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Question: hi i am a doctor in training. I have to wake up very early to be in clinic. Is it permissible to join maghrib and isha where isha is very late

Prayer is the most important pillar of Islam. Allah says, “Salah (worship) at fixed times has been enjoined on the believers.” (Qur’an: 4: 103). The Prophet, peace be upon him, was asked, ‘what is the most beloved act in the sight of Allah, he replied, “to pray at the appointed times.”

Therefore, it is important that we try our best to never to be slack in performing prayers on time. 

Having said this however, I must point out there are certain concessions-- within certain reasonable limits—that we are allowed in cases when we are experiencing hardship in keeping the time because of circumstances beyond our control. In such cases, we are allowed to combine two prayers, although we must never make it a regular habit. For instance, if you are unable to pray zuhr and asr at their appointed times, then you may pray both of them either at the time of zuhr or at the time of asr; but you are never allowed to pray them before the time of zuhr. Likewise, if you are finding it hard to pray maghrib on time, then you may postpone it with the intention of jam’ (combining it) with isha before the expiry of the time of the latter. You are, however, not allowed to pray them (i.e. maghrib and isha) at the time of asr. In case of fajr also, you are not allowed to combine it with zuhr. 

The above ruling is based on the evidence in the sources. We read in authentic report on the authority of Ibn Abbas, may Allah be well pleased with him, that "the Prophet, peace be upon him, combined zuhr and asr as well as maghrib and isha for no reason of war or rain.” When asked by someone why the Prophet, peace be upon him, had done so, Ibn Abbas replied,He had done so in order not to cause hardship on his Ummah (community).” (Reported by Muslim)

In other words, he wanted to show that it is permissible for the ummah in cases of hardship to combine these prayers so long as it is not turned into a habit in ordinary times. 

To conclude: in your particular situation you are allowed to combine both maghrib and isha by praying both either at the time of the former or the latter. You may also, if there is a pressing need, combine both zuhr and asr by praying them either at the time of the former or the latter. But you are not allowed to delay them until the time of fajr.

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