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Weekly islamicQ: My hometown is Sharjah, and I work three days a week in a faraway city where I have also a lodge. How do I go about shortening and combining the prayers? Nawal

A: Alhamdulillah. As long as you are on the road, you may shorten and combine the prayers. The preferable opinion by the scholars however, is that you do each prayer independently in the town where you work because of the home you have therein and because this may continue for a lifetime. If you know it is a temporary job for a month, two or three, by all means you may shorten and combine the prayers.

Q: During a travel, I combined Maghrib & Isha prayers, by praying Maghrib (3) units, the Sunnah of Maghrib (2) units, followed by Isha (2) units. Is this sequence correct? Hussain

A: Alhamdulillah. In a way you are right, and in another you are wrong. It is wrong to pray the regular Sunnah units between the two prayers. The Apostle of Allah [pbuh] dismissed all the Sunnah prayers during the travel except for the pre-dawn Sunnah and the post Isha Witr only. The correct way is that as soon as you are done with the Maghrib, start the Iqama for Isha immediately.

Q: The (4) units of pre-Zuhur Sunnah, is it with a single dual Tasleem, or two separate dual Tasleem? Maha

A: Alhamdulillah. Both ways are actually acceptable. You may pray (4) units as in the Zuhr, ending them with a Tasleem or pray (2) units ending them with a Tasleem, and do another two units in a like manner, which was the practice of the Apostle of Allah [pbuh], his companions and the overwhelming majority of the scholars.

Q: I happened to live in Sweden where fasting lasts to a nearly 21 hours. Some scholars gave a fatwa (verdict) to fast and break fast with Makkah, is this a valid fatwa? Kareem

A: Alhamdulillah. This fatwa is incorrect and invalid. How dare someone gives such a fatwa. Some scholars ruled that the fasting person may break his fast in accordance with the nearest normal city to his location. You absolutely cannot go with Makkah’s timing. Allah the Exalted defined the starting and ending of fasting by dawn’s light and sunset. He says: “Eat and drink until the white thread (light) of dawn appears to you distinct from the black thread (darkness of night), then complete your fast till the night” [2:187]. The Apostle of Allah [pbuh] also says: “When the sun rises from here, and sets from here, it is time for the fasting (person) to break his fast”. As such, you are required to fast from true dawn till sunset. You are required to hold the intention for fasting to begin with. If a person however faced a hardship on the 12th or 15th hour, he/she may break the fast and make up the day during the winter when the day is short and the weather is cool. But he who is able and capable of fasting must fast. Excluded from this, is the ill or the sick, who may postpone the fasting till winter if he can or move to the next level of feeding for each day a poor man.

Q: Does the listener receive a reward for listening to the recitation of the Qur’an? Kareem

A: Alhamdulillah. Yes indeed, the listener receives an equal reward as that of the reciter. The Apostle of Allah [pbuh] himself loved to hear the Qur’an recited by the beautiful voices of Abdullah bin Mas’oud , Abu Musa Al Ash’ary and others. He [pbuh] used to enjoy it a whole lot. But the listener must associate the intention along to qualify for the reward. This is an act of worship, hence comes the reward.

Q: Is it permissible to recite the Qur’an without Wudu’ (ablution), especially when waiting for a turn in a bank or a government agency? Kareem

A: Alhamdulillah. This is in fact the best thing one can do through his memory, a mobile application or even a print copy according to the verdicts of many scholars. I have no issue with holding a pocket copy and invest the time reciting the Qur’an especially in cases where it is hard to perform a wudu’ in a public area. And Allah knows best.

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