COVID-19: How Should Passengers Pray During Flights?

21 July, 2020
Q In light of the recent developments of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the precaution measures to curb the disease, how should passengers offer prayer during their flights?

Answer

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. 

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.


In this fatwa:

1- While praying on the plane, you pray sitting. You should try to pray at the airport if the prayer time starts before boarding. You may use the allowance or rukhsah of Jam’ and Qasr (combining and shortening).

2- As for praying in Jama`ah while traveling,  we need to observe all of the recommendations of the health professionals, including keeping two meters’ gap while lining up and any other regulations.


In responding to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:

Praying Alone while Travelling

I do not see why the method of prayer would affect travel during the Pandemic if a person is praying individually.

It is rather easy for you to pray while seated in the plane. One should follow the flight prayer time table, which you can access through your mobile or laptop connected to the internet.

You could quickly get the correct prayer times by inserting the departure and flight details.

To save yourself frustrations in case of internet connection issues, you can print it and keep it with you. That is what I do whenever I travel by plane.

While praying on the plane, you pray sitting. You should try to pray at the airport if the Prayer time starts before boarding. You may use the allowance or rukhsah of Jam’ and Qasr. In other words, you may pray Zhuhr and Asr; each one of them as two rakahs, one after the other, either at the time of the first or the second.

If Maghrib starts before you board the plane, you may pray both Maghrib and Isha. In Maghrib’s case, you should pray three rakahs as you cannot shorten it; after finishing Maggrib, you can pray Isha two rakahs. If after boarding the plane, you can follow the flight prayer table you have accessed in the same way by combining and shortening. You are not allowed to join Fajr with Zhuhr, or Isha with Fajr.

Congregational Prayer while Traveling

As for praying in Jama`ah while traveling,  we need to observe all of the recommendations of the health professionals, including keeping two meters’ gap while lining up and any other regulations. Such regulations are mandated for ensuring our own protection. Preservation of health and life are important priorities in the Shariah.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) orders us to take all the necessary precautions and preventive measures to guard us against contagious diseases, while ordering us to seek treatments when afflicted with diseases. He was a pioneer in teaching the rule of quarantine.

📚 Read Also: Coronavirus Pandemic: Tips from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)

Therefore, while praying in a mosque, we must abide by such regulations; the standard rules of organizing prayer lines should be postponed until such times when the lockdown is lifted fully and things return to normal states.

I pray to Allah to honor us to be diligent in observing Prayers.

Almighty Allah knows best.