Can I Pray in a Car? How To Pray in a Train?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas


  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?


Standing is considered an integral to 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 for 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 cannot stand without, for example, feeling dizzy or losing balance, and so forth, 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. [Ashraf Ali Thanwi, 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.

[Ustadh] Salman Younas
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Born and raised in New York, Ustadh Salman Younas graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman. There he studied Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir. He is now in his final year of his PhD at Oxford University, looking at the early evolution of the Hanafi madhab.
His teachers include: Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Shaykh Salah Abu’l Hajj, Shaykh Ashraf Muneeb, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Shaykh Hamza Karamali, Shaykh Ahmad Snobar, Shaykh Ali Hani, Shaykh Hamza Bakri, Ustadh Rajab Harun and others.
Ustadh Salman’s personal interests include research into the fields of law/legal methodology, hadith, theology, as well as political theory, government, media, and ethics. He is also an avid traveler and book collector. He currently resides in the UK with his wife.