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)

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Ibn Taymiyyah’s Daily Routine

al-Imam al-Bazzar wrote a long, first hand account of the life of Ibn Taymiyyah, who was his personal friend and companion. The book is called ‘al-A’lam al-’Aliyyah fi Manaqib Ibn Taymiyyah,’ and this is a very, very small glimpse from it:

“During the nights, he would separate himself from everybody, secluding himself with his Lord, strictly maintaining his recitation of the Mighty Qur’an, and repeating the various types of daily and nightly worship.

When the night was over, he would rejoin the people for the Fajr prayer, praying the optional prayer before meeting them. When he would begin the prayer, your heart would want to fly from its place just from the way in which he would make takbirat al-ihram. When he would begin the prayer, his limbs would shake, moving him left and right. When he would recite, he would elongate his recitation, just as was authentically reported in regards to the recitation of the Messenger of Allah. His bowing and prostration, as well as his coming up from them, are from the most complete of what has ever been reported in regards to the obligatory prayer. And he would severely lighten his sitting for the first tashahhud, and would say the first taslim out loud, to the point that everyone who was present would hear it…

…And I came to know that it was his habit that nobody would speak to him unless absolutely necessary after the morning prayer. He would remain in a state of dhikr of Allah, listening to himself. Sometimes, he would let those sitting next to him listen to his dhikr, all the while constantly turning his eyesight to the sky. He would remain in such a state until the Sun rose, and the time in which prayer is forbidden had passed.

During my stay in Damascus with him, I would spend some of the day and most of the night with him. He would draw me near to him, sitting me beside him. I would hear what he would recite and repeat, and I saw that he would repeat ‘al-Fatihah’ over and over again, and would spend all of his time between Fajr and sunrise doing this.

So, I kept thinking to myself, wondering: why would he recite this specific chapter of the Qur’an in exclusion to the others? Eventually, it became clear to me – and Allah Knows best – that his intention in doing so was to combine with his recitation between what was narrated in the ahadith and what was discussed by the scholars, in regards to whether the narrated adhkar should take precedence over recitation of the Qur’an, or vice versa. So, he saw that in repeating ‘al-Fatihah,’ he could combine between both opinions, and reap the benefits of both actions, and this was from his strength in logic and depth of insight.

After this, he would pray Duha, and if he wanted to hear Hadith in another place, he would rush to that place with whoever was with him at the time.

It was rare that any intelligent person would see him and not come and kiss his hands. Even the busiest of businessmen would walk from what they were doing to greet him and seek his blessings. With all of this, he would give everyone of them their share of time, greetings, etc.

If he saw any evil in the street, he would work to remove it, and if he heard of a funeral taking place, he would rush to pray in it, or would apologize for missing it. Sometimes, he would go to the grave of the deceased after he finished listening to Hadith and pray over it.

Afterwards, he would return to his mosque, where he would remain either giving fatawa to the people or fulfilling their needs, until it was time to pray Dhuhr in congregation. He would spend the rest of the day in such a manner.

His classes were general for the old, the young, the wealthy, the poor, the free, the slave, males, and females. He appealed to everyone that would pass by him of the people, and everyone of them would feel that Ibn Taymiyyah was treating them better than he was treating anyone else present.

He would then pray Maghrib, and would follow it up with as much optional prayer as Allah made possible. I, or someone else, would then read his writings to him, and he would benefit us with various points and notes. We would do this until we prayed ‘Isha’, after which we would continue as we were before, delving into the various fields of knowledge. We would do this until much of the night had passed. During this entire time – night and day – Ibn Taymiyyah would constantly remember Allah, mention His Oneness, and seek His forgiveness.

And he would constantly raise his eyesight to the sky, and would not stop doing this, as if he saw something there that kept his eyesight hooked. He would do this for as long as I was staying with him.

So, Subhan Allah! How short were these days! If only they were longer! By Allah, until this day, there has never been a time in my life that is more beloved to me than the time I spent with him, and I was never seen in a better state than I was at that time, and this was for no other reason than the barakah of the Shaykh, may Allah be Pleased with him.

Every week, he would visit the sick, especially those at the hospital.

I have been informed by more than one person – whose trustworthiness I do not doubt – that the entire life of the Shaykh was spent in the way that I witnessed (and described above). So, what worship, and what jihad is better than this

credits to iskandrani.wordpress.com