What is the ruling on joining and shortening prayers for a pregnant woman in the last months of pregnancy?.
It is obligatory for the Muslim to offer every prayer at the time stipulated by sharee‘ah, because Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Verily, As‑Salaah (the prayer) is enjoined on the believers at fixed hours”
The Sunnah indicates that it is permissible to join two prayers for a sick person for whom it is too difficult to offer every prayer at its own time. This is the view of the Maalikis and Hanbalis.
Al-Nawawi said: This view is very strong. End quote.
See: al-Mawsoo‘ah al-Fiqhiyyah, 15/288
Al-Tirmidhi (may Allah have mercy on him) said in his Sunan (1/259): Some of the Taabi‘i scholars granted a concession allowing a sick person to join two prayers. This is the view of Ahmad and Ishaaq. End quote.
If it is too difficult for a pregnant woman to offer every prayer at its own time, it is permissible for her to join Zuhr and ‘Asr, and Maghrib and ‘Isha’. She comes under the same rulings as one who is sick in that case.
With regard to shortening the prayers, that is only permissible for one who is travelling. So if a pregnant woman is travelling, it is permissible for her to join and shorten the prayers. But if she is at home, it is permissible for her to join the prayers, but she must offer the four-rak‘ah prayers in full, and not shorten them.
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
Every time there is hardship or difficulty, it is permissible to join the prayers, whether one is at home or travelling, because of sickness, rain, a strong cold wind, and so on. So if it is too difficult for a pregnant woman to offer every prayer at its own time, she may join the prayers. And if it is too difficult for a breastfeeding woman to offer each prayer at its own time, because her baby urinates on her and the like, then she may put the prayers together. End quote.
Liqa’ al-Baab al-Maftooh, 201/4
He also said:
The reason for putting prayers together is difficulty; if hardship results from not putting prayers together, then it is permissible to put the prayers together for whatever reason. The scholars (may Allah have mercy on them) even said that it is permissible for a pregnant woman to put two prayers together if it is too difficult for her to offer each prayer at its own time. So to sum up, there is only one reason for putting prayers together and that is hardship, but there are many kinds of hardship. As for shortening the prayers, that is only allowed in the case of travel. If we assume that a person is sick in the hospital, he may put two prayers together if it is too difficult for him to offer each one at its own time, but he is not allowed to shorten them because he is in his own city. But if he is in a hospital in another city, then it is permissible for him to join and shorten the prayers, because he is a traveller. End quote.
Fataawa Noor ‘ala al-Darb, 185/16
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
The reason for shortening prayers is travel in particular, and it is not permissible to shorten prayers when not travelling. As for joining prayers together, the reason for that is need and reasons. If he needs to he may put prayers together when travelling, whether long or short distances. You may also put prayers together because of rain and the like, or because of sickness and the like, and for other reasons. The aim behind it is to spare the ummah from hardship. End quote.
Majmoo‘ al-Fataawa, 22/293
And Allah knows best.