Is a person who utters takbir only before the time period for a prayer ends regarded to have caught that prayer?

The Details of the Question

- What are the evidences showing that uttering the initial takbir before the time period for a prayer ends makes the prayer valid?
- I know that the scholars have different views on whether the prayer becomes valid by performing a full rak’ah before its time ends or uttering only the opening (iftitah) takbir before its time.
- I heard that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “He who completes a rak’ah before its time ends is regarded to have caught the prayer.” 
- What is the evidence against the view of performing a full rak’ah before the time ends, stating that uttering only the opening takbir before the time ends will make the prayer valid?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Scholars agree unanimously that if the time period ends while performing a prayer, that prayer is not invalidated except for the morning and Friday prayers. Acting upon the hadiths that prohibit performing prayers at sunrise, Imam Abu Hanifa states related to the morning prayer that if the sun rises, the prayer that is being performed will be invalidated. However, Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad states that if a person sits long enough for tashahhud in the last sitting, the prayer will not be invalidated. (1)

Acting upon the hadith of the Prophet (pbuh) stating that if the sun rises after one rak’ah of the morning prayer is performed, or if the sun sets after one rak’ah of the afternoon prayer is performed, that prayer will be regarded as complete and valid (2), other madhhabs state that if the time period ends while performing the prayer, that prayer will not be invalidated. (3)

Accordingly, although there is a disagreement related to the morning prayer, the prayer that is being performed does not become invalid when the time period for the next prayer starts.

As for the details after this short information:

Time is one of the preconditions of prayer. Since people living above 45 degrees of latitude sometimes cannot find time to perform the night prayer (isha), they do not perform it according to some scholars, but they do according to others. When one of the preconditions does not exist, the other conditions will not be nullified, and hence the prayer will not be abandoned; it is performed according to the places in the normal time period that are close to that place.

Besides, a person who delays the prayer for any reason and leaves it to the end of the time period, performs a part of the prayer if he has the opportunity to perform it on time, and completes the rest - even if the time period ends - according to some scholars. There are also other scholars who hold the opposite view and say that the prayer will be invalid.

Hadiths Regarding the Issue:

1. In a narration reported from Abu Hurayra (r.a.), the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

“A person who catches one rak’ah of the morning prayer (fajr) before the sun rises is regarded to have caught the morning prayer. A person who catches one rak’ah of the afternoon prayer before the sun sets is regarded to have caught the afternoon prayer (asr).” (4]

2. Bukhari narrates the same hadith with the following words:

“If one of you catches one prostration of the afternoon prayer before the sun sets, he should complete his prayer. If he catches the prostration of the morning prayer before the sun rises before, he should complete his prayer.”(5)

3. According to a narration from Aisha (r.a.), the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

“If a person catches one prostration of the afternoon prayer before the sun sets, or one prostration of the morning prayer before the sun rises, he is regarded to have caught that prayer.” (6)

The determinations and inferences of mujtahid imams in the light of hadiths:

a) According to Hanafis:

If the sun rises while performing the morning prayer, the prayer is invalidated. It is necessary to perform it again later. However, if the sun sets while performing the afternoon prayer, the prayer is not invalidated; such a person completes the prayer even though the time period has ended; that prayer is regarded to have been performed on time. (7)

Hanafis have opinions and ijtihads about waqt kamil and waqt naqis in terms of methodology. We advise those who want to learn more about the issue to look at the books of Fiqh Methodology (Usul).

b) According to Shafiis:

If a full rak’ah of the started prayer is performed within the time period, and the rest is performed after that time, the whole prayer is regarded to have been performed. According to the sound determinations of Bukhari and Muslim, the hadith, “He who catches one rak’ah of a prayer is regarded to have caught all of it...” is used as a basis for inference and evidence. (8)

This is understood from it: If the time period ends before completing one rak’ah of a started prayer, that prayer will be invalidated and it has to be performed again as a missed prayer because one rak’ah covers all the acts of the prayer. Other rak’ahs are repetitions of the same thing. Therefore, the rak’ahs performed after the time period are subject to the rak’ahs performed in time. (9)

c) According to Hanbalis:

A person who catches one rak’ah is regarded to have caught the whole prayer; that is, if the time period ends after performing one rak’ah of the prayer, he completes his prayer and it is regarded to have been performed in time.

However, is a person who catches less than one rak’ah regarded to have caught the prayer in time?

There are two narrations regarding the issue:

According to the first narration, he is not regarded to have caught. It is Kharqi’s apparent view. Malikis hold the same view. The allocation of one rak’ah indicates that reaching the whole prayer will not occur with less than that. As a matter of fact, one who catches one rak’ah of the Friday prayer is considered to have caught all of it, and he who catches less than one rak’ah of the Friday prayer is regarded to have not caught the Friday prayer.

According to the second narration, one is regarded to have caught the whole prayer by reaching a part of it. Qadi says, “It is the apparent view of Imam Ahmad.” Abul-Khattab states the following:

“A person who catches the opening (iftitah) takbir is regarded to have caught the prayer if he catches it before the time period ends; that is, his prayer is valid; he does not have to perform it again.” As a matter of fact, it is also the view of Imam Abu Hanifa. (10)

Hanbalis base their views regarding the issue on the following hadith, which Bukhari and Muslim unanimously narrate:

“If a person catches one prostration of the afternoon prayer before the sun sets, let him complete his prayer; if a person catches one prostration of the morning prayer before the sun rises, let him complete his prayer.” (11)

d) According to the Malikis:

A person who catches one full rak’ah is regarded to have caught the whole prayer; so, he performs the part outside the time period and his prayer is valid.

Malikis divide time into two parts as optional and necessary. If he catches the optional time in one rak’ah and completes the rest within the necessary time, his prayer is regarded to have been performed; and he does not become a sinner. (12)

As a matter of fact, Malikis state the following about the Friday prayer: If a person catches one rak’ah of the Friday prayer, he stands up after the imam salutes and performs one more rak’ah; thus, he completes his prayer as two rak’ahs. However, a person who comes and catches the imam in at-Tahiyyat stands up and performs four rak’ahs after the imam salutes. It is no longer the Friday prayer, but the noon prayer to replace it. (13)

Regarding the issue, Malikis base their deduction on the following hadith narrated from Ibn Umar (r.a.) through Sufyan:

“If a person catches one rak’ah of the Friday prayer, he adds one more rak’ah to it; and if he catches the congregation in at-­Tahiyyat, he stands up and performs four rak’ahs.” (14)

In addition, the following hadith narrated from Abu Hurayra (r.a.) regarding the issue is also used as evidence for them in their deduction:

“If a person catches one rak’ah of the Friday prayer, let him add one more rak’ah. If he misses both rak’ahs, let him perform ­four rak’ahs. (in another narration, let him perform the fard of the noon prayer)…” (15)

Other narrations, determinations, comments and analyses:

What is meant by the phrase “catches one rak’ah...” in the hadith number 1 of Abu Hurayra?

According to some scholars, it is a phrase that requires interpretation: It means “catches the decree of prayer.” Or, it can be interpreted as follows: “He catches the obligation and virtue of prayer.” According to some scholars, it means he has caught the prayer in time. As a matter of fact, in another narration from Abu Hurayra, the Prophet (pbuh) said,

“If a person performs one rak’ah of the afternoon prayer - before the sun sets - and the rest of it after the sun sets, it means that he has not missed the afternoon prayer.” (16)

And there is a similar narration about the morning prayer. In a hadith narrated by Bukhari from Abu Hurayra (r.a.), “let him complete his prayer” is included in the last part. In the narration by Nasai, the last part of the hadith is as follows.

“Indeed, he has caught the whole prayer, but he has to make up for what he has missed.”

Bayhaqi reports the following sentence:

“Let him add another rak’ah to that rak’ah!”

The conclusion reached from all those narrations is as follows:

“If a person catches one rak’ah of the morning and afternoon prayers before the sun rises and before the sun sets, it means that he has caught the whole prayer.”

As for hadiths 2 and 3, the term “one prostration” is used instead of “one rak’ah” in them.

What is meant by that prostration?

As Muslim also states in his Sahih, one rak’ah is meant by it.

Bukhari, on the other hand, narrates the same hadith with the following words:

“Whoever catches one rak’ah...”

In the narration of Muslim from Aisha (r.a.), the narrator states the following at the end of the hadith: “Sajdah (prostration) means rak’ah.”

The writer of Fathul-Allam states the following:

“If that statement is from the Prophet (pbuh), that is, if it belongs to him, there is no problem. If it belongs to the narrator, it means that he knows his own narration better. Khattabi states the following about it: ‘What is meant by prostration is one rak’ah with ruku’ and prostrations because the rak’ah is completed only by prostration. Therefore, rak’ah is referred to as “prostration” in the hadith.’ “(17)

In the hadith of Abu Hurayra (ra.), narrated by Bukhari and Muslim unanimously, the following is stated with the use of the word prayer only, without specifying the morning and afternoon prayers:

“If a person catches one rak’ah of the prayer, it means he has caught the prayer.” (18)

As it is understood, this hadith expresses a general understanding of “catching a rak’ah” and does not have a specific rule peculiar to the morning and afternoon prayers.

According to Ibn Hajar, the article al (as) at beginning of the phrase “minas-salah” is for definiteness and hence what is meant is the morning and afternoon prayers. The hadiths that we quoted at the beginning of the topic are not absolute; they are conditional; that is, they do not include all prayers, but the prayers mentioned there. In that case, it is interpreted as absolutely conditional.

The writer of Fiqh as-Sunna states the following after quoting both narrations:

The hadith “If a person catches one rak’ah of prayer, it means that he has actually caught that prayer” covers all prayers.

What is meant by prostration in the following hadith of Bukhari is rak’ah: “If one of you catches one prostration of the afternoon prayer before the sun sets, he should complete his prayer. If he catches the prostration of the morning prayer before the sun rises before, he should complete his prayer.”

The apparent meaning of the hadith indicates the decree that it is not makruh to pray after the sun rises and the sun sets for a person who catches one rak’ah of the afternoon and morning prayers; even if he performs the remaining rak’ahs at the time of karahah, it is not makruh for him. A prayer performed in this way is considered a prayer performed on time, not a prayer performed after its determined time. Although it is not permissible to delay the prayer deliberately to such a narrow time period, that is the decree about it... (19)

After narrating the sound hadiths about “catching a rak’ah”, Zaylai expresses the view of Hanafi madhhab that if the sun rises while performing the morning prayer, the prayer will be invalidated. (20)

Decrees that have been deduced:

1. A person who catches one rak’ah of the morning prayer completes his prayer by performing the second rak’ah when the sun rises, and it is regarded to have been performed on time.

2. According to Imam Abu Hanifa, if the sun rises before a person has finished his prayer, his prayer will be invalidated. He has to perform it again as a missed prayer later.

3. A person who catches one rak’ah of the afternoon prayer - before the sun sets - completes the prayer by performing the remaining three rak’ahs when the sun sets, and it is regarded to have been performed on time.

4. A person who catches only the opening takbir and one part of a rak’ah during the time period of the prayer is considered to have caught that prayer. It is the view of Imam Abu Hanifa, and according to a narration Imam Ahmad. According to the other two madhhabs, he is not regarded to have caught the prayer and he has to make up that prayer later. (21)

References:

1) Qasani, Badai, 1/124; Ibnul-Humam, Fath, 1/397.
2) Bukhari, Mawaqit, 27.
3) Ibn Rushd, Bidaya, 1/95; Ibn Qudama, al-Mughni, 2/16-17.
4) Tirmidhi, Salah: 23, Jumu’a: 25; Nasai, Mawaqit: 11, 28, 30, Salah: 23, 197, Jumu’a, 25, 41; Ibn Majah, Iqamah: 91.
5) Bukhari, Mawaqit, 60, Manasik, 68.
6) Muslim, Masajid, 18, Nasai, Mawaqit, 11, 28, Ahmad, 2/399, 474, 6/78.
7) Badai, 1/127.
8) Fathul-Wahhab bi-Sharhi Manhajit-Tullab: 1/31, as-Sirajul-Wahhaj ala Matnil-Minhaj: 35.
9) Fathul-Wahhab bi-Sharhi Manhajit-Tullab: 1/31.
10) al-Mughni, Idraku Rak’ah: 1/377, 378.
11) al-Mughni, Idraku Rak’ah: 1/378.
12) al-Fiqhu alal-Madhahibil-Arbaa: 1/181.
13) al-Mudawwanatul-Kubra, Idraku Rak’ah Yawmil-Jumu’a: 1/147.
14) Tirmidhi, Jumu’a, 23, Abu Dawud, Salah, 234, Nasai, Mawaqit, 30.
15) Tirmidhi, Jumu’a, 23, Abu Dawud, Salah, 234, Nasai, Mawaqit, 30.
16) Naylul-Awtar: 2/25.
17) Fathul-Allam li-Sharhi Bulughil-Maram, Mawaqit, 1/80, Naylul-Awtar, Idraku Ba’dis-Salah: 2/25.
18) Bukhari, Mawaqit, 29, Muslim, Masajid, 161, 165.
19) Fiqhus-Sunnah, Idraku Rak’ah: 1/105.
20) For detailed information, see Nasbur-Raya li-Ahadithil-Hidaya: 1/229, 229.
21) see Celal Yıldırım, Kaynaklarıyla Ahkam Hadisleri, Vakit içinde namazın bir kısmına yetişen kimse onu vakit çıksa bile tamamlar mı.

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