Current Legal Issues
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- (22) Issues Relating to Prayer and Fasting
(71) During Ramadhan, a fasting person travelled by air
to a destination in the West. He did not break his fast in his place of residence. He then
arrived at a place where the sun has not yet set. Is it obligatory on him to abstain from
eating and drinking till the time of sun set?
Apparently, it is not obligatory, although abstaining is advisable as a matter of ihtiyat.
(72) A mukallaf said Subh(dawn) prayer in his
home town, he then travelled to a Western destination. He arrived at a town before dawn.
Then dawn broke.
On a second assumption, he said Dhuhr (noon) prayer in his home town, then
travelled by air. He arrived at a town where the sun was yet to enter into decline [to the
West]. Then it entered into decline.
On a third one, he said Maghrib (sunset) prayer in his home town, then travelled
arriving at a town where the sun has not yet set. Then sunset happened.
- Is it obligatory on him to repeat his prayers in all these assumptions?
- There are two options. As a matter of ihtiyat, it is obligatory [that he repeats
his prayers]. The second is that, alal adhhar, it is not obligatory.
(73) A mukallaf did not perform his prayer on time, such
as in the case of sunrise or sunset without him being able to perform Subh, Dhuhr
and Asr (afternoon) prayers. He travelled and arrived at a town where neither
sunrise nor sunset has taken place. Should he perform his prayers adaa (as if
they were performed at their prescribed times), qadhaa (in lieu), or ma
fith thimmah (as if he was repaying a debt)?
There is more than one course of action. However, as a matter of ihtiyat, they
should be performed with the niyyah of ma fith thimmah, meaning in a more general
sense than performing them adaa or qadhaa.
(74) A mukallaf, travelling by air, wanted to perform
his prayer aboard the plane. If it was possible, i.e. fulfilling the conditions of facing
the [direction] of qibla, stability of position, and others, his prayer is in
order. Conversely, it will not be in order, as a matter of ihtiyat, especially if
he still has such ample time that he would be able to perform it fulfilling all
conditions, after he disembarks the plane.
In case, however, time was pressing, he should perform his prayer aboard the plane. If
he was able to locate the direction of qibla, he should face that direction. His
prayer would not be in order if he breaks the condition of direction, unless for a
necessity. In this case, he should move towards the direction of the qibla whenever
the aeroplane moves [in the opposite direction]; he should abstain from recitation during
the time of moving. If it was not possible to set his face to the qibla, he should
take account of the fact that it should be between right and left. If it was not possible
to ascertain the direction of qibla, he should do his best to try to identify it
and act according to what he has reached of guess work. If this was not feasible, he
should perform his prayer facing any direction that might contain the qibla. As a
matter of ihtiyat, however, he should perform his prayers once in each of [the]
This is being so if he was able to face the qibla, otherwise saying (takbiratul
ihraam) - Allah is Great [one of the main parts of prayer, after niyyah] would
do. If neither is possible, the condition regarding facing qibla ceases to be
However, as a matter of strong possibility (al aqwa), it is permissible to board
an aeroplane and the like as a matter of choice before the onset [of prayer], albeit with
the knowledge that he would be obliged to perform prayer on board, not fulfilling the two
conditions of facing the qibla and maintaining a stable position.
(75) A person travelled aboard an aeroplane [craft], whose
speed is equal to that of the earth, heading towards the West from the East. The craft
went into orbit around the earth for some time. In such a case, the five prayers should be
performed in every twenty-four hour period with the niyyah of alqurbal mutlaqah (The
intention for prayer done with a view to seeking nearness to Allah, i.e. without
designating whether it is adaa or qadhaa). As for fasting, it
should later be performed qadhaa.
- If the speed of the [space craft] was double that of the earth, the cycle is,
naturally, completed in periods of twelve hours. Is it obligatory on the traveller to
perform Subh prayer at every dawn, Dhuhr and Asr prayers at every
noon time, and Maghrib and Isha at every sunset?
- As a matter of ihtiyat luzumi, [one should perform prayers in the manner
suggested by the question, i.e. five prayers every twelve hours].
If, for example, the space craft orbited the earth at three-hour intervals or less,
evidently it is not obligatory to perform prayers at every dawn, noon, and sunset. As a
matter of ihtiyat, one should perform prayers at twenty-four hour cycles with the niyyah
of alqurbal mutlaqah. To do so, one should take into consideration the
occurrence of Subh prayer between two dawns, Dhuhr and Asr between a
noon and a sunset that follows it, and Maghrib and Isha between a sunset and
a midnight that follows it.
To sum up, if the movement of the craft was from the West to East and its speed was
equivalent to that of the earth, evidently prayers should be performed at their prescribed
times. Similarly, if its speed was less than that of the earth, or it was much more than
that of the earth, such as the cycle is completed every three hours, the rules that should
be applied are as discussed in the preceding paragraph.
(76) The nature of business or job of a mukallaf is such
that he should fast during travelling time. Dawn broke while he is still in his home town.
He decided to travel by air with the intention of fasting. If he arrives at an other town
while the dawn has not yet broken, is it permissible for him to eat and drink and do
Evidently, it is permissible.
(77) During the month of Ramadhan, a traveller set on a
journey from his home town badaz zawaal (after the sun disc has declined
toward the West). He arrived at another town where the sun was still in a position before zawaal.
Is it obligatory on him to abstain from eating and drinking, and thus complete his
As a matter of ihtiyat, it is the case.
(78) The nature of business or job of a mukallaf is such
that he should fast during travelling time. He travelled from his home town where he
sighted the new moon of Ramadhan, and arrived at another destination where no
sighting has taken place. This is because the two destinations are located in two
different horizons. It is not obligatory on him to fast for that day.
The new moon of Shawwal was sighted in a town and Eid (festivities
marking the end of the fasting season) was celebrated. Then the mukallaf made a
journey to another town, where the moon has not yet been sighted for difference of their
horizons. As a matter of ihtiyat, abstaining from eating and drinking should be
maintained for the rest of that day. Fasting could be performed at later date.
(79) If the mukallaf was in a place where day light goes
for six months on end and so as night, he should, as a matter of ihtiyat, observe
the changing of day and night in a twenty-four hour cycle in the nearest town to where he
lives. He could then perform the five prayers according to the time table of that town
with the niyyah of al qurbal mutlaqah. As for fasting, he could move to a
town where he could be able to perform fasting, either during Ramadhan or later. If
neither is possible fidya (redemption) for not fasting should be in order.
The mukallaf is in a town that has day and night in a twenty-four hour cycle.
The proportion, however, of day and night is such that day light is twenty-three hours and
night time is one hour, or vice versa. The rules regarding prayer times should follow the
sequence of day and night.
As for fasting Ramadhan, it should be performed as best as he could. Otherwise,
it does not become obligatory. If it was possible to fast in lieu, it becomes obligatory.
If not, fidya for not fasting becomes due.