Question 69 : Assalaamualaikum wa rahmatullah. I could not find an answer online so posting here. Are we allowed to combine prayers if we are outside our homes? Where I am now there aren’t enough facilities for women to pray outside, and time of prayer (isha) will start quite late. My family have a dinner invitation to attend to and my mother wanted to pray isha before we left our home. Can she do that if the time of prayer hasn’t started yet? Jazakumallahu khayr.

Answer :  Assalamu alaikum Brother,

SheikhArshad Abujafar was going to answer this but he has been sick for a few days and so I will answer this in the meantime inshallah.

The ordinary default requirement is to pray five times a day within times specified by Allah, as Allah said in the Quran:

إن الصلاة كانت على المؤمنين كتابا موقوتا

“Indeed the prayer is to a believer a time specified prescribed duty.”

Allah prescribed 5 times a day for wisdom of doing it around the clock and its best manner of achieving the purpose for which prayer is prescribed in the deeply wise, immensely beneficial and beautiful religion of Islam.

So praying five times around the clock during hours we are customarily awake helps us, among other things, to remember Allah, renew our commitment to Him and the purpose of life, remind ourselves of Allah’s guidance for the optimum way of life that Islam shows, and to humble ourselves to the Almighty thereby making us better towards fellow human beings and everyone else. The ritual Islamic prayer 5 times a day helps us as it helps those around us and moreover it is something we owe to our Creator and Sustainer, Allah.

Hence the 5 time daily prayer in its prescribed specific times is the most important obligation in Islam once we do shahadah (declaration of Islam).

That is why we are required to pray on time no matter what, except when we are sick enough to he unable to pray at all even lying down, or to pray five prayers combined in times of three prayers when we are travelling.

Therefore whether we have work to do, appointments to catch up, shopping to get done, or dinner invitations to attend, they all need to make time for the 5 time daily obligatory prayers which take no more than less than ten minutes of need to be quick. For this need and wisdom, as Muslims we schedule our lives around the prayers and not the prayers around our lives, afterall we are the ones who benefit the most from it as do our loved ones around us!

Thus we would need to think in advance how and where to be able to pray Isha on way to dinner invitation.

The hadith of Ibn Abbas refers as Sh ibn baz said in different words for (1) occasional rare times of (2) need without which it will cause pain, thus Ibn Abbas said “so that he does not cause very difficult …” In fact most scholars (almost all) in Islam said we cannot combine when not travelling whereas a few scholars such as Ibn Baz and Ibn Abbas himself said you can combine but for difficult situation occasionally.

When we go for dinner, we can pray Maghrib and pray Isha when we return home if need to. Alternatively delay accepting early dinner appointments till Isha is done at home if isha is not too late. Another alternative is to do wudu at home, keep it, till isha is done at place of invitation. Of we are driving and it is unsafe to pray in front of hostile ignorant intolerant people, we are even allowed to pray sitting down in a room or a car etc but on time for such wisdom there is doing on time as described above earlier. Allah has allowed ease in praying sitting if out of fear and leaving sunnah prayers if short for time but Allah did not make concession for not praying on time as praying 5 times a day around the clock is necessary for us to be good human beings consistent with purpose of life.

Allah knows best.