Salat During War

Salat During War

Salat During War
  1. Salat During War

    The Quran informs the believers that under unusual circumstances, particularly during times of war, they can modify how they perform their Salat. These commandments occur in the following verses: 2:239, 4:101, 4:102.

In order to understand 2:239, it helps to start from 2:238 in order to understand that the context is Salat. This verse informs the believers that during times of insecurity they can perform their Salat while walking or riding.

[2:238] You shall consistently observe the Contact Prayers, especially the middle prayer, and devote yourselves totally to GOD.

(٢٣٨) حَافِظُوا عَلَى الصَّلَوَاتِ وَالصَّلَاةِ الْوُسْطَىٰ وَقُومُوا لِلَّهِ قَانِتِينَ

[2:239] Under unusual circumstances, you may pray while walking or riding. Once you are safe, you shall commemorate GOD as He taught you what you never knew.

(٢٣٩) فَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ فَرِجَالًا أَوْ رُكْبَانًا فَإِذَا أَمِنْتُمْ فَاذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ كَمَا عَلَّمَكُمْ مَا لَمْ تَكُونُوا تَعْلَمُونَ

Below is a word-by-word translation of the above two verses.

2 238 1 حَافِظُوا Guard strictly [you all] ḥāfiẓū
2 238 2 عَلَى [over] ʿalā
2 238 3 الصَّلَوَاتِ the Contact Prayers (Salat), l-ṣalawāti
2 238 4 وَالصَّلَاةِ and the Contact Prayer (Salat) wal-ṣalati
2 238 5 الْوُسْطَىٰ [the] middle, l-wus’ṭā
2 238 6 وَقُومُوا and stand firm [you all] waqūmū
2 238 7 لِلَّهِ for God lillahi
2 238 8 قَانِتِينَ [ones] with total devotion. qānitīna
2 239 1 فَإِنْ And if fa-in
2 239 2 خِفْتُمْ you [all] feared khif’tum
2 239 3 فَرِجَالًا then (pray) on foot / walking farijālan
2 239 4 أَوْ or aw
2 239 5 رُكْبَانًا riding. ruk’bānan
2 239 6 فَإِذَا Then when fa-idhā
2 239 7 أَمِنْتُمْ you [all] were secure amintum
2 239 8 فَاذْكُرُوا then commemorate [you all] fa-udh’kurū
2 239 9 اللَّهَ God l-laha
2 239 10 كَمَا as kamā
2 239 11 عَلَّمَكُمْ He taught you [all] ʿallamakum
2 239 12 مَا what mā
2 239 13 لَمْ not lam
2 239 14 تَكُونُوا you all [were] takūnū
2 239 15 تَعْلَمُونَ [you all] know. taʿlamūna
4:101 informs the believers that during times of war they are allowed to shorten their Salat.

[4:101] When you travel, during war, you commit no error by shortening your Contact Prayers (Salat), if you fear that the disbelievers may attack you. Surely, the disbelievers are your ardent enemies.

وَإِذَا ضَرَبْتُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ فَلَيْسَ عَلَيْكُمْ جُنَاحٌ أَنْ تَقْصُرُوا مِنَ الصَّلَاةِ إِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَنْ يَفْتِنَكُمُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا إِنَّ الْكَافِرِينَ كَانُوا لَكُمْ عَدُوًّا مُبِينًا

4 101 1 وَإِذَا And when wa-idhā
4 101 2 ضَرَبْتُمْ you [all] travelled ḍarabtum
4 101 3 فِي in fī
4 101 4 الْأَرْضِ the earth l-arḍi
4 101 5 فَلَيْسَ then not falaysa
4 101 6 عَلَيْكُمْ upon you [all] ʿalaykum
4 101 7 جُنَاحٌ any blame junāḥun
4 101 8 أَنْ that an
4 101 9 تَقْصُرُوا you [all] shorten taqṣurū
4 101 10 مِنَ [of] mina
4 101 11 الصَّلَاةِ the Contact Prayer (Salat) l-ṣalati
4 101 12 إِنْ if in
4 101 13 خِفْتُمْ you [all] feared khif’tum
4 101 14 أَنْ that an
4 101 15 يَفْتِنَكُمُ [they] (may) harm you [all] yaftinakumu
4 101 16 الَّذِينَ those who alladhīna
4 101 17 كَفَرُوا [they] disbelieved. kafarū
4 101 18 إِنَّ Indeed, inna
4 101 19 الْكَافِرِينَ the disbelievers l-kāfirīna
4 101 20 كَانُوا [they] were kānū
4 101 21 لَكُمْ for you [all] lakum
4 101 22 عَدُوًّا an enemy ʿaduwwan
4 101 23 مُبِينًا open / ardent. mubīnan
4:102 provides the believers specific instructions on how they are to perform the Salat when they have to be on guard during war.

[4:102] When you are with them, and lead the Contact Prayer (Salat) for them, let some of you stand guard; let them hold their weapons, and let them stand behind you as you prostrate. Then, let the other group that has not prayed take their turn praying with you, while the others stand guard and hold their weapons. Those who disbelieved wish to see you neglect your weapons and your equipment, in order to attack you once and for all. You commit no error, if you are hampered by rain or injury, by putting down your weapons, so long as you remain alert. GOD has prepared for the disbelievers a shameful retribution.

وَإِذَا كُنْتَ فِيهِمْ فَأَقَمْتَ لَهُمُ الصَّلَاةَ فَلْتَقُمْ طَائِفَةٌ مِنْهُمْ مَعَكَ وَلْيَأْخُذُوا أَسْلِحَتَهُمْ فَإِذَا سَجَدُوا فَلْيَكُونُوا مِنْ وَرَائِكُمْ وَلْتَأْتِ طَائِفَةٌ أُخْرَىٰ لَمْ يُصَلُّوا فَلْيُصَلُّوا مَعَكَ وَلْيَأْخُذُوا حِذْرَهُمْ وَأَسْلِحَتَهُمْ وَدَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لَوْ تَغْفُلُونَ عَنْ أَسْلِحَتِكُمْ وَأَمْتِعَتِكُمْ فَيَمِيلُونَ عَلَيْكُمْ مَيْلَةً وَاحِدَةً وَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ إِنْ كَانَ بِكُمْ أَذًى مِنْ مَطَرٍ أَوْ كُنْتُمْ مَرْضَىٰ أَنْ تَضَعُوا أَسْلِحَتَكُمْ وَخُذُوا حِذْرَكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ أَعَدَّ لِلْكَافِرِينَ عَذَابًا مُهِينًا

Before going through the word-by-word translation of the above verse, it is worth pointing out that many individuals who read the above verse often become confused about how this is to be understood and conducted. The reason for this confusion is that in English we do not typically utilize a distinction between the singular you and the plural you; e.g. you all. In the Arabic Quran, typically when the singular “you” is used it is in reference to the prophet, while the plural “you all”, is used is in reference to the people.

The Arabic clearly shows that the prophet when is leading the Contact Prayer (Salat) the whole time for both groups, while the believers, who are in two groups, take turns praying behind him rotating in after prostration. This way there is always a group that is standing guard and holding their weapons. For simplicity, I translated the verse specifying each group so it becomes more clear how this was to be carried out.

[4:102] When you (prophet) are with them (the believers during battle) and you (prophet) lead the Contact Prayer (Salat) for them (the believers during battle), then let a group stand guard (group #2) with their weapons, over them (group #1) and you (prophet). Then when they (group #1) prostrated, then let them (group #1) go behind you [all] and let another group (group #2) come forward, who has not prayed and let them (group #2) pray along with you (prophet). And let them (group #1) take their precautions and their weapons.

4 102 1 وَإِذَا And when [in the future] wa-idhā
4 102 2 كُنْتَ you (prophet) were kunta
4 102 3 فِيهِمْ among them fīhim
4 102 4 فَأَقَمْتَ and you (prophet) led fa-aqamta
4 102 5 لَهُمُ for them lahumu
4 102 6 الصَّلَاةَ the Contact Prayer (Salat), l-ṣalata
4 102 7 فَلْتَقُمْ then let [it] stand guard faltaqum
4 102 8 طَائِفَةٌ a group ṭāifatun
4 102 9 مِنْهُمْ over them min’hum
4 102 10 مَعَكَ along wtih you (prophet) maʿaka
4 102 11 وَلْيَأْخُذُوا and let them take walyakhudhū
4 102 12 أَسْلِحَتَهُمْ their arms / weapons. asliḥatahum
4 102 13 فَإِذَا Then when [in the future] fa-idhā
4 102 14 سَجَدُوا they prostrated, sajadū
4 102 15 فَلْيَكُونُوا then let them be falyakūnū
4 102 16 مِنْ from min
4 102 17 وَرَائِكُمْ behind you [all] warāikum
4 102 18 وَلْتَأْتِ and let [it] come (forward) waltati
4 102 19 طَائِفَةٌ a group – ṭāifatun
4 102 20 أُخْرَىٰ another, ukh’rā
4 102 21 لَمْ (which has) not lam
4 102 22 يُصَلُّوا [they] prayed, yuṣallū
4 102 23 فَلْيُصَلُّوا then let them pray falyuṣallū
4 102 24 مَعَكَ along with you (prophet), maʿaka
4 102 25 وَلْيَأْخُذُوا and let them take walyakhudhū
4 102 26 حِذْرَهُمْ their precautions ḥidh’rahum
4 102 27 وَأَسْلِحَتَهُمْ and their arms / weapons. wa-asliḥatahum
4 102 28 وَدَّ [He] wished wadda
4 102 29 الَّذِينَ those who alladhīna
4 102 30 كَفَرُوا [they] disbelieved kafarū
4 102 31 لَوْ if law
4 102 32 تَغْفُلُونَ you [all] neglect taghfulūna
4 102 33 عَنْ [about] ʿan
4 102 34 أَسْلِحَتِكُمْ your arms / weapons asliḥatikum
4 102 35 وَأَمْتِعَتِكُمْ and your baggage / equipment wa-amtiʿatikum
4 102 36 فَيَمِيلُونَ so (that) they (can) assault fayamīlūna
4 102 37 عَلَيْكُمْ [upon] you [all] ʿalaykum
4 102 38 مَيْلَةً an attack maylatan
4 102 39 وَاحِدَةً single (once and for all). wāḥidatan
4 102 40 وَلَا But (there is) no walā
4 102 41 جُنَاحَ blame junāḥa
4 102 42 عَلَيْكُمْ upon you [all] ʿalaykum
4 102 43 إِنْ if in
4 102 44 كَانَ it was kāna
4 102 45 بِكُمْ with you [all] bikum
4 102 46 أَذًى suffering / harm / hampering adhan
4 102 47 مِنْ from min
4 102 48 مَطَرٍ rain maṭarin
4 102 49 أَوْ or aw
4 102 50 كُنْتُمْ you [all] are kuntum
4 102 51 مَرْضَىٰ sick marḍā
4 102 52 أَنْ that an
4 102 53 تَضَعُوا you [all] lay down taḍaʿū
4 102 54 أَسْلِحَتَكُمْ your arms / weapons, asliḥatakum
4 102 55 وَخُذُوا but take [you all] wakhudhū
4 102 56 حِذْرَكُمْ your precautions. ḥidh’rakum
4 102 57 إِنَّ Indeed, inna
4 102 58 اللَّهَ God l-laha
4 102 59 أَعَدَّ [He] prepared aʿadda
4 102 60 لِلْكَافِرِينَ for the disbelievers lil’kāfirīna
4 102 61 عَذَابًا a punishment / retribution ʿadhāban
4 102 62 مُهِينًا humiliating / shameful. muhīnan

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