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Prayer of traveller

Shortening the prayers that consist of four rak'at
Allah says in the Qur'an: "And when you go forth in the land there is no sin upon you, if you shorten your prayer when you fear the disbelievers may attack you." This concession is not limited to situations of danger.
Ya'la ibn Umaiyyah said: "I said to 'Umar ibn al-Khattab: 'Explain to me why the people shorten the salah when Allah says, 'And when you go forth...[the preceding verse] and those days are gone now!' 'Umar said: 'I wondered about that too and I mentioned that to the Prophet and he said: "This is a charity that Allah, the Exalted, has bestowed upon you, so accept His charity.'" This is related by the group.
At-Tabari records that Abu Munib al-Jarshi mentioned this verse to Ibn 'Umar and said: "We are safe now and are not in fear, should we, then, shorten the salah'?" He answered him: "You have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct)."
The issue was also referred to 'Aishah and she said: "The salah was made fard in Makkah in sets of two rak'at. When the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam came to Medinah, two rak'at were added to each salah except the maghrib salah because it is the witr of the daytime, and the dawn prayer due to its lengthy Qur'anic recital. But if one travels, he performs the original prayer [i.e., only two rak'at]." This is related by Ahmad, alBaihaqi, Ibn Hibban, and Ibn Khuzaimah. Its narrators are trustworthy.
Ibn al-Qayyim says: "The Prophet would pray only two rak'at for those prayers which consisted of four, whenever he travelled until he returned to Medinah. And it is not confirmed that he ever prayed four rak'at [while traveling], and none of the imams differ on this point, although they do differ about the ruling of shortening the salah."
'Umar, 'Ali, Ibn Mas'ud, ibn 'Abbas, ibn 'Umar, Jabir and the Hanafi scholars say that it is fard. The Maliki school holds that it is sunnah mu'akadah (the stressed one); it is even more emphasized than the congregational salah. If the traveller cannot find another traveller to lead him in the salah, he may pray by himself as it is disliked that he should follow one who is a resident [i.e., and pray four rak'at] according to the Maliki school. The Hanbali school holds that it is preferred for the person to shorten the prayer rather than to pray the complete salah. The Shaf'i school has a similar opinion, if the person has travelled a sufficient distance.
The conclusion from the Qur'anic verse is that any travelling, be it long or short, which falls within the linguistic definition of the word "travel" would suffice to shorten one's salah, to combine them and to break the fast.
There is nothing in the sunnah which confines this general term to any particular meaning. Ibn al-Munzhir and others have mentioned more than twenty reports on this point. Here we shall mention some of the more important reports.
Regardless of what of a vehicle wether travelling by planes, trains, and so forth, or a trip that is in obedience to Allah, the Exalted, or otherwise. If there is someone whose occupation requires him to always be travelling, for instance, a pilot, a ship captain, truck driver, and so on, then he is permitted to shorten his salah or break his fast as he is truly travelling.
The majority of the scholars are of the opinion that it is permissible to shorten one's salah when one leaves one's residence and is outside of one's city, and that is a condition, and he is not to resume his regular salah until he reaches the first houses of his city.
Ibn al-Munzhir says: "I do not know of the Prophet shortening his salah during any of his travels until after he had left Medinah."
Anas relates: "I prayed four rak'at at Zhul-Halifah." This is related by the group. Some of the early scholars say that if one makes the intention to travel, he may shorten his salah even if he is in his house.
Imam Ahmad say: "If a person intends to stay for four days, he has to offer the whole salah and he may offer qasr if his intention is for less than that.
Malik and ash-Shaf'i say: "If one intends to stay for more than four days, he should perform the whole salah, and if he intends to stay for less than that, he is to offer qasr."
Abu Hanifah holds: "If one intends to stay for fifteen days, he should do the qasr. If he intends to stay for more than that, he should not shorten the salah." This is also the opinion of al-Laith ibn Sa'd, and it has also been related from three companions: 'Umar, ibn 'Umar, and Ibn 'Abbas.
Sa'id ibn al-Musayyab is of the opinion that: "If you stay for four days, you pray four rak'at." A statement similar to that of Abu Hanifah's has also been related from him. '
So it is clear that the views of the main madhhabs are agreed that it is permissible to shorten one’s prayers if one intends to stay for three days or less. 
Al-Haafiz ibn Hajar said in his commentary on the hadeeth of al-‘Ala’ ibn al-Hadrami, according to which the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam  said: “Three days for the muhaajir after returning from Mina.”  (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 3933 and Muslim, 1352): 
What this hadeeth refers to is that staying Makkah was forbidden to one who had migrated there from before the Conquest, but it was permitted to those who went there for Hajj or ‘Umrah to stay after completing the rituals (of Hajj or ‘Umrah) for three days and no more. It was understood from this that if a person stays for three days, the rulings on travellers still apply to him. Fath al-Baari, 7/267. 
If your stay is not going to exceed three days, then you can avail yourself of the concession granted to travellers according to the four madhhabs.
It was the practice of the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam  when travelling to pray the obligatory prayers only, and it was not narrated that he used to pray the regular Sunnah prayers either before or after the fard prayers. 
It was narrated that ‘Aasim ibn ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab said: “I accompanied Ibn ‘Umar on the way to Makkah. He led us in praying two rak’ahs of Zuhr prayer, then he left and we left with him until he came to where his luggage was. He sat down and we sat with him, then he looked towards the place where we had prayed, and he saw some people standing and he asked, ‘What are these people doing?’ I said, ‘They are praying voluntary prayers.’ He said, ‘If I wanted to pray (naafil or Sunnah prayers) after the fard prayer I would have completed my prayer (i.e., not shortened it).’ O son of my brother, I accompanied the Messenger of Allah sallallahu alehi wasallam  whilst travelling and he did not add anything to these two rak’ahs until Allah took him (in death); and I accompanied Abu Bakr and he did not add anything to these two rak’ahs until Allah took him (in death); and I accompanied ‘Umar and he did not add anything to these two rak’ahs until Allah took him (in death); and I accompanied ‘Uthmaan and he did not add anything to these two rak’ahs until Allah took him (in death). And Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): 
‘Indeed in the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad) you have a good example to follow’ .” 
Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said: This demonstrates his understanding, may Allah be pleased with him. For Allah has reduced the four-rak’ah prayers for the traveller by half. If it were prescribed to pray the two rak’ahs (of Sunnah prayer) before and after, it would be more appropriate to pray the fard prayer in full. Zaad al-Ma’aad, 1/316 
Another factor which indicates that it is prescribed to omit the regular Sunnah prayers whilst travelling is the saheeh report from Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: “The Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam  combined Maghrib and ‘Isha prayer in Jam’ (i.e., Muzdalifah), reciting the iqaamah for each of them, and he did not pray Sunnah in between or after either of them.”  Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1673. 
And it was narrated that Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allah said: The Messenger of Allah sallallahu alehi wasallam travelled until he reached ‘Arafah, where he found that the tent had been set up for him in Namirah. He stayed there until the sun had passed its zenith, then he called for al-Qaswa’ (his camel) to be saddled, and he rode to the bottom of the valley, where he addressed the people. Then he told Bilaal to give the adhaan (call to prayer) then the iqaamah, then he prayed Zuhr, and then Bilaal recited another iqaamah and he prayed ‘Asr, and he did not pray anything in between.” Narrated by Muslim, 1218. 
But an exception is made from the above in the case of the regular Sunnah prayer of Fajr, which is to be performed when travelling just as it is performed when one is not travelling. Ibn al-Qayyim said: 
“It was the practice of the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam  when travelling to pray only the obligatory prayers, and it was not narrated that he used to pray the regular Sunnah prayers either before or after the fard prayers, apart from Witr and the Sunnah of Fajr, which he never omitted whether he was travelling or not.” Zaad al-Ma’aad, 1/473 
And he said: 
“His adherence to praying the Sunnah of Fajr was stronger than with all other naafil prayers, so he did not omit it or Witr whether he was travelling or not. When he was travelling he would still pray the Sunnah of Fajr and Witr and adhere to that more than all other naafil prayers. It is not narrated that he prayed any other regular Sunnah prayer when he was travelling.” 
Zaad al-Ma’aad, 1/315 
This is indicated by the following ahaadeeth: 
1 – It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah said: My dear friend [the Prophet] sallallahu alehi wasallam  enjoined three things upon me which I will not give up whether I am travelling or not: two rak’ahs of Duha prayer, fasting three days of each month and not going to sleep until I have prayed Witr.” 
Saheeh Sunan Abi Dawood, 1269. 
2 – It was narrated that Ibn ‘Umar said: The Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam  used to pray qiyaam al-layl atop his camel when he was travelling, no matter what direction it was facing, gesturing to represent the movements of the prayer, apart from the obligatory prayers, and he would pray Witr atop his camel. 
Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1000. 
According to another report: The Messenger of Allah sallallahu alehi wasallam  used to pray naafil prayers atop his camel, no matter what direction it was facing, and he would pray Witr like that too, but he did not pray the prescribed prayers like that.  Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1098. 
3 –It was narrated that Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allah said: The Messenger of Allah sallallahu alehi wasallam  used to pray atop his camel, no matter what direction it was facing, but when he wanted to pray an obligatory prayer, he would dismount and face the qiblah. Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 400. 
The point is that it is prescribed to omit the regular Sunnah prayers for those who are travelling, and to limit it to the two Sunnah rak’ahs of Fajr. It is also prescribed for the traveller to continue to pray Salat al-Witr, qiyaam al-layl, Duha and prayers done for specific reasons, and naafil prayers in general. From this you may understand that what some people say, that part of the Sunnah whilst travelling is not to pray Sunnah, is wrong. Apart from the fact that this does not make sense, it also goes against the saheeh Sunnah narrated from the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam . The correct view is that not praying Sunnah whilst travelling refers to the regular Sunnah prayers that are done before and after Zuhr, and after Maghrib and ‘Isha’.
There is no harm in travelling on a Friday if it is not during the time of the salah.
'Umar heard a man say: "If today was not Friday, I would have left." 'Umar said: "Leave. Friday does not keep one from travelling."
Abu 'Ubaidah travelled on Friday and he did not wait for the salah.
Az-Zuhri wanted to travel before noon on Friday and the people mentioned something to him, and he said: "The Prophet travelled on Friday."
Allah knows best.
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