In the Name of Allaah,the Most Gracious,the Most Merciful
Question:A questioner in a letter explained that some patients are totally ignorant of the manner in which the sick should purify themselves and perform Salah (Prayer) when their condition does not allow them to perform it normally.The questioner requested a detailed Fatwa on the rulings related to Taharah (ritual purification) and Salah to observed by the sick.
After considering the stated question,the Committee gave the following answer:
1.A sick person should perform Salah in a standing posture as much as they are able to.
2.The sick person who cannot stand may pray while sitting.It is preferable to sit cross-legged in positions where one normally stands during Salah.
3.If the sick person cannot pray in a sitting position ,they can pray while lying on their side,facing the Qiblah (Ka’bah direction faced in Prayer).It is Mustahab (desirable) that they lie on their right side.
4.If the person cannot pray on their side,they can pray while lying on their back.
5.The sick person who can stand,but cannot bow or prostrate is not excused from the obligation of standing.They must pray in a standing position and gesture (lean forward) for Ruku’ (bowing) then take a sitting position and gesture for Sujud (prostration).
6.If a person suffers for an eye disease,and a trustworthy doctors advises them that praying while lying on their back is conducive to better treatment outcomes,the sick person can pray lying on their back.
7.A sick person who cannot bow or prostrate should gesture for them,and should make the gesture for Sujud lower than that for Ruku’.
8.A sick person who is only unable to prostrate should bow and gesture for Sujud.
9.A sick person who who is unable to bend their back should bend their neck.If a person suffers from a curved spine and so appears to be bowing,they should bend their back a little bit more in Ruku’;while in Sujud,they should bring their face as close to the ground as possible.
10.If the sick person cannot gesture with their head,they should make Takbir (saying:”Allahu Akbar [Allah is the Greatest]”) and start reciting and intend with their heart the actions of standing,bowing,resuming a sitting position,sitting for a while between the two prostrations,and sitting for Tashahhud (testification recited in the sitting position in the second/last unit of prayer).They should recite the prescribed Adhkar (invocations and remembrance said at certain times on a regular basis).As for the signal made by some patients with their finger,their practice has no basis in Shari’ah (Islamic Law).
11.Whenever the sick person finds,while praying,that they are able to do what they could not do before,such as standing,sitting,bowing,prostrating or gesturing,they should perform it in the rest of Salah and do not have to repeat the performed parts.
12.If a sick person or any other person forgets a Salah or sleeps or misses it,they must offer it when they wake up or when they remember it.They are not permitted to delay offering it until the same Salah becomes due again (on the next day).
13.The Muslim is,by all means,forbidden to abandon Salah.Rather,the Mukallaf (person meeting the conditions to be held legally accountable by their actions) must observe Salah in any condition,when healthy or sick,as it is the pillar of Islam and the greatest Faridah (obligatory act) after declaring the Two Shahadahs (Testimonies of Faith).So the Muslim is by no means allowed to neglect Salah until its due time is over,even if they are sick as long as their mind is intact.Rather,they have to offer it in its due time according to their ability,as mentioned in detail above.It is not permissible for a sick person to delay the Salah until they recover their health,for such behavior has no basis in Shari’ah.
14.If the sick person finds hardship in offering each Salah at its due time,they can combine the Zhuhr (Noon) Prayer with the ‘Asr (Afternoon) Prayer,Maghrib (Sunset) Prayer ‘Isha (Night) Prayer at the time of the earlier or later one,according to their circumstances and ability.As for Fajr (Dawn) Prayer,it may not be combined with either the Salah preceding or following it,for its time is separate from the times of Salahs before and after it.
May Allah grant us success.May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad,his family,and Companions.
Source:The Permanent Committee,Fatwa no.17798,pp.67-68,under Rulings related to Salah of the sick|www.alifta.net