By: Bayynat editor
According to the Sharia, one becomes considered a “traveller” when certain conditions are fulfilled. In the following, we are going to explain these conditions, and how the traveller’s prayer is usually offered and what constitutes a homeland and its categories. The following are in accordance to the view of His Eminence, Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah (ra), in his book “Clear Guide to Islamic Rulings”.
For a traveller, the four prostrations prayers are shortened. Noon, afternoon, and evening prayer are shortened to two prostrations. The other two, which are dawn and sunset prayers, stay as they are. However, how can one be defined as a traveller?
The matter is intricately related to “the homeland” and its categories:
The homeland, or place of residence, may be divided into four categories:
a- The original homeland which is the homeland of the fathers and forefathers, even if the person was not born in it or has not resided in it, unless he has abandoned it altogether.
b- Permanent homeland which is the town that the person makes his permanent residence, such as the Londoner who makes Birmingham his homeland.
c- Temporary homeland which is the town that is adopted as a residence for work or studying for a relatively long time, or while in search of security or for other reasons- this is regarded as a homeland for the person as long as he is present there. The criterion for specifying the time period follows the common custom.
d- Locational homeland which applies to someone who has no homeland of the two categories b and c and has been forced as a result of his circumstances to go from one place or another, such as the Bedouins, or the employee whose job forced him to move regularly without knowing the exact period of time he is going to spend in any particular place; for people such as these their place of their residence is their homeland throughout the period they reside in it.
It is important to note that it is possible that a person has more than one homeland.
In addition, the son or daughter living with his or her family and depending on them for their living expenses follows, in the homeland matter, his or her parents, even after becoming separate from them, unless he or she abandons his or her parents’ home altogether, quite living in it. There is no difference if this parent had a permanent, temporary or locational homeland- as far as the original homeland is concerned, the ancestry is sufficient to keep their original homeland.
The wife follows her husband’s homeland unless she intends to take a separate homeland, although normally the wife’s intention is to reside with her husband and live with him there; but she does not follow his original homeland unless the husband lives there, so if he takes her there with him for a visit, he must pay full prayers while she prays shortened prayers until she resides in it and makes it her homeland as well, according to certain conditions.
The homeland ruling is not fulfilled unless one decides to abandon it, which is deciding never to live in it and to leave it and reside in another place.
A person may be forced to abandon his homeland, such as the wife who has lived with her husband, outside her homeland, in a stable marriage without any fear (under normal circumstances) of leaving him and going back to her homeland as a widow or a divorcee; in this case she is regarded as compelled to abandon her original homeland although without intending to do so.
When does a state of travelling take place? The answer to this question will be answered in part 2.