The following is a response to ShiaSunni.info’s article “Aisha prayed in the way that is against the Sharia Law.” The article was published on the 26th of March, 2013, and can be found here.
We know that if someone is in journey, he must pray QASAR (half prayers, 2 raka,at for Dhuar, Asar and Isha) but we can see how sharia law was changed by these high level figures for our Sunni fellows. We are going to mention narration about Uthman that he did the same thing…
There is no difference of opinion that A’isha and Uthman prayed in two prostrations, however, it is incorrect to suggest that Sharia Law was changed. As we can see from the narration quoted by ShiaSunni.info, A’isha said, “Prayer, when it first was obligatory, was two prostrations. That’s how it remained for travels and it was completed in civilized areas.” Al-Zuhri asking Urwa, the nephew of A’isha, “Why did A’isha complete it (instead of shortening it)?” He (Urwa) said, “She interpreted it the same was Uthman did.”
The narration is clear that A’isha saw that two prostrations were still applicable for prayers during travel, so how can anyone suggest that she changed Shariah Law?! A more rational suggestion would be that she did not following one of the teachings of the Prophet (salalahu alaihi wa salam), though even this would be incorrect.
To understand the opinion of A’isha one must first be aware of the ruling of praying two raka’at (prostrations). One of the most used narrations that describes the ruling is the hadith of Ya’ala bin Umayyah, which is narrated by Imam Muslim #1108. The narration is as follows:
I (Ya’ala) told Omar: And when you travel throughout the land, there is no blame upon you for shortening the prayer, [especially] if you fear that those who disbelieve may disrupt [or attack] you. [Surat Al-Nisa’a: 101] Yet now, the people are safe. He replied: I was curious by what caused you to be curious, so I asked the Messenger (salalahu alaihi wa salam) about that and he said: It is a charity from Allah upon you, so accept His charity.
Al-Khattabi in Ma’alim Al-Sunan 1/226 explains: There is within this evidence that the completion (of prayer) is the asl (basis). Don’t you see that they were curious about the shortening of the prayer due to fear?! If the basis of prayer during travel were two prostrations, then they would not be surprised. This is evidence that shortening is a part of the complete basis; some was remove and some remained. The words: It is a charity from Allah upon you – is evidence that it is a rukhsa (permission) that they were permitted, and permissions are for matters that are to be made permissible, and not for matters that are decided upon, and Allah knows best.
In other words, Al-Khattabi is saying that it is permissible to shorten the prayer during travels, not that it is obligatory to do so.
This is supported by A’isha’s testimony in the authentic hadith in Sunan Al-Bayhaqi 3/143 when Urwa asked her: Shouldn’t you pray two prostrations? She replied: O’ nephew, it is not a tiring for me.
The narration implies that she understood that the shortening of prayer is permissible, not that it is obligatory. This position is held by Imam Malik, Al-Shafi’ee, and Imam Ahmad. See Hukm Al-Ihtijaaj bi Khabr Al-Wahid itha Amala Al-Rawi bi Khilafih p. 255 by Abdullah Al-Matrifi.
In the light of the above, it makes perfect sense why A’isha would teach the sunnah and go against it. Once again, it is because she believed that the sunnah was only a rukhsa (a matter that was made permissible), not that it was obligatory, and that it was optional whether one wants to complete the prayer or not.