Sunnah Method & Description of Salah Times

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[4:103]Surely, Salah is an obligation on the believers that is tied up with time.


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1 Faj'r Salah is when the true dawn breaks i.e. when whiteness marks the horizon until sunrise.

و حدثني ‏ ‏أحمد بن إبراهيم الدورقي ‏ ‏حدثنا ‏ ‏عبد الصمد ‏ ‏حدثنا ‏ ‏همام ‏ ‏حدثنا ‏ ‏قتادة ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏أبي أيوب ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏عبد الله بن عمرو ‏

‏أن رسول الله ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏قال ‏ ‏وقت الظهر إذا ‏ ‏زالت ‏ ‏الشمس وكان ظل الرجل كطوله ما لم يحضر العصر ووقت العصر ما لم تصفر الشمس ووقت صلاة المغرب ما لم يغب الشفق ووقت صلاة العشاء إلى نصف الليل الأوسط ووقت صلاة الصبح من طلوع الفجر ما لم تطلع الشمس فإذا طلعت الشمس فأمسك عن الصلاة فإنها تطلع بين قرني شيطان ‏

'Abdullah b. 'Amr reported (RA): The Messenger of Allah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said: The time of the noon prayer is when the sun passes the meridian and a man's shadow is the same (length) as his height, (and it lasts) as long as the time for the afternoon prayer has not come; the time for the afternoon prayer is as long as the sun has not become pale; the time of the evening prayer is as long as the twilight has not ended; the time of the night prayer is up to the middle of the average night and the time of the morning prayer is from the appearance of dawn, as long as the sun has not risen; but when the sun rises, refrain from prayer for it rises between the horns of the devil. [Muslim]

 

2 Faj'r Salah does not start with false dawn i.e. first the light appears length-wise (like a vertical pillar) in the horizon (false dawn) followed by darkness and then light appears bredth-wise which is the true dawn.

حدثنا ‏ ‏شيبان بن فروخ ‏ ‏حدثنا ‏ ‏عبد الوارث ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏عبد الله بن سوادة القشيري ‏ ‏حدثني ‏ ‏والدي ‏ ‏أنه سمع ‏ ‏سمرة بن جندب ‏ ‏يقولا ‏

‏سمعت ‏ ‏محمدا ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏يقول ‏ ‏لا يغرن أحدكم نداء ‏ ‏بلال ‏ ‏من السحور ولا هذا البياض حتى ‏ ‏يستطير

Samura b. Jundub (RA)reported Allah's Messenger (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) as saying: The Adhan of Bilal should not mislead you nor the whiteness (of the pillar) of dawn, for it is not the whiteness of the true dawn, but that of the false dawn which is vertical like a pillar and you can eat food till the streaks of whiteness spread like it. [Muslim]

 

3 It is Mustahab to pray Faj'r Salah in Asfaar i.e. when the light becomes clear.

حدثنا ‏ ‏هناد ‏ ‏حدثنا ‏ ‏عبدة هو ابن سليمان ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏محمد بن إسحق ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏عاصم بن عمر بن قتادة ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏محمود بن لبيد ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏رافع بن خديج ‏ ‏قال ‏

‏سمعت رسول الله ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏يقول ‏ ‏أسفروا ‏ ‏بالفجر فإنه أعظم للأجر ‏

Raf'e Ibn Khadeej (RA)reported that Allah's Messenger (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said: Make the Faj'r Salah at the shining of the dawn as your reward will be greater. [Tirmidhi]

حَدَّثَنَا وَكِيعٌ عَنْ سُفْيَانَ عَنْ حَمَّادٍ عَنْ إبْرَاهِيمَ قَالَ : مَا أَجْمَعَ أَصْحَابُ مُحَمَّدٍ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ عَلَى شَيْءٍ مَا أَجْمَعُوا عَلَى التَّنْوِيرِ بِالْفَجْرِ .

Ibrahim Nakhai (RA) said, the comapanions of the Prophet (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) have not agreed on anything as they agreed on praying Faj'r when it is clear and shining. [Ibn Abi Shaybah]

This has also been narrated from Ali Ibn Abi Talib (RA), Abdullah Ibn Masood (RA), Hussain Ibn Ali (RA), Abu Darda (RA), Umar Ibn Abdul-Aziz (RA), Zaid Ibn Aslam (RA), Muhammad Ibn Sireen (RA), Alqamah (RA), Suwayd Ibn Ghafalah (RA), Said Ibn Jubair (RA) and others. [Ibn Abi Shaybah]

 

4 Zohar Salah starts from when the sun has gone past the zenith until the time for Asar has started.

و حدثني ‏ ‏أحمد بن إبراهيم الدورقي ‏ ‏حدثنا ‏ ‏عبد الصمد ‏ ‏حدثنا ‏ ‏همام ‏ ‏حدثنا ‏ ‏قتادة ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏أبي أيوب ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏عبد الله بن عمرو ‏

‏أن رسول الله ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏قال ‏ ‏وقت الظهر إذا ‏ ‏زالت ‏ ‏الشمس وكان ظل الرجل كطوله ما لم يحضر العصر ووقت العصر ما لم تصفر الشمس ووقت صلاة المغرب ما لم يغب الشفق ووقت صلاة العشاء إلى نصف الليل الأوسط ووقت صلاة الصبح من طلوع الفجر ما لم تطلع الشمس فإذا طلعت الشمس فأمسك عن الصلاة فإنها تطلع بين قرني شيطان

'Abdullah b. 'Amr reported (RA): The Messenger of Allah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said: The time of the noon prayer is when the sun passes the meridian and a man's shadow is the same (length) as his height, (and it lasts) as long as the time for the afternoon prayer has not come; the time for the afternoon prayer is as long as the sun has not become pale; the time of the evening prayer is as long as the twilight has not ended; the time of the night prayer is up to the middle of the average night and the time of the morning prayer is from the appearance of dawn, as long as the sun has not risen; but when the sun rises, refrain from prayer for it rises between the horns of the devil. [Muslim]

 

5 During very hot weather, Zohar Salah should be slightly delayed (until it is relatively cooler) and not prayed immediately or as soon as the time has started.

حدثنا ‏ ‏علي بن عبد الله المديني ‏ ‏قال حدثنا ‏ ‏سفيان ‏ ‏قال حفظناه من ‏ ‏الزهري ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏سعيد بن المسيب ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏أبي هريرة ‏

‏عن النبي ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏قال ‏ ‏إذا اشتد الحر ‏ ‏فأبردوا ‏ ‏بالصلاة فإن شدة الحر من ‏ ‏فيح ‏ ‏جهنم واشتكت النار إلى ربها فقالت يا رب أكل بعضي بعضا فأذن لها بنفسين نفس في الشتاء ونفس في الصيف فهو أشد ما تجدون من الحر وأشد ما تجدون من ‏ ‏الزمهرير ‏

Narrated Abu Huraira (RA): The Prophet (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said, "In very hot weather delay the Zuhr prayer till it becomes (a bit) cooler because the severity of heat is from the raging of Hell-fire. The Hell-fire of Hell complained to its Lord saying: O Lord! My parts are eating (destroying) one another. So Allah allowed it to take two breaths, one in the winter and the other in the summer. The breath in the summer is at the time when you feel the severest heat and the breath in the winter is at the time when you feel the severest cold."[Bukhari]

 

6 Asar Salah starts when the time for Zohar Salah has expired i.e. when the shadow of an object is equal to twice its length (at midday) according to Imam Abu Haneefa (RA) and when the shadow is equal to its length (at midday) according to Imam Abu Yusuf (RA) and Imam Muhammad (RA).

و حدثني ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏مالك ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏يزيد بن زياد ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏عبد الله بن رافع ‏ ‏مولى ‏ ‏أم سلمة زوج النبي ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏

‏أنه سأل ‏ ‏أبا هريرة ‏ ‏عن وقت الصلاة ‏ ‏فقال ‏ ‏أبو هريرة ‏ ‏أنا أخبرك ‏ ‏صل الظهر إذا كان ظلك مثلك والعصر إذا كان ظلك مثليك والمغرب إذا غربت الشمس والعشاء ما بينك وبين ثلث الليل وصل الصبح بغبش ‏ ‏يعني ‏ ‏الغلس ‏

Abdullah ibn Rafi (RA), the mawla of Umm Salama, the wife of the Prophet (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) asked Abu Hurayra (RA) about the time of the prayer. Abu Hurayra (RA) said, "Let me tell you. Pray dhuhr when the length of your shadow matches your height, asr when your shadow is twice your height, maghrib when the sun has set, isha in the first third of the night, and subh in the very first light of dawn," i.e. when the dawn has definitely come. [Muwatta Imam Malik]

 

7 Asar Salah shouldn't be delayed to such an extent that the times gets very close to sunset.

و حدثنا ‏ ‏يحيى بن أيوب ‏ ‏ومحمد بن الصباح ‏ ‏وقتيبة ‏ ‏وابن حجر ‏ ‏قالوا حدثنا ‏ ‏إسمعيل بن جعفر ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏العلاء بن عبد الرحمن ‏

‏أنه دخل على ‏ ‏أنس بن مالك ‏ ‏في داره ‏ ‏بالبصرة ‏ ‏حين انصرف من الظهر وداره بجنب المسجد فلما دخلنا عليه قال أصليتم العصر فقلنا له إنما انصرفنا الساعة من الظهر قال فصلوا العصر فقمنا فصلينا فلما انصرفنا قال سمعت رسول الله ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏يقول ‏ ‏تلك صلاة المنافق يجلس ‏ ‏يرقب ‏ ‏الشمس حتى إذا كانت بين قرني الشيطان قام فنقرها أربعا لا يذكر الله فيها إلا قليلا ‏

'Ala' b. 'Abd al-Rahman reported that they came to the house of Anas b. Malik in Basra after saying the noon prayer. His (Anas) house was situated by the side of the mosque. As revisited him he (Anas) said: Have you said the afternoon prayer? We said to him: It is just a few minutes before that we finished the noon prayer. He said: Offer the afternoon prayer. So we stood up and said our prayer. And when we completed it, he said: I have heard the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) saying: This is how the hypocrite prays: he sits watching the sun, and when it is between the horns of devil, he rises and strikes the ground four times (in haste) mentioning Allah a little during it. [Muslim]

 

8 Maghrib Salah starts as soon as the sunsets until the disappearance of the twilight.

و حدثني ‏ ‏أحمد بن إبراهيم الدورقي ‏ ‏حدثنا ‏ ‏عبد الصمد ‏ ‏حدثنا ‏ ‏همام ‏ ‏حدثنا ‏ ‏قتادة ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏أبي أيوب ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏عبد الله بن عمرو ‏

‏أن رسول الله ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏قال ‏ ‏وقت الظهر إذا ‏ ‏زالت ‏ ‏الشمس وكان ظل الرجل كطوله ما لم يحضر العصر ووقت العصر ما لم تصفر الشمس ووقت صلاة المغرب ما لم يغب الشفق ووقت صلاة العشاء إلى نصف الليل الأوسط ووقت صلاة الصبح من طلوع الفجر ما لم تطلع الشمس فإذا طلعت الشمس فأمسك عن الصلاة فإنها تطلع بين قرني شيطان

'Abdullah b. 'Amr reported (RA): The Messenger of Allah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said: The time of the noon prayer is when the sun passes the meridian and a man's shadow is the same (length) as his height, (and it lasts) as long as the time for the afternoon prayer has not come; the time for the afternoon prayer is as long as the sun has not become pale; the time of the evening prayer is as long as the twilight has not ended; the time of the night prayer is up to the middle of the average night and the time of the morning prayer is from the appearance of dawn, as long as the sun has not risen; but when the sun rises, refrain from prayer for it rises between the horns of the devil. [Muslim]

Note: There is a difference of opinion on this matter with Imam Abu Yusuf (RA) and Imam Muhammad (RA) considering twilight to be the redness on the horizon while Imam Abu Haneefa (RA) considering it to be whiteness on the horizon which comes after the redness has disappeared.

 

9 Maghrib Salah should be prayed as soon as the time starts.

حدثنا ‏ ‏عمرو بن علي ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏صفوان بن عيسى ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏يزيد بن أبي عبيد ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏سلمة بن الأكوع ‏ ‏قال ‏

‏كان النبي ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏يصلي المغرب ساعة تغرب الشمس إذا غاب ‏ ‏حاجبها ‏

Salamah Ibn Akwah (RA) said, "The Messenger of Allah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) used to do the Maghrib Salah immediately after the sun had set when its upper side would disappear. [Abu Dawud]

 

10 Esha Salah starts after Maghrib Salah has ended i.e. when the twilight has ended and its time lasts until the appearance of true dawn (i.e. beginning of Faj'r Salah), similar to the time of any other Salah lasting until the next Salah (except for Fajar which ends at sunrise).

و حدثني ‏ ‏أحمد بن إبراهيم الدورقي ‏ ‏حدثنا ‏ ‏عبد الصمد ‏ ‏حدثنا ‏ ‏همام ‏ ‏حدثنا ‏ ‏قتادة ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏أبي أيوب ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏عبد الله بن عمرو ‏

‏أن رسول الله ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏قال ‏ ‏وقت الظهر إذا ‏ ‏زالت ‏ ‏الشمس وكان ظل الرجل كطوله ما لم يحضر العصر ووقت العصر ما لم تصفر الشمس ووقت صلاة المغرب ما لم يغب الشفق ووقت صلاة العشاء إلى نصف الليل الأوسط ووقت صلاة الصبح من طلوع الفجر ما لم تطلع الشمس فإذا طلعت الشمس فأمسك عن الصلاة فإنها تطلع بين قرني شيطان ‏

'Abdullah b. 'Amr reported (RA): The Messenger of Allah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said: The time of the noon prayer is when the sun passes the meridian and a man's shadow is the same (length) as his height, (and it lasts) as long as the time for the afternoon prayer has not come; the time for the afternoon prayer is as long as the sun has not become pale; the time of the evening prayer is as long as the twilight has not ended; the time of the night prayer is up to the middle of the average night and the time of the morning prayer is from the appearance of dawn, as long as the sun has not risen; but when the sun rises, refrain from prayer for it rises between the horns of the devil. [Muslim]

عن أبي قتادة رضي الله عنه: " أما إنه ليس في النوم تفريط، إنما التفريط على من لم يصل الصلاة حتى يجيء وقت الصلاة الأخرى. فمن فعل ذلك فليصلها حين ينتبه " .

Abu Qatadah reported that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said, "There is no negligence in sleeping, but the negligence lies in not praying a prayer until the time of the next prayer has come. And whosoever does so should pray as soon as he becomes aware of the negligence." [Muslim]

 

11 However, the preferred time for Esha Salah is up to one third of the night.

حدثنا ‏ ‏هناد ‏ ‏حدثنا ‏ ‏عبدة ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏عبيد الله بن عمر ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏سعيد المقبري ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏أبي هريرة ‏ ‏قال ‏

‏قال النبي ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏لولا أن أشق على أمتي لأمرتهم أن يؤخروا العشاء إلى ثلث الليل أو نصفه ‏

Abu Hurairah (RA) reported that the Messenger of Allah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said, "If it were not to be a hardship on the Ummah, I would have ordered them to delay the Esha Salah until a third or half of the night had passed. [Tirmidhi]

 

12 Sleeping before Isha and talking afterwards is disapproved and disliked.

حدثنا ‏ ‏حفص بن عمر ‏ ‏قال حدثنا ‏ ‏شعبة ‏ ‏حدثنا ‏ ‏أبو المنهال ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏أبي برزة ‏

‏كان النبي ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏يصلي الصبح وأحدنا يعرف جليسه ويقرأ فيها ما بين الستين إلى المائة ويصلي الظهر إذا ‏ ‏زالت ‏ ‏الشمس والعصر وأحدنا يذهب إلى أقصى ‏ ‏المدينة ‏ ‏رجع والشمس ‏ ‏حية ‏ ‏ونسيت ما قال في المغرب ولا يبالي بتأخير العشاء إلى ثلث الليل ‏ ‏ثم قال إلى ‏ ‏شطر ‏ ‏الليل ‏

Narrated Abu-l-Minhal (RA): My father and I went to Abi Barza Al-Aslami (RA) and my father said to him, "Tell us how Allah's Apostle (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) used to offer the compulsory congregational prayers." He said, "He (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) used to pray the Zuhr prayer, which you call the first prayer, as the sun declined at noon, the 'Asr at a time when one of us could go to his family at the farthest place in Medina while the sun was still hot. (The narrator forgot what Abu Barza had said about the Maghrib prayer), and the Prophet preferred to pray the 'Isha' late and disliked to sleep before it or talk after it. And he used to return after finishing the morning prayer at such a time when it was possible for one to recognize the person sitting by his side and he (the Prophet) used to recite 60 to 100 'Ayat' (verses) of the Qur'an in it." [Bukhari]

 

13 It is prohibited to perform Salah when the sun is rising, at miday and when the sun is setting.

وعن عقبة بن عامر، قال: ثلاث ساعات، نهانا رسول اللّه صلى الله عليه وسلم أن نصلي فيهنّ، وأن نقبرّ فيهنَّ موتانا حين تطلع الشمس بازغة ، حتى ترتفع، وحين يقوم قائم الظهيرة، وحين تضيّف للغروب، حتى تغرب

Uqba b. 'Amir said (RA): There were three times at which Allah's Messenger (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) forbade us to pray, or bury our dead: When the sun begins to rise till it is fully up, when the sun is at its height at midday till it passes over the meridian, and when the sun draws near to setting till it sets. [Muslim]

 

14 It is prohibited to perform Nafl Salah after Faj'r Salah until the sun has risen and after the Asar Salah until the sun has set.

وعن عَمرو بن عبسَة،. . . قال: قلتُ: يا نبي اللّه، أخبرني عن الصلاة ؟ قال: " صلِّ صلاة الصبح، ثم أقصر عن الصلاة (2)، حتى تطلع الشمس وترتفع؛ فإنها تطلع بين قرني شيطان، وحينئذ يسجد لها الكفّار، ثم صلّ؛ فإن الصلاة مشهودة محضورة، حتى يستقل الظلّ بالرمح، ثم أقصر عن الصلاة؛ فإن (3) حينئذ تسجر جهنم (4)، فإذا أقبل الفيء، فصل؛ فإن الصلاة مشهودة محضورة، حتى تصلي العصر، ثم أقصر عن الصلاة، حتى تغرب؛ فإنها تغرب بين قرني شيطان، وحينئذ يسجد لها الكفّار " . . .

'Amr b. 'Abasa Sulami reported (RA) : ...I again said: Prophet of Allah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam), tell me that which Allah has taught you and which I do not know, tell me about the prayer? He (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said: Observe the dawn prayer, then stop praying when the sun is rising till it Is fully up, for when it rises it comes up between the horns of Satan, and the unbelievers prostrate themselves to it at that time. Then pray, for the prayer is witnessed and attended (by angels) till the shadow becomes about the length of a lance; then cease prayer, for at that time Hell is heated up. Then when the shadow moves forward, pray, for the prayer is witnessed and attended by angels, till you pray the afternoon prayer, then cease prayer till the sun sets, for it sets between the horns of devil, and at that time the unbelievers prostrate themselves before it...[Muslim]