My Grandma is unable to observe prayers on time, can she combine prayers?
My grandmother has many health problems which prevent her from keeping her wudu for long periods of time, and which cause dizziness, fatigue and tiredness. During the long summer days in the UK, she feels unable to wait for the time of Isha to pray Isha, and has resorted to praying it sometimes an hour earlier. She wants to know whether this is permissible?
Muslims in countries where the day hours are 18 or more are to estimate the time for their prayers and fast. Thus, people in such countries are to disregard the specific legal rulings. This is because the Divine injunctions deal with common circumstances and situations without establishing a ruling on what is uncommon. They are to disregard the signs on which the legal rulings for prayers and fasting are based such as dawn, sunrise, midday, sunset, the disappearance of twilight and the like.
Based on this, the opinion implemented for fatwa states that Muslims in such countries are to fast and pray according to the timing of Mecca because it is the mother of villages (Om al-Qura). This means that Muslims in countries where the fasting hours are 18 or more are to start fasting according to the time of fajr [dawn] in their countries, count the number of hours that people in Mecca fast and break their fast when the people of Mecca end theirs even if the sun has not set in their country. For example, if fajr in such countries is at 3 am and people in Mecca fast for 14 hours, the time for people in these countries to break their fast is at 5 pm according to their local time. The same ruling applies to performing prayers except for fajr prayer. People in such countries are to pray fajr according to their local time and calculate the timings of the rest of prayers after it according to the number of hours that are between each of the 5 obligatory prayer in Mecca. For example, if fajr in such countries is at 3 am and the number of hours between fajr and zuhr in Mecca is 8 hours, so the time to perform zuhr in such countries is at 11 am, and so on.
If the maximum moderate number of day hours is 18, the minimum day hours are 6. So, if the day hours are less than 6, Muslims in such countries are obliged to follow the above way of calculation.
Days on which the day hours do not exceed 18 or are less than 6, Muslims living there are obliged to observe prayers at their prescribed times according to the local time. On these days, they must also fast from dawn until sunset according to the local time of their country of residence. If they find this difficult, if it disturbs their life or negatively affects their work, it is permissible for them not to fast and make up the days they have missed later in the year when fasting does not disturb their lives. It is also permissible to join Maghrib and 'Isha prayers without shortening them on the days one cannot wait for the time of 'Isha prayer as it is the case with your grandmother.
May Allah help her.