How to determine the afternoon prayer time correctly?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

According to the majority of fiqh scholars, the time period of the afternoon prayer begins when the shadow of an object becomes double and continues until the sunset.

“Jibril (Gabriel) led me in prayer twice near the Kaaba. In the first one, he led the noon prayer when the shadows were as short as shoelaces. Then, he led the afternoon prayer when the shadow of an object was as tall as it… When Jibril was the imam for the second time, he led the noon prayer when the shadow of an object was as tall as it was yesterday’s afternoon prayer time. He led the afternoon prayer when the shadow of an object was twice its height… Then he turned to me and said, “O Muhammad! This is the time of worship of the prophets before you. The time of worship is between these two times.” (Abu Dawud, Salah 393, Tirmidhi, Mawaqit, 1)

According to Abu Hanifa, the time period for the noon prayer continues until the shadow of something is twice its height. His ijtihad is based on the following hadith:

“Perform the noon prayer when the weather cools down because the intensity of the heat at noon resembles the heat of Hell.” (Bukhari, Mawaqit, 9, 10, Bad’ul Khalq, 10; Abu Dawud Salah, 4; Tirmidhi, Salah, 5; Nasai, Mawaqit 5; Ibn Majah, Salaj, 4)

The shadow formed during the meridian passage of the sun is called the zawal shadow (fay zawal). This zawal shadow is not taken into account during the determination of the time of the afternoon prayer; it starts when the shadow of an object reaches its own height or twice its own height after the shadow forming at zawal time is subtracted.

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