#440: Surgeon Performing Jamak Prayer


Assalamualaikum ustaz. Is a doctor responsible to perform surgery allowed to perform jamak for his prayers? The reason is some surgeries take hours to complete. Hope for an explanation.


Waalaikumussalam wrt. wbt.,

Alhamdulillah, praise and gratitude to Allah SWT for His countless blessings for us all. Praise and salutations to our beloved Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his family, companions, and all those who follow his footsteps until the Final day.

Definition of jamak prayer

Performing jamak for prayer means combining two prayers (Zohor and Asar or Maghrob and Isya’) and both are performed in one of the times of the prayers. A person may perform either jama’ taqdim or jama’ ta’khir. [1]

Jama’ taqdim means combining two prayers and they are performed in the first prayer time; that is for Zohor and Asar prayers performed in Zohor time; Maghrib and Isya’ prayers performed in Maghrib time. Jama’ taqdim must be performed consecutively just like the order of the prayer time and not in reverse.

Whilst jama’ takhir means combining two prayers and both prayers are performed in the second prayer time; that is for Zohor and Asar prayers both are performed in the second prayer time, where both are performed in Asar time, Maghrib and Isya’ prayers are performed in the time for Isya’ prayer. Jama’ ta’khir can be performed consecutively or not. However, the priority is for them to be performed consecutively as performed by the Prophet PBUH.[2]

According to Imam al-Nawawi, some scholars are of the opinion that a resident is permissible to perform jamak for his prayers when it is necessary as long as it doesn’t become the norm for him.[3]

This is in accordance with a narration from Ibn ‘Abbas R.Anhuma, where he said:

جَمَعَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ بَيْنَ الظُّهْرِ وَالْعَصْرِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ وَالْعِشَاءِ بِالْمَدِينَةِ فِي غَيْرِ خَوْفٍ وَلَا مَطَرٍ قِيْلَ لِابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ لِمَ فَعَلَ ذَلِكَ قَالَ كَيْ لَا يُحْرِجَ أُمَّتَهُ

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) 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 (Prophet’s) Ummah should not be put to (unnecessary) hardship.” [4]

Thus, we understand that the sanctioning of jama’ for prayers is for the purpose of facilitation for this ummah in matters that burdened them.

The ruling for surgeons to perform jama’ prayers due to surgery

The original ruling for obligatory prayers is that they should be fulfilled at their designated times. This is based on the statement of Allah SWT:

إِنَّ الصَّلَاةَ كَانَتْ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ كِتَابًا مَّوْقُوتًا

“Indeed, prayer has been decreed upon the believers a decree of specified times.” [5]

Allah SWT states:

وَأَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ طَرَفَيِ النَّهَارِ وَزُلَفًا مِنَ اللَّيْلِ إِنَّ الْحَسَنَاتِ يُذْهِبْنَ السَّيِّئَاتِ ذَلِكَ ذِكْرَى لِلذَّاكِرِينَ

“And establish prayer at the two ends of the day and at the approach of the night. Indeed, good deeds do away with misdeeds. That is a reminder for those who remember.” [6]

Imam al-Qurtubi in his commentary stated that the first part of the day means subuh obligatory prayer and the second part of the day includes zuhur and asar prayers. While night prayers include Maghrib and Isyak prayers. [7]

The opinion of previous scholars regarding jamak prayer due to debilitation and illness

In madhhab al-Syafie, the famous and final opinion states that jamak is only applicable for a long journey, during heavy rain and on the day of Arafah. As for a sick person, jamak is impermissible. The reason is sickness is not a certainty factor while the determination of the times for prayer is something that is sabit according to nas. However, Imam al-Nawawi and several other Syafieyyah scholars such as al-Qadhi Hussein, Ibn Suraij, al-Ruyani, al-Mawardi, al-Darimi, and al-Mutawalli supported the opinion that permits it.[8]

Ibn Rushlan al-Syafie in Sofwah al-Zubad said:

في مَرَضٍ قَوْلٌ جَلِيٌّ وقَوِي      اختارَهُ حَمْدٌ ويحيى النَّوَوِي

“Regarding (jamak) when one is sick, there is a clear and strong opinion chosen by Hamdun (al-Khattabi) and Yahya al-Nawawi.”

These scholars supported the madhhab of Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal who permits jamak if there is a debility or masyaqqah (difficulty). Imam Ibn Qudamah in al-Mughni (2/205-206) stated:

“It is impermissible to perform jamak for other reasons than what we have stated (such as travelling, muddy land, strong wind, heavy rain and sickness).Ibn Syubrumah said: It is permissible if there is a necessity or important matter, as long as it isn’t made into a habit, according to the hadith from Ibn Abbas where Rasullullah PBUH performed jamak for Zuhur and Asar prayers, Maghrib and Isyak prayers not because of fear or rain. Ibn Abbas was asked why the Prophet PBUH did as such. He answered he doesn’t want to burden his ummah.

According to us (Madhhab Ahmad and jumhur of scholars), a ruling is considered from the general information of syarak that determine the time for prayers. The Ibn Abbas hadith we conclude to be for a sick person and it is permissible to take this rukhsah (facilitation) for those who are facing a difficulty such as a mother who is nursing her child, a weak elderly person and those who are similar to them, that is those who will be in heavy difficulty if they do not perform jamak. The hadith may also mean (if jamak is performed without any debility) that the first prayer is delayed (without it being outside of its time) and the second prayer is performed at the very beginning of its time. Amr bin Dinar narrated this hadith from Jabir bin Zaidm from Ibn Abbas. Amr asked Jabir: O Abu al-Sya’tha’! In my opinion, the Prophet PBUH delayed Zuhur and hastened Asar, delayed Maghrib and hastened Isyak. Jabir said: I think so too.”

Thus, according to salaf scholars, some of them are of the opinion that it is permissible for a sick person to perform jamak. This includes those in a similar situation to a sick person where it is difficult for them to not perform jamak.

Contemporary Scholars and Body of Authorities’ Opinions

Some contemporary Muslim scholars included surgeons who are treating or performing surgery that takes a long time as well as the patient undergoing the surgery as those who are permissible to perform jamak for their prayers.

First: Dr Yusuf al-Qaradhawi in Fatawa al-Mu’asirah when asked regarding the ruling of jamak prayer when surgeons who are expected to be in surgery for a long period: “He is permissible to perform jamak prayer of Zuhur and Asar, Maghrib and Isyak, in taqdim or ta’khir in accordance with what is easy for him. This is performed in jamak without qasar according to the opinion of madhhab Imam Ahmad who permitted jamak for any debility according to the hadith of Ibn Abbas in al-Sahih.[9]

Second: Syeikh Atiyyah Saqr, the Head of Lajnah Fatwa al-Azhar, in his fatwa when he is explaining the Hanabilah opinion stated:

“It is permissible for a patient to perform jamak for his prayers in the prescribed times. The same goes for a woman who is nursing her child when she is still experiencing istihadah (abnormal uterine bleeding) to help ease the difficulty she’ll experience to purify herself for every prayer time. Likewise, for those who are experiencing incontinence. It is permissible to perform jamak for those who are unable to tell the starting time of prayer such as a blind person, those who live underground such as miners and those who fear for the safety of their lives, property and dignity, or there is fear for his life if he doesn’t perform jamak. Hence, it is a facilitation for those where it is impossible for them to leave their work or post for him to perform his tasks in the prescribed times.” [10]

Third: Lajnah Daimah Li al-Buhuth wa al-Ifta Arab Saudi in fatwa number 20913, 58/112 stated:

“The doctor specified to perform the surgery should be mindful of the prayer and perform it in its time. However, it is permissible for him in an exigent situation to perform jamak taqdim or ta’khir for his prayers such as Zuhur and Asar, Maghrib and Isyak, when an exigent situation arises.

As for prayers that aren’t permissible to be [erform in jamak with the prayer after it, such as Asar (with Maghrib) or Subuh (and Zuhur), then if he is able to then he should perform them in their time even if he has to be replaced with another doctor or hall staff and this is best. If he is incapable, then it isn’t an issue to delay the prayer and replace it after the operation is completed. The reason is an exigent situation permits a facilitation for it.”

Fourth: Syeikh Fahd bin Abdullah al-Hazami: “It is permissible for a sick person to perform jamak prayer when he is going to undergo surgery that makes it impossible for him to perform the second prayer in its time. Thus, whoever is undergoing surgery that starts in Zuhur and completes after Maghrib or before Maghrib but he’ll still be in recovery and he wouldn’t be able to perform prayer, then it is permissible for him to perform jama’ (taqdim) for his Zuhur and Asar prayers. Likewise, the same applies for the doctor in the situation.[11]

Fifth: Syeikh Walid bin Rasyid al-Sa`idan in his book al-Qawaid al-Syar`iyyah fi al-Masa’il al-Tibbiyyah (pg. 30): “It is permissible for a surgeon to perform jamak if he isn’t able to perform his prayers in their prescribed times due to being in surgery.”


The 54th National Muzakarah Fatwa Committee for Religious Affairs Malaysia convened on 23rd January 2003 and discussed the issue of Muslim Workers in Factories that Aren’t Able to Perform Their Obligatory Prayers. The Muzakarah has decided that:

  • Prayer is obligatory for every Muslim individual who fulfils its conditions. Obligatory prayers can be performed in jamak if there is a debility or reason permitted by syarak.
  • Advise the authorities to always discuss with the factory party to find a solution for Muslims so that they can perform their prayers at their prescribed times.[12]

Moreover, the 49th Muzakarah that convened on 19th September 2000 discussed Jamak Prayers For Those Undergoing Treatment for Chronic Diseases in Government/Private Hospitals and decided that the ruling of jamak prayer is because the treatment for chronic diseases usually takes a long time, such as for haemodialysis treatment for kidney disease and others is permissible. [13]

In the above issue, in our opinion, it is permissible for a surgeon to jamak his prayers due to the difficulty of the treatment and surgery on the patient. This is in line with muktabar Islamic legal maxim:

الْمَشَقَّةُ تَجْلِبُ التَّيْسِيرَ

“A difficulty brings about ease in ruling.” [14]

However, the rukhsah (facilitation) should be bound with several dhawabit or principles as the following:

  • There is a threat or risk to the life of the patient. If the doctor leaves the patient, then his action risks or threatens the life or delays the healing process for the patient.
  • There is no replacement. If there is another doctor or health personnel that can replace him, then he should be replaced for the time for prayer and he shouldn’t jamak his prayer. This is based on the information presented to us that although surgery may take hours, however, certain situations permit the surgeon to rest for a while and can be replaced with another health personnel.

Hence, it is permissible for a surgeon to taqlid to scholars who permit jamak prayer if one is faced with difficulty.

Wallahu a’lam.


[1] See Fiqh al-Sunnah, 1/313

[2] See Kitab al-Solah, pg. 177 dan Fatawa Muhimmah, pg. 93

[3] See Syarh al-Nawawi ‘ala Sahih Muslim, 5/219

[4] Narrated by Muslim (705), Abu Daud (1211), al-Tirmizi (187), al-Nasa’i (602) and Ahmad (3323). Syeikh Ahmad Syakir said the isnad is sahih.

[5] Surah al-Nisa’: 103

[6] Surah Hud: 114

[7] See al-Jami’ li Ahkam al-Quran, 9/108-109

[8] See al-Taqrirat al-Sadidah – Qism Ibadat, pg. 322

[9] See Fatawa al-Mu`asirah, 2/584

[10] See Fatawa Dar al-Ifta` al-Misriyyah, 9/55

[11] See Taqrib Fiqh al-Tabib, pg. 14

[12] See Kompilasi Pandangan Hukum Muzakarah Jawatankuasa Fatwa Majlis Kebangsaan Bagi Hal Ehwal Ugama Islam Malaysia, pg. 42

[13] See Kompilasi Pandangan Hukum Muzakarah Jawatankuasa Fatwa Majlis Kebangsaan Bagi Hal Ehwal Ugama Islam Malaysia, pg. 72

[14] See al-Asybah wa al-Nazhair, pg. 76