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The Times of Salaah

QnA Snapshots: The Times of Salaah

Salaah clock

Cii Radio Mufti AK Hoosen

What time does Fajr Salaah set in and end?

Regarding the times of salaah Allah SWT makes reference and alludes to it in various places in the Noble Quraan. “Verily Salaah for the believers is on appointed times.” Therefore we have to read salaah on that appointed time. We cannot pray salaah according to times that suit us. “Guard your salaah, especially the middle salaah.” As we guard our property, assets and wealth, more so Almighty Allah SWT wants us to guard our salaah. “The true believers are those who guard their salaah whether on a journey or at home.”

There is Ijma and consensus regarding the setting in and end time for Fajr salaah. Looking at the horizon, when the white glow disappears and the red glow appears on the horizon, this is when Fajr begins. That white glow – subh kaathib – this is still the time of Tahajjud and Suhoor. We cannot read Fajr at this time. Once the red light appears, known as Subh Saadiq, the true dawn Fajr sets in. Allah SWT says in the Quraan, “We will show them our signs on the horizon”. The end time of Fajr is just at sunrise. Therefore a person must have completed his Fajr salaah before this. If sunrise is at 6am, by 5h45am one should have completed his Fajr. If read at sunrise the salaah will be null and void. A rough estimate of the duration of Fajr is 70 to 90 minutes depending on the season.

What is the time of Zuhr?

When the sun reaches its zenith, what we term as zawwal – it is incorrect to refer to it as zawwal – the time is actually called istiwaa, the middle point, zuhr can be read after this. It differs from place to place and the different seasons. Zuhr time begins after Istiwaa. Zawwal shams means that the sun has moved away from the istiwaa, its zenith. About four or five minutes after the sun reaches its zenith one can begin zuhr. What time does Zuhr salaah end –, When the length of a stick that is inserted into the ground’s shadow is one, zuhr ends. The Shafis, Malikis and Hanbalis, majority of the scholars agree on this including Imam Abu Hanifah’s RA two best students are in agreement with this. According to the Hanafi madhab when that shadow is doubled, zuhr ends. It is best to read the salaah in the first shadow and not to take it to the second shadow because majority of the scholars say that that is already Asr time. The Shafis, Malikis and Hanbilis say we should try to read Zuhr as soon as the time sets in. According to the Hanafis, especially during summer when the sun sets late, delaying the time to pray zuhr is regarded as being better.

What is the time that Asr begins and ends?

According to the Shafis, Malikis and Hanbilis, Zuhr ends after the object is one length of the shadow, Asr sets in. According to Imam Abu Hanifah (RA) only Asr will begin after the shadow length of the object has doubled. Asr ends when the sun is setting. But, it is makrooh, undesirable and unadvisable to read Asr during The last fifteen minutes before the sun sets, when the sun turns yellow. If a person is travelling or ill or overslept, one may read it in the last fifteen minutes but it must not become a habit. It is unacceptable to delay the time to read Asr or make the time for Asr at the masjid late on a daily basis.

What is the time that Maghrib begins and ends?

Maghrib sets in after the sun has set. The entire disk of the sun must have disappeared, it must have set. This is of paramount importance. We must not delay the Maghrib Salaah. “The Ummah will remain in goodness as long as they make haste with their Maghrib salaah.” Therefore we must strive to read it as soon as possible. All the Ulama agree that there be haste in this. It is important to take cognizance of the time in Ramadaan. At the time of sun set when it is the azaan, it is permissible to spend three or four minutes after to make iftaar. Some Masaajid wait 10 or 15 minutes to pray the salaah after the azaan. This is makrooh as there cannot be a big gap between the azaan and the Maghrib Salaah. Maghrib ends when the redness on the horizon disappears. This is 60 to 75 minutes after the sun sets depending on the region. The Shafis, Malikis and Hanbalis, majority of the scholars agree on this including Imam Abu Hanifah’s RA two best students are in agreement with this. Imam Abu Hanifa RA says after the redness there is whiteness on the horizon. When that whiteness disappears Maghrib expires. But the Fatwa is that once the redness disappears, Maghrib time expires.

What is the time that Esha begins and ends?

This is also a natural result of the ending time of Maghrib. There is a slight difference of opinion. The Shafis, Malikis and Hanbalis, majority of the scholars agree on this including Imam Abu Hanifah’s RA two best students, say that after the redness disappears, once the whiteness appears, Esha sets in. Imam Abu Hanifa RA says the whiteness after the redness on the horizon disappears then the time of Esha will set in. All Ulama are unanimous in that we should try to read Esha Salaah later. Because Nabi Muhammad SAW said, “The more we delay the Esha the better it is.” Before midnight Esha salaah should be performed. The fard salaah of Esha must be read mefore midnight. It is makrooh, undesirable and unadvisable to read Esha after but it can be read instead of making it Qadha. The end time of Esha will be when Fajr begins – approximately one and half hours before the sun rises. If one is a traveller or sickly, they may read after midnight but without valid reason we should ensure the Fard of Esha is read before midnight. Witr salaah only begins after you have read Esha. It cannot be read before the fard. The more we delay the Witr salaah, the better it is that is when one wakes up in the early part of the morning. But this is for those who are confident they will rise to pray the Witr. Those who are unsure that they will wake up should read their Tahajjud and Witr before they go to sleep.

Sehri or Suhoor, witr salaah and Esha all end at the same time.

Tahajjud salaah – The minimum is two rakaahs and the maximum 12 rakaahs. It can be read in two rakaahs and four rakaahs. Tahajjud begins after Esha and ends when Sehri ends. The best time to read Tahajjud is after Esha but before Witr. It is also acceptable for one to read their witr salaah and wake up in the early parts of the morning to pray Tahajjud. The best is to read eight rakaahs in sets of two. This was the practice of Rasulullah SAW.

Ishraq sets in – it is only the Hanafi Ulama who draw the distinction between Salaatut Doha (Chaast Salaah) and Ishraq. The majority of the scholars consider them as one and the same. Hanafis say Ishraq sets in 15 minutes after sunrise and lasts about two hours. Chaast salaah lasts two hours from the end of Ishraq until the time of zawwal. This is calculated by taking the time from sunrise until the time the sun reaches its zenith and dividing it in half. The first half is Ishraq. The second half is the time for Chaast salaah. From two to eight rakaahs can be read. Eight rakaahs was the practice of Nabi Muhammad SAW.

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