Question: Assalamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatooh
Recently there has been a new trend I have come across where some Masjids OR Jamat Khanas set their Asar time approximately 30 or 40 min before the Maghrib Adhan, hence by the time Salah finishes, there’s very short time left until sunset. Depending on the time set there can be 20 or 25min remaining to sunset.
If someone’s Wudhu was to break at that time or they had an urgent need to relieve themselves, there is a good chance they will miss the Asar Salah completely. Furthermore, this can become a licence to regularly perform Asar Salah late.
I presume the rationale behind late Asar Jamat is to encourage musallis to stay in the Masjid or Jamat Khana between Asar & Maghrib, which they would not normally do, particularly in Ramadhan.
In addition, late Asar Jamat in certain seasons, is there to accommodate people who finish late from work, especially in Ramadhan so that people can be fresh for the Esha & Taraweeh prayers.
In some cases, without the late Asar prayer in Ramadhan, there is the chance that people, being too tired from work, will miss Esha & Taraweeh prayers with Jamat & therefore rather than them miss the Fardh with Jamat, the Asar prayer is kept late.
Normally there will be other Masjids in the locality, which have an earlier time for Asar Jamat for those who do not wish to leave it so late.
Now, it is obvious that the Salah is counted as done, but is there any precedent in the life of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam, Sahabah (RA), Hanafi Imams or our Akabireen for such a practice, i.e. performing Asar Salah so late?
If not, is there any justification whatsoever in light of Shariah for such a practice of delaying the Asar Salah, be it a Masjid or a Jamat Khana, or is it the case that people should adapt themselves to pray Asar early & not expect the Deen to be adapted to them?
What is the mas’alah in this regard please?
Answer: Wa Alaikum As Salaam,
According to the Mazhab of Imam Abu Hanifa, it is Mustahab (desirable) to delay the Asr Salah to such a time when the sun does not change its color, (brightness). This means that a good time to perform the Salaah of Asr is not in its beginning time (as soon as it enters). Rather, one should delay it to such a time before the brightness/glow can go away from the sun. Delaying it after this time when the glow/radiance of the sun has gone is Makrooh (reprehensible).
The reason that it is Mustahab to delay the Asr Salaah until this time, is to allow more time for one to engage in Nafl Salaah before the Asr is performed, since after the Asr Salaah, nafl Salaah cannot be performed. Imam Tahawi has also explained regarding the delayal of Asr Salaah and said, ‘And we have not found in these narrations (regarding the performance of Asr Salaah) from that which is Saheeh (sound) except that which indicates to the delayal of Asr Salaah. We have not found from the narrations that which indicates to the early performance (of Asr Salaah) except that other narrations contradict/oppose it. Hence, we have considered it Mustahab to delay the Asr salaah since this is evident from the Prophet (s.a.w) and his Sahabahs. (Al Lubaab – Sharh Mukhtasar Al Quduri vol.1 pg. 72 Qadeemi Kutub Khana Karachi Pakistan; Raddul Mukhtar Ala Ad Durr Al Mukhtaar vol. 1 pg. 367. H.M Saeed Company Karachi Pakistan).
Taking the above into consideration, the Asr Salaah should be fixed at a time when the brightness/glow of the sun has not started to change. The time should not be fixed for the purpose of encouraging people to stay for the Maghrib Salaah, nor should it be fixed in order to accommodate people who finish late from work. Whatever is known to be the Mustahab time, this should be fixed for the performance of Salaah in Jamaat at the Masjid or Jamaat Khana.
If the Mustahab times are fixed for Salaah (like the case of Asr), then even after the performance of this Salaah, there will be sufficient ‘permissible time’ left for one to make over Wudhu and repeat the Salaah (if it had been invalid for some reason) before the time for the other Salaah enters.
So, one should fix the time for Asr within the Mustahab time, and should not delay it after this time since this is Makrooh.
And Allah Knows Best.
Mufti Waseem Khan.