Travelling Issues and Salaat

Relevant Material

Salaat on a Journey
(Shaykh Ashraf Ali Thanwi)


Q. When should Qasar Salaat be performed?

A. A person undertaking a journey of forty eight miles (known in the terminology of the Shariah as three Manaazil) or more and having no intention of staying over for fifteen days or more at any point beyond such boundaries of his/her hometown is termed a Musaafir. Such a Musaafir qualifies for the concession of Qasr Salaat, i.e. instead of four rakaats Fardh, two rakaats will have to be performed. However, the concession does not apply to the three rakaats Fardh of Maghrib and the three rakaats Witr of Isha. These will have to be performed in full.


Q. When does a person become a Musaafir or a traveller according to the Shariat?

A. One who leaves his hometown to travel to a point at least forty eight miles away is termed a Musaafir. It must be remembered that to qualify as a Musaafir one must have the intention to travel to a distance of 48 miles or more. If one does not have the intention of going on a journey but wanders around, for example in search of a lost person or object, one will not be regarded as a Musaafir in terms of the Shariah no matter if one travels thousands of miles in this manner. If the Musaafir makes the intention of settling or staying over at any point on his route or journey for 15 days, he ceases to be a Musaafir in terms of the Shariah regardless of whether he fulfils his intention or not. When he ceases to be a Shar`i Musaafir he cannot avail of the Islamic concessions pertaining to certain acts of Ibaadat such as Salaat, Fasting, Jumuah, Zakaat, etc.


Q. What is the distance which renders a person a musaafir? There appears to be considerable difference in this regard.

A. The consensus of our Fuqaha is that the distance for Qasr is three manzils which is 48 miles (77 kilometres). There is no need to delve into unnecessary argument on this issue.


Q. From where should the musaafir calculate the 77 km distance required for a valid Shari’ journey? Is this distance from a person’s home or the municipal boundary of the town/city?

A. The safar (journey) distance should be calculated from the end of the town/city where the built-up area ends, from whichever side one leaves the town/city. If there is no end of the built-up area, that is, the buildings encroach on even the next town, then calculate the distance from the official boundary of the town/city. The distance is never calculated from one’s house. The boundary refers to the boundary of the town/city, not the municipal boundary.


Q. From which point is the 77 km (48 miles) distance for a musaafir calculated? From his house or from the boundary of the town?

A. The safar distance should be counted from the end of the town from the side one is exiting, that is, from where the buildings end. If there is no ‘end’ of the built-up area due to the buildings of one town adjoining the next town, then the distance will begin from the boundary of the town.


Q. There are two routes to a destination. The one route is more than 77 km and the other is less than 77 km. Does one become a musaafir when travelling to this place?

A. One becomes a musaafir if one takes the 77 km route. If the less than 77 km route is taken, one does not become a musaafir.


Q. When may a musaafir (traveller) begin performing Qasr Salaat? Could he perform Qasr before actually reaching the 77 km. limit?

A. The moment the musaafir has left the boundary of his hometown, he may perform Qasr. It is not necessary to wait for 77 km.


Q. When a journey of 77 km (three manzils) or more is undertaken, from which point will it become permissible to perform Qasr Salaat? Could the Qasr be performed before reaching 77 km?

A. Qasr may be performed as soon as one has reached beyond the built-up area, i.e. where the town ends. It is not necessary to wait until one reaches 77 km.


Q. At what point does the musaafir’s journey end when he returns to his hometown?

A.The moment you enter the boundary of your hometown, you cease being a musaafir. You will be a muqeem as you enter the boundary.


Q. When I am transferred from a prison to another prison which is located more than 48 miles away, will I be a musaafir along this journey and at the next prison?

A. Along the journey to the other prison you will be a musaafir if the distance is 48 miles or more. When you reach the other prison and you know that you will have to stay 15 days or more, then you will no longer be a musaafir at the new prison.


Q. In what circumstances may Hanafis combine two Salaat as the Shaafis do?

A. Combining two Salaat is not permissible for Hanafis under any circumstances.


Q I have settled in another city permanently. If I happen to travel to my former hometown, do I perform Qasr Salaat or full Salaat?

A. If a person has migrated and has established the new place his/her home while having abandoned his/her place of birth, then he/she will be a musaafir in his/her former hometown if the intention is to stay there for less than 15 days. Qasr has to be made in the former hometown which has ceased being one’s hometown after migration.


Q. I live on the border of a country. A Musjid about a kilometre away is across the border in the other country. If I happen to go to that Musjid in the other country should I perform Qasar Salaat? Will I be a musaafir? And, will it be permissible for me, a Hanafi, to lead the Shaafi musallis of that Musjid for Asr Salaat when it is still Zuhr time for Hanafis?

A. You will not be a musaafir in view of the distance not being musaafat-e-qasr (77 km). Irrespective of the other country to which you go, you remain a muqeem (a non-musaafir) since the intention is not to travel 77 km or more. Being a Hanafi it is not permissible for you to lead the Asr Salaat in Zuhr time even if the majority of the musallis are Shaafi’. A Shaafi’ will have to conduct the Salaat.


Q. If I travel for 60 km from home, and after I reach my destination I decide to travel another 30 km, will I then become a musaafir?

A. You will not be a musaafir if it was your intention to travel less than 77 km when you left home. Therefore, you will not be a musaafir after travelling 30 km from the 60 km destination. Even if you travel thousands of kilometres in this manner you will not be a musaafir. The condition is that the intention must be to travel 77 km or more from wherever your destination is. Since you did not have this intention (of 77 km) from the 60 km destination, you will not be a musaafir.


Q. On returning from a journey, I performed Qasr Zuhr Salaat just outside the city boundary. When I reached home the Zuhr Salaat had not yet been performed at the local Musjid. Was I supposed to have performed Zuhr again in the Musjid?

A. Your Qasr was valid. It is not necessary to repeat the Salaat.


Q. A man gives up his Watn-e-Asli after marrying, and settles permanently in his wife’s hometown. If he visits his original hometown, how should he perform Salaat?

A. Since he has given up his Watn-e-Asli (original home town), he will perform Qasr Salaat when he visits there without an intention of staying 15 days or more.


Q. A man has two wives, each one living in a different town. He has children by both. He has made both towns his homes. What is the status of these two towns for him?

A. Both towns are Watn-e-Asli for him. He will be a muqeem (resident) on both towns. He has to perform Salaat in full in both places.


Q. A man works at a town which is more than 100 km from his hometown. Weekends he returns home. Does he have to perform full or qasr Salaat in the town where he works?

A. If his intention in the town where he works is not to stay 15 days or more, then he has to perform Qasr Salaat. Since he returns every weekend, it is clear that his intention is not to stay there for 15 days. He has to perform Qasr.


Q. If a person is boarding in a place for study purposes, is he a musaafir or not?

A. If he stays with the intention of 15 days or more, then he will not be a musaafir. If he stays less than 15 days, then he will be a musaafir.


Q. Research has established that Jiddah was once more than 77 km from Makkah, but now it is less than 77 km. If a person who is not a musaafir in Makkah goes to Jiddah for some work for a day, will he have to perform Salaat fully in Jiddah?

A. We have always been informed that Jiddah is more than 77 km. from Makkah Muazzamah. If, it is indeed less than 77 km, then a muqeem going to Jiddah for less than 15 days will remain a muqeem in Jiddah as well. He will have to perform four raka’ts. Qasr will not be permissible.


Q. When I left home to go on a journey of more than 80 kilometres, I was in the state of Haidh. A few days after reaching my destination I attained paaki (cleanliness). Do I perform Qasr Salaat or not?

A. A woman who leaves home in the state of Haidh (menstruation) and travels the distance of safar (77km. or more), will have to read full Salaat, not Qasr, upon reaching her destination, if she attains purity there. A woman’s intention for travel will not be considered whilst she is in Haidh. Travel distance will be counted only upon attaining purity. So, for example, if she attains purity on the way, then the distance to her destination will be considered. If the distance from the time she attained purity until her destination is the safar distance (77km. or more) then she will be regarded as a Musaafir and she has to perform Qasr Salaat. If the distance to her destination is less than 77 km., then she will have to perform Salaat in full. If a woman leaves home in the state of purity and Haidh commences on the way or even at her destination, then in all cases, when she attains purity (i.e. before returning home), she is regarded as a Musaafir and has to perform Qasr Salaat.


Q. A lady goes on a journey while in the state of haidh. She attains purification at her destination where her intention is to stay less than 15 days. After taking ghusl should she perform Qasr Salaat or full Salaat at the destination?

A. This lady has to perform Salaat in full at her destination. Only when she leaves this destination for a place 77 kilometres or more in the state of purity, will she have to perform Qasr.


Q. Is a person excused from Salaat while travelling on a plane? Would it be sinful to make qadha of the Salaat because of being on a plane?

A. One is not excused from Salaat even on a plane. It is compulsory to perform Salaat on time in the plane. It is sinful—a major sin— to omit Salaat even on the plane. Making qadha will be sinful.


Q. How does one perform Salaat on the plane? Does one have to stand and face the Qiblah or can one sit in one’s seat and perform Salaat?

A. As far as possible it is compulsory to stand and perform the Fardh Salaat facing the Qiblah. This is not impossible on the plane. While there is a degree of inconvenience, it is not a hardship. Countless Muslims perform Salaat on the plane facing the Qiblah. Space for Salaat is available at the back of the plane, in the kitchen foyer, and at the exit points. Generally passengers, even non-Muslims, are obliging and do accommodate Muslims who desire to perform Salaat at the exit points. They do not mind to vacate their seats for a brief three minutes or so. When performing Salaat on the plane, maintain the Salaat as brief as possible— short Surahs with the minimum of Tasbeehs in the Ruku’ and Sajdah. The Sunnat and Nafl Salaat should be omitted.

On some planes the non-Muslim staff, as well as so-called Muslim staff who are in reality non-Muslims, such as the staff on Turkish planes, are decidedly inimical and antagonistic to Muslims. They go out of their way to thwart Salaat performance. In such case, perform Salaat in the seat sitting. In all cases repeat the Salaat on the ground. Even Salaat performed standing, facing the Qiblah in the plane should be repeated when on the ground. Wearing khuffain (leather socks) on the journey is very convenient for wudhu purposes.
Close Answer


Q. The staff in most planes do not allow Muslims to stand and perform Salaat. What should one do when the Salaat time will be expiring?

A. If the kuffaar and fussaaq staff intransigently prevents you from performing Salaat, then perform Salaat sitting in your seat in whatever way you are able. Then repeat the Salaat on the ground.


Q. I'd like to know the ruling regards Namaaz on a plane. Most people don't perform Namaaz on the plane. They make qadha when they reach their destination. Some even call it 'taraweeh' of missed Namaaz during Safr. I've travelled with plane loads of Muslims and only a handful perform Namaaz.

A. Abandoning Salaat, be it even on a plane, is a major sin. It is Fardh to perform the Fardh Namaaz even on a plan. Jocularly describing the missed Salaat ‘taraaweeh’, is sinful, in fact akin to kufr because it is a mockery of the Law of Allah Ta’ala.


Q. Many people claim that Salaat is waived on the plane and on a journey. They say that it is too difficult to perform Salaat on a plane even if they are going for Hajj and Umrah.

A. Salaat is Fardh at all times, in all circumstances. Whether the journey is by ship, car, plane, etc., it is haraam to forgo it. It is utterly baseless and blasphemous to claim that Salaat is waived on a journey. Even in the plane it is Fardh to perform Salaat. Since these people’s attitude with the Deen is extremely lax And defective, they do not fear to utter such blasphemy.


Q. Most people on a journey do not perform Salaat. They argue that they do not have wudhu and Allah is Most Forgiving and Merciful. But they do stop at garages where bathrooms and water are available. Is their argument valid?

A. Their argument is absolutely baseless. They are guilty of kabeerah sins for neglecting Salaat. Salaat may not be neglected at any time and in any condition of life. Salaat remains fardh even on the battlefield. The very same Allah Who is Most Merciful and Forgiving has commanded that Salaat be performed in all conditions and in all places. This same Forgiving Allah is also Wrathful and Stern in punishment. The argument presented by these negligent people is ridiculous. Along the journey they stop at many places and enjoy themselves with food, etc. They have time to eat and play, but for Salaat they present silly and untenable excuses. Even at home they have no wudhu. What do they do then? When the time for Salaat arrives, they should simply take wudhu and perform Salaat. There are an abundant of water facilities available. They are perpetrating self-deception if they claim that there is no water for wudhu. They are simply lazy and have no respect for the Deen, hence they produce these untenable arguments. Even when a person is so sick that he is unable to move from his bed, then too Salaat remains fardh on time. He has to perform Salaat on the bed with signs of the head if necessary.


Q. Is it permissible to perform only 2 raka’ts Fardh for Zuhar and 2 raka’ts for Asr and leave out the Sunnat Namaaz when one is in the plane or in the airport?

A. Yes, this is perfectly permissible in the plane and airport. At one’s destination if there is time and the convenience, the Sunnatul Muakkadah Salaat should not be missed on account of laziness.


Q. Is it permissible to perform Salaat with Tayammum on a plane?

A. As long as water is available on the plane and you are able to make wudhu, Salaat with Tayammum will not be valid. Making wudhu on the plane, although inconvenient, can be done. All those who perform Salaat on planes, perform with wudhu. Wearing Khuffain makes Wudhu easier.


Q. Is it permissible for a Muslim traveller on a plane to eat the vegetarian food served on the plane?

A. All types of haraam food are served on the plane. Pork, liquor, etc. are included in the menu. It is therefore not permissible to eat any of the food served on the plane. Even their vegetarian diet is physically and spiritually contaminated and polluted. Muslims should exercise some patience and a bit of abstinence. They should eat before boarding the plane or take their own light meals with to save them from eating the pollution served on the plane.

((The Filth of Plane Food – “The biggest safety issue you  face while flying could be the food served by the airlines. More than half a billion meals are made by some of the largest airline food kitchens in the United States. A recent analysis of some of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspection records found that food preparations in some of these kitchens is a recipe for disaster. Violations include roaches, mice, unsanitary conditions and no place for employees to wash their hands. “Volume always leads to problems”, said Brian Buckley of the Institute of Cullinary Education. “Obviously there’s not a lot of accountability” … According to food safety experts, the issue is lack of oversight when it comes to cleaning and food preparation, leading to dangerous conditions for diners.” — New York (CBS). The filth of airline foods has been reported several times in the past. One report had even mentioned contamination with faeces. Add to this filth the haraam carrion which the haraam certificate outfits are halaalizing. When travelling by plane it is necessary Islamically, and safest healthwise, to take with your own food. Plane food is a combination of najaasat and haraam.))
Close Answer


Q. Is it necessary for the musaafir to perform Sunnat Salaat?

A. Yes, it is necessary. If there is no rush and the facilities for performing Salaat are convenient, then it is necessary to perform the Sunnat Salaat. If there is a valid reason, the Sunnat Salaat may be omitted.


Q. Does the rule of Qasar apply to Sunnat and Nafl Salaat also?

A. Qasr is applicable to only Fardh Salaat. The Musaafir, if he/she performs the Sunnat and Nafl Salaat should do so in full. However, the Musaafir has the Islamic right to either perform the Sunnats or delete them. It is however meritorious to perform the Sunnats and Nafl Salaats whilst on the journey.


Q. Is it incumbent for a traveller passing through a city to perform Jumuah Salaat?

A. If a musaafir (traveller) happens to be near to a Musjid where Jumuah is being performed, and he is not in a hurry, or he has chosen to remain in the city, then it is incumbent that he performs Jumuah Salaat. If he abstains, he sins. But his Qasr will be valid.


Q. If the Imaam happens to be a musaafir, how should the muqtadis perform their Salaat?

A. After the Imaam makes Salaam, i.e. after he completes his two raka’ts, the muqtadis should rise and perform the remaining two raka’ts without reciting Qiraa’t in any of the raka’ts.


Q. The Imaam who was a musaafir intentionally performed four raka’ts for Zuhr. What is the status of the Salaat?

A. If a Musaafir intentionally performs four raka’ts, the Fardh is not valid. The Salaat has to be repeated.


Q. A person joined the Jamaa’t in Zuhr or Asr in the Imaam’s last raka’t. The Imaam is a musaafir. How should this Masbooq who is not a musaafir complete the Salaat?

A. This Masbooq when fulfilling the missed raka’ts, should not recite Qiraa’t in the first two raka’ts which he performs alone. He should remain in Qiyaam for a minimum duration of three Tasbeehs. In the last raka’t he has to recite Qiraa’t. He is known as Laahiq-Masbooq.


Q. If a musaafir joins the Jamaat after having missed three raka'ts, how should he complete the Salaat?

A. When a musaafir joins a Jamaat behind a muqeem Imaam (i.e. the Imaam is not a Musaafir), then the musaafir should perform the full four raka’ts with the Imaam. If the musaafir missed three raka’ts, he should perform the three raka’ts after the Imaam makes his Salaam to end the Salaat, in the same way that a muqeem will do.


Q. If a musaafir performs Salaat behind a non-Musaafir Imaam, should he perform two raka’ts and make Salaam?

A The musaafir (traveler) should perform the full Salaat if he is behind a muqeem (resident/non-musaafir) Imaam. He should not complete after two raka’ts.


Q. The musaafir Imaam performed four raka’ts Zuhr instead of two. The muqtadis followed him and completed four raka’ts. Is the Salaat valid?

A. The Salaat of the muqtadis is not valid. They have to repeat the Salaat. If the musaafir Imaam had sat in Qa’dah Ula (the first sitting after two raka’ts), then in error performed another two raka’ts, he was required to make Sajdah Sahw. His Fardh is valid, but discharged defectively if he did not make Sajdah Sahw. If he had not sat after two raka’ts, then his Salaat is also not valid. If he had intentionally performed four raka’ts, but sat in Qa’dah Ula, then although his Fardh will be valid, he has committed a major sin which the Fuqaha say is punishable with the Fire of Jahannum.


Q. The incidence of Saudi Sheikhs/Imaams visiting the country is on the increase. Our Ulama are hosting them and establishing their image in the Muslim community. Please comment. Is it proper for the musaafir Imaam to lead the Salaat if he performs two raka’ts and the rest of the Jama’t gets up to perform two raka’ts?

A. The spate of Saudi Imaams/Sheikhs visiting the country does not bode well for the Deen of South African Muslims. These Imaams are the ambassadors of Salafi’ism and are despatched by the Saudi authorities. Some Ulama in South Africa have fallen in the Saudi trap. Umrah perks, free and easy visas, V.I.P. treatment, etc. are carrots which the Saudis dangle before the Ulama of the world. These Ulama fall in the trap and bring untold harm to the Deen. If the Imaam is a musaafir, then it is not advisable for him to lead the Salaat. Nevertheless, the Salaat of the Muqtadis will be valid. They should perform their two raka’ts after the Imaam’s Salaam. However, we have been informed that some of these musaafir imams perform four raka’ts. In this case, the Salaat of the Muqtadis will not be valid.


Q. A man is taking his aunts for Hajj. One of the aunts has a daughter, i.e. this man’s cousin. Can she go with them for Hajj?

A. While the nephew is a valid mahram for his maternal aunts, his female cousin may not accompany them since she has no mahram. It is haraam for her to go with them, and it is haraam for the nephew to take her with.


Q. Shaafis say that their women are allowed to travel without a male mahram as long as they are in a company of women. Is this correct?

A. In a situation of peace and safety, A Shaafi’ woman is allowed to travel in a group of pious ladies. She may not travel alone nor with a group of women who lack Taqwa. In today’s scenario of danger, crime and immorality and non-observance of Hijaab even by the accompanying women, it is not permissible for even a Shaafi’ woman to travel without a male mahram.


Q. Is it permissible for several ladies to travel with one mahram male? How can one man be a mahram for three or four ladies?

A. You have not understood the meaning of mahram. A male with whom marriage never was nor ever will be permissible is termed a mahram. Sons, father, brothers, uncles, etc. are in this class of mahrams. One such man can have many females whose mahram he is. He can have a mother, daugthers, sisters, aunts, etc. He is the mahram of all these females and they can accompany him on a journey provided he is not a faasiq.


Q. Can a woman go on a journey alone with her 13 year old son?

A. While a baaligh son is a valid mahram with whom a woman is allowed to travel, nowadays, 13 year olds, even if they are physically baaligh, are intellectually immature, inexperienced and irresponsible. The attributes of a mahram are lacking in a 13 year old, hence he is not a proper guide and guard for his mother on a journey. The mahram has to possess the ability to be fully in charge of the female accompanying him. He should be able to make decisions and dictate the terms in accordance with the Shariah. This is unexpected of today’s 13 year olds, rare exceptions excluded.


Q. Is it permissible for a 50 year old lady to go on a journey in the company of her 20 year old cousin?

A. A cousin is not a mahram. It is haraam for this woman to travel with her cousin regardless of the 30 year age gap.