Fatwa: # 41717
Category: Basic Tenets of Faith
Country: India
Date: 8th May 2019

Title

Salat al-Khawf

Question

Assalam alaykum. Can you please tell me what is the meaning of salatul khauf?

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

Definition of Salat al-Khawf

Salat al-khawf is a method of performing salah in the event of a battle or other form of immediate danger which prevents the Muslims from performing salah normally without fear of attack.

Salat al-Khawf in the Qur’an

وَإِذَا ضَرَبْتُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ فَلَيْسَ عَلَيْكُمْ جُنَاحٌ أَنْ تَقْصُرُوا مِنَ الصَّلَاةِ إِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَنْ يَفْتِنَكُمُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا إِنَّ الْكَافِرِينَ كَانُوا لَكُمْ عَدُوًّا مُبِينًا (١٠١) وَإِذَا كُنْتَ فِيهِمْ فَأَقَمْتَ لَهُمُ الصَّلَاةَ فَلْتَقُمْ طَائِفَةٌ مِنْهُمْ مَعَكَ وَلْيَأْخُذُوا أَسْلِحَتَهُمْ فَإِذَا سَجَدُوا فَلْيَكُونُوا مِنْ وَرَائِكُمْ وَلْتَأْتِ طَائِفَةٌ أُخْرَى لَمْ يُصَلُّوا فَلْيُصَلُّوا مَعَكَ وَلْيَأْخُذُوا حِذْرَهُمْ وَأَسْلِحَتَهُمْ وَدَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لَوْ تَغْفُلُونَ عَنْ أَسْلِحَتِكُمْ وَأَمْتِعَتِكُمْ فَيَمِيلُونَ عَلَيْكُمْ مَيْلَةً وَاحِدَةً وَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ إِنْ كَانَ بِكُمْ أَذًى مِنْ مَطَرٍ أَوْ كُنْتُمْ مَرْضَى أَنْ تَضَعُوا أَسْلِحَتَكُمْ وَخُذُوا حِذْرَكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ أَعَدَّ لِلْكَافِرِينَ عَذَابًا مُهِينًا (١٠٢) 

When you [believers] are travelling in the land, you will not be blamed for shortening your prayers, if you fear the disbelievers may harm you: they are your open enemies.  

When you [O Prophet] are with the believers, leading them in salah, let a group of them stand up in salah with you, taking their weapons with them, and when they have finished their sajda, let them take up their positions at the back. Then let the other group, who have not yet performed salah, perform salah with you, also on their guard and armed with their weapons: the disbelievers would dearly like you to be heedless of your weapons and belongings, in order for them to take you in a single assault.

You will not be blamed if you lay aside your arms when you are overtaken by heavy rain or illness, but be on your guard. Indeed, God has prepared a humiliating punishment for the disbelievers.

(Surat al-Nisa, 4:101-102) 

Salat al-khawf in the Hadith

عن عبد الله، قال: صلى بنا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم صلاة الخوف، فقاموا صفين، فقام صف خلف النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم، وصف مستقبل العدو، فصلى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم بالصف الذين يلونه ركعة، ثم قاموا فذهبوا، فقاموا مقام أولئك مستقبلي العدو، وجاء أولئك فقاموا مقامهم، فصلى بهم رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ركعة، ثم سلم، ثم قاموا فصلوا لأنفسهم ركعة، ثم سلموا، ثم ذهبوا فقاموا مقام أولئك مستقبلي العدو، ورجع أولئك إلى مقامهم، فصلوا لأنفسهم ركعة، ثم سلموا 

It is narrated from ‘Abdullah (ibn Mas‘ud) (radhiallahu ‘anhu) that he said, “Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) performed salat al-khawf with us. The people stood in two groups, one behind Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and one facing the enemy. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) performed one rak‘a with the group following him, who then stood and went in place of those who had been facing the enemy. Those who had been facing the enemy came and stood in their place behind Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) performed one rak‘a with them then performed salam. The group behind him stood and performed one rak‘a on their own then went in place of those facing the enemy. Those facing the enemy returned to their place and performed one rak‘a on their own then performed salam. (Musnad Ahmad, 3561)[1]

Method of Salat al-Khawf

Imam Quduri rahimahullah explained[2] the method of performing salat al-khawf as follows:

When fear becomes intense, the imam divides the people into two groups: one group facing the enemy, and one group behind himself. He performs one rak‘a and two sajdas with this [latter] group. When he raises his head from the second sajda, this group proceeds to face the enemy and the other group attends. The imam performs one rak‘a and two sajdas with [the second group] and he performs the tashahhud and salam. They do not perform the salam but go away to face the enemy.

The first group returns and prays one rak‘a and two sajdas, without qira’a, individually. They perform the tashahhud and salam [then] proceed to face the enemy. [Then,] the other group returns and performs one rak‘a and two sajdas with qira’a and performs the tashahhud and salam.

If [the imam] is muqim, he performs two rak‘as with the first group and two rak‘as with the second [group].

For maghrib, he prays two rak‘as with the first group and one rak‘a with the second [group].

They do not engage in combat whilst in the state of salah; if they do that, their salah is void.

If the fear is extremely intense, they pray individually whilst mounted, making gestures for ruku‘ and sajda, facing whichever direction they wish if they are unable to face the qibla [throughout the salah].

Note:

Salat al-khawf is only performed when everyone insists on performing salah behind one imam. If there is no fear of such differences, two separate jama‘ats can be performed.

And Allah Ta‘ālā Knows Best.

Checked and Approved by:
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

 

_____________________

[1]

مسند أحمد ط الرسالة (٦/٢٦)

٣٥٦١ - حدثنا محمد بن فضيل، عن خصيف، حدثنا أبو عبيدة، عن عبد الله، قال:" صلى بنا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم صلاة الخوف، فقاموا صفين، فقام صف خلف النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم، وصف مستقبل العدو، فصلى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم بالصف الذين يلونه ركعة، ثم قاموا فذهبوا، فقاموا مقام أولئك مستقبلي العدو، وجاء أولئك فقاموا مقامهم، فصلى بهم رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ركعة، ثم سلم، ثم قاموا فصلوا لأنفسهم ركعة، ثم سلموا، ثم ذهبوا فقاموا مقام أولئك مستقبلي العدو، ورجع أولئك إلى مقامهم، فصلوا لأنفسهم ركعة، ثم سلموا"

[2]

مختصر القدوري (ص: ٤٦)

باب صلاة الخوف

إذا اشتد الخوف جعل الإمام الناس طائفتين: طائفة في وجه العدو وطائفة خلفه فيصلي بهذه الطائفة ركعة وسجدتين فإذا رفع رأسه من السجدة الثانية مضت هذه الطائفة إلى وجه العدو وجاءت تلك الطائفة فيصلي بهم الإمام ركعة وسجدتين وتشهد وسلم ولم يسلموا وذهبوا إلى وجه العدو وجاءت الطائفة الأولى فصلوا وحدانا ركعة وسجدتين بغير قراءة وتشهدوا وسلموا ومضوا إلى وجه العدو وجاءت الطائفة الأخرى فصلوا ركعة وسجدتين بقراءة وتشهدوا وسلموا

فإن كان الإمام مقميا صلى بالطائفة الأولى ركعتين وبالثانية ركعتين

ويصلي بالطائفة الأولى ركعتين من المغرب وبالثانية ركعة

ولا يقاتلون في حال الصلاة فإن فعلوا ذلك بطلت صلاتهم

وإن اشتد الخوف صلوا ركبانا وحدانا يومئون بالركوع والسجود إلى أي جهة شاءوا إذا لم يقدروا على التوجه إلى القبلة

Al -Quduri, The Mukhtasar al-Quduri, tr. Tahir Mahmood Kiani, Ta-Ha Publishers [adapted]

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