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Combining Prayers

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Combining Prayers

By Shaykh Abdurrahman ibn Yusuf


Q.) Can you combine Zuhr with Asr and Maghrib with Isha salat while traveling? What do the different madhabs say about this? JazakAllahkhair.


A.) According to the Hanafi school, it is not permitted to combine the prayers and take a prayer out of its prayer time by either delaying it or performing it before its time. The only exception they have in this, based on the narration of Abdullah ibn Mas’ud, is in Arafat (where Zuhr and ‘Asr are combined) and in Muzdalifa (where Maghrib and ‘Isha are combined). The remaining three schools permit combining in other circumstances too as when a person is traveling, or it is raining heavily, etc.


There are many ahadith related on this issue and have been discussed by the four schools. The Hanafis have judged all the narrations on this issue to be based on the method of “apparent combining” [Jam’ al-Suri] not “real combining” [jam’ al-Haqiqi]. This position is based on the fact that we are told to make every prayer on time, and there are ahadith of Ibn Mas’ud which clarify that the Prophet saws.gif never combined the prayers together [by taking a prayer out of its time] except in ‘Arafat and Muzdalifa during the pilgrimage.


The following, which is an excerpt from the Fiqh al-Imam: Key Proofs in Hanafi Fiqh may be useful in understanding the ahadith on this issue:


3. ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud, Radi-Allahu anhu, relates:

I never observed the Messenger of Allah saws.gif perform any prayer out of its time except at Muzdalifa. He combined Maghrib and ‘Isha at Muzdalifa (Sahih al-Bukhari 1:227, Sahih Muslim 1:417, Sharh Ma’ani ‘l-athar 1:164).


4. Another narration of Ibn Mas’ud, Radi-Allahu anhu, states:

The Messenger of Allah saws.gif combined two prayers whilst on a journey. He would combine Maghrib and ‘Isha by delaying Maghrib until just before its expiry time, and performing ‘Isha immediately as its time entered (Musannaf Ibn Abi Shayba 2:458).


5. ‘A’isha, Radi-Allahu anha, narrates:

The Messenger of Allah saws.gif whilst on a journey, would delay Zuhr and perform ‘Asr early and would delay Maghrib and perform ‘Isha early [i.e. perform each prayer in its own time] (Sharh Ma’ani ‘l-athar 1:164, Musannaf Ibn Abi Shayba 2:457).


6. Ibn ‘Abbas, Radi-Allahu anhu, narrates:

I performed eight rak’ats together [four of Zuhr and four of ‘Asr] and seven rak’ats together [three of Maghrib and four of ‘Isha] with the Messenger of Allah saws.gif. [One of the narrators says,] “I asked Abu ‘l-Sha’tha’, ‘I assume he delayed Zuhr [to the end of its time] and performed ‘Asr as soon as it entered, and delayed Maghrib [likewise] and performed ‘Isha early.’ He replied, ‘I also think the same'” (Sahih Muslim 1:246, Musannaf Ibn Abi Shayba 2: 456).

This hadith of Sahih Muslim is very clear about the exact description of combining two prayers. The method described by the narrator is jam’ al-suri.


7. Imam Abu Dawud has transmitted the following:

The muezzin of ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar informed him it was time for prayer. Ibn ‘Umar, Radi-Allahu anhu, instructed him to continue on the journey. When the red of sunset [shafq ahmar] had nearly disappeared, he got of from his mount and performed Maghrib, then he waited until the red had completely disappeared and performed Isha. He then said, “Whenever the Messenger of Allah saws.gif was in a hurry for some reason, he would do just as I have done” (Sunan Abi Dawud 1:178).


As we can see, the method of combining mentioned in the above ahadith is none other than that of jam’ al-suri. It is an agreed upon method which nobody has any argument with. How can there be an objection to two prayers being performed together in a way that does not cause them to be performed either before their stipulated time or after it? Undoubtedly, this is the safest method of combining two prayers, and would be the most suitable way to explain the ahadith on combining.


It is also common knowledge that the Fajr prayer should not to be performed before its time or intentionally delayed beyond it. Similarly, other prayers should not be performed out of their stipulated times either, especially not while considering it to be sunna. This indicates that the sunna method of combining two prayers is jam’ al-suri, as has also been substantiated through the Qur’an and Hadith. This is the Hanafi opinion in this issue.


If it was permissible to practice jam’ al-haqiqi in the event of travel or illness, etc., then why is it confined to some prayers only? Why is it not permissible to perform all the prayers of the day together in the morning before departing on a journey? The reason for this is quite simple. The practice of combining mentioned in the ahadith is not to be taken as jam al-haqiqi, but as jam al-suri wherein each prayer remains in its own time, but are performed one after another….>


And Allah knows best.


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Other than the combined salaah of a traveler, what other factors validates the combining of salaah for non-travelers?


Assalāmu `alaikum Warahmatullāhi Wabrakatuh,


From the outset, it is essential to understand the concept of combining salah. According to the Hanafi Mazhab there are two dimensions pertaining to “combining” salah. The first relates to where, in reality, one salah is performed in another salah time, for example, the Asr salah is performed in the Zuhr time. In the second dimension however, both the salah are read within their individual allotted time but since they are performed so close to each other, it appears that one is read in the other salah time. For example, the Zuhr salah is performed just prior to the Zuhr time elapsing whilst the Asr salah is performed immediately upon entry of the Asr time.


Now with the rulings –

As for the first dimension, where one salah is performed in another salah time, this is only permissible during the days of Hajj and on two occasions only (if the requirements are met). Nonetheless, the first occurs on the day of Arafah where the Asr salah is performed in the Zuhr time (Jam’a Taqdeem); whilst, the second occasion is in Muzdalifah, where the Maghrib salah is delayed and performed in the Esha time (Jam’a Ta’kheer).[1]

(Al Bahrur Raiq Pg.1, Vol. 3)


Apart from the 9th day of Hajj, it is not permissible to combine two Salats in one time.


As for the second dimension, where both the salah are read in their individual allotted time but since they are performed so close to each other, it appears that one is read in the other salah time. We should consider that the Jurists of Islam (Fuqaha) have stipulated preferable times during which the daily salah ought to be performed. For example, the Maghrib salah should be performed immediately after sunset, whilst Fajr should be performed about 20 minutes to half an hour before sunrise, etc. These times have been extracted from the Ahadith and life of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) and so, adhering to these is of great benefit and will assure our salah to be in constant check. Furthermore, on occasions of travel (as you have asked), illness, etc. if one cannot perform the salah on the recommended times, it may be performed in other suitable times (however, within that specified salah time, i.e. Asr in the Asr time, and Esha in the Esha time, and so on). Salah performed out of its stipulated time will render the salah qadha (postponing the salah), and one would be sinful for doing so.


And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Maulana Zeyad Danka

Student, Darul Iftaa

South Africa


Checked and Approved by,

Muftī Ebrahim Desai.



 [1] ( قَوْلُهُ : وَعَنْ الْجَمْعِ بَيْنَ الصَّلَاتَيْنِ فِي وَقْتٍ بِعُذْرٍ ) أَيْ مُنِعَ عَنْ الْجَمْعِ بَيْنَهُمَا فِي وَقْتٍ وَاحِدٍ بِسَبَبِ الْعُذْرِ لِلنُّصُوصِ الْقَطْعِيَّةِ بِتَعْيِينِ الْأَوْقَاتِ فَلَا يَجُوزُ تَرْكُهُ إلَّا بِدَلِيلٍ مِثْلِهِ وَلِرِوَايَةِ الصَّحِيحَيْنِ قَالَ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ مَسْعُودٍ { وَاَلَّذِي لَا إلَهَ غَيْرُهُ مَا صَلَّى رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ صَلَاةً قَطُّ إلَّا لِوَقْتِهَا إلَّا صَلَاتَيْنِ جَمَعَ بَيْنَ الظُّهْرِ وَالْعَصْرِ بِعَرَفَةَ وَبَيْنَ الْمَغْرِبِ وَالْعِشَاءِ بِجَمْعٍ } ، وَأَمَّا مَا رُوِيَ مِنْ الْجَمْعِ بَيْنَهُمَا فَمَحْمُولٌ عَلَى الْجَمْعِ فِعْلًا بِأَنْ صَلَّى الْأُولَى فِي آخِرِ وَقْتِهَا وَالثَّانِيَةَ فِي أَوَّلِ وَقْتِهَا وَيُحْمَلُ تَصْرِيحُ الرَّاوِي بِالْوَقْتِ عَلَى الْمَجَازِ لِقُرْبِهِ مِنْهُ وَالْمَنْعُ عَنْ الْجَمْعِ الْمَذْكُورِ عِنْدَنَا مُقْتَضٍ لِلْفَسَادِ إنْ كَانَ جَمْعَ تَقْدِيمٍ وَلِلْحُرْمَةِ إنْ كَانَ جَمْعَ تَأْخِيرٍ مَعَ الصِّحَّةِ كَمَا لَا يَخْفَى … (كتاب الصلوة , الجمع بين الصلوتين فى وقت بعذر)


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