QUESTION AND ANSWER SESSION WITH SHAYKH, DR, AL-FAQEEH, SHAROF GABDEBO ROOJI (HAFIDHOHULLAAH)
Questioner: Assalaamu ‘alaykum
Dr Sharof: Wa’alaykumu ssalaam
Questioner: As a traveler, if I am not allowed to lead the congregation, what should I do? (Secondly), if oro festival (a traditional annual Yoruba event which lasts several days in which men and women who have nothing to do with it are asked to stay indoors) is going on in a village and the people are ordered to stay indoors because the oro festival will commence by 7:00 pm or 7:30pm, can we combine both Solaatul Moghreeb and Solaatul ‘Isha?
Dr Sharof: All perfect praise is for Allaah. It is not from the Sharee’ah that you (must) ask the congregation to make you the Imaam because you’re a traveler. No. This is because it is wrong to put yourself forward in that manner. Although we have read the hadeeth of a companion who asked the Prophet (sollaLloohu ‘alayhi wa sallam) to make him the Imaam for his people; and we explained how it is permissible in that case. However, it is not from the Sharee’ah that you should ask them to make you the Imaam because you’re a traveler and they should pull their Imaam backward for you. No. If the one you went to visit knows you as a traveler and he is the Imaam, there is no problem if he asks you to lead the prayer. That is it. And we know that the prayer that you may be asked to lead as a traveler (in order to have the privilege of shortening your prayers) are Solaatul Zhuhr, Solaatul ‘Asr and Solaatul ‘Isha, because there is no difference (as to whether you lead or not) during Solaatul Fajr and Solaatul Moghreeb. That is it. And we have also said that it is not in accordance with the Sunnah for you to stay away from the mosque because you’re a traveler while the caller to prayer says ‘Come to Prayer’ on the basis that you want to shorten your prayer. This is because the caller to prayer is calling you and all other Muslims.
You said if what they refer to as ‘oro festival’ is going on and they say their oro festival will start by 7:30pm or by 7:00pm, can you combine Solaatul Moghreeb and Solaatul ‘Isha based on this reason? For what reason?! What concerns Islaam with Shirk? Why will you pray before the appropriate time because some people want to practice Shirk? Never! In this case, you will make it clear to the leaders of that village that if the Mushrikoon have their rights, the Muslims have earlier had their rights. Since you do not have the power to ask a Mushrik to stop practicing Shirk, it is not permissible in any way for the Mushrik to have the right of asking you to leave Islaam. You do not have the power to ask him not to engage in oro festival, what right does he have, under which law, that you shouldn’t pray any longer?
The people who are the leaders of the village should intervene. Although they do not have a religion (as evident from your question), and that is why everyone does what he likes. Ok, no problem. Everyone should do whatever he likes, but no one should disturb the other person. Allaah orders us to observe prayer, and (as you know) Solaatul ‘Isha prayer sets in at ‘so and so’ time; you will add an extra one hour (to the normal prayer time) because of the one who may not meet the congregation so that he can make use of it to observe his prayer. Why will you pray before its time? There is nothing like that! There is nothing like that!! If you haven’t got your stepsister in a fix, your stepbrother will never be careful with you. For this reason, you must not allow them to play you (regarding your religion) to the extent that a Kaafir will order you to pray Solaatul ‘Isha by 6:30pm because of oro festival when it is not that the government declared curfew.
Note this point; is there anything the Muslims do that require that the people shouldn’t go out? It is a nonsensical religion that will order the people not to go out. They claim they don’t see it (that is, oro); they don’t even look at it. What are they seeing; what are they looking at? What is it that they are doing that mustn’t be seen? They had better accept Islaam and have peace of mind.
That is even a bit far. In some areas in Ogun state, they do this oro festival in the afternoon and ask everyone not to go out. In the afternoon! There is room for lies in those areas. There is room for lies in those areas in a mindboggling manner. Where are the Muslims in those areas? They may also be from the people who follow oro, is that not so? Imagine a Muslim named ‘Abioro’ because he was born on the day of oro festival. There is no deity worthy of worship except Allaah. That is it.
[SOURCE: QUESTION AND ANSWER SESSION DURING THE EXPLANATION OF THE NARRATIONS REGARDING THE PRAYER OF THE TRAVELER AND THE ILL IN BULUUGHUL MUROOM OF AL-HAAFIDH IBN HAJAR AL-‘ASQOLAANEE, “question thirty-seven”]
Translated by Aboo Aaishah Al Odeomeey