Q: we are members of Armed Forces who participate annually in the Hajj mission for a period of one month and stay at Al-Shara'i`. We form guard alternating groups in a place far from the camp while some of us do not take a shift and remain on standby for any emergency. We hope that you, with the help of Allah, will inform us on how those remaining behind in the tents should perform Salah (prayer). Should they combine and shorten Salah, or not? Moreover, there are Masjids (mosques) in some camps where some want to perform Jum`ah (Friday) Salah. Furthermore, Jum`ah Salah is held in a neighboring district, may we perform it with them?

Also, while on the mission we set out as a caravan and are not allowed to stop at the Miqat (sites for entering the ceremonial state for Hajj and `Umrah). We, therefore, pass the Miqat to Al-Shara'i`, a place outside Makkah. May we then go out to Al-Ji`ranah to assume Ihram there, or return to Al-Sayl Al-Kabir to assume Ihram, as we have passed it while on our way? Or, should we assume Ihram from the place our camp is located, i.e. Al-Shara'i`, a place only a few miles from Makkah?

Sometimes we go on missions to Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah. We spend ten days or less at Madinah, and then move to Makkah Al-Mukarramah where we also stay ten days before returning to Madinah once again. Near the camp of this brigade in Madinah there is a stationary camp wherein there is a place to perform Jum`ah Salah. May we perform Jum`ah Salah there? Please, inform us soon, may Allah reward you well! We hope that you will deliver us the fatwa in writing as we differ on the issue of how to perform Salah every year. We ask Allah to guide everyone to what is correct. As-salamu `alaykum warahmatullah wabarakatuh (May Allah's Peace, Mercy, and Blessings be upon you!)

A: First: Since you intend to stay at Al-Shara'i` or Madinah more than four days, you are to perform Salah in its entirety, neither shortening nor combining it, for actually you are practically residents. However, if you intend to stay four days or less, or for an unspecified period, you will be travelers and may shorten Salah consisting of four Rak`ahs (units of Prayer) and combine Salahs.

Second: As for assuming Ihram for Hajj or `Umrah, if those who while going to work pass the Miqat, they must assume Ihram within the boundaries of the Miqat as if entering the Miqat intending work. On the issue of Miqats, the Prophet (peace be upon him) stated: and whoever is living within these boundaries can enter ihraam from the place he sets out, and the people of Makkah can start from Makkah. However, if any of you decide to perform Hajj or `Umrah then passes the Miqat, he must return to the Miqat and assume Ihram from there.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) on defining the Miqats stated: And these Mawaqit are for those living at those very places, and besides them for those who come through those places with the intention of performing Hajj and ‘Umrah. As for Jum`ah Salah, you must perform it at any of the nearby Masjids wherein Jum`ah Salah is performed.

May Allah grant us success! May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and Companions!

Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta
Member Deputy Chairman Chairman
`Abdullah ibn Ghudayyan `Abdul-Razzaq `Afify `Abdul-`Aziz ibn `Abdullah ibn Baz

[Source: Alifta.net]