Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 2: The prayer during times of fear or danger(Salatul Khauf)
The scholars are all in agreement about the legality of "fearprayer" (salatul Khauf). The Qur'an says: "When You (O Prophet) arewith them, and stand to lead them in prayer, let one party of them stand up (inprayer) with you, taking their arms with them. When they finish prostrations,let them take their position in the rear. And let the other party come up whichhas not yet prayed - and let them pray with you, taking all precautions, andbearing arms: the unbelievers wish if you were negligent of your arms and yourbaggage, to assault you in a single rush. But there is no blame on you if youput away your arms because of the inconvenience of rain or because you are ill;but take (every) precaution for yourselves. For the unbelievers Allah hasprepared humiliating punishment."
On this subject Imam Ahmad says: "There are six or seven confirmedhadith about 'salatul khauf,' and whichever way one performs it, it will bevalid."
Ibn al-Qayyim says: "Basically, there are six ways to pray salatalkhauf, although some say there are more than (six ways of praying it). Wheneverthey notice any difference in the narration of an incident, they describe it asa difference [in the manner of prayer] thus coming to seventeen ways. Thismight be due to different acts of the Prophet or simply to differences in thenarrations." Al-Hafiz says: "This is the true position and itsexplanation is given below.
-1- If the enemy is not in the direction of the qiblah, then the imam shouldlead a group in the performance of one rak'ah after which he should wait untilthey complete the second rak'ah by themselves, and then, they should go and facethe enemy. And the second group should come and the imam would lead them insalah while he is performing his second rak'ah. He should again wait for themto complete another rak'ah by themselves before leading them in thesalutations.
Saleh ibn Khawat relates from Saleh ibn Abu Khaithimah that a group lined upwith the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam while another group faced the enemy.He prayed one rak'ah with the group that was with him and remained standingwhile they finished the salah and left and faced the enemy. The second groupcame and prayed the remaining rak'ah with him, then he stayed sitting untilthey had completed their prayers individually, after which he led them inmaking the taslim. This is related by the group, except for Ibn Majah.
-2- If the enemy is not in the direction of the qiblah, then, the imam praysone rak'ah with one group of the army while the other group faces the enemy,after which the two groups exchange places, and the imam prays one rak'ah withthe second group. The members of each group will complete one rak'ah of theirprayers on their own.
Ibn 'Umar says: "The Messenger of Allah prayed one rak'ah with onegroup while the other group faced the enemy, [At that point, those who hadprayed] took the place of their companions facing the enemy and the secondgroup came and prayed one rak'ah with the Prophet and then he made the taslim.Then each group made (the remaining) one rak'ah." This is related byal-Bukhari, Muslim, and Ahmad. It is apparent that the second group completedtheir salah after the imam made the taslim without discontinuing their salah(i.e., for them, it was two continuous rak'at), and the first group did notcomplete their salah until the second group had completed their salah and wentback to face the enemy. Ibn Mas'ud says: "Then, he made the taslim andthey stood up to finish the second rak'ah individually and, then they madetheir taslim."
-3- The imam prays two rak'at with each group, the first two rak'at beinghis fard salah and the latter two being nafl. It is allowed for one who ismaking a nafl to lead others in salah who are praying fard. Jabir reports thatthe Prophet prayed two rak'at with one group of his companions and then anothertwo rak'at with another group and then he made the taslim. This is related byash-Shaf'i and an-Nasa'i.
Abu Dawud, Ahmad, and an-Nasa'i record that he said: "The Prophetprayed the salatul Khauf with us, and he prayed two rak'at with some of hiscompanions, and then the others came and took their places and he prayed tworak'at with them, and he made the taslim. So, the Prophet prayed four rak'atand the people prayed two rak'at each."
Ahmad, al-Bukhari, and Muslim record that he said: "We were with theProphet during the campaign of Zhat al-Riqa and the salah was made, and heprayed two rak'at with one group and then they withdrew, and he led the othergroup in two rak'at. The Prophet prayed four rak'at and the people prayed tworak'at."
-4- If the enemy is in the direction of the qiblah, then the imam leads bothof the groups in salah at the same time and they share in guarding against theenemy, and they follow the imam in every one of his actions until he performssajdah, in which case one group will make the sajdah with him and the otherwill wait until they are finished and then perform their own sujjud. After thefirst rak'ah is finished, the people in front will move to the back and thosein the back will move to the front.
Jabir said: "I prayed salatul khauf (fear prayer) with the Prophet. Hearranged us in two rows behind him. The enemy was between us and the qiblah.The Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam made the takbir and we all made thetakbir. He performed the ruku' and we all made the ruku'. Then, he raised hishead from the ruku' and we all raised our heads from the ruku'. Next he wentdown for sajdah as well as the row closest to him, while the back row stoodfacing the enemy until the Prophet and the first row had completed theirprostrations, after which the back row made sajdah and then stood [aftercompleting their sajjud]. Following this, those in the back row moved to thefront while those in the front row moved to the back. The Prophet performed theruku' and we all made ruku'. Then, he raised his head and we raised our headsfrom ruku. Afterward, he made the sajdah and the row that was previously in theback during the first rak'ah prostrated with him while the [new] back row stoodfacing the enemy. When the Prophet and the [new] front row had completed theirsujjud, the [new] back row made the sujjud. Finally, the Prophet made thetaslim and we all made the taslim. This is related by Ahmad, Muslim, an-Nasa'i,Ibn Majah, and al-Baihaqi.
-5- Both of the groups begin the prayer with the imam, and then one groupwould guard against the enemy while the other group would pray one rak'ah withthe imam, after which they would face the enemy while the other group wouldcome and pray one rak'ah by themselves (individually) while the imam isstanding. Then, they would join him in what is the imam's and their secondrak'ah. At that point, the group which had gone to face the enemy would comeand pray one rak'ah (their second) individually while the others would besitting (in salah waiting for them to sit in their second rak'ah), after whichthe imam would make the taslim and both groups would make the taslim together[behind the imam].
Abu Huraira reports: "I prayed salatul khauf with the Messenger ofAllah during the year of the Battle of Najd. He stood to pray 'asr and onegroup stood with him while the other group was faced the enemy with their backstoward the qiblah. When he made the takbir, all the people made the takbir-that is, those with him and those facing the enemy. Then, he performed onerak'ah and the group with him also performed their ruku' and sujjud with himwhile the others were still facing the enemy. Next, the group which was withthe Prophet went to face the enemy while the other group came and prayed onerak'ah and the Prophet kept standing [in prayer] as he was. Then, he performedthe ruku' and the new group performed the ruku' with him and he performed thesajdah and they performed the sajdah with him. After this, the group which hadgone to face the enemy came and prayed one rak'ah while the Prophet and thosewith him were sitting [in prayer]. Finally, the Prophet made taslim and bothgroups made the taslim with him. The Prophet prayed two rak'at and both groupsprayed two rak'at." This is related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, and an-Nasa' i .
-6- Each group prays only one rak'ah with the imam and the imam prays atotal of two rak'at whereas each group prays one. Ibn 'Abbas reports that theProphet prayed at Zhi-qard, and he arranged the people into two rows, one rowbehind him and one row guarding against the enemy. The group behind him prayedone rak'ah (with him) and then left the place to the other group. The othergroup then came and prayed one rak'ah (with the Prophet), and [neither group]made up a rak'ah. This is related by anNasa'i and Ibn Hibban. Ibn 'Abbas alsosays: "Allah made the prayer obligatory on your Prophet [in the followingmanner]: four rak'at while resident, two while traveling, and only one duringtimes of fear." This is related by Ahmad, Muslim, Abu Dawud, andan-Nasa'i.
The sunset prayer is not to be shortened and there is no hadith which stateshow it is to be prayed during times of fear. Therefore, the scholars differover how it is to be performed. The Hanafi and Maliki schools say that the imamis to pray two rak'at with the first group and then one rak'ah with the secondgroup. Ash-Shaf'i and Ahmad say it is permissible for the imam to pray onerak'ah with the first group and then two rak'at with the second group as it hasbeen related that 'Ali performed it in that manner.
If the fear [of the enemy] is great or fighting is taking place, each personis to pray individually to the best of his ability - that is, standing orriding, facing the qiblah or not facing the qiblah, making gestures for theruku' and sajjud- whatever he can do. He should make the gesture for his sajjudlower than that for his ruku'. He is excused from any of the acts of salahwhich he is unable to perform.
Ibn 'Umar relates: "The Prophet described salatul khauf and said: 'Ifthe danger is greater than that, then [pray] standing or riding."'
In Sahih al-Bukhari, the wording is: "If the danger is greater thanthat, then pray while standing on your feet or riding, facing the qiblah or notfacing the qiblah." In Muslim's version, Ibn 'Umar is reported to havesaid: "If the danger is greater than that, then pray standing or ridingand by making gestures."
If one is attacking the enemy and fears that he will miss the time of salah,he may pray by making gestures even if he is moving in a direction other thanthat of the qiblah. The case of the one who is being attacked is the same asthe one who is attacking. The same is the case for anyone whose enemy preventshim from making the ruku' or the sajdah or a person who fears for himself orhis family or his wealth from an enemy or a thief or a wild animal; in all suchcases, the person may [if necessary] pray by making gestures and facing anydirection. Al-'Iraqi writes: "The same applies to anyone who is fleeingfrom a flood or fire and has no other option open to him. The same is true forone who is in straitened conditions and is in debt and cannot pay it and hefears that his debtor might catch him and imprison him while not believing hisclaim. This applies also to one who fears a punishment of qisas and hopes thatby his absence the prosecuting party's anger will abate and they will forgivehim."
'Abdullah ibn Unais reports: "The Messenger of Allah sent me to Khalidibn Sufyan al-Hazhili, who was close to 'Arafat, and said: 'Go and kill him.' Isaw him and the time of the afternoon prayer came and I said [to myself]: 'Ifear that something between him and me will cause me to delay the salah, so Ileft walking and offered the salah by making gestures. When I came close tohim, he said to me: 'Who are you?' I said: 'A man from among the Arabs. It hasreached me that you are gathering the people against this man [i.e, theProphet] so I came to you for that reason.' He said: 'I am doing that.' Iwalked with him for a while until I could strike him dead with my sword."This is related by Ahmad and Abu Dawud. AlHafiz says its chain is hasan.