Fasting and Shortening the Prayer for the Traveler

Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah was asked  about the traveler in the month of Ramadhan who is fasting and is rebuked for doing so. He is called ignorant, and it is said to him that breaking his fast is better.
And what is the distance required in order to shorten (the prayers)? If the day has begun in which one is to travel does he break his fast? Is the fast broken by those who lease out donkeys for hire, merchants, those who lease out camels, the sailor, and those traveling
by sea? And what is the difference between travelling for an act of obedience and traveling for an act of disobedience?

He Answered:
Praise be to Allah: Breaking the fast for one travelling is permissible according to the agreement of the Muslims, whether one is traveling for Hajj, Jihad, trading etc., or other cases of travels that are not disliked by Allah and His Messenger (salAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam).

They disputed over traveling for an act of disobedience, like one who travels for highway robbery and the like, for which there are two views, and they also disputed over shortening the prayer.

In the case of the journey for which shortening prayer is allowed, breaking the fast is permissible as long as it is later made up according to the agreement of the Imams. Breaking the fast is allowable for the traveler whether he was able to fast or unable to fast,
whether it was easy for him to fast or not. Even if he was traveling in the shade with provisions and a servant, he is allowed to break his fast.

Whoever alleges that breaking the fast is only allowed for one unable to fast, then such a person is to be asked to repent. He either repents, or he is to be killed. Whoever condemns the traveler who breaks his fast is also sought to repent. Whoever says the traveler who breaks his fast commits a sin, he is also sought to repent.

All of these cases contradict the Book of Allah, and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and they contradict the consensus of the Ummah.

It is also the Sunnah for the traveler to pray the four Rak`ah prayer as two Rak`ahs only. Shortening is better than performance of the normal four Rak`ahs of the prayer according to the four Muslim Imams; Malik, Abu Hanifah, Ahmad and Ash Shafi`i in the most correct of his views.

The Ummah did not dispute over the permissibility of breaking fast for the traveler. They disputed over the permissibility of fasting. A group of the predecessors and the successors consider that the one fasting while traveling is like the one breaking his fast while a resident, and that his fast is not rewarded at all and he must make it up. This is
reported from `Abdur-Rahman bin `Awf, Abi Hurayrah, and others among the predecessors. And this is the Madhhab of the Dhahiriyah.

In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that the Prophet (salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “It is not an act of righteousness to fast while traveling” [Bukhari and Muslim]

But the Madhhab of the four Imams is that it is permissible for the traveler to fast or to break his fast.

As reported in the Two Sahihs on the authority of Anas, may Allah be pleased with him: “We used to travel with the Prophet (salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam); some of us would fast, and some of us would break their fast. Neither the fasting would criticize the one breaking his fast, nor would the one breaking his fast criticize the one fasting.”

Allah, the Almighty said: And whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number (of fasting days missed must be made up) from other days. Allah intends ease for you, and He does not want to make things difficult for you.

It is recorded in the Musnad that the Prophet (salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Indeed, Allah likes that His permission be adopted, just as He hates that acts of disobedience be committed” [Ahmad bin Hanbal]

It is recorded in the Sahih that a man said to the Prophet (salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam): “I am a man that fasts often. Am I allowed to fast while traveling?”

He (salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:
“If you break your fast, this is good. And if you fast, there is no harm.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

In another Hadith he (salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:
“The best among you are those who shorten their prayers and do not fast while traveling.” [Abdur-Razzaq]

As for the distance for shortening the prayer and breaking one’s fast: In accordance with the Madhhab of Malik, Ash Shafi`I and Ahmad, it is a journey of two days on foot or by camels. It is sixteen Farsakhs (approx. three miles each), equal to the distance between
Makkah and Usfan, or Makkah and Jeddah.

Abu Hanifah said it is a journey of three days. A group of the predecessors and the successors said that one is permitted to shorten the prayer and break the fast for traveling for less than two days. This is a strong view since it is confirmed that the Prophet (salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would perform the prayer at `Arafah, Muzdalifah, and
Mina in shortened fashion. Behind him were the inhabitants of Makkah and others following him. He did not command any of them to complete the prayer.

If one travels during a day, it is permissible for him to break his fast? There are two wellknown sayings of the scholars of Fiqh, both of which are reported via two narrations from Ahmad.

The Most apparent one of them is that it is allowed. As confirmed in the Sunan that some of them companions used to break his fast if they initiated their journey during the day, and they mentioned that it was a Sunnah of the Prophet (salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam).

It is confirmed in the Sahih that the Prophet intended to travel while fasting, then he asked for a water container and broke his fast while the people were watching him. [Bukhari and Muslim]

As for the second day (of the travel), undoubtedly, one breaks his fast, even if his journey is only for two days, according to the majority of the Imams and the Ummah.

But if the traveler returns during the second day, the scholars of Fiqh have different wellknown views about the obligation of breaking his fast. But he has to make it up whether he breaks his fast or not.

Those who regularly travels, breaks his fast when he has a place to resort to. Like the trader who imports food and other commodities, the one who hires out his mounts, the

courier who travels for the Muslim interests and the like. The sailor who has a place on the land where he lives, they all have the same ruling.

As for the one who has his household with him on the ship and permanently travels, he is not permitted either to shorten the prayer nor to break his fast.

The dwellers of the desert, like the Bedouin Arabs, the Kurds, the Turks who spend winter in one place and spend summer in another place – while they are traveling from their winter residence to their summer residence they shorten prayers. When they reach
their winter or summer residences they are not permitted to shorten their prayers nor to break their fast, even if they were moving from one location to another in search of pastures.

And Allah knows best.

(taken from ‘The Nature of Fasting’ published by Darussalam)

Ahmad Ibn Taymiyah The Reformer

(Taken from the book Evolution of Fiqh p144 by Bilal Philips)

Ahmad Ibn Taymiyah (1263-1328CE) was the foremost among the reformers of this period. Because of his challenge of the status quo, many of his contemporaries declared him an apostate and had the authorities jail him repeatedly.

Ibn Taymiyah was, however, one of the greatest scholars of his time. Initially, he had studied fiqh according to the Hanbali madh-hab, but did not restrict himself to it.

He studied the sources of Islamic law in depth and mastered all the Islamic sciences which were known at that time. Furthermore, he examined the writings of various sects which had broken off from Islam, studied the religious books of the Christians, the Jews and their various sects and wrote extensive critiques on all of them.

Ibn Taymiyah also took part in the Jihad against the Mongols who had occupied the eastern and northern provinces of the Abbasid state and were at the time threatening Egypt and North Africa.

Ibn Taymiyah’s students were among the greatest Islamic scholars of their time and carried on to the next generation the banner of Ijtihad and a return to the pure sources of Islam which he had raised. Among them was Ibn Qayyim, a great scholar in the fields of Fiqh and hadith, adh-Ddhahabi, a master in the science of hadith criticism and Ibn Katheer, a master in Tafseer, history and hadith.

Articulating the Intention

(Translated by Abu Rumaysah)

Shaykh al-Islaam ibn Taymiyyah was asked:

Question 1:
Concerning the one who causes confusion in the lines of prayer and those around him by articulating the intention loudly. This was objected to but it did not deter him from persisting in this. A person said to him, ‘what you are doing is not from the religion of Allaah and you are contradicting the Sunnah.’ He replied, ‘this is from the religion of Allaah which He sent His Messengers with and it is obligatory upon every Muslim to do this and similarly the Qur’aan should be recited loudly behind an imaam.’ So did the Messenger of Allaah (SAW) or any one of his Companions use to do this? Or any one of the four Imaams or any of the Muslim scholars? And if the Messenger of Allaah (SAW) and his Companions and the scholars did not do this in prayer then what is obligatory upon the one who attributes this to them and does this? Is it permissible for a Muslim to come to his aid with even one word if he does this and attributes this to the religion by saying to those who are objecting, ‘everything that he is doing in his religion is what he desires and your objection is based upon ignorance!’ So are they correct in this or not?

The Answer:

All praises and thanks are due to Allaah. Articulating the intention in a loud voice is not legislated according to the opinion of all the Muslim scholars. The Messenger of Allaah (SAW) did not do it and neither did his Khaleefs, Companions, or the Salaf of this nation and their Imaams do it. Hence whosoever claims that this is part of the Religion of Allaah and that it is obligatory then it is necessary to teach him the Sharee’ah and ask him to repent from this opinion and if he still persists in this saying then he is to be killed. Rather the intention that is obligatory for the actions of worship such as wudu, ghusl, salaah, siyaam and zakaah etc. finds its place in the heart by agreement (ittifaaq) of the Imaams of the Muslims.

The intention is the desire to do something and the place for desire is in the heart and not upon the tongue by agreement of those possessing intelligence. So if a person were to intend something in his heart then this intention would be correct and proper according to the four Imaams and in fact all of the Imaams of the Muslims – their former ones and latter ones – there is no difference concerning this arising from those that deserve to be followed and those whose rulings deserve to be paid consideration.

However some of the later followers of the Imaams thought that the articulation of the intention was obligatory but they did not say that doing so in a loud voice was obligatory but despite this, this opinion is erroneous, contradicting the consensus (ijmaa) of the Muslims. This due to the fact that it is known by necessity in the Religion of Islaam to the one who knows the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah (SAW) and the sunnah of his Khaleefs and knows how the Companions and their students used to pray that they did not articulate the intention and neither did the Prophet (SAW) command them to do so and neither did he teach this to any of his Companions.

Instead it is established in the Saheehs of Bukhaaree and Muslim that he (SAW) said to the Bedouin, “when you stand for prayer say the takbeer and then recite what is easy for you from the Qur’aan.”

In the Sunan it is reported from him (SAW) that he said, “the key to prayer is purification, it is entered by saying the takbeer and exited by saying the tasleem.”

In Saheeh Muslim from Aa’ishah (RA) that the Prophet (SAW) used to start the prayer by saying the takbeer and reciting ‘All praise is due to Allaah….’ [I.e. al-Faatihah].

It is established by mutawaatir transmission and the consensus of the Muslims that the Prophet (SAW) and the Companions used to commence the prayer with the takbeer and it is not reported by a Muslim, neither from the Prophet (SAW) or from his Companions, that they used to articulate the intention be it silently or loudly. It is known that had the case been otherwise then for sure it would have been reported just as it is known that it is impossible according to the Sharee’ah and habit for the people reporting something mutawaatir to hide such a thing, therefore due to the fact that no-one reports this it is safe to say with certainty that it did not occur.

This is why the later Legal Jurists differed over whether articulating the intention was something recommended alongside the intention in the heart. A group of the followers of Abu Haneefah, ash-Shaafi’ee and Ahmad considered it to be recommended while another group of the followers of Maalik, Ahmad and others did not consider it to be recommended, this being textually reported by Ahmad and others. Rather this latter group considered it to be a despicable innovation saying that had it been recommended then the Messenger of Allaah (SAW) would have done it or at least ordered it for he (SAW) explained everything that would cause one to draw close to Allaah, especially the prayer whose manner of performance is to be taken only from him. It is established from him in the Saheeh that he said, “pray as you have seen me praying.” Therefore this group said that adding this articulation to the prayer is of the same level as adding new actions of worship (to the Religion) such as the one who adds the adhaan and iqaamah to the Eed prayers or the one who adds two rak’ahs of prayer on Marwah while performing the circuit between Safah and Marwah.

Furthermore they said that articulating the intention is also wrong according to the intellect for the saying of someone ‘I intend to do so and so’ is of the same level as him saying ‘I intend to eat this food so that I may satisfy my appetite’ or ‘I intend to wear these clothes so that I may cover myself’ and other such intentions which are already present in the heart and therefore repugnant to articulate. Allaah said,

“Say: would you teach Allaah your religion when Allaah knows whatsoever is in the heavens and the earth?” [49:16]

A group of the Salaf said concerning the saying of Allaah, “we feed you seeking only the Face of Allaah” [76:9] – ‘they did not say this upon their tongues rather Allaah knew this from their hearts and informed us of this.’

In summary: there is no difference over the necessity of having the intention in the heart, as for articulating the intention then there is a difference amongst the later scholars whether it is detestable or recommended. As for articulating it loudly then this is detestable, forbidden and not legislated by agreement of the Muslims, the same goes for repeating the articulation in a louder voice.

This is true for the one leading the prayer, the one following the imaam and the one who is praying alone. It is not legislated for all of these to articulate the intention loudly or repeat this articulation by agreement of the Muslims rather they forbid this, rather it is not allowed even for the one who is praying alone to recite loudly in the case that this harms someone else. The Messenger of Allaah (SAW) went to his Companions while they were praying and said, “all of you are intimately conversing with his Lord so do not recite over each other.” As for the one who is following an imaam then the Sunnah is for him to recite silently by agreement of the Muslims, but if he were to, on some occasions, say a part of the dhikr loudly then there is no problem in this, for example if the imaam were to sometimes say a verse loudly in a prayer which is to be read silently. It is established in the Saheeh from Abu Qataadah that he (SAW) would sometimes let them hear a verse in the Dhuhr and Asr prayers.

And it is established in the Saheeh that from the Companions who were following him (SAW) in prayer were some who would say the opening supplication loudly and say the supplication when rising from ruku’ loudly and the Prophet (SAW) did not object to any of this.

The one who persists in performing a bid’ah and considering it to be good then it is desirable to punish him in such a way that would deter him and those like him from such things. Whosoever attributes something false to the Messenger of Allaah (SAW) has erred and if he knows and does not repent then he is to be punished. It is not lawful for anyone to speak about the religion without knowledge or to introduce into the religion something that is not part of it.

As for the saying, ‘everyone can do in his religion what he desires’ then this is a serious statement that is obligatory to repent from and if it is not then its proponent should be punished, rather persisting upon the likes if this statement necessitates killing. It is not upon anyone to do anything in the religion except for that which has been legislated by Allaah and His Messenger and not to do anything based on his whims and desires. Allaah says,

“And who is more misguided then one who follows his desires without guidance from Allaah?”[28:50]
“And many are misguided by their desires through ignorance.”[6:119]

“And do not follow desires such that you are misguided from the Way of Allaah”[38:26]

“And do not follow the desires of a people who were aforetime misguided and misguided many and went far astray.”[5:77]

“Do you see the one who has taken his desires as his god? Would you be a guardian over him? Or do you think that most of them hear or understand? They are as cattle – nay, further astray.”[25:43-44]

“And no by your Lord they cannot have faith until they make you to judge the disputes between them and then not find in themselves any aversion to what you have ruled and submit totally.”[4:65]

And it is reported (ruwiya) from the Prophet (SAW) that he said, “by the One in Whose Hand is my soul, none of you can have faith until his very desires comply to what I have come with.”{1} Allaah said,

“Do you not see those who pretend that they have believed in what has been revealed to you and what has been revealed before you desiring to seek the ruling of Taaghut when they have been commanded to reject it. Satan desires to misguide them far astray. And when it is said to them: Come to what Allaah has revealed and to the Messenger you see the hypocrites turn from you in aversion.” [4:60-61]

“Or do they have partners with Allaah who legislate in the religion that which Allaah has not given permission for?” [42:21]

“Alif Laam Meem Saad. A Book that is revealed to you so let there be no aversion in your heart from it, that you may warn thereby and a Reminder to the believers. Follow that which has been revealed from your Lord and do not follow any other protectors besides Him. Little do you take heed!” [7:1-3]

“And if the Truth had followed their desires then indeed the heavens and the earth and whosoever is in there would have been corrupted.” [23:71]

The verses like this in the Qur’aan are many and clarify that it is upon the servant to follow the truth which Allaah sent His Messenger with and not make his religion based upon his desires.

And Allaah knows best.

[Fataawaa al-Kubraa 1/5-8]


{1} The hadeeth is reported as one of an-Nawawee’s 40 Hadeeth and it is da’eef. Refer to ‘Jaami al-Uloom wal Hikm’ (2: 317-318) of ibn Rajab al-Hanbalee. It was also declared da’eef by al-Albaanee in his checking to ‘as-Sunnah’ of ibn Abee Aasim and in his notes upon ‘Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh.’ Ibn Taymiyyah was correct in not attributing this hadeeth with certainty to the Messenger of Allaah (SAW) and in using a term which denotes that he considered the hadeeth to be inauthentic.

credits to

Issues Regarding Supplicating In the Prayer

“…and what is commonly narrated from Ahmad is that one should not supplicate in the prayer except with those supplications that are specifically legislated and narrated from the Prophet, as al-Athram said:

“I asked Ahmad: “With what should I supplicate after the tashahhud?” So, Ahmad said: “With what is narrated.” So, I said to him: “Did the Messenger of Allah not say: “…then let him choose from the supplications whatever he wishes…”?” Ahmad said: “He chooses from the narrated supplications whatever he wishes,”” – and this is the meaning of the words of Ahmad.

And I have previously clarified some of the principles regarding this, because of His Saying: {“Verily, Allah does not love the transgressors…”} [al-A’raf; 55], and because not all forms supplication are allowed. Rather, from the supplications are those that constitute excessiveness and transgression, and are forbidden, and the supplications which are legislated contain no transgression. Transgression in supplication can sometimes be in the form of excessive wording, and can sometimes be in regards to the meaning, just as one of the Companions explained to his son when some said: ‘O Allah! I ask You for a white palace in the right section of Paradise if I enter it,’ and another said: ‘I ask You for the Paradise, its palaces, and its rivers, and I seek refuge with You from the Fire, its chains, and its shackles.’ So, the man said to his son: “My son! Just ask Allah for Paradise, and seek refuge with Him from the Fire, as I heard the Messenger of Allah say: “There will be in this nation those who are excessive in supplication and purification.”“

And transgression can occur in regards to worship and zuhd, and the statement of Ahmad regarding limiting oneself to the narrated supplications is a good one, as the point is to make a supplication that is loved by Allah, not just supplicating for the sake of supplicating, as from the supplications are those that are forbidden.

So, if it is said that the supplications that are allowed outside of prayer are also allowed during the prayer – such as one asking for a house, or a beautiful slave girl – it is then asked: who even said that such types of supplications are legislated outside of the prayer, and that such wordings do not constitute transgression and excessiveness? Here, it should be said that the supplication that is mustahabb is that which is legislated, as istihbab of a particular act is determined by the Legislator. So, whatever He has not specifically legislated is not mustahabb. Rather, it constitutes legislating in the Religion that which Allah did not allow, and supplication is the greatest aspect of this religion.

However, if one supplicates with something that he does not know is mustahabb, or knows that it is allowed without being mustahabb, his prayer is not invalidated due to this, as prayer is invalidated due to the speech of the people, and supplication is not from the speech of the people. Rather, it is just as if one were to praise Allah in a wording that was not specifically legislated, and this was reported from some of the Companions during the time of the Prophet, and he did not reprimand them for praising Allah in a manner that was not legislated at that time. Rather, one would only be deprived of the reward if they were to supplicate like this.

And from the supplication is that which is makruh without invalidating the prayer, as well as that which would invalidate the prayer, and supplications can be divided into five types:

– those that are legislated, and these include the wajib and mustahabb;
– those that are mubah (allowed) and are not mustahabb, and these do not invalidate the prayer;
– those that are makruh, and these do not invalidate the prayer, and are like if one were to turn his face in the prayer, say the tashahhud during the standing, or recite the Qur’an during the sitting;
– those that are forbidden, and these invalidate the prayer, as they are considered to be human speech;

So, this is an analysis of the statement of Ahmad, as the prayer is not invalidated by making a supplication that is not narrated from the Prophet. However, it is not mustahabb to do so, as nothing can be mustahabb that is not legislated. He also clarified that the choice given is from those supplications that are legislated, and that the legislated supplications can be in the form of the exact wording, or they can be in the form of the general meaning, provided that the Prophet did not restrict the supplication to just one wording, as in the case of the Qur’an.”

[‘Majmu’ al-Fatawa’; 22/231-232]