I understand that girls should pray all the salaah at the beginning time, as soon as the salaah time sets in. Does it hold true for Isha salaah as well or should we pray it at the latest time before midnight? Or should we pray Isha at the beginning time as well? What is Sunnah?
With respect to the Isha Salaah, the practice of the Prophet (SAS) was that he used to delay it to the first third and also to half of the night, so that it would be the last act that he, as well as the companions engaged in, before sleeping. (Sahih Al Bukhari) However, seeing that Muslims are not accustomed to waking late, the sisters should perform it anytime before they go to bed once the time has entered. For the sake of having a larger Jamaat at the Masjid, the men should perform it at a time which is convenient to them (which is approximately 1/2 an hour after it has entered).
So, it is also within the Sunnah (teachings of the Prophet (SAS)) to perform it at the beginning time.
As for that which is the Mustahab (commendable) or the best time for Isha Salaah, it is to delay it to the first third of the night or to midnight. This is based upon the tradition of Abu Huraira (RA) in which he said that the Prophet (SAS) said, ‘Had I not feared for difficulties upon my ummah I would have ordered them to delay Isha Salaah until one third of the night or half of it (i.e. midnight). (Ahmad, Ibn Majah, Tirmizi who says it is Saheeh).
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan