What do the scholars of the Dīn and muftīs of the Sacred Law state regarding the following issue: me and my friends are van drivers; we travel more than 57.5 miles daily [away from our city], is it necessary for us to pray the sunnah prayers during these travels?
Questioner: Asjad – van driver for Sultan Bahu Trust (Britain)
بسم اللہ الرحمن الرحیم
الجواب بعون الملک الوھاب اللھم ھدایۃ الحق والصواب
No! The sunnah prayers are not binding upon you because you are in a state of hurried and continuous travel. You are excused from praying the sunnah and supererogatory (nawāfil) prayers. In terms of praying the sunnah prayers, there are two situations for the shar’ī traveller during travel: if he is in a state of security and peace then he will pray the sunan, but if he is in a state of fear or is undertaking a non-stop journey from one place to another, then he is excused from praying the sunnah prayers. However, the sunnan of Fajr should not be abandoned as there is greater import given to them [as compared to the other sunnahs]. Thus, it is stated in Fatāwā ‘Ālamgīrī:
وَبَعْضُهُمْ جَوَّزُوا لِلْمُسَافِرِ تَرْكَ السُّنَنِ وَالْمُخْتَارُ أَنَّهُ لَا يَأْتِي بِهَا فِي حَالِ الْخَوْفِ وَيَأْتِي بِهَا فِي حَالِ الْقَرَارِ وَالْأَمْنِ
Some of the noble jurists have declared the leaving of the sunnah prayers permissible for the traveller and the preferred opinion is that he will leave the sunnah prayers when in a state of fear, and he will perform them when in a state of peace and security.
[فتاوی عالمگیری جلد اول صفحہ 139 مکتبہ دارالفکر بیروت]
It is mentioned in another reliable book of Hanafī law, Halabi Kabeer:
ویرخص للمسافرترک السنن وقیل لا والاعدل ماقالہ الھندوانی ان فعلھا افضل حالۃ النزول والترک افضل حالۃ السیر الا سنۃ الفجر
The traveller is given the dispensation of leaving the sunnah prayers; whilst some jurists have stated that he is not excused from praying them, however, the fairest statement in this regard is that of Imām Hindāwī (upon him be mercy): it is better for the traveller to perform the sunnah prayers when in a state of rest, and it is preferable for him to leave the sunnah prayers whilst in a state of travel, save for the sunnahs of Fajr.
[حلبی الکبیر صفحہ 244]
Additionally, it is stated in Bahar-e-Shariat:
There is no truncation (qasr) in the sunnah prayers, rather they will be prayed in full. However, they are excused in a state of fear or travel, but will be performed in a state of security.
[Bahar-e-Shariat, Volume 1, Part 4, Page 744]
[Please note: if you travel less than 57.5 miles the sunnah prayers would still be binding upon you. Leaving of the sunnah prayers is permissible for the one travelling 57.5+ miles away from his city/town etc.]
واللہ تعالی اعلم ورسولہ اعلم صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم
کتبہ ابو الحسن محمد قاسم ضیاء قادری
Answered by Mufti Qasim Zia al-Qadri
Translated by Zameer Ahmed
Read the original Urdu answer here: [Q-ID0768] I am constantly in a state of travel, do I have to pray my Sunnah prayers?