In The Name of Allah The Most Beneficent The Most Merciful
Legal Decision concerning the
joining of two prayers due to the time of the Eisha
Prayer being delayed until nearly midnight
All Praise is due to the Lord of all the Worlds. I testify
that there is no God except Allah alone without partner and I testify that
Muhammad is His slave and messenger (Pbuh) and his family.
It is important to understand that the duties imposed by the
Religion of Islam are directly related to a person's ability and strength. Some
people are capable of more than others and so there are concessions within Islam
which allow for this difference of ability. The proof of this is that Allah, the
Almighty says: Allah doesn't burden any soul with more than it can bear.
Each soul receives the reward for the good it has earned and is punished for the
evil it has done (2:286). And Allah, the Almighty says: Allah puts
no burden on anyone beyond what He has given him (65:7). So sincere fear
of and obedience to Allah and sincere struggling for His sake is in accordance
with the ability of each slave. Allah the Exalted says: And strive
sincerely for His sake He has chosen you and has not burdened you with any
difficulty in the religion (22:78).
There can be no doubt that the delaying of the Eisha Prayer
until nearly midnight. This would mean that on some days there would only
be three hours between the Eisha and Fajr Prayers would
cause, in many people's opinion, some difficulty and hardship. It is true that
Islam strongly encourages that the prayer be performed on time and the basic
rule is that the rulings for the times of the prayers have been made clear and
that through these rulings the time of each prayer can be known by certain
signs. The time of Eisha for example does not begin until the red twilight
disappears from the sky, And so, according to Islamic law if the red twilight
doesn't disappear until twelve o'clock at night then the time of Eisha doesn't
start until that time.
However our position concerning this matter is not normal in
that generally speaking it is not within most people's capability because most
people usually go to sleep before midnight. Although some people might remain
awake during the early hours of the morning this is not used for the purpose of
analogy upon which a legal judgment is made. The Prophet Pbuh
once delayed the Eisha Prayer until midnight and the people
were waiting in the mosque for him to come out of his room and lead them in
prayer. They slept and woke up, slept and woke up until Omar, may Allah be
pleased with him, finally called out "The Prayer! The people and children have
fallen asleep". So the Prophet (Pbuh) came out and said "If it wasn't for the
trouble I fear for my community, I would have ordered them to pray at this
time." So for this reason the Prophet didn't use to delay the Eisha Prayer.
Although our situation is different in that the specific time of Eisha hasn't
begun, the reason for not wanting to delay the prayer, difficulty and hardship
is the same. So do we find within the religion provision to pray Eisha early at
the time of Maghrib?
It is affirmed in the sunnah that it is acceptable for the
traveler to join prayers in order that hardship might be alleviated for him.
This is also the case for the resident who, because of circumstances, rain or
fear for example, finds it difficult or suffers hardship in attending the prayer
at the mosque. It is also true for a woman who is suffering from continual
bleeding. In fact. it has been narrated by Ibn Abbas that the Prophet. (pbuh)
joined Dhuhr and Asr and Maghrib and Eisha while he was resident in Medina
neither traveling nor afraid of the enemy nor was it raining. Ibn Abbas was
asked why he did this He replied "In order that his community would not suffer
It would appear that the Prophet (pbuh) did this without any
reason except to show that it was permitted in order to alleviate hardship from
his community. Using this and similar hadith as proof. one group of scholars are
of the opinion that it is permitted to join Maghrib and Eisha or Dhuhr and Asr
if hardship would be suffered by the people if they had to pray each prayer at
its specific time. And they have given many examples of what normally causes
difficulty and hardship sickness, enuresis (the inability to control the
discharge of urine) or flatulence (the excessive passing of wind).
Some scholars have even said that any reason that
allows a person, who would normally attend, to miss the congregational prayer in
the mosque also allows him to join his prayers.
One man came to Saeed ibn Al-Musayyeb and said "I tend camels
I milk them until evening comes then I pray Maghrib, I then lie down and sleep
through the time of Eisha". Saeed said "Don't sleep until you have prayed it and
if you fear that you will fall asleep then join the two prayers together".
(Related by ibn abi Shayba in his "Musannaf' 2/459 with a good chain of
In short we can say that joining two prayers because of need
is acceptable and permitted and this is the most correct position of the
scholars and it is what the provision of concessions within the religion
dictates - the joining of either of the two prayers with the other at either of
the two times, for example joining Maghrib with Eisha at the time of Eisha or
joining Eisha with Maghrib at the time of Maghrib.
So our situation whether we are referring to the Eisha Prayer
in congregation in the mosque or prayed by the individual at home can be judged
using analogy according to what has been described previously. So long as there
is difficulty and hardship the concession is there. And concession within the
law exists so long as the reason for it remains, even if it is for a long period
Concerning the second half of the issue connected to missing the correct time
for the Eisha Prayer. The best thing to do is to pray Eisha
with Maghrib together at the time of Maghrib because there is no point in
delaying it since by delaying it won't mean that you are praying it at its time.
I have made this issue clear in a paper which can be found on the following link
on ECFR Site:
http://www.e-cfr.org/PDF/4-5/09Joudi1.pdf (link broken). In it I have mentioned the
opinions of the scholars and made clear with evidence which is the most correct
It is important to understand that in this case, joining the
prayers is not due to hardship but because of necessity since no time for the
Eisha prayer exists, the time of Eisha having begun at the time of Maghrib. This
is what is known as "the time when one is excused" by followers of Al-Shafi' and
Having said that to join the prayers is correct and
acceptable, we should know that the correct way of performing it is as follows:
There should be no break between the two prayers, as is the case when joining
because of travel or rain. However, should a break occur it doesn't affect the
prayer but it is better that no break occurs. It is also acceptable to pray
those sunnah prayers normally prayed after Maghrib, after you have prayed Eisha
if the time allows and should you so wish. The sunnah prayers performed after
Eisha and Al Witr can also be prayed following the joining of prayers, as well
as all those prayers which a person usually performs. This has been documented
by a number of scholars and it is in accordance with the evidence.
Written by Abu Muhammad Abdullah Ibn Yusuf Aljudai
In the month of Dhul Qi'da 1415 (April 1995) Leeds