Q: I would like Your Eminence to tell me about the problem of
performing Salah (Prayer) when traveling on board a plane,
when it is flying in the sky hundreds of kilometers above the earth and sometimes turning away from the Qiblah (Ka`bah-direction faced in Prayer). We have researched this problem and found that some people say that the Salah is valid because the plane is flying in the air adjacent to the earth, and others say that it is between the earth and the clouds and that, if the person who is performing the Salah is doing so after leaving the earth, their Salah is invalid.
It is permissible to offer Salah on board a plane due to the general evidence on the obligation to offer Salah when the time is due. There is no difference in this whether the person is on land, in the air, or at sea; they should face the Qiblah as far as they can. If the plane deviates from the direction of the Qiblah during a Salah, the person performing Salah should continue doing so, facing the Qiblah as much as they can. There is no problem if they do this, due to the general evidence on the Shari`ah adoption of easiness. Allah (Exalted be He):
Allâh burdens not a person beyond his scope.
(Part No. 8; Page No. 123) As for the Nafilah (supererogatory) Salah, they may be performed in whatever direction the plane is flying.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.