Current Legal Issues

Issues Relating to Prayer and Fasting

(71) During Ramadhan, a fasting person travelled by air to a destination in the West. He did not break his fast in his place of residence. He then arrived at a place where the sun has not yet set. Is it obligatory on him to abstain from eating and drinking till the time of sun set?

Apparently, it is not obligatory, although abstaining is advisable as a matter of ihtiyat.

(72) A mukallaf said Subh(dawn) prayer in his home town, he then travelled to a Western destination. He arrived at a town before dawn. Then dawn broke.

On a second assumption, he said Dhuhr (noon) prayer in his home town, then travelled by air. He arrived at a town where the sun was yet to enter into decline [to the West]. Then it entered into decline.

Is it obligatory on him to repeat his prayers in all these assumptions?

There are two options. As a matter of ihtiyat, it is obligatory [that he repeats his prayers]. The second is that, alal adhhar, it is not obligatory.

(73) A mukallaf did not perform his prayer on time, such as in the case of sunrise or sunset without him being able to perform Subh, Dhuhr and Asr (afternoon) prayers. He travelled and arrived at a town where neither sunrise nor sunset has taken place. Should he perform his prayers adaa (as if they were performed at their prescribed times), qadhaa (in lieu), or ma fith thimmah (as if he was repaying a debt)?

There is more than one course of action. However, as a matter of ihtiyat, they should be performed with the niyyah of ma fith thimmah, meaning in a more general sense than performing them adaa or qadhaa.

(74) A mukallaf, travelling by air, wanted to perform his prayer aboard the plane. If it was possible, i.e. fulfilling the conditions of facing the [direction] of qibla, stability of position, and others, his prayer is in order. Conversely, it will not be in order, as a matter of ihtiyat, especially if he still has such ample time that he would be able to perform it fulfilling all conditions, after he disembarks the plane.

In case, however, time was pressing, he should perform his prayer aboard the plane. If he was able to locate the direction of qibla, he should face that direction. His prayer would not be in order if he breaks the condition of direction, unless for a necessity. In this case, he should move towards the direction of the qibla whenever the aeroplane moves [in the opposite direction]; he should abstain from recitation during the time of moving. If it was not possible to set his face to the qibla, he should take account of the fact that it should be between right and left. If it was not possible to ascertain the direction of qibla, he should do his best to try to identify it and act according to what he has reached of guess work. If this was not feasible, he should perform his prayer facing any direction that might contain the qibla. As a matter of ihtiyat, however, he should perform his prayers once in each of [the] four directions..

This is being so if he was able to face the qibla, otherwise saying (takbiratul ihraam) - Allah is Great [one of the main parts of prayer, after niyyah] would do. If neither is possible, the condition regarding facing qibla ceases to be operative.

However, as a matter of strong possibility (al aqwa), it is permissible to board an aeroplane and the like as a matter of choice before the onset [of prayer], albeit with the knowledge that he would be obliged to perform prayer on board, not fulfilling the two conditions of facing the qibla and maintaining a stable position.

(75) A person travelled aboard an aeroplane [craft], whose speed is equal to that of the earth, heading towards the West from the East. The craft went into orbit around the earth for some time. In such a case, the five prayers should be performed in every twenty-four hour period with the niyyah of alqurbal mutlaqah (The intention for prayer done with a view to seeking nearness to Allah, i.e. without designating whether it is adaa or qadhaa). As for fasting, it should later be performed qadhaa.
If the speed of the [space craft] was double that of the earth, the cycle is, naturally, completed in periods of twelve hours. Is it obligatory on the traveller to perform Subh prayer at every dawn, Dhuhr and Asr prayers at every noon time, and Maghrib and Isha at every sunset?

As a matter of ihtiyat luzumi, [one should perform prayers in the manner suggested by the question, i.e. five prayers every twelve hours].

If, for example, the space craft orbited the earth at three-hour intervals or less, evidently it is not obligatory to perform prayers at every dawn, noon, and sunset. As a matter of ihtiyat, one should perform prayers at twenty-four hour cycles with the niyyah of alqurbal mutlaqah. To do so, one should take into consideration the occurrence of Subh prayer between two dawns, Dhuhr and Asr between a noon and a sunset that follows it, and Maghrib and Isha between a sunset and a midnight that follows it.

To sum up, if the movement of the craft was from the West to East and its speed was equivalent to that of the earth, evidently prayers should be performed at their prescribed times. Similarly, if its speed was less than that of the earth, or it was much more than that of the earth, such as the cycle is completed every three hours, the rules that should be applied are as discussed in the preceding paragraph.

(76) The nature of business or job of a mukallaf is such that he should fast during travelling time. Dawn broke while he is still in his home town. He decided to travel by air with the intention of fasting. If he arrives at an other town while the dawn has not yet broken, is it permissible for him to eat and drink and do similar acts?

Evidently, it is permissible.

(77) During the month of Ramadhan, a traveller set on a journey from his home town badaz zawaal (after the sun disc has declined toward the West). He arrived at another town where the sun was still in a position before zawaal. Is it obligatory on him to abstain from eating and drinking, and thus complete his fasting?

As a matter of ihtiyat, it is the case.

(78) The nature of business or job of a mukallaf is such that he should fast during travelling time. He travelled from his home town where he sighted the new moon of Ramadhan, and arrived at another destination where no sighting has taken place. This is because the two destinations are located in two different horizons. It is not obligatory on him to fast for that day.

The new moon of Shawwal was sighted in a town and Eid (festivities marking the end of the fasting season) was celebrated. Then the mukallaf made a journey to another town, where the moon has not yet been sighted for difference of their horizons. As a matter of ihtiyat, abstaining from eating and drinking should be maintained for the rest of that day. Fasting could be performed at later date.

(79) If the mukallaf was in a place where day light goes for six months on end and so as night, he should, as a matter of ihtiyat, observe the changing of day and night in a twenty-four hour cycle in the nearest town to where he lives. He could then perform the five prayers according to the time table of that town with the niyyah of al qurbal mutlaqah. As for fasting, he could move to a town where he could be able to perform fasting, either during Ramadhan or later. If neither is possible fidya (redemption) for not fasting should be in order.

The mukallaf is in a town that has day and night in a twenty-four hour cycle. The proportion, however, of day and night is such that day light is twenty-three hours and night time is one hour, or vice versa. The rules regarding prayer times should follow the sequence of day and night.

As for fasting Ramadhan, it should be performed as best as he could. Otherwise, it does not become obligatory. If it was possible to fast in lieu, it becomes obligatory. If not, fidya for not fasting becomes due.