A Bus Driver Stops to Perform Prayer
The Islamic Shari`ah is thoroughly concerned with people’s conditions and circumstances. Therefore, Islam set rulings and licenses to meet with both commands of Allah and the changing needs and circumstances of people. It was narrated by Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) that Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Indeed, religion has been made easy, and no one overburdens himself in his religion but he will be unable to continue in that way. So do not be extremists, but try to be near to perfection, and receive the good tidings that you will be rewarded” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
as it is required five times a day and is obligatory in all cases, except in case of unconsciousness, Prayer has been made easy for people through many exceptional rulings, such as combining and shortening Prayers, offering Prayers while sitting or lying down, and many other licenses. Indeed, that Muslim driver did not employ the Islamic rulings on performing Prayer on travel, nor did he observe the fact that the time of Prayer is extended.
as regards the question at hand, Sheikh Rashid Al-Ghannushi, a renowned Muslim scholar, states,
Admittedly, the best of good deeds is offering Prayer when its time becomes due. Still, the time allowed for performing Prayer is not limited to some few minutes. In other words, a Muslim is allowed to perform a Prayer when it becomes due and thereafter till the end of its prescribed time. If a Muslim could not perform it at the onset of its time, because of a legal excuse, it is permissible to perform it anytime during the allowed period, which Allah set for us to meet our differing conditions.
that Muslim driver was wrong in what he did. Prayer has a broad time, and it is permissible to delay offering it if a necessity calls for that. The work of that man is regarded as a legal necessity, especially because it is directly relevant to people’s works and driving them to their destinations by definite times.
That man should have considered that he lives among non-Muslims who know nothing about Prayer and its rulings. Indeed, such ignorant actions misshape the picture of Islam and its rituals in general and give a bad impression that Muslims are unpunctual and disrespectful of others.
Sheikh Abdul-Khaliq Hasan Ash-Shareef, a prominent Muslim scholar and preacher, adds,
The time of Prayer is extended and not limited. A Muslim is allowed to perform Prayer anytime within its prolonged time, as long as there is a legal necessity for not doing so immediately. Moreover, it is known that there are roadside rests where passengers can enter toilets and the like; a Muslim driver can offer Prayer in these places.
I do not approve of what that man did, because he is committed to an employment contract that he concluded with the transportation company, which obliges him to drive people to their destinations without any delay. In addition, people would take various means of transportation to arrive at their work places, homes, hospitals, etc. on time. Religion should not be made an obstacle to other’s life affairs. Muslim passengers may offer Prayer when the bus reaches the terminal station or at a rest house on high ways, etc.