Until how many minutes before the end of the time period for a prayer is it permissible to pray?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The end of the time period for a prayer is the beginning of the next prayer except for the morning prayer (fajr).

Time Periods for Prayers

1. Time period for the morning prayer (fajr):

It starts with fajr as-sadiq (the real dawn) and continues up to the sunrise. Fajr as-sadiq is the whiteness in the horizon that spreads breadth-wise. The opposite of it is fajr al-kadhib (the false fajr); it is a whiteness that spreads out longitudinally upwards in the middle of the sky like a wolf tail. It is called fajr al-kadhib (the false fajr) because darkness comes after this whiteness.

The decrees about time are dependent on fajr as-sadiq, like the start of fasting, beginning of the time period for the morning (fajr) prayer and end of the time period for the night (isha) prayer. The Prophet (pbuh) stated the following:

"There are two dawns: the first is the one which makes eating haram for those who fast and allows performing the morning prayer. The other is the one that makes it unlawful to perform the morning Prayer and allows eating for those who fast." (as-Sanani Subul as-Salam, 2nd edition, I, 115)

The first time mentioned in the hadith is fajr as-sadiq and the second one is fajr al-kadhib. In the hadith that is reported in Muslim from Abdullah b. Amr, it is stated that the time for the morning prayer starts with dawn and continues up to the sunrise. The time period after the sunrise to the beginning of the noon prayer is regarded as vacant time when fard prayers cannot be performed.

2. Time period for the noon prayer (zuhr):

The time for the noon prayer starts with when the sun reaches its peak and continues until the shadow of things becomes equal to those things. However, the shadow or (fay az-zawal) is not included in it. This is the view of Abu Yusuf, Imam Muhammad, and the imams of the other three madhhabs. According to Abu Hanifa, the time of noon prayer continues until the shadow of objects doubles. It is unanimously agreed that this time is the time for the afternoon (asr) prayer. The noon prayer must be performed before it.  

When the sun starts to move toward the west from its peak, it is called "time of zawal". When the sun reaches the middle of the sky, that is, its peak, it is called "time of istiwa". When the sun starts to move toward the west from this point, "time of zawal" occurs.

According to the majority of the fiqh scholars, the time for the noon prayer ends when the shadows of things become as long as their length. Fay az-zawal of the time of istiwa is also added to it. That is, the shadow that things have at the time of zawal is added to its shadow's length. The evidence for this is the following hadith:

"On the second day, Jibril made the Prophet pray the noon prayer when the shadow of every object was equal to its height."

When Abu Hanifa says the time of the noon prayer ends when the shadows of things become twice their length, he bases his view on the following hadith:

"Perform the noon prayer when the weather gets cool. For, the intensity of the temperature reminds the temperature of Hell." (Bukhari, Mawaqit, 9, 10, Bad'u'l Khalq, 10; Abu Dawud Salat, 4; Tirmidhi, Salat, 5; Nasai, Mawaqit, 5; Ibn Majah, Salat, 4).

In Arabia, the time when the heat of the sun is the most severe is when the shadows of things are as long as their length.

The evidence for the beginning time of the noon prayer is the following verse:

"Establish regular prayers at the sun's decline." (al-Isra, 17/78)

3. Time period for the afternoon prayer (asr):

The time of the afternoon prayer starts when the time of the noon prayer finishes and ends when the sun sets. That is, according to the majority of fiqh scholars, when shadows of things reach the objects' length except fay az-zawal and according to Abu Hanifa, when they reach twice the objects' length, the time of the afternoon prayer starts. The following is stated in a hadith:

"The one who reaches one rak'ah of the afternoon prayer before the sun sets has caught up with the afternoon prayer." (Zaylai, Nasbu'r-Raya, I/228)

However, according to the majority of the scholars, it is makruh to perform the afternoon prayer at the time of the sun's becoming pale. For, the Prophet said that hypocrites delayed the afternoon prayer and finally performed it hastily. (ash-Shawkani, Naylu'l-Awtar, I, 307)

4. Time period for the evening prayer (maghrib):

The time for the evening prayer begins when the sun sets ends with the disappearance of dusk. The evidence for it is the following hadith:

"The time for the evening prayer is until dusk disappears." (as-San'ani, Subul as-Salam, I, 106)  

According to Abu Yusuf, Imam Muhammad, Hanbalis and the new view of Shafiis, dusk is the redness on the west of the horizon. For Abdullah b. Umar said, "Dusk is redness." (as-San'ani, Subul as-Salam I, 114)

According to Abu Hanifa, dusk is the whiteness that continues in the horizon after the redness. After this whiteness, the whiteness that will continue constantly will appear. His evidence is the following hadith: "The end of the time for the evening prayer is when dusk gets dark." (Zaylai, ibid, I, 230)

5. Time period for the night prayer (isha):

According to the view on which fatwa is based in Hanafis, and the other madhhabs, the time for the night prayer begins with the time when red sunset glow disappears and continues up to the time just before fajr as-sadiq. The evidence is the following hadith reported from Abdullah Ibn Umar:

"Dusk is redness. When dusk disappears, it becomes fard to perform night (isha) prayer." (as-Sanani, ibid, I, 114)

On the other hand, the preferred time for the night prayer goes on until one-third or half of the night passes. For, the Messenger of Allah stated the following:

"If it were not difficult for my ummah, I would order them to delay the night prayer until one-third or half of the night passes." (ash-Shawkani, ibid, II,11).

Anas stated that Hz. Prophet delayed the night prayer to the middle of the night and performed it after that. (ash-Shawkani, ibid, II,12). The following is reported from Hz. Aisha:

"Once, the Prophet delayed the night prayer so much that the people in the mosque slept. Then, he came and led the prayer. He said,

"If it were not difficult for my ummah, this is the time for the night prayer." (Bukhari, Mawaqit, 24; ash-Shawkani, ibid, I, 12).

The beginning time for witr prayer is after the night prayer. The last time for witr is a little time before the time for the morning prayer starts.

(see Hamdi Döndüren, Delilleriyle İslâm İlmihali, İstanbul 1991, 313 ff.)

Questions on Islam

Author:
Questions on Islam
Subject Categories:
Read 46 times
In order to make a comment, please login or register