Permissible to Pray in a Place Owned by Others without their Permission
Fatwa No: 430018

Question

What is the ruling on praying on other peoples’ property? Is it necessary to ask the owner’s permission to do that first before praying? For example, if I am out and I need to pray, especially when the owner is not Muslim and doesn’t know that which prayer is. Also, if the owner of the property refuses to allow me to pray there, and the time for prayer is running out, then is it permissible to pray on that property in secret?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

It is permissible to pray in a place owned by someone else without his consent, according to the opinion that was held as correct by some scholars. The Hanbali scholar Al-Mardaawi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said in Al-Insaaf: "According to the correct opinion of our school of Fiqh, there is nothing wrong with performing prayer in a land or prayer area owned by another person without his permission, and without wrongfully seizing it by force." [End of quote]

Some scholars held that it is forbidden to pray in such a place without the owner’s permission. According to Fataawa Ar-Ramli, a book on the Shaafi‘i Fiqh: “(He was asked) What is the ruling on praying in an uncultivated plot and performing Tayammum with its soil, knowing that it is owned by another person; are such Tayammum and prayer valid or not? (He replied) As for a prayer offered in a land owned by another person, it is valid and sufficient in terms of clearing his liability from the obligation in this regard, and the same ruling applies to the Tayammum performed with its soil. However, if he does not know (whether the owner consents) and does not think that the owner would give his consent to it, then it is forbidden for him to do so.” [End of quote]

Based on the above, you come to realize that scholars held different opinions regarding this issue. It is better for you to seek the permission of this place’s owner if you wish to pray therein. If he does not give his permission, it is impermissible for you to pray in it secretly so that you would stay away from the scholarly difference of opinion in this regard.

Allah Knows best.

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