Can We Combine and Shorten Prayers When Traveling to a Football Game Where Others Will Be Drinking Beer?

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick

Question

About two weeks ago my friends and I went out of town to attend a football game. However, most people purchased beer at the game, and some of it spilled on our clothes. We’re planning to travel to another one soon, and beer will be purchasable at this game as well. My question is in regards to the permissibility of combining/shortening our prayer for the next trip. Would the risk of others spilling beer on us make the trip impermissible and not allow us to combine/shorten prayer?

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate. May Allah alleviate our difficulties and guide us to what pleases Him. Thank you for your question.

Under normal circumstances, shortening one’s prayers on a journey undertaken for a lawful purpose is permissible in the Shafi’i School. However, we do fear that the trip in question is not lawful as you would intentionally be amidst and possibly contaminated by alcohol, and Allah knows best.

Shortening Prayers when Traveling for Permissible Reasons

It is permissible to shorten and/or join the prescribed prayers when traveling for a reason that is not disobedience to Allah. There is no dispensation to shorten prayers on a trip undertaken for the disobedience of Allah. [Keller, Reliance of the Traveler]

Traveling in Disobedience

The Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him not sit at a table where wine is being drunk.” [Ahmad]

Based on the Prophet’s teaching above (may Allah bless him and give him peace), it is unlawful for a Muslim to knowingly and willingly travel to attend an event where he expects to be amidst alcohol drinking, let alone contamination, and Allah knows best.

Purely Recreational Trips

Purely recreational trips whose purpose is not disobedience are permissible. Still, there are no travel dispensations in them. However, if undertaken to gain rejuvenation, religious knowledge, visit a fellow Muslim, or visit the grave of a righteous or learned Muslim, these and similar purposes are legitimate and permit the dispensations, and Allah knows best. [Keller, ʿUmda Al-Salik]

I pray this is of benefit and that Allah guides us all.

Follow-Up Question

On the trip, I would be staying two nights in the city, and the football game is not the only thing we would be doing.

Since the trip also includes permissible activities, and I can’t say for sure if the people next to me will have alcohol, would it be a grey area? Part of the purpose is to enjoy a trip with my friends too.

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate. May Allah alleviate our difficulties and guide us to what pleases Him. Thank you for your question.

Under the described circumstances, it appears permissible to adopt the dispensation of shortening the prayers as the trip has a permissible intention. There is no certainty or intent of engaging in the unlawful, and Allah knows best.

Shortening Prayers when Traveling for Permissible Reasons

It is permissible to shorten and/or join the prescribed prayers when traveling for a reason that is not disobedience to Allah. There is no dispensation to shorten prayers on a trip undertaken for the disobedience of Allah. [Keller, Reliance of the Traveler]

I pray this is of benefit and that Allah guides us all.
[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar, Shaykh Taha Karaan. 

Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.

He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.

Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and pursuing his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.