I have an issue. I thought so long, we could pray in full prayer length, when we have just travelled.

Yesterday, Our Imam came from another region. In the prayer of Al-asr and Isha (I did not pray with him Magrib). He just prayed 2 rakats instead of 4. After the 2 rakats, we stand up and pray the last 2 rakats alone. I asked the question to another one about that situation and he told me, our Imam came from a long journey, so He prays 2 Rakats.

My question is: Is it an obligation to pray 2 rakats or we can pray in full length?


2 Answers 2


Praying salat al-qasr (shortening prayers) while on a journey is a sunnah (see for example in sahih al-Bukahri and sahih Muslim), some scholars tend to say one shouldn't forsake it. The hanafis even say it is wajib, so they won't allow it for a traveler to pray prayers fully (note they even don't allow them to join prayers, but both of this rules have no backup in the sahih sunnah). But one can pray the prayers fully - especially if the Imam is a resident - even if many scholars (especially from the hanbali and salafi school) dislike it, it is a known and accepted act performed by the sahaba (may Allah be pleased with them):

See for example in Muwatta' al-Imam Malik:
Ibn 'Omar used to pray qasr prayer on journey unless he prayed behind an Imam (see also).

'Omar and ibn 'Omar if on journey leading a congregation they would ask the (resident) people to continue the prayer.

If somebody who is on a journey would like to lead a prayer, he prays the shortened prayers and asks the residents to continue as quoted above.
But if the resident was the Imam it was -according this fatwa in Arabic - narrated from all the sahaba that they used to pray the prayer fully and this is - according to this fatwa (in Arabic) - the prevalent opinion. While the fatawa on islamqa say one can shorten the prayer see for example about shortening the prayers, and shortening behind a resident.

In the Maliki school it is even preferred not to lead a prayer except maghrib and sobh (fajr fard) neither for a non-resident for a resident, nor for a resident for non-resident. So unless the Imam is householder or an old or much honored person then if the Imam is resident, the non-resident should pray his prayer fully, if he is on journey then the resident should complete his prayer (see this fatwa in Arabic).


Medi1Saif gave a great answer for Sunnis, I'll give one for Shias.

Imagine you enter the house of the most generous person on earth and were to have lunch. He's prepared a decent meal for you. He's about to eat but then you say I actually bought myself some french fries from McDonalds and I'll eat that.

In this world Allah is the host and we're his guest, he has said do salat-al-qasr. Yes it's easier but beyond that it's his commandment and we are obliged to do so. Not doing is disrespecting Allah. Or imagine that we are free to eat bread, meat, sugar, milk but then a person says I want to have زهد (de-attachment to this world) and not eat from any of them, I just want to drink water and eat corn. When Allah makes something free, then it's free for our own good.

On the case of Mustahab, Allah clearly gives us a choice.

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