What distance must you travel before you can shorten your salah? Can you combine prayers?


Travelling, shortening and combining salah

Scholars take the view that when you travel the distance of approximately 55-60 miles you are considered a mussafir – a traveller.

Though there is a variation of opinion on the distance, a minority of scholars say that once you leave the boundary of your local area, you become a traveller, but the majority view and the mainstream opinion according to the Shafi’ and Hanafi school, is that travelling by any means a distance of 50 miles by any means is considered ‘travel‘.

A traveller may shorten 4 rakah prayers to 2 rakahs (dhur, asr and isha).

Should travellers pray the sunnah and nawafil?

If they are able to, travellers should pray the sunnah and nawafil as usual. When combining the salahs, you do not need to pray them in quick succession. You may take your time, complete the first set of salah with the sunnah and nawafil and tasbih, and then pray the second lot.

Can you combine prayers?

According to the Hanafi school you may shorten prayers, but you cannot combine prayers. Even during Hajj, Hanafis do not combine prayers unless they are praying behind an imam.

As per the Shafi school, if you are travelling or you will be unable to perform your salah in its prescribed time, you can combine dhur and asr, during the time of dhur or asr, and pray maghrib and isha during the time of maghrib or isha.

If you are not travelling, can you combine prayers?

There are instances when though you are not travelling, due to your circumstances, you will be unable to perform a prayer in its correct time. Should you miss the salah and pray it later? Or combine it?

If you have an important reason, for instance, you work in an operating theatre, and you will not be able to pray on time, (not, for instance, because you are going shopping or to the hairdressers) then it is preferable to combine your prayers, than to miss them, or make them up later.

Do you need to make up a prayer which you combined?

No. Once it has been prayed, you do not need to repeat it.

It is better to pray a salah during its dedicated time.

It is preferred to pray on time. Allah Almighty said in Surat an Nisa:

Indeed, prayer has been decreed upon the believers at specified times. (4:103)

When the Prophet (peace be on him) was asked about the best deed he said to pray on time. It is an obligation. Abdullah ibn Mas’ud reported:

I said, “O Messenger of Allah, which deeds are best?”

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:

“Prayer on time.” (Al Albani)

Praying on time shows your sincerity, your commitment, and your connection with Allah Almighty. The person who is negligent of praying on time is showing a lack of commitment, obedience and respect. This is not how a believer should be.

Shaykh Haytham Tamim – Thursday Knowledge Circle 10th December 2020