Shortening the Prayer

The Sahih Collection of al-Bukhari

by Imam Bukhari
Translated by: Ustadha Aisha Bewley

Chapter 24. Shortening the Prayer

I: What has come down about shortening the prayer and for how long a stay is it permitted to shorten it

1030. It is related that Ibn 'Abbas said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, once stayed somewhere for nineteen days during which he shortened the prayers. So when we travelled somewhere for nineteen days we would shorten the prayer but if we stayed longer we would do the full prayer."

1031. It is related that Anas was heard to say, "We went out with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, from Madina to Makka and he prayed two rak'ats for every prayer until we returned to Madina. Yahya ibn Ishaq said, "I asked, 'Did you stay in Makka at all?' He replied, 'We stayed for ten days.'"

II: The prayer at Mina

1032. It is related that 'Abdullah said, "I prayed two rak'ats at Mina with the Prophet, Abu Bakr and 'Umar, and also with 'Uthman at the beginning of his rule, but he later did the prayer in full."

1033. It is related that Haritha ibn Wahb was heard to say, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, led us in the prayer at Mina doing two rak'ats in a time of peace."

1034. It is related that 'Abdu'r-Rahman ibn Yazid was heard to say, "'Uthman ibn 'Affan led us in prayer at Mina doing four rak'ats. 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud was told about that and he said, 'We belong to Allah and return to Him!' Then he said, 'I prayed two rak'ats with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, at Mina and I prayed two rak'ats with Abu Bakr at Mina, and I prayed two rak'ats with 'Umar ibn al-Khattab at Mina. Would that I were lucky enough to have two out of the four rak'ats accepted!'"

III: What length of time the Prophet stayed when he went on hajj

1035. It is related that Ibn 'Abbas said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and his Companions arrived on the fourth morning of the month of hajj saying the talbiya. He commanded them to make it an 'umra except for those with sacrificial animals with them."

Jabir corroborated it.

IV: How long must a journey be to shorten the prayer

The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, called travelling a day and a night a journey. Ibn 'Abbas used to shorten the prayer and break the fast for a distance of four burud (postal stages) which is sixteen farsakhs.

1036. It is related from Ibn 'Umar that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "A woman should not travel for three days without a dhu mahram [close male relative]."

1037. See 1036.

Ibn al-Mubarak corroborated it from 'Ubaydullah.

1038. It is related that Abu Hurayra said, "It is not lawful for a woman who believes in Allah and the Last Day to travel the distance of a day and a night without having a mahram with her."

Malik corroborated it from al-Maqburi from Abu Hurayra.

V: You can shorten the prayer when you have left the place you live

'Ali, peace be upon him, led and shortened the prayer even though he could still see the houses. When he returned, he was told, "This is Kufa." He said, "No, not until we enter it."

1039. It is related that Anas said, "I prayed Dhuhr with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, doing four rak'ats in Madina and we prayed two rak'ats at Dhu'l-Hulayfa."

1040. It is related that 'A'isha said, "When the prayers were first made obligatory, they were all two rak'ats. Then the travelling prayer stayed the same but the prayer of the resident was made complete."

Az-Zuhri said, "I asked 'Urwa, 'Why did 'A'isha do the full prayers?' He said, 'She followed the same interpretation as 'Uthman.'"

VI: Praying three rak'ats for Maghrib while travelling

1041. It is related that 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar said, "I saw the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, when he was in a hurry on a journey, delay Maghrib and join it with 'Isha'." Salim said, "'Abdullah used to do that when he was in a hurry on a journey."

Salim added, "Ibn 'Umar used to join Maghrib and 'Isha at Muzdalifa."

Salim said, "Ibn 'Umar delayed Maghrib when he heard that his wife, Safiyya bint Abi 'Ubayd, was dying [or had died]. I said to him, 'The prayer!' He said, 'Carry on.' I said, 'The prayer!' He said, 'Carry on,' until he had gone two or three miles. Then he got down and prayed and said, 'This is how I saw the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, pray when he was travelling in a hurry.' 'Abdullah said, "When the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was travelling in a hurry, I saw him delay Maghrib and then pray it doing three rak'ats. Then he would say the taslim and then after a short time the iqama was said for 'Isha' and he prayed it doing two rak'ats. Then he said the taslim. He did not do any supererogatory prayers after 'Isha' until he got up in the middle of the night."

VII: Supererogatory prayers on animals no matter which way the animal is facing

1042. It is related that 'Amir said: "I saw the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, praying on his mount no matter which way it was facing."

1043. It is related from Jabir ibn 'Abdullah that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to pray supererogatory prayers while he was riding and not facing qibla.

1044. It is related that Nafi' said, "Ibn 'Umar used to pray on his mount and he would also pray the witr on it. He reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to do that."

VIII: Doing the prayer by gesture on an animal

1045. It is related that 'Abdullah ibn Dinar said, "During journeys 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar used to pray on his mount using gestures no matter which way it turned. 'Abdullah said that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to do that." (Muwatta, Book 9, 28)

IX: Dismounting for the obligatory prayers

1046. It is related that 'Amir ibn Rabi'a said, "I saw the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, while riding doing supererogatory prayers by gesturing with his head in whatever direction he was facing, but the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, did not do that for the obligatory prayers."

1047. It is related that Salim said, "'Abdullah used to pray on his mount during the night while travelling and he did not care which way he was facing. Ibn 'Umar said, 'The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to pray superogatory prayers on his mount no matter which way he was facing and he would pray the witr on it, although he did not pray the obligatory prayers on it.'"

1048. It is related from Jabir ibn 'Abdullah that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to pray on his mount towards the East. When he wanted to pray the obligatory prayer, he would dismount and face qibla."

X: Performing supererogatory prayers on a donkey

1049. It is related that Anas ibn Sirin said, "We went to welcome Anas when he came back from Syria and met him at 'Ayn at-Tamr. I saw him praying on a donkey facing that way - meaning to the left of the qibla. I said, 'I saw you praying facing other than the qibla.' He said, 'If I had not seen the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, doing it, I would not have done it.'"

Hajjaj related it from Anas ibn Sirin.

['Ayn at-Tamr: a place in Iraq.]

XI :Someone not doing supererogatory prayers before or after the prayer on journeys

1050. It is related that Hafs ibn 'Asim said, "Ibn 'Umar went on a journey and said, 'I accompanied the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and did not see him do any supererogatory prayers on the journey. Allah, may His mention be exalted, says, 'You have a good model in the Messenger of Allah.' (33:21)"

1051. It is related that Ibn 'Umar was heard to say, "I accompanied the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and he never did more than two rak'ats on journeys. Abu Bakr, 'Umar and 'Uthman also did the same."

XII: Someone doing supererogatory prayers on a journey before but not after the prayers.

The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, did the two rak'ats of Fajr on journeys

1052. It is related that 'Abdu'r-Rahman ibn Abi Layla said, "No one but Umm Hani' informed us that they had seen the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, pray Duha. She mentioned that on the day Makka was conquered, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, did ghusl in her house and prayed eight rak'ats. 'I never saw him do a more rudimentary prayer than it, but he did a complete ruku' and sujud.'"

1054. It is related that 'Amir reported that he had seen the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, during a journey doing supererogatory prayers at night on the back of his animal whichever way it turned.

1055. It is related from Ibn 'Umar that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to do supererogatory prayers on the back of his mount no matter which way it was facing, gesturing with his head. Ibn 'Umar used to do that.

XIII: Joining Maghrib and 'Isha' on a journey.

1055. It is related that Salim's father said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to join Maghrib and 'Isha' when he was in a hurry during a journey."

1056. It is related that Ibn 'Abbas said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to join Dhuhr and 'Asr when he was travelling, and he would also join Maghrib and 'Isha'."

1057. It is related that Anas ibn Malik said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to join the prayers of Maghrib and 'Isha' on a journey."

Hafs corroborated from Anas that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, joined prayers.

XIV: Is there an adhan or iqama when Maghrib and 'Isha' are joined?

1058. It is related that 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar said, "When the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was hurrying during a journey, I saw him delay the Maghrib prayer and join it with 'Isha'." Salim said, "'Abdullah used to do that when he was in a hurry on a journey. He would say the iqama for Maghrib and pray it doing three rak'ats, then say the taslim. After a short time, he would say the iqama for 'Isha' and pray it doing two rak'ats, then say the taslim and not do a single supererogatory rak'at between the two prayers nor any prostration after 'Isha' until he got up in the middle of the night."

1059. It is related that Anas said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to join these two prayers together on a journey - meaning Maghrib and 'Isha'."

XV: Delaying Dhuhr until 'Asr when setting out before noon.

Ibn 'Abbas had this from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.

1060. It is related that Anas ibn Malik said, "When the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, set off on a journey before noon, he would delay Dhuhr until the time of 'Asr and then join the two. If it was past noon, he would pray Dhuhr and then mount."

XVI: When setting off after noon you should pray Dhuhr before mounting

1061. It is related that Anas ibn Malik said, "When the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, set off on a journey before noon, he would delay Dhuhr until the time of 'Asr and then he would dismount and join the two. If it was past noon, he would pray Dhuhr and then mount."

XVII: Praying sitting down

1062. It is related that 'A'isha said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, once prayed in his room when he was ill. He prayed sitting down and some people prayed behind him standing. He indicated to them to sit down. When he had finished, he said, 'The Imam is only appointed to be followed. When he goes into ruku', go into ruku', and when he rises, rise'"

1063. It is related that Anas said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, fell from his horse while riding and his right side was grazed. We went to visit him and the time for the prayer arrived. He led us in the prayer sitting down and we stayed sitting down. He said, 'The Imam is appointed to be followed. Say the takbir when he says the takbir. Go into ruku' when he goes into ruku', and get up when he gets up. When he says, "Allah hears whoever praises Him," say, "Our Lord, praise belongs to You."'"

It is related from 'Imran ibn Husayn that he asked the Prophet.... See 1064.

1064. It is related from 'Imran ibn Husyan, who had piles, "I asked the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, about the prayer of a man sitting down and he said, 'It is better if he prays standing. Someone who prays sitting down has only half the reward of someone standing. And anyone who prays lying down has only half the reward of someone who prays sitting down."

XVIII: Praying by gesture while sitting down

1065. It is related that 'Imran said, "I asked the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, about the prayer of a man sitting down and he said, 'It is better if he prays standing. Someone who prays sitting down has only half the reward of someone standing. And anyone who prays lying down has only half the reward of someone who prays sitting down."

Abu 'Abdullah said, "I think that na'im here means lying down."

XIX: Anyone not able to pray sitting down should pray on his side

'Ata' said, "If he cannot turn towards the qibla, he can pray whichever way he is facing."

1066. It is related that 'Imran ibn Husayn said, "I had piles and asked the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, about the prayer. He said, 'Pray standing. If you cannot do that, then sitting down. If you cannot do that, then on your side."

XX: Someone who prays sitting down and then feels better, can complete it standing

Al-Hasan said, "If a sick person wishes, he can pray two rak'ats standing and two sitting down."

1067. It is related that 'A'isha, Umm al-Mu'minin, said that she never saw the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, praying the night prayers sitting down until late in his life. He would recite sitting down until the time came for ruku' when he would stand up, recite thirty or forty ayats and then go into ruku'. (Muwatta, Book 8, 23)

1068. It is related that 'A'isha, the Umm al-Mu'minin, said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, prayed sitting down and recited while sitting. When about thirty or forty ayats of his recitation remained, he would stand up and recite standing. Then he did ruku' and sajda. He did the same thing in the second rak'at. When his prayer ended he would look over and if I was awake he would talk to me and if I was asleep he would lie down." (Muwatta, Book 8, 24)