Bismillahi Al-Rahmani Al-Rahim
Combining Prayers While Resident
I recently attended a Janaza in London, the janaza prayer was held in a Masjid at (approx) 1:30pm after the Zuhr salat (1:15 pm). After the Zuhr prayer a group of Salafis decided to combine it with the Asr prayer (praying 4 rakats since they were not travellers). However Asr was not due in until 1:40 pm (majority time) or 2:09 pm (hanafi time).
The reasons they combined the prayers was because the deceased (Allah have mercy on him) had to be buried by 2:30 pm, therefore due to the time limit there was a (so called) likelihood of missing the Asr prayer, also the graveyard (4-6 miles away) would take at least 35 minutes to get to, as there was a lot of traffic. Another reason they use, is to do with a certain hadith of ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) which points to combining prayers without fear, travel or rain, from this hadith they deduce that a resident can combine prayers for no apparent reason. [Shaykh Faraz Rabbani discussed this view. I have included this below my question]
What is the Hanbali (strong or weak) opinion regarding this issue?
wa `alaykum al-salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu
Detailed rulings regarding joining prayers have been mentioned in previous messages (see "Joining Prayers Out Of Hardship"). These rulings indicate how the Hanbali scholars understood the corpus of evidence concerning this issue. I cannot find any way for the actions described above to conform with the Hanbali madhhab. The brothers' attendance of the janza was not personally obligatory, while praying on time is. What was to keep them from stopping to pray on the way or praying `Asr when they got to the grave yard? Allah Most High already makes allowances for what travelers do while traveling: they stop, debark and pray. He even allows them to combine Zuhr and `Asr or Maghrib and Isha`--even if by stopping close to the very end of Zuhr or Maghrib (which works for the Hanafis). It used to be that caravans only had to make two stops each day: one stop to pray Zuhr and `Asr and the other stop right before the end of Isha` to pray Maghrib and Isha` and then a small rest waiting for Fajr to enter.
While the above mentioned case does not work in the Hanbali madhhab, there is a non-mu`tamad position in the Shafi`i madhhab that says that a resident can combine two prayers (just as a traveler does) even when there is no typical excuse, provided that it is not made a habit. This was just mentioned here on the list a day or so ago. Even though some top Shafi`i scholars did champion this opinion it is not the mu`tamad . But it does show the broadness that there is to be found amongst the scholars and it demonstrates precedence for what these brothers did.
And Allah knows best.
wa al-salamu `alaykum