Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas
Question: (1) If I am traveling by car and the time of prayer is approaching its end time, is the prayer permissible in the sitting position on the seat if it is not possible to get out? Does it later need to be repeated?
(2) Can one pray on a moving train If the train points in the same direction. Does this later need to be repeated?
Answer: assalamu `alaykum
Standing is considered an integral of the obligatory prayer except for those who have a valid excuse to sit, such as the sick or injured. Being in a car and unable to exit for prayer is not considered a valid excuse permitting prayer in the car in a sitting position. As such, the basis would be for one to stop and pray in the normal standing position.
However, if unable to do so for any reason, one should pray in the car and repeat it later.
Praying on a Train
The same ruling generally applies to a train. Yet, in the case of a train if one is unable to stand without, for example, feeling dizzy, or losing balance, and so forth, then one can pray sitting down. Note that ‘sitting down’ does not refer to praying with head movements on one’s seat, but sitting on the ground and making an actual prostration. In this case, one would not have to repeat the prayer.
If one does not have space to stand or sit on the ground to pray (if the situation permits), then one can pray sitting on one’s seat with head movements. However, the prayer would have to be repeated later in this case.
Praying on a Train and the Qibla
It would remain obligatory to face the Qibla when performing the obligatory prayers on a train. One would be required to adjust one’s position as the train changes direction away from the Qibla. It should be noted that in the Hanafi school, a valid facing towards the Qibla is being within a 45 degrees of its actual direction on either side. In other words, there is a total leeway of 90 degrees.
[Imdad al-Fatawa (1:393-4); Fatawa Usmani (1:369)]
It s best to plan ahead when it comes to these matters to try and ensure that one can pray properly within the time. This is not always feasible, and so all we can do is try our best.
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.