Praise be to Allah,
Narrated Jabir bin Abdullah (R.A): The Prophet (PBUH) used to offer Dhuhr prayer at midday (sun declining from its highest point) and the Asr at a time when the sun was still and hot, the Maghrib was prayed after sunset (when the sun was completely descended below the horizon) and the ‘Isha was prayed at different times. When the Messenger (PBUH) used to see the people gathered at the mosque he would pray the ‘Isha prayer earlier but when the people were not very many he used to delay it. The Morning Prayer was prayed when it was still very dark. (The darkness at the end of the night) [i]
It is a clarification of the preferable times for the performance of the prayers.
- Dhuhr when sun declining from the zenith.
- Asr when the sun is still white and bright and when the shadow is equal to its length.
- Maghrib when the setting of the sun the disc is not visible. It is from the Sunnah to hurry the Adhaan for Maghrib
Abu Najashi said:
“I heard Rafi’ bin Khadij say: ‘We used to perform the Maghrib at the time of the Messenger of Allah, and one of us would be able to see the places where his arrows would land when shot from his bow.'” [iii]
Abdullah bin Mughaffal (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Perform two Rak’ah before Maghrib prayer.” He (ﷺ) repeated it twice; when repeating it for the third time he added: “He who may so wish.”[iv]
Shaykh Uthaymeen (May Allah have mercy on him) said,
This fluctuates between 1 hour 30 minutes in our area (where sheikh resided) to 1 hour 15 minutes. Sometimes the difference between sunset and the disappearance of the twilight is 1 hour 15 minutes and sometimes it is 1 hour 30 minutes[v].
- ‘Isha would be according to the condition of the people. Quickly or delayed to either a third or a half of the night if it was not a hardship on the people.
This prayer begins when the red twilight disappears and continues up to half of the night[vi]. Reported ‘Aishah,
“They used to pray the night prayer between the disappearance of the twilight and the final third of the night’s beginning.” [vii]
Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said,
“If it were not to be a hardship upon my nation, I would order them to delay the night prayer until a third or a half of the night had passed.” [viii]
As reported by Abu Sa’eed, “Once, we waited for the Messenger of Allah to lead the night prayer until half the night had passed, at which time he came and prayed with us. He said, ‘Stay in your places of sitting while the people have gone to their places of lying down (for sleep), for you are in prayer as long as you are waiting for the prayer. If it were not for the weakness of the weak, the illness of the ill, and the need of those who have needs, I would have delayed the time of this prayer to a half of the night.“[ix]
- Fajr was at the beginning of its time when the light of dawn mixes with the light of the night. These are all the beginnings of the time for prayer with the exception of ‘Isha.
- From this Hadeeth, we see that it is preferable to perform Dhuhr at its earliest time but Abu Huraira’s (R.A) Hadeeth in Muslim and Bukhaaree clarifies this, The Prophet (PBUH) said:
“The severity of heat is from the raging of the hellfire and in very hot weather, pray (Dhuhr) when it becomes cooler”[x]
But in another Hadeeth when permission was sought to delay the Dhuhr prayer permission was not given. We see from this that we must strike a balance so that we do not fall into delaying the prayer too much.
Important Points Derived from the Hadeeth:
- Preferability of hastening to perform the prayers at the beginning of their times except for ‘Isha which is delayed unless it is a hardship.
Click here to know the Islamic rulings on praying early or delay within its proper time
- The best thing for ‘Isha is to delay up to third or half of the night unless a hardship on the majority.
- The imaam should consider the condition of the people praying by reducing the difficulty but still ensuring the prayer is complete and perfect. Making longer recitation in those prayers where long unless difficulty.
- The Hadeeth is evidence for the darkness in the early dawn in reference to the time for Fajr. Proof against those who delay until just before sunrise.
Delay Fajr or pray early- A detailed analysis, Click here to know
- This Hadeeth is evidence that praying in congregation is more important than performing ‘Isha in its time or any prayer in its early time. The imaam should look to the people being able to pray in congregation especially in reference to ‘Isha prayer.
Allah Knows Best
[i] Saheeh Bukhaaree, Volume 1, Book 10, Hadeeth Number 540.
[ii] Shaykh Abdullah ibn Abdur – Rahmaan Aal Bassaam. Fiqh of Salah. PDF Page 9
[iii] (Sahih)Another chain with similar wording. Reference: Sunan Ibn Majah 687
[iv] [Al- Bukhari]. Reference : Riyad as-Salihin 1122
[v] The Prophet’s Prayer Described, Shaykh Mohammad Salih Al-Uthaymeen, Translated by Abu Muadh Taqweem Aslam, Page 57
[vi] Quoted in Fiqh us sunnah, Sayed Sabiq, PDF, Page 51
[vii] Reference: Sahih al-Bukhari 864
[viii] Grade: Sahih (Darussalam) Reference : Jami` at-Tirmidhi 167 and at-Tirmizhi, who said it is sahih.
[ix] Grade: Sahih (Darussalam) Reference: Sunan Ibn Majah 693
[x] Saheeh Bukhaaree, Volume 1, Book 10, Hadeeth Number 512; Saheeh Muslim, Volume 1, Book 4,
Hadeeth Number 1284