In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.
It is the consensus of the four schools of thought that to combine two prayers without any reason is impermissible. However, Imam Shafee (RA) and Imam Malik (RA) are of the view that traveling and heavy rain is a valid enough excuse to combine the prayers. Imam Ahmad (RA) includes illness as also a excuse for the permissibility of combining two prayers. According to the Hanafi Fiqh, it is not permitted to combine the prayers and take a prayer out of its prayer time by either delaying it or performing it before its time. The only exception is in Arafat where Zuhr and Asr are combined and in Muzdalifa where Maghrib and Isha are combined. (Darse Tirmizi p.440 v.1)
There are many ahadiths relating to this issue. The Hanafis have judged all the narrations on this issue to be based on “apparent combining” (Jam as-Suri) and not “real combining” (Jam al-Haqiqi) (Ibid)
This is because in the Holy Quran Allah (SWA) has said:
“Verily Salah is fixed upon the believers at fixed hours.” (Surah Al-Nisaa v.103)
This verse is explicit in that the prayers have to be performed in its prescribed time and the Hanafi jurists have reconciled between the Quranic verse and other narrations.
Saiduna Abdullah ibn Masuud, Radiallahu Anhu, narrates: ”I never observed the Messenger of Allah perform any prayer out of its time except at Muzdalifa. He combined Maghrib and ‘Isha at Muzdalifa…” (Sahih Bukhari p.228 v.1 & Sahih Muslim p.417 v.1)
Saiduna Abdullah Ibn Masuud, Radiallahu Anhu, states: “The Messenger of Allah combined two prayers whilst on a journey. He would combine Maghrib and Isha by delaying Maghrib until just before its expiry time, and performing Isha immediately as its time entered (Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaibah p.458 v.2).
Saiduna Abdullah Ibn Abbas, Radiallahu Anhu, narrates: “I performed eight rak’ats together (four of Zuhr and four of Asr) and seven rak’ats together (three of Maghrib and four of Isha) with the Messenger of Allah. One of the narrators says,” I asked Abul Sha’tha’, ‘I assume he delayed Zuhr to the end of its time and performed ‘Asr as soon as it entered, and delayed Maghrib (likewise) and performed ‘Isha early.’ He replied, “I also think the same'” (Sahih Muslim p.246 v.1)
The Muazzin of Saiduna Abdullah Ibn Umar Radiallahu Anhu informed him it was time for prayer. Saiduna Ibn Umar Radiallahu Anhu instructed him to continue on the journey. When the red of sunset (shafq ahmar) had nearly disappeared, he got of from his mount and performed Maghrib, and then he waited until the red had completely disappeared and performed Isha. He then said, “Whenever the Messenger of Allah was in a hurry for some reason, he would do just as I have done” (Sunan Abi Dawud p.171 v.1).
Saiduna Umar Radhiallahu Anhu had warned that to gather between two Salahs in one time is a major sin. (Muatta Imaam Muhammad p.130 & p.139)
As we can see, the method of combining mentioned in the above ahadith is of “apparent combining” (Jam as-Suri) and not “real combining” (Jam al-Haqiqi)
Only Allah Knows Best
Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham.