Allah (SWT), the Almighty, has commanded His worshippers to pray at least five times a day. These five prayers have been set out to the believers as a form of mercy, so that they may have the means to get close to Allah. At the time of the Prophet, the believers would travel a lot. During their trip, many were scared of the disbelievers’ troublesome actions, so Allah (SWT) revealed the following Ayah, Qasar salah
“When you travel on earth there is no blame on you if you shorten your prayer if you are scared that those who disbelieve will trouble you” (4:101).
One might say that this ruling of shortening prayers existed only when the Muslims were in fear of danger, but what about when one travels without fear? This exact question was asked by Umar b. al-Khattab to the Holy Prophet, to which he replied, “It is a charity which Allah (S.W.T.) has granted you so accept it.” This had been recorded in the Muslim’s Sahih.
Rulings or Conditions of Qasar Salah:
When discussing a decision that had arisen in the past, you find that many narrations prove these ruling to be from the Holy Prophet, through using him as an example of it. In the book of Al-Bukhari’s Sahih vol.1 chap, Prayer in Mina, its is mentioned that the Holy Prophet (S) performed the Qasr (shortened prayer) as he was traveling from Mecca to Arafat, as did Abu Bakr and Omar after him. These incidents in the past, authentic hadith and references from the Quran prove the existence and authenticity of the ruling of shortening the prayers when traveling. Qasar salah
With this decision, just like many others, there come conditions. The primary condition which concerns this decision is the time and distance of the travel. Also, not all the prayers are shortened, only the Zuhr, Asr and Isha prayers are shortened to 2 rakaat instead of its original four rakaat. The first condition is that the distance of the travel should not be less than approximately 28 miles. If it is on the dot, 28 miles, then the prayers are still shortened. Any distance longer than that requires you to perform the prayer in its full form, four rakaat. This ruling is still valid if the outward and return journey have less than 28 miles distances each, but together combine to become exactly 28 miles or more. If one doesn’t know how long his/her journey has been or will be, then he/she must perform the full form of the prayers.
These rulings on the distance of the travel, also have a condition. If the stay of the destination, after the 28-mile journey, is more than ten days, then the prayers must be performed in its full form. Sometimes, people move to a different house and keep their previous house deserted. If one reaches a place where he used to reside but doesn’t anymore, that person’s prayers shortened. If a traveler stays at a place for ten days but believes he/she might leave earlier, with a strong doubt, then he/she must offer shortened prayers.
These are just some of the main rulings, regarding the shortened prayers, referenced from the great scholar, Sistani. If there is a shadow of a doubt whether one should perform shortened prayers or not, he/she is recommended to carry out both as a precaution. Allah (SWT) does not place prayer as a form of the burden on anyone, and to make it not seem so either, He commands His believers to shorten them. Qasar salah