Moving Among Three Homes: May I Shorten Prayers?

Question and answer details
As-salamu `alaykum. I live in Islamabad in my own house and my parents live in Peshawar in their own house and we have one house in our village. I move among these places frequently (at least once in a month). So, will I offer complete Prayers in all three houses?
Wael Shihab

Wa `alaykum as-salamu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

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Dear brother, thank you for your question and for your concern about performing Prayers even when travelling.

It is agreed upon among scholars that a traveler can shorten the prescribed Prayers of Zuhr, `Asr, and `Isha’ to two rak`ahs when one is travelling for a lawful (mubah) reason and the journey is at least 81 km (50 mi) one way.

But, as long as the three homes among which you are travelling are your own, you are not allowed to shorten prayers while travelling among them.

Responding to your question, Dr. Wael Shihab, PhD in Islamic Studies, Al-Azhar University, and the Head of the Shari`ah Dept. of Onislam.net website, stated,

Thank you for your good question.

It is permissible for a traveler, out of Allah’s mercy and favor, to shorten the current prescribed Prayers of Zuhr, `Asr, and `Isha’ to two rak`ahs each, when one is travelling for a reason that is not disobedience to Allah, and on a journey of at least 81 km. /50 mi. one way.

Legality of shortening the Prayers while one is travelling is evidenced by the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Allah says in the Qur’an, {And when you (Muslims) travel in the land, there is no sin on you if you shorten the Prayer …} (An-Nisaa' 4: 101)

Moreover, Yahya ibn Ishaq reported, “I heard Anas saying, ‘We travelled with the Prophet from Madinah to Makkah and offered two rak`ahs (for every Prayer) till we returned to Madinah.’ I said, ‘Did you stay for a while in Makkah?’ He replied, ‘We stayed in Makkah for ten days.’ (Al-Bukhari, Al-Jami` As-Sahihhadith no. 187)

There is general consensus among scholars that if a traveling person is determined to return as soon as his work is done and does not know when that will be, then he may continue to pray Qasr (short Prayer) as long as he is on travel.

If, however, a person decides to settle down in a city, the moment he does so, he ceases to be a traveler, and, therefore, he must pray full. If, on the other hand, one is determined to stay only for a few days the number of which he knows precisely, then he should pray full, according to a great number of scholars, if his stay exceeds more than four days.

Regarding your specific case, I could understand that your house, your parents’ house, and your house in the village are all considered places or houses for your residence. Therefore, you are not allowed to shorten the Prayers in your residence places.

Some scholars have referred to cases in which a person lives in two different houses, in two different cities, and called him sahib ad-darayn (one who has two homes); so he cannot shorten the Prayer in either of them.

However, you can shorten and combine Prayers (Zuhr with `Asr and Maghrib with `Isha’) while traveling in between these cities if the journey is at least 81 km/50 mi. one way.

May Allah accept your and our good deeds!

Allah Almighty knows best.