Missing congregational prayer to stand guard
Fatwa No: 362092

Question

Assalaamu alaykum. Oftentimes, guards/policeman stand and supervise while the congregation is praying the obligatory prayer. Once the prayer has ended, they pray by themselves. Is that ok?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad, sallallahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

If there is a valid excuse for the guard to miss the first congregation of the prayer, then there is no harm on him in missing it and he may pray it in congregation later, if possible, before the time of the prayer expires. The scholars mentioned fear among the valid excuses for missing the Friday prayer and the congregational prayers.

The Hanbali book Muntaha Al-'Iraadaat reads, “A sick person or the one who fears becoming sick is excused for missing the Friday and congregational prayers ... The same applies to the one fighting the urge to urinate or defecate, or when food is served and he is in need of eating ... or someone searching for his lost property, or fearing to be harmed in earning his living that he is in need of, or fearing to lose his wealth or the wealth that he was hired to guard, even if it is guarding an orchard (fruit garden)...etc.

Shaykh Ibn ʻUthaymeen  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said, “People's need to have their neighborhoods guarded against evils and mischief is greater than the need of the owner of an orchard to have his orchard guarded. Accordingly, a man entrusted with guarding neighborhoods is excused from attending the congregational prayer. However, he must perform the prayer on time, and it is impermissible for him to delay it beyond its prescribed time. The guards should take shifts so that each of them would perform the prayer on time.

The Permanent Committee for Islamic Research and Fataawa was asked about the one who has an official job, like military personnel, when the time of the prayer becomes due while he is performing his guard duty; should he finish his shift first and then perform the prayer, or should he leave his guard duty to perform the prayer, given that leaving his guard duty incurs legal responsibility?

The answer reads:

Performing prayer in congregation is obligatory on every free Muslim man who is competent for religious assignment, as long as he is able to do so, even if he is traveling and suffering from intense fear. It is an individual obligation given the established authentic evidence in this regard. However, there are texts indicating that the obligation of attending the Friday prayer and the five obligatory prayers in congregation is waived for a valid excuse such as sickness, fear of losing property, whether it is his own or someone kept it with him as a trust and the like. The situation in question falls into this category. The questioner can finish his guard duty and then perform the prayer provided that he performs it within its time. If he fears that its time might expire before finishing his shift, he should perform it even if individually where he is posted. Allah, the Exalted, said (what means): {So fear Allah to the best of your ability.} The Prophet, sallallahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, said, ‘If I command you to do something, then do it to the best of your ability.' [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

The Permanent Committee also said in its fatwas, “It is permissible for the guard to perform the Friday prayer as the Thuhr prayer in order to carry out his guard duty given the general indication of the texts indicating that it is allowed for the Muslim to miss the Friday prayer for such an excuse.

Shaykh Ibn ʻUthaymeen  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him was asked, “I work as a security guard, and sometimes I am asked to work on Friday and I accordingly cannot attend the Friday prayer with the Muslims. Is this permissible? Should I perform the prayer as Thuhr or as two units of prayer?

He replied, “Yes, it is permissible for you to carry out your guard duty, even if it entails missing the Friday prayer, as long as the place needs guarding. In this case, you should perform the prayer as the Thuhr prayer, and it is impermissible that you perform it as a two-unit Friday prayer.

Allah knows best.

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