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Question: I am planning to go for hajj this year. I want to know abI am a student currently in grade . Dhuhr prayer starts a few minutes before lunch ends at my school, and I am reluctant on being late to my third period class to pray. Asr prayer starts during my fourth period class, and to pray Dhuhr during the minute break between the two classes leaves hardly any time. My question is, is it permissible for me to pray both dhuhr and asr prayer after school, or should I sacrifice being late for class to pray?out the proper etiquettes that I should follow in order to derive maximum spiritual benefits from my hajj.

I commend you for your keen desire to know and practice your Deen and I pray to Allah to enhance your understanding and practice of it.

While fully understanding your predicament, I must say: Since Salah is the most important work we can do in this world, and since its time has been appointed and fixed by Allah, it is important for us to strive to do it even if we were allowed only five minutes’ break.

Islam, however, teaches us that in circumstances such as the one you have described, we are certainly allowed to do the absolute minimum obligatory Prayer, which in the case of Dhuhr is four rak’ahs of fard; it can very well be done in a mater of five minutes. So you must never hesitate in performing dhuhr before proceeding to your next class; you are allowed to postpone it only if you are certain that you can safely catch dhuhr after your class.

If, on the other hand, God forbid, you do not get any time at all (i.e. not even five minutes of break between the two classes), then of course in such a circumstance, you are allowed to combine dhuhr and asr as you have mentioned, according to some authentic scholars. They have based it on the authentic report which has been narrated on the authority of Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him; according to him, the the Prophet, peace be upon him, had combined prayers in this way in order to indicate that his community can do so when they are faced with difficult situations; the situation you have mentioned definitely falls in this category only if you can’t even get five minutes’ break.

It should be comforting for you to know that in exceptional circumstances (like that of yours) you can skip sunan (recommended) and nawaafil (optional) prayers that come either before or after fard prayers without incurring any blame; for Fard prayer is the absolute minimum we are required to do at all times, and we must never be neglectful in performing it; sunan and nawaafil, however, can be skipped or postponed sometimes, while we should always be keen in performing them in ordinary times.

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