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Prayer whilst travelling

By: Ayatullah Fadhil Milani

Special circumstances
There are circumstances in which flexibility is appropriate, namely:

Prayer whilst travelling
Prayers of four rakaat - cycles of standing upright, bowing and prostration - are shortened to only two rakaat during travel, regardless of the purpose of the journey. This ruling is based upon the ayah:

Dž {101}

'There is no blame on you for shortening your prayers during journeys, if fearful that disbelievers might harry you'.. (Quran 4:101).
Muslim reports in his Sahih that Umar asked the Prophet (S) the meaning of the phrase, 'there is no blame upon you' and he replied, 'This is a concession that Allah has granted, so accept it and be grateful.' Both Bukhari and Muslim record that Anas ibn Malik reported, 'We travelled from Madinah to Makkah with the Prophet (S) and throughout the journey he (S) only offered two rakaat until we returned to Madinah.' This referred specifically to the Duhr, Asr and Isha' prayers.
Thus, this concession applies to return journeys of 44 km/28 miles or more, but not to shorter distances.
A travelers intention, when setting off, must have been to undertake a return journey of 44 km/28 miles or more.
The distance of 44 km/28 miles is calculated from one's town of residence regardless of where a journey may have started.
It goes without saying that the purpose of the journey has to be lawful to benefit from Allah's concession.
People whose livelihoods involve long-distance travel do not qualify for this concession.
The benefit commences immediately after the outer reaches of the town of residence have been passed.

Effects of the prayer being shortened
Those who start their journey prior to noon - during the month of Ramadhan or during any other fast - break their fast and shorten their prayers. However, those who start their journeys after midday do not break their fast despite their prayer being shortened.
Those who travel for six months of the year, or for three days or more each week, do not meet the criteria for prayers to be shortened.
Travellers who stay the minimum of ten days or more in a town are considered temporary residents and thus do not meet the criteria for prayers to be shortened.
Prayer at the time of solar and lunar eclipse and at times of disasters that are secularly described as Acts of God There are differences between the events referred to in the items above.
Solar and lunar eclipses are regular, predictable events observable from a wide variety of places throughout the world; 'Acts of God' are local incidents within specific regions.
Prayers offered at times of solar or lunar eclipse are obligatory, regardless of people fearing such events or not.
Prayers after uncontrollable events caused by natural forces, for example earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados or other disaster are only obligatory when the safety of the majority of people in a region is threatened by such an event, or its immediate consequences.
Such prayers were taught by the Prophet Muhammad(S), whose religious guidance Muslims observe, and have nothing whatever to do with superstitious belief.

How to offer such prayers
These prayers consist of two rakaat. In each of them the opening surah and another short surah of the Quran is recited five times, followed each time by a ruku, prior to the first sajdah. The same procedure is repeated in the second rakaah.

Id Prayer
All Muslims celebrate two special days each lunar year, namely Id al-Fitr, to celebrate the completion of one month of fasting, and Eid al-Adha, to commemorate the sacrifice offered by the Prophet Ibrahim (a.s.). In the ahadith related by the error-free Imams, followers of Ahl al-Bayt are recommended to celebrate also Eid al-Ghadir. This Id commemorates the event at Ghadir Kumm where Imam Ali was appointed to be the successor to the Prophet - A congregational Id prayer is only offered at Fitr and Adha.

How to offer Id prayers
The Id prayer consists of two rakaat. It is highly recommended that in the first of these, the Imam recite the Opening suraah (Al-Fatihah) and Surah 87 (Al-Ala) - followed by five qunuts before the ruku of the first rakaah. And for the second rakaah, the Opening surah (Al-Fatihah) and Surah 91 (Al-Shams) - followed by four qunuts.
Al-Ala -The Most High - Quran 87


In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the most Merciful.

Glorify the name of thy Guardian-Lord Most High,
ٰ {2}

Who hath created, and further, given order and proportion;
ٰ {3}

Who hath ordained laws. And granted guidance;
ٰ {4}

And Who bringeth out the (green and luscious) pasture,
ٰ {5}

And then doth make it (but) swarthy stubble.
ٰ {6}

By degrees shall We teach thee to declare (the Message), so thou shalt not forget,
ۚ ٰ {7}

Except as Allah wills: For He knoweth what is manifest and what is hidden.
ٰ {8}

And We will make it easy for thee (to follow) the simple (Path).
ٰ {9}

Therefore give admonition in case the admonition profits (the hearer).
ٰ {10}

The admonition will be received by those who fear (Allah):

But it will be avoided by those most unfortunate ones,
ٰ {12}

Who will enter the Great Fire,
ٰ {13}

In which they will then neither die nor live.
ٰ {14}

But those will prosper who purify themselves,
ٰ {15}

And glorify the name of their Guardian-Lord, and (lift their hearts) in prayer.

Day (behold), ye prefer the life of this world;
ٰ {17}

But the Hereafter is better and more enduring.
ٰ ٰ {18}

And this is in the Books of the earliest (Revelation),-
ٰ {19}

The Books of Abraham and Moses.
Al-Shams - The Sun - Quran 91

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the most Merciful.

By the Sun and his (glorious) splendour;

By the Moon as she follows him;

By the Day as it shows up (the Sun's) glory;

By the Night as it conceals it;

By the Firmament and its (wonderful) structure;

By the Earth and its (wide) expanse:

By the Soul, and the proportion and order given to it;

And its enlightenment as to its wrong and its right;-

Truly he succeeds that purifies it,

And he fails that corrupts it!

The Thamud (people) rejected (their prophet) through their inordinate wrong-doing,

Behold, the most wicked man among them was deputed (for impiety).

But the Messenger of Allah said to them: "It is a She-camel of Allah! And (bar her not from) having her drink!"

Then they rejected him (as a false prophet), and they hamstrung her. So their Lord, on account of their crime, obliterated their traces and made them equal (in destruction, high and low)!

And for Him is no fear of its consequences.
Then, a specific dua is recited during qunut namely:


Allahumma ahl al-Kibriya' wal "Azamah, wa ahl al-Judi wal Jabarut wa ahl al-Afwi wal Rahmah, wa ahl al-Taqwa wal Maghfirah, asa'luka bihaqqi hatha alyawm allathi ja altahu lil Muslimina idan wa li-Muhammadin thukhran wa maizda an tusallia ala Muhammadin wa ali Muhammad wa an tudkhilani fi kulli khairin adkhalta fihi Muhammadan wa ala Muhammad wa an tukhrejani min kulli su' akhrajta minhu Muhammadan wa ala Muhammad. Allahumma inni asaluka khaira ma sa'laka minhu ibaduka alSalihun wa authu bika mima istaatha minhu ibaduka alsalihun.
O Lord of Grandeur and Might, Lord of Generosity and Omnipotence, Lord of Pardon and Mercy, Lord of Righteousness and Forgiveness, I beseech you on this auspicious day you have made celebratory for the Muslim community, for You to grant Your Mercy and Blessing to the Prophet Muhammad (S) and his progeny and bestow upon me every goodness that You bestowed upon the Prophet Muhammad (S)and his progeny and safeguard me from every misfortune that You safeguarded the Prophet Muhammad (S) and his progeny from. O Allah, I ask you for the best of what Your most pious and devout servants asked, and seek the same protection that Your most pious and devout servants sought.
After the id prayer, the Imam delivers two sermons with a short pause in between the first and the second.
In the first he details the significance of the fast or the pilgrimage and the value of spiritual purification. The second is to emphasize the importance of the Muslim ummah remaining united and responsive to the needs of those less fortunate than themselves.
There is no adhan or iqamah called for id prayers. Repetition of the words 'as-Salah' three times suffices. The time for id prayer is from sunrise to midday and there is no qada offered for a missed id prayer once its time has passed.

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