6th January 2015
السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته
Question: We have an Imām in our local Masjid who is employed on a temporary basis since January 2013 and he has always been so to date. He lives in Oldham and the Masjid is in Enfield approximately 200 miles distance. At first, he used to accumulate his days off and would take them every 4 to 5 week (which qualifies him a Muqeem since he is residing at this destination more than 15 days). He would go to Oldham to his family for 3 to 4 days for his break and then return. The situation now is that since last Ramadān 2014, occasionally he has been taking his days off after every 8-12 days of his return from Oldham and would go back for his break for 2-3 days. Some people are saying this Imām, leading the prayer will not be valid because is categorised as a Musafir (traveller) we would be very grateful if you can provide us with clarification on this matter.
الجواب حامداً و مصلياً
In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
In reference to the aforementioned scenario, the person in question who has been employed as a full-time Imām in Enfield and travels to his home town, Oldham to visit his family after 8-12 days and thereafter returns back to Enfield for his Imāmat duty, still qualifies as a Muqeem. Enfield can be treated as his Watnul Iqāmah (temporary settlement), thus he is permitted to lead the local residents in Salāh.
This is due to his frequent attendance to his Imāmat duty which is essential for him. According to the general principle, Watnul Iqāmah becomes invalid by travelling a distance of 48 miles or more. This is conditional but generally understood to apply in those instances where the Muqeem departs from his Watnul Iqāmah with no intention of returning because all of his needs are fulfilled. The great Hanafi jurist, Allāmah Kāsani rahimahullah explains this point that a person’s Watnul Iqāmah is his temporary abode which he resides in due to a certain necessity and once his needs are fulfilled, he does not intend to return to that same destination and inevitably abandons his Watnul Iqāmah completely.  This suggests that Watnul Iqāmah does not become invalid even if a person initiates journey from it covering a distance more than 48 miles with the intention of returning (frequently) due to personal necessities. Such necessities include family residing there, personal belongings, work and so forth. Such Watan falls similar to his permanent residence.
Him sojourning to Enfield for his Imāmat duty and leaving his personal belongings behind when travelling to Oldham indicates that he has not abandoned this place completely. Therefore, Enfield will remain as his Watnul Iqāmah even if he stays there less than 15 days and permitted to lead the congregational Salāh.
[Allãh Knows Best]
Written by (Mufti) Abdul Waheed
Answer Attested by Shaykh Mufti Saiful Islam
JKN Fatawa Department
 Fatawa Hindiyyah, Book of Salah, babul Khamis fi Salatil Musafir, vol p.157
(وَوَطَنُ الْإِقَامَةِ يَبْطُلُ بِوَطَنِ الْإِقَامَةِ وَبِإِنْشَاءِ السَّفَرِ وَبِالْوَطَنِ الْأَصْلِيِّ)
 Kasān, Badā’i Sanāi, Kitābus Salāh, Fasl fi Bayani ma Yaseerul Musafir bihi Muqeeman, vol 1, p.498
وَوَطَنُ الْإِقَامَةِ يُنْتَقَضُ بِالْوَطَنِ الْأَصْلِيِّ؛ لِأَنَّهُ فَوْقَهُ، وَبِوَطَنِ الْإِقَامَةِ أَيْضًا؛ لِأَنَّهُ مِثْلُهُ، وَالشَّيْءُ يَجُوزُ أَنْ يُنْسَخَ بِمِثْلِهِ، وَيُنْتَقَضُ بِالسَّفَرِ أَيْضًا؛ لِأَنَّ تَوَطُّنَهُ فِي هَذَا الْمَقَامِ لَيْسَ لِلْقَرَارِ وَلَكِنْ لِحَاجَةٍ، فَإِذَا سَافَرَ مِنْهُ يُسْتَدَلُّ بِهِ عَلَى قَضَاءِ حَاجَتِهِ فَصَارَ مُعْرِضًا عَنْ التَّوَطُّنِ بِهِ، فَصَارَ نَاقِضًا لَهُ دَلَالَةً