Can I Pray While Sitting and Nursing so as to Not Miss the Prayer Time?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaikum,

Sometimes when I am nursing my daughter she nurses from before the start of prayer through to the passing of the prayer time. It is hard to unlatch her as she will cry inconsolably.

Can I pray while sitting and nursing so as not to miss the prayer time?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

The basis is that the prayer cannot be delayed passed its time except by way of a genuine excuse which has been affirmed and validated by the jurists (fuqaha). [Ibn Nujaym, al-Bahr al-Ra’iq (2.85)]

Having said that, there are texts in the Hanafi School which would appear to permit the nursing woman to delay the prayer if her child would: (a) cry from hunger and (b) actually suffer real and serious harm from the delay. Harm would be that which is established through expert medical opinion, past relevant experience or clear signs, confirmed with living jurists (not just a local Imam or religious person) who attest to the soundness of the conclusions made. [Zahidi, Qunyat al-Munya (57), as quoted by Lacknawi in his Naf` al-Mufti wa al-Sa’il (181)]

As a matter of fact, Imam Lacknawi lists over ten cases in which the jurists have deemed delaying the prayer as valid, permissible and not sinful, but obviously with the proviso that it is done so soundly and with all of its requisite conditions. [Lacknawi, Naf` al-Mufti wa al-Sa’il (178-182)]

However, the reality is that the prayer need not take more than a few minutes at any given time, and in the vast majority of cases, the child is not going to suffer any medical harm if their feed is delayed for some moments, particularly if they have fed for an extended period of time already. As such, I’d advise striving to pray at the first of the time, asking Allah Most High for facilitation and ease, and then feed, remaining conscious of the prayer times (with alarms, if necessary), so that you can organise and feed around them. I’d also recommend seeking some medical assistance to ensure everything is going as it should.

Please also see: Can I Delay Prayers During Emergency Situations? and: Attending Juma, Praying and Fasting While Training to be a Firefighter

And Allah alone knows best.

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

في البحر الرايق: وَيَجُوزُ تَأْخِيرُ الصَّلَاةِ عَنْ وَقْتِهَا لِعُذْرٍ كَمَا قَالَ الْوَلْوَالِجِيُّ فِي فَتَاوِيهِ الْقَابلَةِ إذَا اشْتَغَلْت بِالصَّلَاةِ تَخَافُ أَنْ يَمُوتَ الْوَلَدُ لَا بَأْسَ بِأَنْ تُؤَخِّرَ الصَّلَاةَ وَتُقْبِلَ عَلَى الْوَلَدِ لِأَنَّ تَأْخِيرَ الصَّلَاةِ عَنْ الْوَقْتِ يَجُوزُ بِعُذْرٍ ا هـ .
وفي نفع المفتي والسائل: فلو كانت امرأة اشتغلت بالصلاة يبكي ولدها بالجوع ويضرّ عليه ضررا غالبا وإن أرضعته يفوت الوقت جاز لها أن ترضعه وتؤخّر الصلاة … كذا في القنية ا هـ .
وفي القنية: لو اشتغلت بالصلاة يبكي ولدها وإن أرضعته يفوت الوقت ترضعه إذا خافت عليه ضررا غالبا ا هـ .