Photo by Cody Doherty on Unsplash; is a lecture a valid excuse to delay the prayer

Shaykh Farid Dingle is asked if college lectures are a valid excuse for delaying the prayer until the time of necessity in the Maliki school.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

This is a question regarding a previous answer that was asked by someone else titled: What Are the Valid Excuses to Delay the Prayer Until the Necessary Time in the Maliki School?

Is a college lecture a valid excuse? For example, I have a lecture which begins before the time of Maghrib enters and ends after the time of Isha has already entered.

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

It is not permissible to delay any prayer intentionally delay any prayer to it “time of necessity” (waqt darura) unless one is actually unable to pray in the normal time.

Excuses to Delay until “Time of Necessity”

The excuses to pray are “being in menses or lochia, having had just entered Islam, having had just reached puberty, having had just regained sanity, having had just regained consciousness, or having been asleep, or having had forgotten to pray.” (Sharh Abi al-Hasan)

Al-Adawi comments on the excuse of sleep and forgetfulness saying, ‘That is to say that when someone who is asleep wakes up, or someone who forgot remembers during the ‘necessary time’ they are not considered sinful. (Hashiya al-Adawi)

Sleeping through a prayer or forgetting to pray

It goes without saying that what is meant by someone who is asleep is someone who is genuinely asleep and not just intentionally going back to sleep; so too, someone who forgot is someone who genuinely forgot, and not someone who is just too busy or lazy to pray.

As has come in the Prophetic Tradition, “The is not shortcoming in sleep: shortcoming is only in not praying until the next prayer time comes in.” (Muslim) That is to say it is sinful to miss a prayer, but not if one genuinely slept through it after having taken the means to wake up on time.

The concept of “Necessary Time”

The concept of “necessary time” not to do with sin or the lack thereof, rather it is just a way of categorizing such prayers in terms of being make-ups or not. It is also a way to judge whether or not the previous prayer (say Dhuhr) has to be prayed in the “necessary time.”

For example, if you sleep through Fajr, the prayer is a make-up, while if you sleep through Dhuhr, and pray it in Asr time, it is not a make-up. Neither can be intentionally missed or intentionally slept through, but they just fall into different categories.

Similarly, if one stopped menstruating in Isha, one would pray Maghrib and Isha, because Isha is a “necessary time” for Maghrib; whereas if you stopped in Fajr, you wouldn’t pray Isha, because Isha’s “necessary time” finishes at the beginning of Fajr.

The reason why “necessary time” extends in Dhuhr and Maghrib into the pray times that follow then is because Dhuhr and Maghrib can be joined with Asr and Isha respectively in the circumstances that allow joining. For this reason, the three schools that allow joining prayers under certain circumstances also have this same general breakdown of prayer times.

Upshot

It is not permissible to delay any prayer until “time of necessity” (waqt darura) due to being in a lecture. One should just make sure to have wudu beforehand, and ask to be excused for five minutes while you pray.

Under more pressing scenarios, there may be case for joining prayers, but that is a different discussion and doesn’t apply to this scenario.

I pray this helps.

Farid

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


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