There are people who advocate combining together the Zuhr and `Asr prayers and likewise the Maghrib and `Ishâ' prayers on a regular basis, without needing any particular excuse like rain or sickness. They argue that in the Qur'an, prayer is only mentioned three times in the day and night.
They also cite the hadīth related by Ibn `Abbās that the Prophet (peace be upon him) combined between the Zuhr and `Asr prayers and likewise between the Maghrib and `Ishā' prayers while he was in Madinah without there being a specific reason for doing so like fear, rain, or traveling.
Please explain your answer in light of these arguments.
The Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him), through his sayings and his actions, provides us with the exact times of these prayers as known and applied by Muslims today. This has been passed down from one generation to the next, century after century."It is a well-known principle in Islam that the Sunnah explains the Qur'an. Allah says to His Prophet: "We have revealed to you the Reminder that you may make clear to people what has been revealed to them, and that haply they may reflect." [Sūrah al-Nahl: 44]
Ibn `Abbās was not traveling nor was there any rain, but he mentioned this narration as a justification for combining his prayers. He knew that there was no rain, but Ibn `Abbās was involved in something important for the Muslims as he was teaching the people what they needed to know about their religion and he believed that if he stopped at that time and came down from the pulpit, the opportunity would be lost. He deemed that the activity he was engaged in permitted him to combine prayers as the Prophet (peace be upon him) combined prayers in Madinah without there being fear or rain but for some other necessity…In conclusion, it is permissible to combine between prayers for any valid reason where there would otherwise be considerable hardship for the worshipper. However, the practice of combining between prayers should not be taken as a habit. Whoever makes it their regular practice to combine their prayers without a valid reason has violated the Sunnah of our Prophet (peace be upon him) and gone against his guidance.
All the hadīth about combining prayer indicate that the Prophet combined prayers to make things easy for his people. Therefore, combining prayers is permissible if there would otherwise be some hardship that Allah had sought to spare the believers. Combining prayers due to debilitating illness is all the more permissible. The same applies to those who cannot maintain a state of ritual purity for two prayers, like the woman whose bleeding continues past her menstrual cycle. At the same time, we have a saying from `Umar b. al-Khattāb that combining of two prayers without an excuse is one the grievous sins." [Ibn Taymiyah, Majmū` al-Fatāwā]