Prayer Of The Traveler

What Are the Basic Rulings of Prayer During Travel?

Hanafi Fiqh

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

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. [Shurunbulali, Ascent to Felicity; Maraqi Falah]

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:
Absolute Essentials of Islam: Beliefs & Worship

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And Allah knows best.
wassalam,
[Shaykh] Faraz A. Khan
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Faraz A. Khan has lived in Amman, Jordan, for several years studying and teaching traditional Islamic sciences, with a focus on Hanafi jurisprudence, hadith studies, theology, logic, and Arabic grammar. He translated and annotated the classical Hanafi primer “Ascent to Felicity” (Maraqi ‘l-Sa`adat) by Imam Shurunbulali, recently published by White Thread Press.