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Salat Al-Qasr, Shortening the Prayer

Allah said,

﴿ وَإِذَا ضَرَبۡتُمۡ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ

(And when you Darabtum in the land,) meaning if you travel in the land. In another Ayah, Allah said,

﴿ أَن سَيَكُونُ مِنكُم مَّرۡضَىٰ‌ۙ وَءَاخَرُونَ يَضۡرِبُونَ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ يَبۡتَغُونَ مِن فَضۡلِ ٱللَّهِ‌ۙ وَءَاخَرُونَ

(He knows that there will be some among you sick, others Yadribuna (traveling) through the land, seeking of Allah's bounty...) (73:20). Allah's statement,

﴿ فَلَيۡسَ عَلَيۡكُمۡ جُنَاحٌ أَن تَقۡصُرُواْ مِنَ ٱلصَّلَوٰةِ

(there is no sin on you if you shorten the Salah (prayer)) by reducing (the units of the prayer) from four to two. Allah's statement,

﴿ إِنۡ خِفۡتُمۡ أَن يَفۡتِنَكُمُ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوٓاْ‌ۚ

(if you fear that the disbelievers may put you in trial (attack you)), refers to the typical type of fear prevalent when this Ayah was revealed. In the beginning of Islam, and after the Hijrah, Muslims used to experience fear during most of their travels. Rather, they restricted their movements to large or short military expeditions. During that era, most areas were areas of combatant enemies of Islam and its people. But when the prevalent circumstances cease, or a new situation is prevalent, decrees of this nature may not be understood, as Allah said;

﴿ وَلَا تُكۡرِهُواْ فَتَيَـٰتِكُمۡ عَلَى ٱلۡبِغَآءِ إِنۡ أَرَدۡنَ تَحَصُّنً۬ا

(And force not your slave girls to prostitution, if they desire chastity). And His saying;

﴿ وَرَبَـٰٓٮِٕبُڪُمُ ٱلَّـٰتِى فِى حُجُورِڪُم مِّن نِّسَآٮِٕكُمُ

(And your stepdaughters, under your guardianship, born of your wives whom you have gone into) Imam Ahmad recorded that Ya`la bin Umayyah said, "I asked `Umar bin Al-Khattab about the verse:

﴿ فَلَيۡسَ عَلَيۡكُمۡ جُنَاحٌ أَن تَقۡصُرُواْ مِنَ ٱلصَّلَوٰةِ إِنۡ خِفۡتُمۡ أَن يَفۡتِنَكُمُ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوٓاْ‌ۚ

(there is no sin on you if you shorten the prayer. If you fear that the disbelievers may put you in trial,) e `Allah granted Muslims safety now' `Umar said to me, `I wondered about the same thing and asked the Messenger of Allah about it and he said,

« صَدَقَةٌ تَصَدَّقَ اللهُ بِهَا عَلَيْكُمْ فَاقْبَلُوا صَدَقَتَه »

(A gift that Allah has bestowed on you, so accept His gift).'' Muslim and the collectors of Sunan recorded this Hadith. At-Tirmidhi said, "Hasan Sahih''. `Ali bin Al-Madini said, "This Hadith is Hasan Sahih from the narration of `Umar, and it is not preserved by any other route besides this one, and its narrators are all known.'' Abu Bakr Ibn Abi Shaybah recorded that Abu Hanzalah Al-Hadha' said, "I asked Ibn `Umar about the Qasr prayer and he said, `It consists of two Rak`ahs.' I said, what about Allah's statement,

﴿ إِنۡ خِفۡتُمۡ أَن يَفۡتِنَكُمُ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوٓاْ‌ۚ

(if you fear that the disbelievers may put you in trial (attack you),) `We are safe now.' He said, `This is the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah .'''. Al-Bukhari recorded that Anas said, "We went out with the Messenger of Allah from Al-Madinah to Makkah; he used to pray two Rak`ahs until we went back to Al-Madinah.'' When he was asked how long they remained in Makkah, he said, "We remained in Makkah for ten days.'' This was recorded by the Group. Imam Ahmad recorded that Harithah bin Wahb Al-Khuza`i said, "I prayed behind the Prophet for the Zuhr and `Asr prayers in Mina, when the people were numerous and very safe, and he prayed two Rak`ahs.'' This was recorded by the Group, with the exception of Ibn Majah. Al-Bukhari's narration of this Hadith reads, "The Prophet led us in the prayer at Mina during the peace period by offering two Rak`ahs. ''

﴿ وَإِذَا كُنتَ فِيہِمۡ فَأَقَمۡتَ لَهُمُ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ فَلۡتَقُمۡ طَآٮِٕفَةٌ۬ مِّنۡہُم مَّعَكَ وَلۡيَأۡخُذُوٓاْ أَسۡلِحَتَہُمۡ فَإِذَا سَجَدُواْ فَلۡيَكُونُواْ مِن وَرَآٮِٕڪُمۡ وَلۡتَأۡتِ طَآٮِٕفَةٌ أُخۡرَىٰ لَمۡ يُصَلُّواْ فَلۡيُصَلُّواْ مَعَكَ وَلۡيَأۡخُذُواْ حِذۡرَهُمۡ وَأَسۡلِحَتَہُمۡ‌ۗ وَدَّ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ لَوۡ تَغۡفُلُونَ عَنۡ أَسۡلِحَتِكُمۡ وَأَمۡتِعَتِكُمۡ فَيَمِيلُونَ عَلَيۡڪُم مَّيۡلَةً۬ وَٲحِدَةً۬‌ۚ وَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيۡڪُمۡ إِن كَانَ بِكُمۡ أَذً۬ى مِّن مَّطَرٍ أَوۡ كُنتُم مَّرۡضَىٰٓ أَن تَضَعُوٓاْ أَسۡلِحَتَكُمۡ‌ۖ وَخُذُواْ حِذۡرَكُمۡ‌ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ أَعَدَّ لِلۡكَـٰفِرِينَ عَذَابً۬ا مُّهِينً۬ا

(102. When you (O Messenger Muhammad ) are among them, and lead them in Salah, let one party of them stand up ﴿in prayer with you, taking their arms with them; when they finish their prostrations, let them take their positions in the rear and let the other party come up which have not yet prayed, and let them pray with you, taking all the precautions and bearing arms. Those who disbelieve wish, if you were negligent of your arms and your baggage, to attack you in a single rush, but there is no sin on you if you put away your arms because of the inconvenience of rain or because you are ill, but take every precaution for yourselves. Verily, Allah has prepared a humiliating torment for the disbelievers.)

The Description of The Fear Prayer

The Fear prayer has different forms, for the enemy is sometimes in the direction of the Qiblah and sometimes in another direction. The Fear prayer consists sometimes of four Rak`ahs, three Rak`ahs, as for Maghrib, and sometimes two Rak`ah like Fajr and prayer during travel. The Fear prayer is sometimes prayed in congregation, but when the battle is raging, congregational prayer may not be possible. In this case, they pray each by himself, facing the Qiblah or otherwise, riding or on foot. In this situation, they are allowed to walk and fight, all the while performing the acts of the prayer. Some scholars said that in the latter case, they pray only one Rak`ah, for Ibn `Abbas narrated, "By the words of your Prophet , Allah has ordained the prayer of four Rak`ah while residing, two Rak`ah during travel, and one Rak`ah during fear.'' Muslim, Abu Dawud, An-Nasa'i and Ibn Majah recorded it. This is also the view of Ahmad bin Hanbal. Al-Mundhiri said, "This is the saying of `Ata', Jabir, Al-Hasan, Mujahid, Al-Hakam, Qatadah and Hammad; and Tawus and Ad-Dahhak also preferred it.'' Abu `Asim Al-`Abadi mentioned that Muhammad bin Nasr Al-Marwazi said the Fajr prayer also becomes one Rak`ah during fear. This is also the opinion of Ibn Hazm. Ishaq bin Rahwayh said, "When a battle is raging, one Rak`ah during which you nod your head is sufficient for you. If you are unable, then one prostration is sufficient, because the prostration is remembrance of Allah.''

The Reason behind Revealing this Ayah

Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu `Ayyash Az-Zuraqi said, "We were with the Messenger of Allah in the area of `Usfan (a well known place near Makkah), when the idolators met us under the command of Khalid bin Al-Walid, and they were between us and the Qiblah. The Messenger of Allah led us in Zuhr prayer, and the idolators said, `They were busy with something during which we had a chance to attack them.' They then said, `Next, there will come a prayer (`Asr) that is dearer to them than their children and themselves.' However, Jibril came down with these Ayat between the prayers of Zuhr and `Asr,

﴿ وَإِذَا كُنتَ فِيہِمۡ فَأَقَمۡتَ لَهُمُ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ

(When you (O Messenger Muhammad ) are among them, and lead them in Salah (prayer)). When the time for prayer came, the Messenger of Allah commanded Muslims to hold their weapons and he made us stand in two lines behind him. When he bowed, we all bowed behind him. When he raised his head, we all raised our heads. The Prophet then prostrated with the line that was behind him while the rest stood in guard. When they finished with the prostration and stood up, the rest sat and performed prostration, while those who performed it stood up in guard after the two lines exchanged position. The Prophet then bowed and they all bowed after him, then raised their heads after he raised his head. Then the Prophet performed prostration with the line that was behind him, while the rest stood in guard. When those who made prostration sat, the rest prostrated. The Prophet then performed the Taslim and ended the prayer. The Messenger of Allah performed this prayer twice, once in `Usfan and once in the land of Banu Sulaym.''' This is the narration recorded by Abu Dawud and An-Nasa'i, and it has an authentic chain of narration and many other texts to support it. Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, "Once the Prophet led the Fear prayer and the people stood behind him. He said Allahu-Akbar and the people said the same. He bowed and some of them bowed. Then he prostrated and they also prostrated. Then he stood for the second Rak`ah and those who had prayed the first Rak`ah left and guarded their brothers. The second party joined him and performed bowing and prostration with him. All the people were in prayer, but they were guarding one another during the prayer.'' Imam Ahmad recorded that Jabir bin `Abdullah said that the Messenger of Allah led them in the Fear prayer. A group of them stood before him and a group behind him. The Prophet led those who were behind him with one Rak`ah and two prostrations. They then moved to the position of those who did not pray, while the others stood in their place, and the Messenger of Allah performed one Rak`ah and two prostrations and then said the Salam. Therefore, the Prophet prayed two Rak`ah while they prayed one. An-Nasa'i recorded this Hadith, while Muslim collected other wordings for it. Collectors of the Sahih, Sunan and Musnad collections recorded this in a Hadith from Jabir. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Salim said that his father said,

﴿ وَإِذَا كُنتَ فِيہِمۡ فَأَقَمۡتَ لَهُمُ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ

(When you (O Messenger Muhammad ) are among them, and lead them in Salah (prayer)) refers to the Fear prayer. The Messenger of Allah led one group and prayed one Rak`ah, while the second group faced the enemy. Then the second group that faced the enemy came and Allah's Messenger led them, praying one Rak`ah, and then said the Salam. Each of the two groups then stood up and prayed one more Rak`ah each (while the other group stood in guard).'' The Group collected this Hadith with Ma`mar in its chain of narrators. This Hadith also has many other chains of narration from several Companions, and Al-Hafiz Abu Bakr Ibn Marduwyah collected these various narrations, as did Ibn Jarir. As for the command to hold the weapons during the Fear prayer, a group of scholars said that it is obligatory according to the Ayah. What testifies to this is that Allah said;

﴿ وَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيۡڪُمۡ إِن كَانَ بِكُمۡ أَذً۬ى مِّن مَّطَرٍ أَوۡ كُنتُم مَّرۡضَىٰٓ أَن تَضَعُوٓاْ أَسۡلِحَتَكُمۡ‌ۖ وَخُذُواْ حِذۡرَكُمۡ‌ۗ

(But there is no sin on you if you put away your arms because of the inconvenience of rain or because you are ill, but take every precaution for yourselves) meaning, so that when necessary, you will be able to get to your weapons easily,

﴿ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ أَعَدَّ لِلۡكَـٰفِرِينَ عَذَابً۬ا مُّهِينً۬ا

(Verily, Allah has prepared a humiliating torment for the disbelievers).

﴿ فَإِذَا قَضَيۡتُمُ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ فَٱذۡڪُرُواْ ٱللَّهَ قِيَـٰمً۬ا وَقُعُودً۬ا وَعَلَىٰ جُنُوبِڪُمۡ‌ۚ فَإِذَا ٱطۡمَأۡنَنتُمۡ فَأَقِيمُواْ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ‌ۚ إِنَّ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ كَانَتۡ عَلَى ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ كِتَـٰبً۬ا مَّوۡقُوتً۬ا وَلَا تَهِنُواْ فِى ٱبۡتِغَآءِ ٱلۡقَوۡمِ‌ۖ إِن تَكُونُواْ تَأۡلَمُونَ فَإِنَّهُمۡ يَأۡلَمُونَ كَمَا تَأۡلَمُونَ‌ۖ وَتَرۡجُونَ مِنَ ٱللَّهِ مَا لَا يَرۡجُونَ‌ۗ وَكَانَ ٱللَّهُ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا

(103. When you have finished the Salah, remember Allah standing, sitting down, and on your sides, but when you are free from danger, perform the Salah. Verily, Salah is kitaban on the believers at fixed hours.) (104. And don't be weak in the pursuit of the enemy; if you are suffering (hardships) then surely they (too) are suffering (hardships) as you are suffering, but you have a hope from Allah (for the reward, i.e. Paradise) that for which they hope not; and Allah is Ever All-Knowing, All-Wise.)

The Order for Ample Remembrance After the Fear Prayer

Allah commands Dhikr after finishing the Fear prayer, in particular, even though such Dhikr is encouraged after finishing other types of prayer in general. In the case of Fear prayer, Dhikr is encouraged even more because the pillars of the prayer are diminished since they move about while performing it, etc., unlike other prayers. Allah said about the Sacred Months,

﴿ فَلَا تَظۡلِمُواْ فِيہِنَّ أَنفُسَڪُمۡ‌ۚ

(so wrong not yourselves therein), even though injustice is prohibited all year long. However, injustice is particularly outlawed during the Sacred Months due to their sanctity and honor. So Allah's statement,

﴿ فَإِذَا قَضَيۡتُمُ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ فَٱذۡڪُرُواْ ٱللَّهَ قِيَـٰمً۬ا وَقُعُودً۬ا وَعَلَىٰ جُنُوبِڪُمۡ‌ۚ

(When you have finished Salah, remember Allah standing, sitting down, and on your sides,) means, in all conditions,

﴿ فَإِذَا ٱطۡمَأۡنَنتُمۡ فَأَقِيمُواْ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ‌ۚ

(But when you are free from danger perform the Salah.) when you are safe, tranquil and fear subsides,

﴿ فَأَقِيمُواْ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ‌ۚ

(perform the Salah) by performing it as you were commanded; fulfilling its obligations, with humbleness, completing the bowing and prostration positions etc. Allah's statement,

﴿ إِنَّ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ كَانَتۡ عَلَى ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ كِتَـٰبً۬ا مَّوۡقُوتً۬ا

(Verily, the Salah is Kitaban on the believers at fixed hours.) means, enjoined, as Ibn `Abbas stated. Ibn `Abbas also said, "The prayer has a fixed time, just as the case with Hajj.'' Similar is reported from Mujahid, Salim bin `Abdullah, `Ali bin Al-Husayn, Muhammad bin `Ali, Al-Hasan, Muqatil. As-Suddi and `Atiyah Al-`Awfi.

The Encouragement to Pursue the Enemy Despite Injuries

Allah's statement,

﴿ وَلَا تَهِنُواْ فِى ٱبۡتِغَآءِ ٱلۡقَوۡمِ‌ۖ

(And don't be weak in the pursuit of the enemy;) means, do not weaken your resolve in pursuit of your enemy. Rather, pursue them vigorously, fight them and be wary of them.

﴿ إِن تَكُونُواْ تَأۡلَمُونَ فَإِنَّهُمۡ يَأۡلَمُونَ كَمَا تَأۡلَمُونَ‌ۖ

(if you are suffering then surely they are suffering as you are suffering,) meaning, just as you suffer from injuries and death, the same happens to the enemy. In another Ayah, Allah said,

﴿ إِن يَمۡسَسۡكُمۡ قَرۡحٌ۬ فَقَدۡ مَسَّ ٱلۡقَوۡمَ قَرۡحٌ۬ مِّثۡلُهُ ۥ‌ۚ

(If you suffer a harm, be sure a similar harm has struck the others). Allah then said,

﴿ وَتَرۡجُونَ مِنَ ٱللَّهِ مَا لَا يَرۡجُونَ‌ۗ

(but you have a hope from Allah that for which they hope not;) meaning, you and they are equal regarding the injuries and pain that you suffer from. However, you hope for Allah's reward, victory and aid, just as He has promised you in His Book and by the words of his Messenger . Surely, Allah's promise is true. On the other hand, your enemies do not have hope for any of this. So, it is you, not they, who should be eager to fight so that you establish the Word of Allah and raise it high.

﴿ وَكَانَ ٱللَّهُ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا

(And Allah is Ever All-Knowing, All-Wise.) means, He is most knowledgeable and wise in all what He decides, decrees, wills and acts on concerning various worldly and religious ordainments, and He is worthy of praise in all conditions.

﴿ إِنَّآ أَنزَلۡنَآ إِلَيۡكَ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبَ بِٱلۡحَقِّ لِتَحۡكُمَ بَيۡنَ ٱلنَّاسِ بِمَآ أَرَٮٰكَ ٱللَّهُ‌ۚ وَلَا تَكُن لِّلۡخَآٮِٕنِينَ خَصِيمً۬ا وَٱسۡتَغۡفِرِ ٱللَّهَ‌ۖ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ غَفُورً۬ا رَّحِيمً۬ا وَلَا تُجَـٰدِلۡ عَنِ ٱلَّذِينَ يَخۡتَانُونَ أَنفُسَہُمۡ‌ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ مَن كَانَ خَوَّانًا أَثِيمً۬ا يَسۡتَخۡفُونَ مِنَ ٱلنَّاسِ وَلَا يَسۡتَخۡفُونَ مِنَ ٱللَّهِ وَهُوَ مَعَهُمۡ إِذۡ يُبَيِّتُونَ مَا لَا يَرۡضَىٰ مِنَ ٱلۡقَوۡلِ‌ۚ وَكَانَ ٱللَّهُ بِمَا يَعۡمَلُونَ مُحِيطًا هَـٰٓأَنتُمۡ هَـٰٓؤُلَآءِ جَـٰدَلۡتُمۡ عَنۡہُمۡ فِى ٱلۡحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنۡيَا فَمَن يُجَـٰدِلُ ٱللَّهَ عَنۡہُمۡ يَوۡمَ ٱلۡقِيَـٰمَةِ أَم مَّن يَكُونُ عَلَيۡہِمۡ وَڪِيلاً۬

(105. Surely, We have sent down to you (O Muhammad ) the Book in truth that you might judge between men by that which Allah has shown you, so be not a pleader for the treacherous.) (106. And seek the forgiveness of Allah, certainly, Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.) (107. And argue not on behalf of those who deceive themselves. Verily, Allah does not like anyone who is a betrayer, sinner.) (108. They may hide (their crimes) from men, but they cannot hide (them) from Allah; for He is with them (by His knowledge), when they plot by night in words that He does not approve. And Allah ever encompasses what they do.) (109. Lo! You are those who have argued for them in the life of this world, but who will argue for them on the Day of Resurrection against Allah, or who will then be their defender)