Delay Fajr or pray early- A detailed analysis

Praise be to Allah,


Allaah, the Exalted says in the Qur’an:


“And eat and drink until the white thread of Fajr is distinguishable to you from the black thread”.   [Translation al-Baqarah (2):187]


Each prayer has its own time at which it must be performed. Allaah says,

“Prayer at fixed hours has been enjoined upon the believers.” [Translation An-Nisaa’, 04:103]


And this is a beautiful, clear explanation of how to identify Fajr.


And all the times for prayer have been mentioned in two major hadeeths which I will quote from, when relevant, for each prayer time. The first hadeeth is narrated on the authority of Jaabir ibn ‘Abdullaah:


The Prophet (PBUH) was approached by Jibreel (A.S) and he said to him: Stand and pray, so he prayed Thuhr when the sun had shifted from its zenith…then he came to him at Fajr and he said:

‘Stand and pray, so he prayed Fajr when Fajr had shown its light, or he said: Fajr was clear…then he came when it had become very bright (Isfaar) and he said: stand and pray, so he prayed Fajr, then he said: what is between these two times is the time.[i]

Also, in another hadeeth, he said:

“The time for Salaat as-Subh (meaning Fajr) is from the appearance of Fajr till as long as the sun does not rise.”[ii]


So, it is clear from these hadeeths that the time for Fajr is from its appearance until the rising of the sun.


Ayesha (May Allah be please with her) narrated:

The believing women, covered with their veiling sheets, used to attend the Fajr prayer with Allah’s Messenger (PBUH), and after finishing the Salaah (prayer) they would return to their homes, and nobody could recognize them because of the darkness.[iii]


The difference between dawn and sunrise fluctuates between 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes in accordance with the different seasons[iv].


Ikh-tilaaf [Difference of Opinion]


Which time is preferable to pray Fajr?


  1. a) Hanafi: when the brightness of the dawn appeared in the sky, due to the Hadeeth:


 “Pray Fajr when it is light for the reward is greater[v]


In the classical Hanafi Manual, Noor al- Idah, it says,

The reason the reward will be greater at the glowing time of dawn is that the gathering is larger, though when it is still dark, the gathering is less; and that which is offered in a larger group is superior. Additionally, Anas reported the Prophet God bless him and grant him peace!! saying whoever prays the fajr in a group, and then sits and remembers Allah until the rising of the sun after which he offers two raka’ahs then it will be for him a reward like that of a complete Hajj and complete umrah][vi]. With respect to a woman, its performance early when the dawn has not yet become bright is recommended[vii].


  1. b) Jama’a: the majority including Malik, Shafi, and Ahmad ( May Allah have mercy on them) say when it is still dark outside due to the numerous authentic Hadeeth.


Their response to the previous groups’ proof is that:


  1. One of the intended meanings of that Hadeeth is to assure that dawn is broken we should not hasten too much to perform the Salaah


  1. Long recitation so when finished the brightness is in the sky.


Sheikh Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) further responds to the proof of the first group as:


The hadith is to highlight that you do not pray until the true dawn light appears and true Fajr becomes clear so that you do not pray before the time. All those who described the prayer of the prophet (PBUH) mention that he used to pray Fajr during darkness, and by the time he would depart from the prayer a man could recognize the one sitting next to him. This indicates he prayed early, despite reciting 60 to 100 ayahs(verses). Hence the prayer would start early in relative darkness still, but due to elongation of it, it would end closer to the sunrise, with a lot more visible light apparent and so they could recognize each other[viii].


  1. The interpretation is supported by the Hadeeth related by Abu Burzah al-Aslami (R.A) where he says: “Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) used to turn to finish his morning prayers at a time when a person could recognize the person who was sitting next to him. He would recite between 60 and 100 verses.” [ix]


The author of Fiqh-us- Sunnah says,


  1. It refers to the time that one finishes the prayer, not the time when one begins it. That is, one should make the recital long so that one is in prayer until the dawn becomes “shiny.” This is what the Prophet, upon whom be peace, used to do, for he would recite between 60 and 100 verses. It also means to make sure that the dawn has come[x].


Abu Mas’ud al-Ansari reported that the Messenger of Allah prayed the morning prayer in the darkness (of the dawn). Another time, he prayed it when the dawn was shining (or glowing). Then after that, he always prayed in the darkness (of the dawn) until he died.”[xi]


Sheikh Ibn Baaz says about this hadeeth: “What is intended is don’t hurry, wait till subh is made clear such that there is no doubt about the prayer.”[xii]


This shows that the second opinion, that the prayer should be prayed early, is the most correct one.


False Fajr and True Fajr


The false Fajr and the true Fajr are worth mentioning that it has been mentioned in the Sunnah that there are two Fajrs. Al-Albaani says in as- Saheehah (no. 693):


On the authority of ibn ‘Abbaas ( رضي†الله†عنه†) that the Messenger of Allaah ( (صلى†الله†عليه†و†سلم said:‘


“There are two kinds of Fajr. One kind, which is the true Fajr, prohibits eating (for the fasting person) and makes the prayer permissible. As for the second kind of Fajr (which is the false Fajr], it does not prevent eating (for the fasting person) nor does it permit the prayer (the Fajr prayer).[xiii]


Ibn Qudaamah (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

To sum up, the time of dawn refers to the appearance of the second dawn according to consensus. That is indicated by the reports of the times of prayer. It is the white line that appears along the horizon; it is called the true dawn (al-fajr al-Saadiq).

As for the first dawn, it is the white line that appears vertically and not horizontally. It is not connected to any ruling and it is called the false dawn (al-fajr al-kaadhib)”[xiv].


Important Points derived from the Hadeeth of Ayesha (R.A):


  1. It is commendable to perform Fajr at the beginning of its time


  1. The Hadeeth shows the permissibility of women going to the masjid with the men as long as there is no mixing, they are properly covered, etc.[xv]


Allah Knos Best.



[i] at-Tirmidhi quoted al-Bukhaari as saying: The most authentic thing regarding the times is the hadeeth of Jaabir.] Only the parts of the hadeeth relevant to the Fajr prayer have been cited for the sake of brevity.

[ii] reference     : Book 2, Hadith 1. Arabic/English book reference: Book 2, Hadith 151

[iii] Saheeh Bukhaaree, Volume 1, Book 10, Hadeeth Number 552.

[iv] The Prophet’s Prayer Described, Shaykh Uthayemeen, Page 57

[v] Musnad Ahmad (4/140), Sunan Aboo Daawood (424), and Sunan Ibn Maajah (672) – Ed

[vi] At-Tirmidhi, the Book of Prayer 586. Maraky al-Falah 108

[vii] Noor-al-Idah, Hasan Shurunbulali, A Classical Manual of Hanafi Law. Translated from the Arabic with Commentary and Notes by Wesam Charkawi. Page 125

[viii] The Prophet’s Prayer Described, Shaykh Uthayemeen, Page 62

[ix] [Saheeh Bukhaaree, Volume 1, Book 10, Hadeeth Number 522 and 573; Saheeh Muslim, Book 4, Hadeeth Number 1350 and 1352].

[x] Translation of Fiqh Us Sunnah. Author Sayyid Saabiq. PDF-page 52

[xi] Reference: Sunan Abi Dawud 394 In-book reference : Book 2, Hadith 4. English translation: Book 2, Hadith 394

[xii] Shuroot as-Salaah p.31.

[xiii] [Ibn Khuzaymah and al-Haakim, and they both classified it as Saheeh (authentic)]

[xiv] Al-Mughni, 1/232

[xv] Shaykh Abdullah ibn Abdur – Rahmaan Aal Bassaam. Fiqh of Salah. PDF Page 6


Similar Posts