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I Study Abroad – Should I Shorten My Prayers During My Visit Back Home?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaikum,

I study in Canada. I am visiting my parents for 2 weeks in Saudi Arabia and then will go back to Canada. Should I shorten my prayers during my visit back home?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that this message finds you well, insha’Allah.

The basis is that you have one place of permanent residency (watn asli). [Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah]

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) used to shorten his prayers when he returned to Makkah after the migration (hijra) despite it being his hometown.

It is related that Anas was heard to say, “We went out with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, from Madina to Makkah and he prayed two rak’ats for every prayer [except Maghrib] until we returned to Madina. Yahya ibn Abi Ishaq said, “I asked, ‘Did you stay in Makkah at all?’ He replied, ‘We stayed for ten days.'” [Bukhari]

Accordingly, you would shorten when travelling elsewhere, even if this travel is to your parents’ home and even if you have residency in multiple countries.

Please also see: When Is a Person Considered a Traveler Who Can Shorten Their Prayers? and: The Definition of a Resident Person & Traveler

And Allah alone knows best.

wassalam,
Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

The Basic Rulings of Travel

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:

Absolute Essentials of Islam: Beliefs & Worship

[Shurunbulali, Ascent to Felicity; Maraqi Falah]

And Allah knows best.
wassalam
Faraz A. Khan

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Related Answers:

When Is a Person Considered a Traveler Who Can Shorten Their Prayers?

Shortening Prayers when Traveling for Leisure?

A Real Life Case Study of When to Shorten Prayers and Refrain from Fasting When Traveling

Should I Feel Bad for Not Fasting When I Had to Travel?

Are We Supposed to Pray Sunna and Witr Prayers When Traveling?