Was I Correct When Shortening My Prayers during My Travels?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Ustadh Sufyan Qufi

Question

I sometimes plan monthly trips where I’ll visit family and friends in different locations that each exceed 77km and stay in each location for about one week. Presumably, I’d shorten my prayers each week for a month, as both the distance and time requirement is satisfied. I was told, however, that if I had the intention of traveling for a month in total, even if I’d be staying one week in 4 different places that are more than 77km apart, I shouldn’t shorten my prayers because the total days I intended to travel before departure exceeded 15 days. What is the ruling on this, and should I make up previously shortened prayers?

Answer

What you have done while traveling in terms of shortening your prayers was correct, and your understanding of this issue is excellent. [Shurunbulali, Nur al-Idah]

You will only be required to stop shortening your prayers while traveling if you intend to stay in a specific city for 15 days or more. [Ibid]

As long as you don’t have this intention, you will have to shorten your prayers even if you stay in this specific city for years. [Ibid]

The only other reason to stop shortening your prayers is if you return to your hometown. [Ibid]

We owe the specification of 15 days to the companions of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), Ibn Abbas, and  Ibn Umar  (Allah be pleased with them). Because this number cannot be reached through a rational deduction alone, we know for certain that it has been taught to them by the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) himself. [Tahawi, Hashiya ‘ala Maraqi al-Falah; Zayla’i, Nasb al-Raya]

And Allah knows best.

[Ustadh] Sufyan Qufi
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Sufyan Qufi is an advanced seeker of knowledge, originally from Algeria, who grew up in France. He began searching far and wide for answers to the fundamental questions of life and was disappointed at the answers he found.

Then he connected with various traditional teachers and gradually connected with SeekersGuidance. He embarked on his journey of learning through the various teachers at SeekersGuidance, including his mentor Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

He studied numerous texts in Islamic Law, Theology, Hadith, and other areas with Shaykh Faraz Rabbani and other teachers, including Shaykh Abdurrahman al-Sha’ar, Shaykh Ali Hani, and others.

He is an active instructor at SeekersGuidance and answers questions through the SeekersGuidance Answers Service.