Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Assalam alaykum
I will be visiting some family members in a different town (more than 50 miles away) and may be staying over for a few days. I was informed that I do not need to fast whilst travelling and to pray the traveller’s prayer during this time. Was the information I received valid?
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,
Yes, if you are legally deemed to be a traveller (musafir), then you would (a) pray the shortened (qasr), traveller’s prayer and (b) have the choice of whether or not to fast.
Allah Most High says, “Fast for a specific number of days, but if one of you is ill, or on a journey, on other days later.” [2:184]
But with regards to the fast, note that there is a difference between somebody who is actively travelling in [somewhat] difficult circumstances, and somebody who is in relative ease. It would superior to fast in the latter case, yet there is no blameworthiness in not doing so as it is not obligatory.
Moreover, if you begin a fasting day as a resident, namely, you are still in your home city at dawn, you must fast the remainder of that day, and you cannot do otherwise.[Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah with Tahtawi’s Gloss (2.292); Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar ‘ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar (2.117)]
Please also see: When Should I Shorten My Prayers? and: The Basic Rulings of Travel and: Should I Feel Bad for Not Fasting When I Had to Travel?
And Allah Most High alone knows best.[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorised the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen, and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based with his family.