When Is a Traveler Allowed to Shorten His Prayers? [Shafi’i]

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

Question: Assalam alaykum,

Could you please tell me what scenario would it be permitted for a Shafi’i to shorten and join his prayers for 19 days?

Answer: Wa alaykum salam

May Allah reward you for your question.

A traveler’s journey ends and he will be considered a resident as soon as he reaches a destination with the intention of staying there for four days or more, excluding the day of arrival and departure. Thus when he arrives at his destination Monday morning and intends to stay there until Saturday morning, he is not allowed to shorten or join prayers, as he is no longer considered to be a traveler. Monday would be his day of arrival and Saturday his day of departure and the days between them equal four.

To the contrary, if he intends only to stay three days or less in that location, he may continue joining and shortening prayers. Thus if he arrived Monday and departs Friday, he may continue joining and shortening as he is still considered a traveler.

Our jurist have discussed a situation where one would be allowed to continue joining and shortening prayers up to eighteen days, excluding the day of arrival and departure. This is specific for someone who has a need that could materialize any moment, before or after the passing of four days, such as waiting on the wind to subside, or on a group that he wishes to travel with, that may be traveling at any moment.

If a person however knows that his need will only be achieved or fulfilled after the passing of four days, excluding they day of arrival a departure, then, as stated above, he is no longer a traveler and is not permitted to join and shorten prayers. [Tuhfah: 2/377]

In conclusion, since you know that your business will not be concluded within four days, excluding the day of arrival and departure, you will not be allowed to join and shorten prayers from when arriving at the city you are traveling to.

And Allah knows best

Wassalam
[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan

Shaykh Abdurragmaan
received ijazah ’ammah from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib ‘Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi‘i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.