Praise be to Allah, and may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah, his family and his companions.
Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.
As to what follows:
Allah has enjoined swalah on the believers on its prescribed times. Allah says:
“Verily, the prayer is enjoined on the believers at fixed hours.” [al-Nisaa’ 4:103]
So it is obligatory upon a believer to safeguard his prayers on their fixed times as Allah has ordered in the verse:
“Guard strictly (five obligatory) AsSalawat (the prayers) especially the middle Salat (i.e. the best prayer Asr). and stand before Allah with obedience [and do not speak to others during the Salat (prayers)].” [al-Baqara 2:238]
For this to be achieved it should be known that prayer times are divided into two:
1st: broader time, under this is the 5 times whereby every swlalah has a specific time as Allah mentioned:
“Perform AsSalat (Iqamat-as-Salat) from mid-day till the darkness of the night (i.e. the Dhuhr, Asr, Maghrib, and Ishâ prayers), and recite the Quran In the early dawn (i.e. the morning prayer). Verily, the recitation of the Quran In the early dawn is ever witnessed (attended by the angels In charge of mankind of the Day and the night).” [al-Israa’ 17:78]
Allah also says:
“So glorify Allah [above All that (evil) they associate with Him (O believers)], when you come up to the evening [i.e. offer the (Maghrib) sunset and (Isha) night prayers], and when you enter the morning [i.e offer the (Fajr) Morning Prayer]. * And his is All the praises and thanks in the heavens and the earth, and (glorify Him) in the afternoon (i.e. offer Asr prayer) and when You come up to the time, when the Day begins to decline (i.e offer Dhuhr prayer). (Ibn Abas said: "These are the five compulsory congregational prayers mentioned In the Quran).” [al-Rum 30:17-18]
The sunnah (both saying and action) clarifies these prayer times when they begin and end. Muslim (614) reports that:
“Abu Musa (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated on the authority of his father that a person came to the Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) for inquiring about the times of prayers. He (the Holy Prophet) gave him no reply (because he wanted to explain to him the times by practically observing these prayers). He then said the morning player when it was daybreak, but the people could hardly recognise one another. He then commanded and the Iqama for the noon prayer was pronounced when the tan had passed the meridian and one would say that it was midday but he (the Holy Prophet) knew better than them. He then again commanded and the Iqama for the afternoon prayer was pronounced when the sun was high. He then commanded and Iqama for the evening prayer was pronounced when the sun had sunk. He then commanded and Iqama for the night prayer was pronounced when the twilight had disappeared. He then delayed the morning prayer on the next day (so much so) that after returning from it one would say that the sun had risen or it was about to rise. He then delayed the noon prayer till it was near the time of afternoon prayer (as it was observed yesterday). He then delayed the afternoon prayer till one after returning from it would say that the sun had become red. He then delayed the evening prayer till the twilight was about to disappear. He then delayed the night prayer till it was one-third of the night. He then called the inquirer in the morning and said:
The time for prayers is between these two (extremes).”
2nd: time of udhr, under this there are 3 times, Fajr has its time, Dhuhr & Asr has their time and Maghrib & Isha has their time also.
The Prophet (peace be on him) joined Dhur & Asr and Maghrib & Isha. It is established in many narrations that the Prophet (peace be on him) used to join when travelling as well as when he was not travelling due to excuse and removing hardship on people.
Muslim (705) narrates that:
Ibn Abbas reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) combined the noon prayer with the afternoon prayer and the sunset prayer with the Isha prayer in Medina without being in a state of danger or rainfall. And in the hadith transmitted by Waki' (the words are):
“I said to Ibn Abbas: What prompted him to do that? He said: So that his Ummah should not be put to (unnecessary) hardship." And in the hadith transmitted by Mu'awiya (the words are):" It was said to Ibn Abbas: What did he intend thereby? He said he wanted that his Ummah should not be put to unnecessary hardship.”
This is the basis used on the permissibility of joining prayers in if there is need to.
This is also the view of majority of scholars from Malikite, Shafite and Hanbalite schools of thought and others, even though they differed on the standard used to define what is meant by need permitting combining of prayers.
The nearest meaning used to define the standard of joining is: (anything that causes difficulty and hardship to a person, s/he is allowed to join due to it on condition that it doesn’t become a habit). This was held by a group of scholars, among them Ibn Sireen, Rabi’ah, Ibn al-Mundhir and others. The same view is also held by our Shaykh Ibn Uthaymin.
Therefore it is permitted for a doctor to join prayers if need arises whether s/he is in the theatre room or other place that requires his presence.
What is worthy being noted on the issue of joining 2 prayers is one should be careful to avoid being lenient on that. The scholars have unanimously agreed that it is not allowed to join 2 prayers if one is not travelling if s/he doesn’t have an excuse, just as Ibn Abdul Barr said in Tamhid (12/210), whereas Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said it is a major sin (to join 2 prayers without an excuse).
Dr. Khalid al-Muslih