The Issue of Deliberately Abandoning of Prayers for Reasons Exclusive of Sleeping and Forgetting: Rewiewing the Evidence based on the Practice in the Battle of al-Khandaq

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CUMHURIYET ILAHIYAT DERGISI-CUMHURIYET THEOLOGY JOURNAL, vol.26, no.1, pp.267-283, 2022 (Journal Indexed in ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Volume: 26 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.18505/cuid.1053291
  • Page Numbers: pp.267-283
  • Keywords: Hadith, Abandoning Prayers, Prayer Time, Battle of al-Khandaq, Salah el-Khouf (The Fear Prayer)


The most widely explained worship in Islam is al-salah/prayer. In the Qur'an and particularly in the hadiths, details about all the elements of this worship have been addressed. One of the issues mentioned relatedly prayer in these two sources is the element of time. The Prophet points out two excuses for performing prayers outside of their time; these are namely sleeping and forgetting. Accordingly, a person who does not perform a prayer due to sleep or forgetting should compensate it when he wakes up or remembers it. Note that both of these are unconscious states of human being. From this hadith, it can be understood that the religion does not accept any other excuses for performing prayers outside of the times appointed for them. Despite this clear and obvious approach, some legal scholars also discussed whether other excuses could be considered legitimate to deliberately abandoning prayers. According to some scholars, a person may even make up for prayers that he left out of laziness without any valid reason. Because human nature is prone to make mistakes. If attention is paid, there is a very significant difference between this last view and the hadiths confining the deliberately abandoning prayers only to sleep and forgetting problems. The most important ground of these scholars, who tend to expand the framework that allows for the making up of prayers, is the practice of the Messenger of Allah in the Battle of al-Khandaq. According to the narrations, while the war was going on, the Prophet performed some prayers outside their own times. Moreover, there is no indication of an armed and hot conflict between Muslims and polytheists at the time when the Prophet was praying in the narrations. Focused on this particular case, two interpretations can be made; the Prophet may have forgotten the prayer or only the prayers in question, or he may have deliberately left it for later due to the severity of the war. Before this practice of the Messenger of Allah can be considered evidence for the claim in question, the narration and its context must first be clarified. If we understand this particular case as it was forgotten, then we will be speaking of an involuntary application. Thus, his behavior will not be evidence for those who want to expand the framework of the excuses that may cause compensation of prayers. In other words, this action must have been performed consciously in order to be evidence for the claim in question. We have some indications that will pave to way to explore the reason of the Prophet's practice. Even if it is concluded that there is a conscious saving from these data, this time, a serious obstacle is encountered, such as fear prayer, which seems to emphasize the element of time. One of the aims of this article is primarily to determine the reason why the Prophet performed some prayers outside of their own times in the Battle of al-Khandaq. Then, this article elaborates the relationship between the fear prayer, which is described in the Qur'an and the Sunnah, for this determined reason. In this way, it is investigated whether it is a generally accepted rule to leave a prayer out of its time due to the fear of war or the enemy.