Salat Ul Qasr: Shortening of Prayers

bismillahirrahmanirrahim resimleri9
Salat-ul-Qasr means the shortening of prayers usually offered when on a journey. The Quran says, *“And if you travel in the land, there is no sin on you that you shorten your prayers (taqṣurū min al-ṣalāt) if you fear that the unbelievers may harm you.”* [An-Nisa’ 4:101].
Even though the verse mentions ‘fear’ as a condition, it is no longer a requirement. ʿUmar bin al-Khattab(Radhi Allahu Anhu) was asked how it was still permissible to shorten prayers even though there was no ‘fear’ remaining. He replied, “I asked the Prophet (Sallalahu alaihi wasallam) the exact same question, and he said, *‘that is a charity that Allah has given to you, so accept His charity,”* [Muslim].
  • *1. When a person is deemed to be a Musaafir (traveller according to Islamic Shariah) it is Waajib (obligatory) to shorten the Prayer.*
    • [4:101]When you travel on the earth, there is no sin on you in shortening your Salah, if you fear that the disbelievers would put you in trouble. Surely, the disbelievers are an open enemy for you. 
  • *2. A casual reading of the verse indicates that shortening of prayer must be done due to fear, however Rasul-ullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and Sahaba(Radhi Allahu Anhu) shortened prayers with or without fear during travel.*
    • Yahya b. Umayya (Radhi Allahu Anhu) said: I told ‘Umar b. al-Khattab  (Radhi Allahu Anhu)that Allah had said:” When you travel on the earth, there is no sin on you in shortening your Salah, if you fear that the disbelievers would put you in trouble “[4:101], whereas the people are now safe. He (Radhi Allahu Anhu) replied: I wondered about it in the same way as you wonder about it, so I asked the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) about it and he said: It is an act of charity which Allah has done to you, so accept His charity. [Muslim]
  • *3. During Travel Salatul Zohar, Asar and Esha are shortened from 4 Rakaat to 2 Rakaat but the rest remain the same.*
    • Narrated Asiha (Radhi Allahu Anha): Two Rakaat were obligated in Makkah, however when Allah’s Apostle (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) migrated to Madinah two (additional) Rakaat were added to it except for Maghrib as it is Wit’r of the day and Morning prayer because it has a long recitation (in it), but whenever Allah’s Apostle (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) travelled he prayed the earlier prayers (i.e. Two Rakaat as the obligation was during Makkah). [Ahmed]
    • Narrated Ibn ‘Umar (Radhi Allahu Anhu): I accompanied Allah’s Apostle (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and he never offered more than two Rakat during the journey. Abu Bakr(Radhi Allahu Anhu) , ‘Umar(Radhi Allahu Anhu) and ‘Uthman (Radhi Allahu Anhu) used to do the same. [Bukhari]


  • *4. There is a consensus of opinion that there is no shortening of Salah for Faj’r and Maghrib.*
  • *5. The majority of scholars in Hanafi, Shaf’ae, Maliki and Hanbali Madhab agree that the minimum required distance for a person to be considered a Musaafir (traveller according to Islamic Shariah) is 4 Burud which is equivalent to 16 Farsakh or 48 (Shariah Miles) or 88 Kilometres or 55 miles.*
    • Ibn Umar (Radhi Allahu Anhu)and Ibn Abbas (Radhi Allahu Anhu) used to shorten their prayers and not fast at a distance of 4 Burud, which is 16 Farsakh [Bukhari]
Note: There is some disagreement in the matter which arises from the Ulama calculating the distance which can be travelled in 3 days (or 1 day) rather then the distance (itself) which is stipulated in the Hadeeth.
  • *6. Intention must be made to travel the minimum distance as stipulated above, without intention the person shall not be deemed a Musaafir (traveller according to Islamic Shariah).*
    • Rasul-ullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, “Every action is based on Intention, and everyone shall havewhat he intended” [Bukhari]
  • 7. Shortening of prayer cannot begin until the person has left the city-limits as this was the practise of Rasul-ullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).
    • Narrated Anas bin Malik (Radhi Allahu Anhu): I offered four Rakat of Zuhr prayer with the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) at Madinah and two Rakat at Dhul-Hulaifa. (i.e. shortened the ‘Asr prayer). [Bukhari]
Note: Dhul-Hulaifa is outside of Madinah.
  • *8. In addition to shortening of prayers Musaafir (traveller according to Islamic Shariah) is also entitled to delay his/her obligatory fasts (to be made up later) and perform Masa’h on the socks for up to 3 days (a resident can only perform Masah for upto 1 day) .*
    • [2:183]O you who believe, the fasts have been enjoined upon you as they were enjoined upon those before you, so that you may be God-fearing,[2:184]for days few in number. However, should any one of you be sick or on a journey, then (he should fast) a number of other days (equal to the missed ones); and those who have the strength, (still, they do not opt for fasting,) on them there is a fidyah (compensation), that is, the feeding of a poor person. Then whoever does good voluntarily, that is better for him. However, that you fast is better for you, if you only knew.
    • Sayyidina Safwan Ibn Assal (Radhi Allahu Anhu) narrates that Rasul-ullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) ordered us to perform Masah on our socks for 3 days and 3 nights during travel and for one day and one night when at home when we had put our socks after Taharah and not to take them off for any reason except for Janabah (sexual cohabitation). [Ahmed]


  • 9. When a person intends to stay at a place for longer then 15 days he/she will cease to be a Musaafir (traveller according to Islamic Shariah) and prayers must be offered in full.
    • Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas (Radhi Allahu Anhu): The Apostle of Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) stayed fifteen days in Mecca in the year of Conquest, shortening the prayer. [Abi Dawud]
Note: There is some disagreement in the matter and other periods (19 days, 17 days, 10 days etc.) are also mentioned , therefore the Hanafi Ulama have adopted the middle period as mentioned in the Hadeeth above.
  • 10 . There was consensus amongst the Sahaba (Radhi Allahu Anhu) that if a person got stranded at a location (without intending it to be so) then he can continue to be a Musaafir (traveller according to Islamic Shariah) and this is the opinion of Hanafi, Maliki and Hanbali Ulama.


  • 1. When a person qualifies as a musāfir according to the Sharī‛ah he is required to offer two rak‛ahs for the Fard of Zuhr, ‛Asr and ‛Ishā’salāh. The other salāhs (sunnah , nafil & wajib)remain as normal.
  • 2. More than two rak‛ahs should not be offered for the Fard of Zuhr, ‛Asr and ‛Ishā’ salāh. If a person mistakenly offered four raka‛āt for thesesalāhs, and he had sat down for Tashahhud (al-Tahiyyāt) in the second rak‛ah, then the first tworak‛ahs will be regarded as Fard and the other two rak‛ahs as nafl.
  • 3. In the above case he will have to make sajdah al-sahw. If he did not make sajdah al-sahw then he must repeat the salāh if its time still remains.
  • 4. If he did not sit in the second rak‛ah then all four raka‛āt will become nafl and he will have to repeat his Fard salāh.



  • 1. A person will remain a musāfir and will continue offering two rak‛ahs for the four-raka‛ātsalāhs until he makes the definite intention of staying at a place for fifteen days or more.
  • 2. The place where he makes this intention is known as his Watan al-Iqāmah. He must offer four raka‛āt salāh here.
  • 3. If he makes the intention of staying for 15 dayswhilst in salāh then he must offer this very salāhas a muqīm i.e. 4 raka‛āt.
*PRINCIPLE:* A musāfir will not become a muqīmuntil he firmly intends to stay at a place for a period of fifteen days from the time he makes this intention.
Witr salāh is wājib. Hence it must be offered whilst on a journey as well. If it is missed then qadā’ must be made.
Sunna Salāh should not be unduly missed during the journey. However if the musāfir is in a hurry then, apart from the Sunna of Fajr, it will be permissible for him to omit the other Sunna salāhs. If he is not in a hurry nor does he fear his companions leaving him behind (for e.g. when he is comfortably residing for a number of days at a place) then he should offer all the Sunnah Salāhs.
There is no reduction in the number of raka‛āt of Sunnah salāh.
It should not be misunderstood that Sunna or Nafl salah cannot be offered whilst on a journey. This is not true.
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Jazak Allah khair! 

One thought on “Salat Ul Qasr: Shortening of Prayers

  1. Pingback: Topics in English | SHURUKH HUSSAIN

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