A Traveler Praying Behind a Resident Imam: Do I Shorten My Prayers?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Sidi Waseem Hussain

Question: My question is with regards to the salah of the traveller. When one is reading behind the imam then how is this prayed? My question is really with regards to going for Umrah or Hajj. If the period is less than 15 days then how can one leave his/her prayer behind the imam and do salam after two salams?

Answer: Walaikum Salam Warahmatullah,

If one is a traveler and praying in a congregation where the imam is praying four rakats, then one follows the imam in the number of rakats.

If one is praying Dhuhr in congregation, then one will pray the full prayer as the normal four rakat behind an imam.

It is not permissible nor valid to make salams and break off from the congregation after the second rakat. Rather, the prayer started behind a resident imam has to be completed as four rakats, regardless of one being a traveler or not.

What is important to remember is that:

(a) You only shorten the prayer as a traveler if you are praying alone or you are the imam yourself.
(b) Thus, if you are a traveler praying behind a resident imam, then you do not shorten your prayer, but pray a normal four rakat prayer.

[Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah; Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar; Zayla`i, Tabyin al-Haqa’iq]

Waseem Hussain

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Sidi Waseem Hussain attained an M.Sc. in Engineering, concentrating on international technology management. He  studied the Islamic sciences in Amman for a number of years, with particular emphasis on fiqh, hadith and `aqida. He is founder of the Danish Islamic Q&A service www.haya.dk. He currently lives in Denmark with his wife.