Response: I read in your journal the answer to the
shortening of prayers. You have said that the distance after which we can
shorten the prayers is not specified. But then why is it written in the books
that travelling 45 miles and for 15 days is the standard in this regard? If you
say that it is left to the traveller to judge for himself, then does that mean
he can offer shorter prayers whenever he feels he is tired, may it be after 20
miles ? But then if he has been travelling by-foot for 20 miles, then I guess he
would be very tired! Some people say that because Allah has provided this ease
for us then it is always better to benefit from it even if the journey is
without any discomfort ?
Comment: There is not a single Hadīth which says that the
Prophet (sws) specified a distance after which one must shorten his prayers. All
Ahādīth on this topic actually report what various people saw the Prophet (sws)
doing. Consequently, various Ahādīth state various distances at which the
Prophet (sws) shortened his prayers; the period he stayed at a place after which
he shortened his prayers are also reported as different on different instances.
What you have stated is the view of one school of thought in this regard. Other
schools have different views based on Ahādīth which report some other
observation in this regard.
Consequently, by collecting all Ahādīth on this topic, it
comes to light that it is actually a person's feeling of discomfort during the
course of a journey which determines when he should shorten his prayers. The
Prophet (sws) shortened his prayers whenever he felt the discomfort of travel.
This was different in different circumstances and different forms of travel.
This also explains the variation in the Ahādīth found on this topic.
The ease provided by Allah in shortening ones prayer during
travel in normal circumstances should be benefited from. If a person feels the
discomfort of his journey, he should not discard this facility given to him by
the Sharī‘ah. However, if a person does not feel the discomfort of journey, then
he is actually not the addressee of this directive. What I mean to say is that
only after being in a state of discomfort of a journey may a person use or leave
the facility provided to him by the Almighty.