Combining Maghrib and Isha just before Fajr
Fatwa No: 84490

  • Fatwa Date:13-7-2002 - Jumaadaa Al-Oula 4, 1423
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Question

I live in a small city in Canada where the sunset is about 10:30 pm and the morning prayer is a bout 3:30. If i am tired, is it okay to sleep before Salat al-Maghrib (around 10) and wake up right before the morning prayer and pray both Maghrib and Isha?Is it okay to have more than intention (Niyah) when conducting a Nafl prayer? For example praying 2 Rak'ahs as Sunnah al-Fajr and Salat al-Istikhara?

Answer

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the World; and may His blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his Family and Companions.

Dear Brother! We ask Allah to protect you and to help you obey Him. Know that prayers should be performed in fixed times that are impermissible to violate.
Allah Says (interpretation of meaning): {… Verily, the prayer is enjoined on the believers at fixed hours.} [4: 103].
This means that being busy or exhausted does not constitutes a genuine reason to delay prayer, to perform it after its stated time, nor to combine any two obligatory prayers.
For sure, putting off performing prayer in its fixed time without a legal genuine reason constitutes one of the major sins.
Allah Says (interpretation of meaning): {So woe unto those performers of Salât (prayers) (hypocrites), Who delay their Salât (prayer) from their stated fixed times,} [107: 4-5].
Many of al-Salaf (the righteous predecessors of the first three generations after the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam), former great scholars of Islam) comment on the above verse saying: 'It means those who delay performing prayer away from its stated times'.
But, delaying performing prayer due to an unexcessive sleep or forgetfulness is exempt.
Allah's Messenger (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) said: "Whoever sleeps through the time of a certain prayer or forgets it, has to perform it when he remembers it" . [Reported by Imam Bukhari ].
In brief, it is impermissible to sleep as long as you know that you will not wake up except when the stated time of a certain prayer has gone. In other words, you are not allowed to sleep unless you are sure that you will get up at the fixed time of the prayer to perform it.
As for combining two forms of worship with one intention, here are three different states:
1) If they (two forms of worship) are united in form and purpose like Ghusl (complete washing of body) of Janabah (major ritual impurity) and al-Jumu'ah or al-Janabah and Ghusl of menstruation or Ghusl of al-Jumu'ah and Eid, there is no problem in such a state.
2) If one of the two forms of worship is not meant in itself like "greeting the Mosque" with some obligatory or Sunnah prayer, also there is no problem in such a state, since the purpose is to make the place busy with prayer. In addition, there is no objection to perform purification for more than one goal with one intention.
3) If each one of these two forms of worship is meant in itself like al-Zuhr obligatory prayer and its stressed Sunnah, it is not legal to combine them in one intention; since they are two independent forms of worship.
Imam al-Nawawi said in al-Majmou` book: 'There is no disagreement among scholars that one can intend to perform the obligatory prayer with greeting the Mosque or the stressed Sunnah with greeting the Mosque at the same time'.            
As for the two Rak'ah of Istikhara, they are not meant in themselves, i.e. it is permissible to combine, for example, the Fajr obligatory prayer or any stressed Sunnah with the Istikhar prayer in one intention. So, one can perform al-Fajr with such an intention, and then, pray to Allah with Du'a al-Istikhara.
In this vein, Allah's Messenger (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) said: "Whoever among you intends to do something, is highly advised to perform two optional Raka'hs, and then, to say … (supplication of Istikhara)" .
Allah knows best.

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