Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan
Question: My university is some 95 miles from my home address and I stay there five nights a week and return home for two. When not at university, I attend an unpaid placement some 200 miles from my home address and approximately 125 miles from the university. I usually stay here between 14 and 28 days at a time.
According to the Hanafi school of thought, do I qualify for the conditions of travel (safar) whilst at university and on placement and how do I correctly fulfill these?
Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,
I pray this finds you in the best of health and states.
According to the Hanafi school, the conditions of being deemed a traveler are to:
(a) go to a place at least (roughly) 48mi (77km) from one’s home, and
(b) stay there for less than 15 days.
Hence, you do meet the conditions of travel when you are at university. You also meet those conditions when you are on placement as long as you stay there for less than 15 days at a time. If you stay there for 15 days or longer, you are legally a resident there.
When one is a traveler, it is mandatory (wajib) to shorten the obligatory four-rakat prayers (zuhr, asr and isha) to two rakats. One still prays the sunna prayers though, unless in the midst of a journey and in the rush of travel.
If one is a traveler during the month of Ramadan, then fasting is optional, although it is superior to do so if it does not pose undue hardship. Of course if one does not fast, it is obligatory to make up the missed days.
This is merely a quick summary; for more details on the rulings related to travel, it would be strongly advised to take a basic course such as:
[Shurunbulali, Ascent to Felicity; Maraqi Falah]
And Allah knows best.
Faraz A. Khan
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani