Book of the Fear Prayer

The Sahih Collection of al-Bukhari

by Imam Bukhari
Translated by: Ustadha Aisha Bewley

Chapter 18. Book of the Fear Prayer

I. The Fear Prayer

And the words of Allah Almighty, "When you are travelling in the land, there is nothing wrong in your shortening the prayer if you fear that those who reject might harrass you. The rejectors are your clear-cut enemies. When you are with them and are leading them in the prayer, a group of them should stand with you keeping hold of their weapons. When they prostrate, the others should be behind you. Then the other group who have not prayed should come and pray with you. They too should be careful and keep hold of their weapons. Those who reject would like you to be negligent of your arms and equipment so that they can swoop down on you once and for all. There is nothing wrong, if you are bothered by rain or you are ill, in laying your weapons down; but take every precaution. Allah has prepared a humiliating punishment for the rejectors." (4:101-102)

900. It is related that Shu'ayb said, "I asked az-Zuhri, 'Did the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, pray it, meaning. the Fear Prayer?' He said, 'Salim informed me that 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar said, "I went on an expedition with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, in the direction of Najd. We faced the enemy, forming up into rows opposite them. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, stood up to lead us in the prayer and one group stood to pray with him while another group faced the enemy. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, did ruku' and did two prostrations with those with him. Then that group took the place of those who had not yet prayed. They came and the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, did ruku' once with them and did two prostrations. Then he said the taslim and then all of them stood up and bowed and did two prostrations for themselves."'"

II: The Fear Prayer while on foot or mounted

901. Something similar to what Mujahid said is related by Ibn 'Umar, "When battle has been joined they can pray standing." And Ibn 'Umar added from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, "If the enemy are greater in number then pray standing or mounted."

III: Some people standing guard over others during the Fear Prayer

902. It is related that Ibn 'Abbas said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, stood and the people stood with him. He said the takbir and they said the takbir with him. He went into ruku' and some of the people went into ruku' with him. Then he went into sajda and they went into sajda with him. Then he stood up for the second rak'at and those who had done sajda stood and guarded their brothers and the second group came and went into ruku' and sajda with him. All the people did the prayer, but guarded one another at the same time."

IV: The prayer when besieging fortresses and encountering the enemy

Al-Awza'i said, "If victory is imminent and there is no possibility of people doing the prayer, then everyone should pray individually by gesture. If they cannot make the gestures, then they should delay the prayer until the fighting is over or they are in a safe place and then pray two rak'ats. If this is not possible for them they should pray one rak'at with two sajdas. If they cannot do this, saying the takbir alone is not sufficient and they should delay the prayer until they are really secure." Makhul said this.

Anas said, "I was present at the siege of the fortress of Tustar, arriving when the dawn was coming up. The fighting was intense and the people could not pray. We did not pray until well into the day when we did the prayer with Abu Musa and were granted victory." Anas said, "I would not take this world and everything in it in exchange for that prayer."

[Tustar was a well-known city in Iraq.]

903. It is related that Jabir ibn 'Abdullah said, "On the Day of the Ditch 'Umar ibn al-Khattab came and began to curse the unbelievers of Quraysh and then said, 'Messenger of Allah, I have not prayed 'Asr and the sun has almost set.' The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'And, by Allah, I too have not yet prayed it.' He went down to Buthan and did wudu' and prayed 'Asr after the sun had set and then then prayed Maghrib after it."

[Buthan is a wadi in Madina.]

V: The prayer of the pursuer and the pursued by gesture while riding

Al-Walid said, "I mentioned to al-Awza'i the fact that Shurahbil ibn as-Simt and his companions had done the prayer on the backs of their animals and he said, 'That is how it was with us when we were afraid of missing the prayer.'" Al-Walid used as a proof the words of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, "No one should do pray 'Asr before they get to Banu Qurayza."

904. It is related that Ibn 'Umar said, "When the Prophet. may Allah bless him and grant him peace, returned to us from the Battle of the Parties (Ahzab), he said, 'No one should pray 'Asr before they get to Banu Qurayza. For some of them 'Asr became due on the way. Some people said, 'We will not pray until we get there.' Others said, 'No, we should do the prayer. That was not what he meant.' This was mentioned to the Prophet and he did not rebuke any of them."

[This is the Battle of the Ditch.]

VI: The takbir and doing Subh while it is still dark. The prayer at the time of attack and in battle

905. It is related from Anas ibn Malik that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, prayed Subh while it was still dark, then mounted his riding animal and said, "Allah is greater! Khaybar is destroyed. When we alight in a people's square it is a bad morning for those who have been warned.' The people came running out into the streets and saying, 'Muhammad and the army!'(He said that khamis means army) The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, defeated them and their fighting men were killed and children taken captive. Safiyya went first to Dihya al-Kalbi and then to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, who then married her and made her bride-price her freedom."

'Abdu'l-'Aziz asked Thabit, "Abu Muhammad, did you ask Anas what her dower was?" He replied, "Her dower was herself," and he smiled.