For each of the five
obligatory Prayers, there is an appointed time fixed in relation to the
The time of the Fajr
or morning Prayer begins with dawn and ends just before sunrise.
The time of the Zhuhr
or midday Prayer, begins after the sun has crossed the zenith point and
has begun to decline.
The time of the 'Asr
Prayer is when the sun has further advanced in decline and reaches a point
nearly half way between the beginning of decline and sunset, which we
may call late afternoon but not very late. It ends up quite some time
before sunset, when the sunlight has paled. Although it is not entirely
forbidden to say the 'Asr Prayer that late in the day, it is most
certainly preferred that it be offered before daylight has started fading
out while the sun is still above the horizon by a good measure.
It is to be remembered
that at the times of sunrise, sunset and when the sun is at its zenith,
it is forbidden to offer Prayers. Also, when the 'Asr Prayer has
been performed, no optional Prayer should be offered between that time
and the time of sunset. Similarly, between morning prayer and sunrise
no optional prayer should be offered.
The time of Maghrib
Prayer begins immediately after the sun has set. It lasts till dusk. But
the word dusk is differently understood by the different schools of Jurists.
The Wahhabis and similar sects with a rigid attitude insist that
Maghrib Prayer should be offered almost immediately after sunset
and that the time of dusk, according to them, ends when the redness of
the sunset gives way to a dusky grey. Many other sects believe that dusk
lasts still when there is some light left on the horizon after sunset.
According to such schools, the allotted time for offering Maghrib
Prayer, is almost as long as that allotted for performing morning Prayer
which lasts from early dawn to sunrise.
All schools of jurisprudence
agree that the time for the Ishaa Prayer begins when dusk has finally
disappeared, giving way to the darkness of night. According to most, this
period lasts till midnight but some even extend it beyond midnight till
one retires for sleep. It is, however, very strongly advised and preferred
that Prayers should be generally offered at the beginning of their respective
times and should not be delayed until the time is about to run out.
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