Praying before or after the operation

Reference: Fataawa ‘Aajilah li-Mansoobee as-Sihhah – Question 1, Pages 3-4

Question: From that which is known is that after the operation, the patient remains unconscious [for some time] until he wakes up, and after that he remains in pain for a number of hours. So [this being the case], should he pray before going for the operation – while it is not time for the prayer, or should he delay the prayer until he is able to do it – even if he delays it by a day or longer?

Response: Firstly, it is obligatory upon the doctor to give this matter some thought. So if it is possible for him to delay starting the operation until it is time for the Zhuhr prayer for example, so the patient can pray Zhuhr and ‘Asr combined, and likewise at night when the sun has set he can pray Maghrib and ‘Ishaa combined – before the operation begins.

As for when the operation is [due to start] mid-morning, then the patient is excused. So [in this case, after the operation], when he regains consciousness, then he can make up what is required of him [of the prayers he has missed] – even if that is after a day or two. [So] when he regains consciousness, he makes up what is required of him [of the prayers he has missed], and all praise is due to Allaah [alone]. And [in doing so] there is nothing required of him, just like the one who is asleep, when he regains consciousness and is attentive, he prays in order [all] the prayers he has missed – arranging them in order Zhuhr, then ‘Asr and so on until he makes up [all the prayers] that are required of him.

[This is] based upon the statement of the Prophet ﷺ:

«Whoever misses the prayer because he was asleep, or forgot [to pray], then let him pray it as soon as he remembers; there is no expiation for it other than that.» – al-Bukhaaree, Muslim, Abu Daawood, at-Tirmidhee,, Ibn Maajah, Ahmad and ad-Daarimee.

And the ruling of being in a state of unconsciousness due to illness or [having undergone medical] treatment is [like] the ruling of the one who is asleep – so long as it is not [for a] prolonged [period]. If it is prolonged beyond three days, then he is not required to make up [the missed prayers], and the ruling concerning him is that of insanity until he regains sanity; so he begins performing the prayer after he has regained sanity.

[This is] based upon the statement of the Prophet ﷺ:

«The pen has been lifted for three [categories of people]: the one who is asleep until he awakens, the young child until he reaches puberty, and the insane until he regains sanity.» – at-Tirmidhee, Ibn Maajah, Ahmad

And [this hadeeth] does not make mention of [any requirement for] the young child or the one who is insane to make up [the missed prayer], rather that which is established from [the guidance of] the Prophet ﷺ is the requirement for the one who is asleep as well as the one who has forgotten to make up [the missed prayer].

And Allaah [alone] is the Expounder of all success.

He is a graduate of the Islaamic University of Madeenah, having graduated from the Institute of Arabic Language, and later the Faculty of Sharee'ah in 2004. He currently resides in Birmingham, UK.

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