Bismillahi Al-Rahmani Al-Rahim
What is the exact distance of travel according to the Hanbali mazhab
to combine salats and shorten salats? In Hanafi it is 48 miles, I
have read 3 miles, 15 miles and so on. Please clarify.
wa `alaykum al-salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu
The following passages are from the Hanbali fiqh lessons. The basic text is from Zad al-mustaqni`, with comments from Al-Raud al-murbi` denoted by (b: ...) and comments from the translator denoted by (m: ...).
It is a sunna for anyone traveling a lawful journey longer that four burud (b: whether by land or by sea) (m: 81 km) to shorten four-rak`a prayers to two rak`a upon parting from the buildings of his village or his people's tents.
(b: Prayers that are shortened according to the conditions are not made up if he returns before completing the distance.
Someone who entered Islam, became physically mature, or becomes pure (m: from menstruation or nifas) on a lawful journey may shorten-even if the remaining distance is less than the required distance; but not someone who made repentance (m: from making an unlawful journey).
Someone who has doubts about the distance, does not intend a particular destination, or traveled simply to obtain leniencies [rukhas] may not shorten.)
(When it is necessary to complete)
It is necessary to complete it if he:
(1) begins his prayer (b: while resident) and then travels (b: and likewise: if he begins the journey after the time enters)
(2) (b: begins) traveling and then becomes resident
(3) remembers a prayer (from when he was) resident, or the opposite
(4) follows a resident or someone he doubts about (b: whether the imam is on a journey or resident… And there is no harm in him saying: "If he completes it I complete it, and if he shortens I shorten")
(5) began a prayer which must be prayed completely (b: because he follows a resident or did not intent to shorten) and it became invalidated (b: by ritual impurity and the like) and he repeats it
(6) did not intend to shorten when beginning or is doubtful about his intention
(7) intends to be resident more than four days
(8) is a sailor whose family is with him and he does not intend residency in any land (b: since his journey is not interrupted in addition that he does not move away from his land and family. It is the same for a donkey driver, an animal herder, the Sultan's messenger, and the like. (m: Modern examples would include people who have jobs where the travel itself is part of the job, such as people who work on airplanes, buses, trains, and ships. But someone who travels 81 km or more to get to work should be entitled to shorten. And Allah knows best.)
If he can take two routes and he took the longest, or remembered a prayer missed while on another journey, he shortens.
Prayers can be shortened indefinitely if he:
(1) is held back (m: from traveling) (b: oppressively, or from sickness, rain, and the like) and he does not intend residency
(2) he stays for the sake of carrying out some need without intending to become resident (b: not knowing when he will finish the job) he shortens it indefinitely.
Joining Prayers for Travel, Hardship, or Weather
It is permissible to join between:
(1) Zuhr and `Asr, and Maghrib and `Isha' in either one's time for someone who:
a. is traveling a journey valid for shortening prayers (b: it is not recommended, and leaving it is better. (Kashshaf Al-Qina`a. 2:5))
b. is sick, if not joining prayers enjoins hardship.
c. (b: breast feeds (because of the difficulty of much filth) and similarly: irregular vaginal bleeding [istihadah], inability to make purification of dry ablution for every prayer
d. is incapable of knowing the time, such as someone who is blind
e. has an excuse or is busied by something which permits them to miss the Friday prayer or praying in a group (see (c6.15) Excuses Rescinding the Friday Prayer and the Group Prayer)
(2) Maghrib and `Isha' because of rain soaking clothing (b: when it includes hardship. Snow, hail, and ice are the same) and because of mud and a fierce cold wind- even if he prays in his house, a mosque on a (fully) covered path. It is best to do whatever is gentler, whether delaying or praying early (b: and if they are the same, then delaying is better).
(b: Praying early is better at Muzdalifah, and delaying is better at `Arafah. And everywhere else it is better not to join prayers. (m: According to the madhhab: it is better to shorten and it is better not to join.)
It is always a condition in joining prayer that they be in order.)
(Conditions for the first time)
The (b: three) conditions for joining prayers during the first time are:
(a) intending to join when beginning the (b: first) prayer
(b) not separating between the two prayers except the amount of time for the iqama and making ablution briefly. Praying the sunan prayers associated with the obligatory prayers in between the two prayers invalidates joining (b: and so does making up a missed prayer. It is permissible to speak one or two words)
(c) the excuse being present at the beginning of both prayers and at the taslim of the first prayer (b: since the first prayer is the place for intention, and the taslim of the first prayer and the opening of the second prayer is the place where they are joined. That the excuse remains until finishing the second prayer is not a condition for joining because of rain and the like, contrary to the other excuses.
If the journey ends during the first prayer, joining and shortening becomes void so they are prayed completely, and the prayer is valid as an obligatory prayer. And if the journey ends during the second prayer, it is completed as a supererogatory prayer and the first prayer is a valid as an obligatory prayer).
(Conditions for the second time)
The (b: two) conditions for joining in the second time are:
(a) making intention to join the prayers during the time of the first prayer (b: since whenever it is delayed more than that it becomes a make up prayer, not joining prayers) and while the time is not too constricted to pray it (b: since delaying it until it is too constricted to perform it is unlawful, and it negates the leniency [rukhsah])
(b) the excuse continuing until the second time enters.
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And Allah knows best.
Wa al-salamu `alaykum