From which point should the safar’s (the journey’s) distance be calculated for a person to be a musaafir? There appears to be two views. According to some Ulama the distance begins from one’s home. Others say that it begins from the boundary of the town. Which view is correct?

Q. From which point should the safar’s (the journey’s) distance be calculated for a person to be a musaafir? There appears to be two views. According to some Ulama the distance begins from one’s home. Others say that it begins from the boundary of the town. Which view is correct?

A. The view which says that the distance begins from the end of the town, i.e. from the end of the built-up area, where the buildings end on the side where one exits from the town/city. The mas’alah pertaining to the point from which the distance of safar begins, is quite simple. It is not a new development. An unnecessary controversy is being created out of this mas’alah, and this is unwarranted.

It is the ruling of all our Akaabir and of the Fuqaha that the distance is from the end of the built-up area of the town. The very emphasis of the vast majority of Fuqaha on the validity of Qasar only beyond the town limits, is sufficient to indicate the point from which the distance is to be counted. It is so logical to calculate the distance from the town limits, not from one’s house. Calculating from one’s house in the town is incongruous and irrational.

If a city is so big that the distance from one’s house to the limits is 50 miles, it will follow that Qasar could be made even if one’s intention is to travel only one mile or less than a mile out of the city. Since from one’s house, the intended distance is 51 miles (50 inside the city and 1 mile outside). This is ludicrous. A person working at a facility one or two miles outside his town, will remain a musaafir for the rest of his life when he goes to his work place which is 51 miles from his house, but only one mile outside the city.

The house idea is also in conflict with the three day stipulation. It is obvious that the Fuqaha did not mean the three days to include the distance within the town/city. It pertains to safar, and safar commences from outside the town, not from inside. The tiny minority view of qasar being valid even inside the town, is simply to be discarded by us Muqallideen. It is not a view to even cite. The understanding one gains from the texts of the Fuqaha, namely, the town limits, is a sufficient determinant for deciding the point of commencement. The house idea is also incongruent with the conception of safar. The popular understanding stemming from the clear texts of the Authorities is correct, namely, the distance commences from the end of the built-up area.