Question: The questioner says: One day I was praying and I had a bag which had an amount of money in it. Then I put it in front of me because my pocket was not big enough for it. So during the prayer, one person, from those with weak souls, came in front and stole it and escaped quickly. I was unable to cut my prayer to catch him. Is me allowing him to take it and flee while desiring the congregational prayer a correct action? Or is it obligatory to cut the prayer to catch him even if the money is a little?
Answer: “In this situation, if the prayer is voluntary, then no doubt that it is allowed for you to cut it in order to protect your wealth. As for if it is an obligatory prayer, then it is also allowed for you to cut your prayer in order to protect your wealth and catch this oppressor and transgressor. If you cut the prayer in this situation, then for you is the reward of the congregation because you did no cut the prayer except for an excuse. If you cut the prayer to protect your wealth and preserve it for yourself, and also save this man from this oppression and transgression due to the Prophet (ﷺ) said:
نصر أخاك ظالما أو مظلوما
Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or is oppressed
[Bukhari and Muslim]
(and he (ﷺ) clarified that helping an oppressor is by you stopping him from oppression), if you did his, then it is more deserving for you. What is important is that cutting the obligatory prayer or voluntary prayer in the likes of his situation, there is no harm in it to protect your wealth and prevent others from oppression.
Questioner: Even if the money is a little?
Shaikh: Yes, even if the money is a little because it is wasting money if you left it. Also, it will tempt this oppressor to transgress another time from another person.
Questioner: [I ask] in this occasion, what are the things or situations which it is allowed to cut the prayer?
Shaikh: There are many situations. From them: is if he fears for himself harm if he remains in prayer, [if] he fears harm to his wealth, and [if] he fears harm to an innocent person. For example, he witnesses a person attack another person in order to kill him or violate his honor or he sees a snake facing someone or wild animal or what resembles that. In this situation, he cuts the prayer to rescue an innocent person because rescuing an innocent person is obligatory. It [rescuing an innocent person] will be lost if he continues his prayer. As for continuing the prayer, it is obligatory [in general]; however, it is possible for him to catch it after rescuing an innocent person from destruction”.
[Fatawa Noor ‘ala Darb no. 197]
Faisal Ibn Abdul Qaadir Ibn Hassan