How can I find out when the haram prayer times are?

The Details of the Question

- I know that the haram prayer times are the times of sunrise, the sun’s being at its peak and the sunset. However, how do I know exactly when prayer is prohibited and for how long?
- When is it appropriate to perform the 4-rak’ah sunnah after the 1st adhan for Friday prayer before the sun reaches its peak?
- What is the decree on tahiyyat al-masjid prayer? Is it permissible to perform it at karaha times?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Brief information about the times when it is not appropriate to perform any fard, wajib or sunnah prayer is as follows:

- From sunrise to 40-50 minutes afterwards.
- From about 10 minutes before noon prayer time to the start of noon prayer time.
- From 40-50 minutes before sunset to the start of evening prayer time.
 (see Marghinani, Hidaya, 1/265-269)

It is forbidden to perform certain deeds of worship at certain times. These times are called karaha times. The following is narrated from Uqba b. Amir al- Juhani:

“The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) prohibited us from performing prayers and burying our dead people at three time periods: from the sunrise to the sun's going up about one or two spears long, from the time the sun is perpendicular to us at noon to the time it starts moving to the west, from the time the sun turns yellow to sunset.” (Muslim, Musafirin, 293; Abu Dawud, Janaiz, 55; Tirmidhi, Janaiz, 41)

No prayer can be performed it the three time periods specified in the hadith above. The start and end times of those time periods are as follows:

a) From sunrise to 40-50 minutes afterwards.

b) When the sun is exactly at its peak (from about 10 minutes before noon prayer time starts)

c) Before the sun sets, the time from when the sun no longer dazzles eyes to the sunset (the time from 40-50 minutes before the sunset to the starting time of the evening prayer). (Marghinani, al-Hidaya, 1/265-269)

In those times of karaha, no missed fard prayers and no wajib prayers like witr can be performed. The janazah prayer of a dead person prepared before karaha time cannot be performed either. 

The janazah prayer of a person prepared at those times can be performed. A “prostration of recitation” cannot be performed because of a verse of prostration that has been read before. However, the prostration of a verse of prostration recited at the time of karaha can be done at that time though it is better to postpone it.

At the time of karaha before the sunset, only the fard of afternoon prayer of that day can be performed. However, it is makruh to delay the afternoon prayer to that time without an excuse.

In addition, it is makruh to perform only supererogatory (nafilah) prayers at the following times:

a) Between the time of imsak and the sunrise except for the sunnah of the morning prayer.

b) After performing the afternoon prayer until the sun sets.

c) When the time period for the evening prayer starts, before the fard of the evening prayer.

d) After the preacher ascends the pulpit on Friday. (Marghinani, al-Hidaya, 1/269-271)

The following is reported from Abu Said al-Khudri:

“I heard the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) say: No prayer is performed after the morning prayer until the sun rises. No prayer is performed after the afternoon prayer until the sun sets.” (Abu Dawud, Tatawwu‘, 9; Ahmad b. Hanbal, al-Musnad, 1/271)

Answer 2:

The first four-rak’ah sunnah of the Friday prayer is performed after the first adhan is called.

It is sunnah to perform tahiyyatul-masjid prayer immediately after entering the mosque. As a matter of fact, the Prophet (pbuh) states the following regarding the prayer in question: “When one of you enters the mosque, he should pray two rak’ahs before sitting down.” (Muslim, Salatul-Musafirin, 69)

Tahiyyatul-masjid prayer is performed as two or four rak’ahs according to Hanafis and two rak’ahs according to Malikis. According to Shafiis, two rak’ahs are essential, but Shafiis and Hanbalis state that prayers can be performed as many times as desired with this intention.

Hanafis are of the opinion that tahiyyatul-masjid prayer cannot be performed at the times when it is considered makruh to perform nafilah prayers.

According to Shafiis, since tahiyyatul-masjid is a prayer that is based on a reason and not an absolute prayer, it can be performed at these times as well. (Shirbini, Mughnil-Muhtaj, 1/200)

It is makruh according to Hanafis for a person who enters the mosque while adhan is being called to perform this prayer but it is not makruh according to Shafiis.

However, fiqh scholars unanimously agree that it is makruh for the person who enters the mosque while the muezzin is calling the iqamah or when the congregational prayer has started to perform tahiyyatul-masjid prayer.

Hanafis state that it is necessary for the person who enters the mosque when the preacher is on the pulpit on Friday to sit and listen to the sermon and that it is makruh for him to perform tahiyyatul-masjid prayer. According to Shafiis, it should be performed on the condition that it is not lengthened and it does not exceed two rak’ahs.

If the person entering the mosque cannot perform this prayer due to reasons such as being busy or the time of karaha, it is mustahab for him to say, “Subhanallahi wal-hamdu lillahi wa la ilaha illallahu wallahu akbar.” Some scholars also add the sentence “wa la hawla wa la quwwata illa billahil-aliyyil -azim” to it.

Hanafis state that respect will be shown to the mosque if any prayer is performed or the fard prayer is performed in congregation, that the prayers of a person who enters the mosque with the intention of performing at least two rak’ahs of fard or nafilah prayer will replace tahiyyatul-masjid prayer even if he does not make intention for it and that he will gain its thawab. (Qasani, Badai‘, I, 190-191)

The respect to Masjid al-Haram is through circumambulating the Kaaba; those who enter there with the intention of tawaf should immediately start tawaf, and those who enter without the intention of tawaf should perform tahiyyatul-masjid prayer.

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