Al Athram records in his Sunnan that Abu Salamah ibn ‘Abdurrahman said: “It is a Sunnah to combine the Maghrib and ‘isha prayers when it is raining.” Al Bukhari records that the Prophet Sallallahu Alehi Wasallam combined the Maghrib and ‘isha prayers on a rainy night.
summary of the opinions of the different schools of fiqh on this point follows:
The Shaf’i school says that it is allowed for the resident to combine the zuhr and ‘asr or the maghrib and ‘isha, praying each pair in the time of the earlier salah only, given that it is raining when one begins the earlier prayer and it is still raining by the time one begins the second prayer.
According to the Maliki School, it is allowed to combine the maghrib and ‘isha in the mosque at the time of the maghrib due to rain or expected rain, if there is mud and darkness along the way, or if there is a lot of mud and it prevents the people from wearing their shoes. Nevertheless, he dislikes that the zuhr and ‘asr should be combined due to rain.
According to the Hanbali School, it is only allowed to combine the maghrib and ‘isha in the time of the former or the latter due to snow, ice, mud, severe cold, or rain which soaks the clothes. This concession is allowed only for one who prays with a congregation in the mosque and who comes from a distance over which he could be harmed by the rain. However, for one who prays in a congregation in his house or whose path to the mosque is covered or protected, or for one whose house is right next to the mosque, it is not allowed to combine the salah.
Combining the two prayers due to some illness or other excuse
Ahmad, Qadi Hussain, al Khattabi, and al Mutawali of the Shaf’i school are of the opinion that it is allowed to combine two prayers, either during the time of the earlier or later salah, due to illness as it is a greater hardship than rain. An Nawawi says: “This is a strong opinion based on [sound] evidence.” In al Mughni it is stated: “The illness which permits one to combine the prayers is the one which would otherwise cause hardship and more weakness [if he prayed each salah separately].”
The Hanbali school is the most accommodating as it allows one to combine the prayers, at the time of the early or later salah, for one who is ill as well as for the woman who is breast feeding and will face hardship in cleaning her dress for every salah, for the woman who is plagued by a prolonged flow of blood, for the person who cannot control his urine, and for one who cannot purify himself or herself, and for the one who fears for his life, property, or family.
Ibn Taimiyyah says: “Among the opinions the most accommodating on this question is that of the Hanbali school which allows one to combine the prayers if he is busy (since an-Nasa’i has related something to that effect from the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam) and they also say that the cook and baker, and so forth., may also combine their prayers if they fear their wealth (i.e., their investment or what they are working on) will otherwise be ruined.”
Combining two prayers due to some pressing need
Imam an Nawawi writes in his commentary on Sahih Muslim: “The majority of the scholars are of the opinion that it is allowed for the resident to combine the prayers due to some pressing need. This is the statement of Ibn Sireen and Ashhab from the companions of Malik, and al-Khattabi records it from al Qifal and ash-Shaf’i and from Abu Ishaq al Maruzi, and from a number of as-hab al-ahadith, and it is the conclusion of Ibn al-Munzhir. This is supported by the statement of ibn ‘Abbas: ‘The Prophet combined his salah because he did not want to put his Ummah to hardship and not because of illness or any other reason.”’ The hadith from Ibn ‘Abbas, mentioned previously, has been recorded by Imam Muslim who states: “The Messenger of Allah combined the zuhr and ‘asr and then the maghrib and ‘isha in Medinah without there being any danger or rain.” Ibn ‘Abbas was asked: “What did he desire by that action?” He replied: “He did not want any hardship for his Ummah.” Al-Bukhari and Muslim record from him that the Prophet prayed seven rak’at and eight rak’at, i.e., the zuhr and ‘asr together and the maghrib and ‘isha together, in Medinah. Muslim also records from ‘Abdullah ibn Shaqiq that ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas addressed the people one day after the ‘asr salah until well after the sun had set and the stars began to appear. The people said to him: “The prayer, the prayer.” A man from the tribe of Taim continuously repeated: “The prayer, the prayer.” Ibn ‘Abbas said: “Are you teaching me the Sunnah? May you have no mother.” Then he said: “I saw the Messenger of Allah combine the zuhr and ‘asr and the maghrib and ‘isha.” ‘Abdullah ibn Shaqiq commented: “I felt some uneasiness in my heart about what he had said, so I went to Abu Hurairah to ask him about that, and he confirmed what Ibn ‘Abbas had said.”
Validity of combined prayers after their legal excuse ceases to exist
In al Mughni it is stated: “If someone performs both prayers at the time of the earlier salah and then his reason for doing so ceases to exist after he has completed the salah and before the time of the next salah begins [i.e., the next salah being the one which he had just prayed during the earlier time], then what he has done is sufficient for him and he need not repeat the second salah at its proper time. Since he performed the salah in a proper manner, he is free from any extra obligation due to that action. He fulfilled his obligation during a circumstance in which he had some legal excuse, and his action is not invalidated by the fact that this excuse no longer exists. This is similar to the case of a person who performs tayammum, and after he finishes his salah, he finds water.”
Prayer on a ship, train or plane
A salah on a ship, train, plane, and so on, is valid and there is no dislike for such an act as it makes life easier for the one performing it. Ibn ‘Umar says: “I asked the Prophet Sallallahu Alehi Wasallam about salah on a ship and he said: ‘Pray standing upon them unless you fear that you will be drowned [i.e., the boat might capsize].”’ This is related by ad-Daraqutni and by al Hakim. The later grades it Sahih according to the criteria of al-Bukhari and Muslim.
‘Abdullah ibn Abi ‘Utbah reports: “I accompanied Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah and Abu Sa’id al Khudri and Abu Hurairah on a boat, and they prayed standing in a congregation, with one of them as their imam, although they could have gone ashore [if they had so desired].”
This is related by Sa’id ibn Mansur.
To be continued