singapore, just to go for a shopping spree in Johor Bahru, at a nearby shopping mall, he/she is not making a journey of 2 marhalahs (especially for those who frequent such shopping spree and well acquainted with the amenities and facilities in JB) and he/she does not experience much difficulty, this case is very much similar to (iv). (As for performing Jama‘ Prayer, we have understood that it is not related to “travel” but rather circumstance. If due to traffic congestion and other needs, one can perform Jama‘ in JB or elsewhere but not Qasar for not being a traveller). The same is applicable to someone who goes frequently for dinner at Tanjong Pelepas (Gelang Patah) via the 2nd Link.

ix. The definition of the country/state of destination is the main intended country that the traveller is making a journey to. Let’s take for an example: One who wishes to travel to Bangkok (destination), from S'pore (homeland), but made a pit stop at KL. At this point of time, one is still considered as a traveler as long as one is still in KL as he/she has not reached his/her destination and he/she still holds the intention to complete the journey. (see page 19; the statement of Syaikhul Islam which ends with footnote no: 44)

x. As a continuation to point (ix), if he had reached his destination, he is a traveller in a foreign land, as in this case Thailand. In accordance to Syeikhul Islam’s statement, he is considered a traveller through out his stay in Thailand, regardless of how long he is staying there, as long as he has not the intention to stay as a citizen or permanent or even temporary resident, in other words, always having the intention to go back home, once the purpose of his trip is fulfilled. What about the “transformation from the status of a traveller to a muqiem (resident) in 4 days”? We will discuss this later, Insyaa Allah.

xi. Another case. If a person resides in Singapore as a citizen of Singapore, yet at the same time, spends 1 month or so at his “second home” in Malacca or a place further than 2 marhalahs and he does that every now and then on a regular basis, for e.g. 1 month in Singapore and another in Malaysia. We have understood that he is a traveller while in his journey, without doubt. He is also not a traveller when he is in Singapore, his homeland. But what about his stay in Malaysia? Is he a traveller through out his stay in Malaysia? Is there a limit to his status as a traveller while in Malaysia? This issue is to be adressed later.

xii. This is very similar to (xi), i.e. for a person who has more than 1 citizenship. For eg having the Green Card and staying in the US for 6 months and back in Singapore for another 6 months, to and fro, or Down Under, Australia, staying there for almost a year, and return to Singapore for 1 or 2 months only. What about one who has surrendered his Singapore citizenship to reside permanently in another country, but returns to Singapore (his birthplace) for a short trip of 2 weeks or 1 month? Although we are going to discuss these issues later, but as a clear example, our beloved Prophet shallallahu 'alayhi wasallam was a Meccan. After 53 years as a citizen/resident of Mekkah, he shallallahu 'alayhi wasallam migrated to Medinah. When he shallallahu 'alayhi wasallam came back to Mekkah, to perform his pilgrimage and before that, the Liberation of Mekkah in 8th Hijriyah, he shallallahu 'alayhi wasallam prayed Qasar Prayer throughout his stay in Mekkah for 15 and 17 days. Recently, I was asked is there a term “muqiem haqieqiy” meaning “genuine resident or real/true resident” in Syari‘ah as mentioned by an ustadz in Malaysia. According to the ustadz, a person’s birthplace is his place of “muqiem haqiqiy”. For example, even if he has changed his nationality or citizenship, staying in Holland, but anytime when he returns to his birthplace, for example Malaysia, he is a resident of Malaysia and regarded as a non traveller. My reply was: to the extent of my little limited knowledge, I have never heard of such a term. Even if it is set as a principle by a renowned scholar, it is not to be followed. Why? Firstly, the one who invented this term must provide proof as to the validity of such a term and principle of ruling. Secondly, it opposses the teachings of our beloved Prophet since he was a Meccan, but after migration, in today’s context, change of nationality or citizenship, when he came back to Mecca/Mekkah, he regarded himself as a traveller, performing Qasar through out his stay in Mekkah. Wallahu a‘lam.

These cases or issues are like “Brainteasers [1] .

[1] Brain teasing and Quiz (without rewards and without any participation fee to ensure it doesn’t become gambling) can be considered as part of the teachings of the Sunnah because the Messenger used to ask the Companions like a quiz like question. It was a method of teaching of the Messenger, a mind provoking one. As an example: “Verily there is a tree which has leaves that do not fall off and it is a resemblance to a muslim ... then the Messenger said: It is the Date Tree.” – NB al-Bukhariy, Ahmad, At-Tirmidzi from Ibnu UmarSahih al-Jami' as-Saghier).
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