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The Correct Time to Start Your Fast (Inc Timetable)

Download a Ramadan Timetable, including the correct Fajr start time, here.
Watch a video of Shaikh Haitham al-Haddad explaining this controversy here.
The occurrence of Ramadan along with the beginning times of Isha, Maghrib and Fajr prayers during summer leads to confusion for some Muslims living in Europe, North America and Canada, and of course, given that the accuracy of prayer times is ever more so sensitive during Ramadan, it is important for the Muslim community to confirm the correct time for commencing fasts. This article will discuss the starting times of the fast, known to some people as sehri, suhur, or imsak. It will also recommend a time for the Isha prayer as well as the taraweeh (night prayer) during the holy month. 

When is the Fajr prayer?
The beginning time for the Fajr prayer is the start of the time for fasting according to all Muslim scholars. The basis of this consensus is the verse,
“And eat and drink until the white thread (light) of dawn appears to you distinct from the black thread (darkness of night), then complete your Saum (fast) till the nightfall.” [1]
The Prophet (peace be upon him) instructed the Companions, “The athan (call to prayer) of Bilal should not prevent you from eating Sahoor (predawn meal) because he gives athan at night, therefore keep eating and drinking until you hear the athan of Abdullah ibn Umm Makktum. He (Abdullah ibn Umm Makktum) gives athan when the fajr comes out.”[2] The Fajr referred to in the hadith is the true Fajr: al-Subh al-Sadiq. Samrah ibn Jundub related that the Prophet stated, “The vertical light (al-Fajr al-Mustateel which is the false Fajr) should not prevent you from eating (Sahoor). You can eat and drink until the light appears to spread (al-Fajr al-Mustateer – the true Fajr).[3]

How do we decide on how to ascertain the correct time for Fajr?
Although most scholars agree on both the shar’ῑ signs given in the divine text concerning the start of Fajr, they disagree on how to interpret the shar’ῑ signs as actual astronomical phenomena. And even when an interpretation is decided on, scholars differ on how to deal with fasting and the five daily prayers due to the abnormality in the timing of prayer during summer in Europe and North America.

Shar’ῑ signs and Mushahadah
After confirming the shar’ῑ sign for the start of fasting and the Fajr prayer, how do we decide on al-subh al-sadiq in actuality? Is it when we, either as individuals or as single communities, actually see it (mushahadah) or merely when we confirm that the actual astronomical phenomenon takes place even though it has not been seen? If it is when the astronomical phenomenon actually takes place, how do we decide that it definitely has done so?
Much has been written on the topic and thus a repetitive discussion need not take place here. However, I will provide key points that should allow us to decide on the matter. The only way to decide the start of al-subh al-sadiq is the mushahadah of the phenomenon, that is, a global and widespread witnessing of this phenomenon in which we can confirm the presence of the light on the horizon, i.e. al-Subh al-Sadiq. This mushahadah produced a formula that was used as a criterion to establish that the prayer time had started even if a specific mushahadah for that place or time did not take place due to numerous factors such as weather conditions, weakness of eyesight, or ignorance of the actual interpretation of the shar’ῑ sign itself.  For example, if a person intends to break his fast but is unable to see the sun set due to some reason, then he may still break his fast when the supposition that the sun has set in accordance with its regular occurrence. Similarly, a person cannot continue eating his predawn meal claiming that he could not see al-subh al-sadiq himself. One may know the time of al-subh al-sadiq either by comparing it to the previous day, the testimony of a second person, or by calculation. In fact, he can record the prayer timetable for a complete year and then use it in the following years – he does not need to witness the shar’ῑ signs every time a prayer time comes in. Allah said about prayer times, 
“Perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat) from mid- day till the darkness of the night (i.e. Zhuhr, ‘Asr, Maghrib, and Isha prayers), and recite the Qur’an in the early dawn (i.e. the Morning Prayer). Verily, the recitation of the Qur’an in the early dawn is witnessed.”[4]
The verse establishes that prayer times are linked to actual astronomical phenomena rather than seeing it with the naked eye – this in contrast to the ḥadῑth concerning the start of Ramadan which is linked to the notion of physically sighting the moon and not depending on astronomical actualities. The Prophet peace be upon him said, “Fast when you see the moon and cease your fast when you see the moon.”[5] It is the consensus of classical Muslim scholars that astronomical calculations cannot be used as a replacement for actually sighting the moon (for Ramadan) with the naked eye. This is the difference between sighting the moon, which is needed to confirm the start of the month of Ramadan or Hajj, and the sighting of the twilight which is used to decide prayer times.

18 degrees below the horizon for Fajr, and either 17 or 18 degrees for Isha
It is with this in mind that we may conclude that an individual’s mushāhadah for prayer times must not negate the accepted criterion that was originated by global and widespread mushāhadah (of when twilight occurs and disappears) established in different countries and throughout the centuries. That criterion is the basis for the decision of both Muslim jurists and astronomers that Fajr should be calculated when the sun is at 18 degrees below the horizon for Fajr, and either 17 or 18 degrees for Isha. It should be noted that the slight choice offered for Isha times is insignificant and thus there is no need to discuss it here. 

Many scholars at different times throughout the course of history, and in many different regions of the world, have sighted (with the naked eye) the shar’ῑ signs given in the divine text and calculated that it corresponds with 18 degrees below the horizon criterion, a fact that they have then recorded. Given that so many scholars from different places of the world and at different periods during the last thousand years have come to produce the same calculation lends overwhelmingly more weight to the 18 degree formula than a few people gathering in one part of the world during the same period to come up with a divergent opinion. This is not a matter of differences amongst schools of thought as the overwhelming majority of scholars amongst various sects and schools of thought agree with the 18 degree formula. I have recently discussed the issue with Mufti Taqi Uthmani (in the company of other scholars) who stated that he himself along with 99% of the scholars of the Indian sub-continent viewed the 18 degree formula to be the correct calculation for prayer times.

What is the correct mushāhadah for Fajr?
Muslim astronomers as early as Mohammed ibn Jabir ibn Sinan, famously known as Albategnius (d. 929 CE), confirmed that Fajr and Isha shar’ῑ signs are visible when the sun is 18 degrees below the horizon. Other scholars stated that there is a consensus in regards to this conclusion. Among the very last conferences at which this issue was discussed thoroughly was the one organized by the Fiqh Council of the Muslim World League in 1986 where scholars and astronomers from various backgrounds and schools of thought confirmed that Fajr appears when the sun is at 18 degrees below the horizon in the east. They also confirmed that Isha time appears when the sun is at 17 degrees below the horizon from the west. This decision was reiterated by the same fiqh council in 2007 in response to a query sent to the council by the central Mosque in Belgium. 

The following table shows the various institutes that are referred to for the Fajr and Isha times currently in use in many countries:

Convention Fajr  Angle Isha Angle
University of Islamic Sciences, Karachi 18      18
Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) 15* 15*
Muslim World League (MWL) 18 17
Umm al-Qura, Makkah 19* According to their table it is 90 mins after Maghrib
Egyptian General Authority of Survey 19.5* *
* I could not verify it myself through their literature; however this is what is widely attributed to them.
Download a Ramadan Timetable with the correct Fasting start time, here.

As you may see from the timetable, most of these institutes consider 18 degrees as the minimum degree for calculating Fajr time with the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) providing somewhat of an anomalous calculation.

Hizbul Ulama (UK) and their mistaken understanding of mushahadah
The Hizbul Ulama timetable is one that has been adopted by a number of mosques around the UK including the recent ‘Unified prayer timetable for London’ adopted by East London Mosque and Regents Park Mosque. The fact that these organisations have sought to unite the Muslim community is an extremely praiseworthy matter, indeed unity is one of the most important factors that leads to the strengthening of the Muslim community and I commend them for their sincerity. However, I sincerely believe that the Hizbul Ulama have overlooked many important fundamentals such as being unable to identify the main criterion for deciding prayer times – they mistakenly assume that it is through individual mushahadah. As a result of this, they have never compared their mushahadah with the mushahadah of others both within the UK and outside of it. They have opposed the overwhelming number of jurists and contradictorily claim that last year’s mushahadah may be used for this year whilst maintaining that an individual may only pray when he himself has seen the shar’ῑ sign!

According to the Hizbul Ulama timetable, the length of the Maghrib twilight in winter is either equal or longer than that of summer when it is well known that summer has longer days. Similarly, their timetable posits that the length of the twilight in London is almost the same as that of Makkah although London is of high latitude (L 51° 30) whereas Makkah al-Mukarramah is of much lower latitude (L 21° 25). It is examples such as these (of which there are more) that simply demonstrate the unreliability of the Hizbul Ulama methodology in ascertaining the correct prayer times.

Advice for the laity and mosque committees
No one can claim that one should merely follow the textual evidences since the issue is related to interpretation. It is true that some individuals might not be convinced with a particular conclusion, yet it would be destructive to the deen of Allah to leave it to individual choice. The Muslim is obliged to abandon many of his own conclusions for those agreed upon by the consensus of the scholars which is invariably based upon the Qur’an and Sunnah. Indeed, an individual might adopt a particular conclusion himself, but he should not instruct others to abandon the mainstream Islamic opinion for his own personal conclusion. I appeal to committees of mosques not to conclude on any matter which is divergent from those adopted by the overwhelming majority of Muslims. The basis for this is the authority given by the sharῑʽah to the consensus of Muslim scholars. The Prophet stated that his Ummah would never agree on an error and thus the minority opinion cannot stand against the vast majority where the overwhelming majority is in fact equivalent to consensus. 

Why shouldn’t individuals follow their own mosques?
Individual acts of worship are matters that a person will be questioned about, and those acts of worship that are not linked to other Muslims are not included in acts of worship that a person can give up for the sake of unity or to merely blindly follow others. Although people should pray in congregation at their local mosques, the start of fasting is not connected to the timing of the local mosque. Therefore, the person should exert effort to identify the correct position that will free him from any burden on the Day of Judgment.

What about the issue of tabayyun?
The overwhelming majority of classical scholars adopted the 18 degree calculation for Fajr and 17 or 18 degrees for Isha, and for this reason there is no real disagreement that might be used as a justification for ijtihad or adopting the easiest option. Moreover, tabayyun should take place when we are not quite sure whether the light of Fajr is apparent. However, those who adopt the 18 degree formula are certain of the appearance of the Fajr light and thus tabayyun is achieved without adopting a lower degree.

What about Isha? What can we do during the summer period when the twilight persists?
According to the 18 degrees calculation, there is a period during summer (for countries above a certain latitude) where the Maghrib twilight does not actually disappear – a phenomenon known as the persisting twilight (where the shar’i indications for the occurrence of Isha do not become visible). The time for Isha is too late whilst the time for Fajr is too early immediately before and after this period. For example, this period starts in London on 26th May whereby the persisting twilights remain until approximately 12:35 and Fajr starts at around 1: 15 a.m. The period ends around the 19th July where Fajr is 1:18 a.m. During the period of absence of shar’ῑ signs scholars have suggested two main methods: 
1) Estimation, or 
2) Adopting the time of the last day when the shar’ῑ signs were visible. 

Estimation creates a big gap between the last day the sign is visible and the day after. Similarly, it creates a big gap between the day the signs are not visible and the day after. The only consistent method is adopting the time of the last day in which the sign was visible all the way up until it becomes visible again. This is a systematic method in which no large gaps are witnessed between different days. 

There is also a level of flexibility to the start of Isha times when it tends to begin very late. Scholars have different approaches on what should be done when Isha becomes very late since hardship will be incurred in offering the prayer at such a late hour. The two main approaches are: a) combining the Maghrib and Isha prayer, and b) estimating Isha time. The Fiqh Council of the Muslim World league issued a decree during their 19th assembly in Makkah al-Mukarramah held on 8/11/2007 concerning prayer times for countries situated between the latitudes of 48 and 66 degrees North and South, 

‘To clarify this decree further in order to answer the specific problematic scenario put forward to the Council, the Council views the previous decree instructing the use of referring (to other regions) for reference, for countries with latitudes between 48 and 66 degrees North and South, to be specifically for the case where astronomical signs for the times are non-existent. As for the case where the signs of prayer times do occur but the disappearance of twilight, indicating the start of Isha, is very late, the Council views it as being obligatory to pray Isha in its legally specified time. However, whoever experiences difficulty in waiting to pray it in its time, like students, office-workers and labourers during the days of their work, they can combine prayers in accordance with the textual evidences relating to the removal of burdens from the Ummah. One example of this is the narration of Ibn ‘Abbas, and others, may Allah be pleased with them, “The Messenger of Allah combined Zhuhr and ‘Asr, and Maghrib and Isha in Madinah without (cause of) fear or rain”. Ibn ‘Abbas was questioned about this to which he replied, ‘He wanted to not burden his Ummah’. The condition for this though is that the practice of combining should not be the norm for all people in that country for this whole duration because this will in effect change the concession of combining into a permanent and intended obligatory action from the onset. The Council also views the adoption of approximating and distributing the times in such a situation all the more (appropriate).’

Praying Isha at its time according to 18 degrees is the best scenario that should be adopted as long as the time falls before the middle of the night (midway between Maghrib and Fajr). However, since the sharῑʽah stipulates that certain forms of hardships allow for some concessions, praying Isha before the time obtained is a form of combining prayers that some scholars have allowed in cases of hardship and necessity. It is known in the sharῑʽah that the rigorousness applied to Fajr, Zhuhr and Maghrib is not like that of Isha and Asr as their times merge with Maghrib and Zhuhr respectively in cases of necessity. We should pray Isha before the middle of the night and long before Fajr in order to avoid combining it with Fajr. If the best scenario cannot be followed, I suggest that Isha be prayed at the latest time people can pray it without hardship, such as 11:00 p.m. This time should be maintained until the time returns to earlier on in the day. In regards to Ramadan, taraweeh or qiyam al-layl (including the witr), it should be prayed after the Isha prayer and finish at a time that allows for people to have the predawn meal. 

Having written this and respectfully disagreeing with others, I urge all to maintain the Islamic etiquette of differing. We should not allow such differences to disunite us or place enmity in our hearts. May Allah keep us united, keep our hearts pure, and forgive our shortcomings.

For an example of a prayer timetable for the main cities in the United Kingdom, please click here, or alternatively, you can use accurate times software provided that you use the correct formula for prayer: 18 degree for Fajr and 17 Degree for Isha. 
(Download a Ramadan Timetable with the correct Fasting start time, here)

Notes: (Download a Ramadan Timetable, including the correct Fajr start time, here)
Source: www.islam21c.com
This article was originally published on 29th July 2011
Islam21c requests all the readers of this article, and others, to share it on your
facebook, twitter, and other platforms to further spread our efforts. 
[1] Qur’an 2:187
[2] Al-Bukhari and Muslim
[3] Sunan al-Tirmidhi

[4] Qur’an 17:78
[5] Narrated by Abu Hurairah and Abdullah ibn Umar; al-Bukhari and Muslim.

About Shaikh (Dr) Haitham Al-Haddad

Dr. Haitham al-Haddad is a jurist and serves as a judge for the Islamic Sharia Council (UK & Eire). He has studied the Islamic sciences for over 20 years under the tutelage of renowned scholars such as the late Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia as well as the retired Head of the Kingdom's Higher Judiciary Council. He specialises in many of the Islamic sciences and submitted his doctoral thesis on Islamic jurisprudence concerning Muslim minorities. Shaikh Haitham is highly respected having specialised knowledge in the field of fiqh, usul al-fiqh, maqasid al-shari'ah, ulum al-Qur’an, tafsir, aqidah, and fiqh al-hadith. He provides complex theories which address the role of Islamic jurisprudence within a western environment whilst also critically re-analysing the approach of Islamic jurists in forming legal rulings (ifta’) within a western socio-political context. He has many well known students most of whom are active in dawah and teaching in the West. The shaikh is an Islamic jurist (faqih) and as such is qualified to deliver verdicts as a judge under Islamic law, a role he undertakes at the Islamic Sharia Council as Islamic judge and treasurer. Dr Haitham al-Haddad also sits on various the boards of advisors for Islamic organisations, mainly in the United Kingdom but also around the world.

59 comments

  1. The sheikh is sadly in error with this particular subject and it’s a shame that he is still unable to see it. Not only is he incorrect in his opinion, but by continuing to propagate it he is causing a great fitna in the community. I have much respect for sheikh Haitham, but in this he has made a substantial error of judgement.
    The explanation and solution to this controversy is very simple, and can be explained easily by factual science and by the Quran itself.
    There are three recognised ‘dawns’. Each is a separate stage of dawn. The first is the Astronomical Dawn, which Sheikh Haitham is proposing we should be using as our time guide for fasting. The second stage is the Nautical Dawn, which can be seen on the horizon as a clear line of light against dark, as we find described in the Quran in 2:187. The third stage is the Civil Dawn, which is when the whole sky becomes lighter, what is popularly known as ‘twilight’.
    Now that we have established there exists these three stages of dawn, how do we know which stage to take as our guide to begin fasting? The very simple and obvious answer is to go back to the One who prescribed fasting upon us, and see what His instructions are: (the meaning of which is) “Eat and drink until you can clearly discern the white thread from the black thread of the dawn, then fulfil the fast until the night appears.” 2:187
    This indicates that we should be able to see clearly with our naked eye a sign in the sky of a distinct white ‘thread’ against the black. Unfortunately I’m unable to post a picture but if you search for a picture of the Nautical Dawn, you will see it is clearly what Allah is describing to us, and this sign of a clearly visible white thread against black is absolutely not present at the time of the Astronomical Dawn.
    It is Allah’s COMMAND that we follow this clear sign as our guide to beginning our fast. And this Nautical Dawn is the time guide that masjids around the world currently follow and have followed since the ayah was revealed.
    It is perfectly possible to calculate the time for the Nautical Dawn for the benefit of countries that do not have clear horizons to view it, and for the benefit of convenience.

    Problem solved. Confusion cleared.

    Allah has made the Quran easy to understand and His ayat are clear.

    • MashAllah I completely agree with sister Maryam…

      Haitham Haddad is causing fitna by dividing the Muslims rather than uniting them under what Allah has already instructed in Surah al-Baqarah, ayah 187.

      Sure, there is always some lightness the more north you go, but when the sun begins to rise and the white line appears, it’s very clear in UK at least.

      In London, I clearly observed nautical dawn (when the whiteness appeared near the horizon as a line against the darkness) at 3:10am, while Haitham’s calculation says 1:08am!!

      Other problems with the falseness of his timetable: –

      * the interval between fajr and shurooq is so long, how can people possible expect to stay in masjid for hours until sunrise for the huge reward during this period??
      i.e. the huge reward of sitting remembering Allah between fajr and sunrise – and then getting up after sunrise to pray 2/4 rakah, etc.

      * when are people (men especially) possibly expected to eat when they’re in the masjid for isha and taraweeh from 11pm to 12:30am (minimum) or 1:150am (when our masjid finishes taraweeh)?!

      SubhanAllah, I feel sorry for the fitna this has caused between husbands and wives and divided families and massaajid even further!!

    • Interesting argument. However, the 18 degrees is applied everywhere else in the world including Makkah, majority of scholars agree to its accuracy, on what basis do we change that? Just because it seems inconvenient during few months? Are you aware of any reputable scholar who rejects the 18 degrees and suggests something else?

  2. Salaam, I respect the Sheikh and his immense knowledge but I agree with another person that what he isn’t explaining is how we can read Isha, taraweeh and maybe Tahajjud and eat sehri in such a short time. The 18 degree thing is important and scientific but we need guidance on how this works practically, in the real world. There’s too much to do at night and nowhere near enough time to do it, so HOW please do we manage this? Please reply and explain, Jazakallah khair

  3. Unfortunately this article inflicted fitnah into my house. My wife now wants to follow this timetable and I try to follow Unified London Timetable. We argued this for a year and could not come to any conclusion. Even our parents got involved because of this. We already have saiddone irreversible things to each other and now the our marriage is in danger. (Because eventually our differences extended beyond prayer time table.). And I don’t even know what my children will follow when they grow up. If they all end up following different shaikhsimams I would not be surprised.

    Now Allah knows the best, but the way this article is written and presented to muslims can not be correct. Imamsshaikh have to come to conclusion and only after than they have to share it with community. Otherwise the harm that they are doing is far more than the good.

    • Muhammad Humayun Khan

      The following Hadith establish the fact that Fajr begins through sighting and not from calculations:
      Riyadh-Us-Saliheen
      1168. Ibn ‘Umar reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Night prayers are two by two, and when you are afraid that the dawn is near, then pray one rak’at as witr.” [Agreed upon]

      New Moons Determine Islamic Dates

      Allah (Subhnahu wa ta`ala) has set crescent sighting as the only means for establishing dates of various Islamic occasions such as `Ids and Hajj. He says:
      “They ask you [Muhammad] concerning the new moons. Say: They are but signs to mark fixed periods of time for men and for Hajj (pilgrimage)”. [Al-Baqarah (2) 189]

      In particular, the Messenger (salla ‘Llahu `alayhi wa sallam) emphasized that crescent sighting is required in determining the beginning and the end of the month of Ramadhan. A large number of abah (Radiya ‘Llahu `anhum) reported that the Prophet (salla ‘Llahu `alayhi wa sallam) said:

      Fast (Muslims) when you see the crescent. If it is obscure to you, then complete thirty days in the count of Sha`ban. And break your fast when you see the crescent. If it to obscure to you, then fast thirty days. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

      The Prophet (salla ‘Llahu `alayhi wa sallam) took great care to determine precisely the beginning of Sha`ban, because one can then count twenty nine days and watch for the crescent of Ramadhan or complete thirty days before starting to fast. `Aishah (Radiya ‘Llahu `anha) said:

      The Messenger (salla ‘Llahu `alayhi wa sallam) used to be more concerned about [determining the beginning of] Sha`ban than about other months. Then he used to fast at the sighting of [the crescent of] Ramadhan. If it were obscure, he would count thirty days [of Sha`ban] and then fast. [Authentic; narrated by Abu Dawud and Ahmad]

      Witnesses Needed to Establish the Sighting

      The `Ulama agree that two trustworthy Muslim witnesses are sufficient to establish moon sighting. This is based on reports by a number of the Sahabah (Radiya ‘Llahu `anhum) that the Messenger (salla ‘Llahu `alayhi wa sallam) said:
      “If two just Muslim witnesses testify [that they saw it] then fast or break your fast..” [Authentic; narrated by Ahmad, an-Nassa'i and ad-Daraqutni]

      “We are an unlettered nation (ummah). We do not write nor do we calculate.” This ḥadīth can be found in Ṣaḥīḥ Bukhārī (1814), Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim (1080), Sunan Abī Dāwūd (5319), Sunan al-Nasā’ī (2451), Musnad Aḥmad (5017,5137,6041, and 6129), and Muṣannaf Ibn Abī Shaybah (3:85).

      The ḥadīth is ṣaḥīḥ, and as is apparent from the above-mentioned citations, is mentioned in authentic sources of ḥadīth with sound, unbroken chains of transmission.

      The birds Singing are an indication of true Fajr and coincide with 7th part of night.
      Hadith about Roosters Seeing Angels:

      The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “If you hear the crowing of the rooster, then ask Allah of His Bounty, for it has seen an angel. And if you hear the braying of a donkey, then seek refuge with Allah from the Shaytaan, for it has seen a devil.” [Bukhari]

      This Hadith indicates that a Rooster can see the Angels descending at the time of Fajr which is explained in the next Hadith:

      Sahih Al-Bukhari HadithHadith 4.446 Narrated byAbu Huraira
      The Prophet said, “Angels keep on descending from and ascending to the Heaven in turn, some at night and some by daytime, and all of them assemble together at the time of the Fajr and ‘Asr prayers. Then those who have stayed with you overnight ascend unto Allah Who asks them, and He knows the answer better than they, “How have you left My slaves?” They reply, “We have left them praying as we found them praying.” If anyone of you says “Amin” (during the prayer at the end of the recitation of Surat-al-Fatiha), and the angels in Heaven say the same, and the two sayings coincide, all his past sins will be forgiven.”

      Some people of the Ummah will be raised Deaf, Dumb and Blind because of being heedless to Allah(SWT) signs:

      “People from my Ummah will arise from their graves in different states: Some will have the face of monkeys, while others of pigs. Some will be walking upside down on their heads. Some of them will be blind and will not be able to walk. Some will be deaf and dumb and will not understand anything. Some will be in a state that their tongues will be hanging out of their mouths; filthy water will be coming out of their mouths which they will be licking with their tongues. Some people will arise with amputated hands and feet. Some will be hanging from the branches of trees made of fire. Some will be more rotten than a corpse and emitting a repugnant odor. And some will be wearing long garments of tar which will have been stuck to their skins and flesh. Those having the face of pigs will be the ones who ate unlawful (Haraam) property such as from bribery. Those walking upside down on their heads and the blind ones will be the unjust and oppressive rulers. The deaf and dumb will be the ones who prided upon their knowledge (Ilm) and worship (Ibadah). The ones licking their tongues will be those scholars (Ulema) and judges (Qadis) who did not practice what they preached. The ones with amputated hands and feet will be the ones who troubled their neighbors in the world and oppressed them. The ones hanging from the tree branches will be the ones who would backbite along with the kings and rulers (to please them), and instigated them by creating mischief. The ones emitting a repugnant odor will be the ones who acted according to their lusts and passions, and did not give Allah’s rights. The ones wearing garments of tar will be the haughty and arrogant people.”

      Many Muslims today follow calendars with difference in Fajr time of about 2 Hours according to their calculation method even though it is completely dark and cannot be judged with the naked eye or hear birds singing. They are like those who are heedless of Allah’s signs. Islam is the natural religion and the universal religion in nature. A blind person who does not see the Sun rising can still hear the birds Sing. A deaf person can see the Dawn approaching and an unlearned person does not need to rely on calculations to hear the cockerel crowing, birds singing and the Dawn approaching. Muslims of today have disregarded the Hadiths and based their Timetables according to calculations rather than their faculty of Sight and Hearing. Today, I observed that one Calendar stated Fajr in London at 1:18 a.m using angle measurement whereas another timetable stated Fajr time in London at 3:43a.m using the 7th part of the night rule. The seventh part of night rule coincides with the birds singing at 3:53a.m and some light barely appearing in the horizon so it indicates true Fajr as stated in the Hadith about the White thread of dawn being distinguished from the black thread of the night. Praying Fajr at 1:18a.m would be unjustified because outside is pitch black and there is no sign of dawn with the naked eye. Also Allah(SWT) did not make us with telescopic vision. Similarly beginning and end of Ramadhan is based on sighting of crescent moon. It is based on local time and not universal time. Therefore we don’t base Ramadhan on moon sighting in another part of the world because there is a difference in the time zone. Fajr in Australia does not coincide with Fajr in London. The Azan goes around the world 24 Hours a day due to this phenomenon. Also the world is round and not flat, so it is impossible to see the crescent moon from all parts of the World at the same time.

      The Qur’an specifically mentions a ‘visible crescent’ (Ahilla) as “Mawaqeet” for determining the beginning lunar Islamic month (2:189). All agree that the Hadith :”Do not fast unless you see it…” (Bukhari, etc.) is how the Messenger (S) put this Qur’anic injunction into practice.

      All the Fuqha agree that the sighting of a crescent (Hilal), or the completion of 30 days of the previous lunar month (29/30 days Hadith) determines the beginning of an Islamic month. However, they disagree on details.

      If a crescent is sighted in one town but not at another place Muhadditheen, on the authority of the Kuraib’s Hadith (Sahih Muslim, Tirmidhi and 3 other Sihah) are unanimous that every town must follow it’s own sighting. Tirmidhi quotes consensus (Ijma’) on this position.

      Earlier Hanafi, Maliki and Hanbali Fuqaha say that all the Muslims who come to know about it must follow the earliest sighting for Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr. This position was for towns in close proximity from each other (usually, for distances when one was not considered a traveler i.e. up to 48 miles). For longer distances all were unanimous that each town abides by its sighting.

      Shafi’i and later Ahnaf say that each town must follow it’s sighting.

      When talking about how to determine the beginning of the month of fasting, Shihab ud-Din ar-Ramliyy ash-Shafi^iyy, in his famous fatawa, said: “Rather than accepting calculations, the Prophet, who followed Allah’s Revelation, completely omitted them by saying: (We are a nation which does not rely on writing or calculation to know the beginning or the end of the month. The month is either twenty-nine (29) or thirty (30) days.)” He said in Sharh al-Minhaj: “Our companions (i.e., the Shafi^iyys) said according to what is authentic, the beginning of Ramadan is not confirmed by the calculations of those who calculate–even if they were trustworthy. The companions of Abu Hanifah unanimously agree on that.”

      The author of Ad-Durr al-Mukhtar, which is one of the Hanafiyy books, said: “For determining the time for fasting, there is no consideration for the saying of those who calculate.”

      The author of Al-Fatawa al-Hindiyyah said: “Is the saying of the experts among those knowledgeable in astronomy acceptable? The correct answer is that it is not acceptable, and likewise is reported in As-Siraj ul-Wahhaj.”

      In Ash-Sharh al-Kabir, from the school of Imam Malik, it is stated that the beginning of Ramadan is not confirmed by the saying of an astronomer. In the Hashiyah of Shams ud-Din ash-Shaykh Muhammad Ibn ^Arafah, it is stated: “…his saying ‘not by an astronomer’ who is the one who calculates whether or not the crescent will appear that night…”

      Ibn Buzayzah said: “Had the matter depended on it, i.e., knowing the calculation for the positions of the moon to start fasting, it would have resulted in a hardship–since it is not known except by a few.”

      Based on the examples mentioned, it is clear the faqihs of the four schools are in agreement upon not considering the sayings of the astrologers, astronomers, and/or mathematicians for determining the beginning and ending of the month of Ramadan. Moreover, some of the faqihs conveyed the scholarly consensus on that ruling. The reliance is on sighting the crescent or completing thirty days of Sha^ban as mentioned by a countless number of faqihs among these schools. The one who looks through the summaries of the books of fiqh, not to mention the lengthy ones, ascertains this result. The one who follows the mass of the nation succeeds and the one who strays, strays to Hellfire.

      There are many Hadith indicating that it is wrong to favour calculations over your Senses and yet many Muslims blindly follow Calendars and Timetables disregarding the many Hadith which indicate to follow your senses. Islam is not meant to be a burden on people but is the natural religion and comes naturally. Everyone is born in the Fitrah of Islam and the natural inclination to do correct worship in the one Allah(SWT) but then are misguided into false worship by others with things that do not come naturally. Therefore follow your heart and Allah(SWT) will guide you. Religious knowledge is decreasing and religious ignorance is widespread which are one of the signs before the day of Judgement as foretold by Prophet Muhammad(SAW). The Muslim Ummah will break up into 73 sects, 72 will be in HellFire while only 1 sect which followed the Prophet(SAW) will be in Heaven. Those who introduce BIDDAH ( innovations in the way we practice the religion by adding things which did we’re not practiced during the time of the Prophet like CELEBRATING birthdays or Using calculations to determine Ramadhan are clearly BIDDAH) will be lead to the hellfire and mislead others. We must strictly adhere to the Sunnah of the Prophet(SAW) if this Ummah is to survive and not be humiliated as a result of negligence. The prophet(SAW) advised us to stick to the Quran and the Sunnah and you won’t go wrong.

      I hope that I have InshAllah given you and others good advice, Ameen!

      • Mr Muhammad Humayun Khan

        عن أبي نجـيـج العـرباض بن سارية رضي الله عنه ، قال : وعـظـنا رسول الله صلي الله علية وسلم موعـظة وجلت منها القلوب ، وذرفت منها الدموع ، فـقـلـنا : يا رسول الله ! كأنها موعـظة مودع فـأوصنا ، قال : ( أوصيكم بتقوى الله ، والسمع والطاعة وإن تأمر عليكم عبد ، فإنه من يعــش منكم فسيرى اخـتـلافـا كثيرًا ، فعـليكم بسنتي وسنة الخفاء الراشدين المهديين عـضوا عـليها بالـنـواجـذ ، واياكم ومـحدثات الأمور ، فإن كل بدعة ضلاله ).
        رواه أبو داود [ رقم : 4607 ] والترمذي [ رقم : 2676 ] وقال : حديث حسن صحيح
        On the authority of Abu Najeeh al-‘Irbaad ibn Saariyah (radiAllaahu anhu) who said :
        The Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) gave us a sermon by which our hearts were filled with fear and tears came to our eyes. So we said : “O Messenger of Allaah ! It is as though this is a farewell sermon, so counsel us”.
        He said :
        I counsel you to have taqwaa (fear) of Allaah, and to listen and obey [your leader], even if a slave were to become your Ameer. Verily he among you who lives long will see great controversy, so you must keep to my Sunnah and to the Sunnah of the Khulafaa’ ar-Raashideen (the Rightly Guided Caliphs), those who guide to the right way. Cling to it stubbornly [literally: with your molar teeth]. Beware of newly invented matters [in the religion], for verily every bid’ah (innovation) is misguidance.
        It was related by Abu Dawood and at-Tirmidhee, who said that it was a good and sound Hadeeth.

        Islam will be correct for the first three generations and then people will introduce Bidah (Innovations in Religion) causing Fitnah:

        The Best of People
        And they are the best people, to which the Prophet (saws) referred to in the Hadith: “The best of my people are my generation then those who come after them, then those who come after them, then there will come a people in whom there will be no good.” [At-Tabaranee, authenticated by al-Albanee]

        Also, in al-Bukharee, “The best of the people are my generation, then those after them, then those after them…” This is also reported by Muslim, Abu Dawood, at-Tirmidhee, An-Nasa’ee and others.

        The Prophet (saws also said, “…and my Ummah will divide into seventy-three sects.” [Abu Dawood, at-Tirmidhee, Ibn Majah, al-Hakim, Ahmad, authenticated by at-Tirmidhee, al Hakim, ibn Taymeeyah, as-Suyootee, al-Manawee, ash-Shatibee, adh-Dhahabee and al-Albanee].

        In another Hadith that is hasan, the Prophet (saws) explained which one is the saved sect: “Al- Jama’ah” [Ibn Majah]. In another Hasan Hadith the Prophet (saws) said, “The tribes of Israel broke into seventy- two sects. My Ummah shall break up into seventy-three sects. All of them will be in the Fire, except one: the one on which I am upon, and my Companions.” [At-Tirmidhee]
        And he (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) also said: “… and every innovation is misguidance and all misguidance is in the Hellfire.” Reported by an-Nasaa’ee (1/224) from Jaabir bin Abdullaah and it is saheeh as declared by Shaikh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah in Majmoo’ ul-Fataawaa (3/58).

        The Messenger (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) also warned against the People of Innovation, from befriending, supporting or taking from them saying: “Whoever innovates or accommodates an innovator then upon him is the curse of Allaah, His Angels and the whole of mankind.” Reported by Bukhaaree (12/41) and Muslim (9/140)

        Ibn Abbaas (d. 68H) said: “Indeed the most detestable of things to Allaah are the innovations.” Reported by al-Bayhaqee in as-Sunan al-Kubraa (4/316)

        Ibn Umar (d. 84H) said: “Every innovation is misguidance, even if the people see it as something good.” Reported by Abu Shaamah (no. 39)

        Sufyaan ath-Thawree (d. 161H) said:”Innovation is more beloved to Iblees than sin, since a sin may be repented from but innovation is not repented from.” Reported by al-Laalikaa’ee (no. 238)

        Al-Fudayl bin ‘Iyaad (d. 187H) said: “I met the best of people, all of them people of the Sunnah and they used to forbid from accompanying the people of innovation.” Reported by al-Laalikaa’ee (no.267)

        Al-Hasan al-Basree (d. 110H) said: “Do not sit with the people of innovation and desires, nor argue with them, nor listen to them.” Reported by ad-Daarimee in his Sunan (1/121)

        Ibraaheem bin Maysarah (d.132H) said: “Whoever honours an innovator has aided in the destruction of Islam.” Reported by al-Laalikaa’ee (1/139).

        Sufyaan ath-Thawree (d. 161H) said: “Whoever listens to an innovator has left the protection of Allaah and is entrusted with the innovation.” Reported by Abu Nu’aym in al-Hilyah (7/26) and Ibn Battah (no.444).

        Imaam Maalik (d. 179H) said: “How evil are the people of innovation, we do no give them salaam.” Reported by al-Baghawee in Sharh us-Sunnah (1/234).

        Imaam ash-Shaafi’ee (d. 204H) said: “That a person meets Allaah with every sin except Shirk is better than meeting Him upon any one of the innovated beliefs.” Reported by al-Bayhaqee in al-I’tiqaad (p.158)

        Al-Fudayl bin ‘Iyaad (d. 187H) said: “Whoever sits with a person of innovation, then beware of him and whoever sits with a person of innovation has not been given wisdom. I love that there was fort of iron between me and a person of innovation. That I eat with a Jew and a Christian is more beloved to me than that I eat with a person of innovation.” Reported by al-Laalikaa’ee (no.1149)

        Al-Layth bin Sa’d (d. 175H) said: “If I saw a person of desires (i.e. innovations) walking upon the water I would not accept from him.” So Imaam as-Shaafi’ee then said: “He (al-Layth) has fallen short. If I saw him walking in the air I would not accept from him.” Reported by as-Suyooti in al-Amr bil ‘Ittibaa wan-Nahee anil Ibtidaa’.

        Al-Fudayl bin ‘Iyaad said: “If a man comes to a person to consult him and he directs him to an innovator, then he has made a deception of Islaam. Beware of going to a person of innovation for they divert [people] from the truth.” Sharh Usool ul-I’tiqaad of al-Laalikaa’ee (no.261)

        Qur’an Surah 23, Verses 52 & 53:

        وَإِنَّ هَـٰذِهِۦۤ أُمَّتُكُمۡ أُمَّةً۬ وَٲحِدَةً۬ وَأَنَا۟ رَبُّڪُمۡ فَٱتَّقُونِ * فَتَقَطَّعُوٓاْ أَمۡرَهُم بَيۡنَہُمۡ زُبُرً۬ا‌ۖ كُلُّ حِزۡبِۭ بِمَا لَدَيۡہِمۡ فَرِحُونَ

        And surely this your religion is one religion and I am your Lord, therefore be careful (of your duty) to me. But they cut off their religion among themselves into sects, each part rejoicing in that which is with them.

        ألا إن من قبلكم من أهل الكتاب افترقوا على ثنتين وسبعين ملة وإن هذه الملة ستفترق على ثلاث وسبعين ثنتان وسبعون في النار و واحدة في الجنة وهي الجماعة

        Verily the people before you from the People of the Book split into seventy two sects, and this religion will split into seventy three; seventy two are in Hell and one is in Heaven and it’s the group (Al-Jamaah).

        This narration was reported by Abu Da’uwood and it ended at that point. At’Tirmithi narrated it and had an addition that was missing in which the companions may God be pleased with them asked the Prophet peace be upon him:

        ومن هي يا رسول الله؟ قال: ما أنا عليه وأصحابي

        And who shall it be o’ Messenger of God? He said: what I’m upon and my companions

        Narrated Sahl ibn Sa’d : I heard the Prophet saying, “I am your predecessor at the Lake-Fount (Kauthar), and whoever will come to it, will drink from it, and whoever will drink from it, will never become thirsty after that. There will come to me some people whom I know and they know me, and then a barrier will be set up between me and them.” Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri added that the Prophet further said: “I will say those people are from me. It will be said, ‘You do not know what changes and new things they did after you.’ Then I will say, ‘Far removed (from mercy), far removed (from mercy), those who changed (the religion) after me! ”
        Sahih Bukhari, Book 88:Afflictions and the End of the World Volume 9, Hadith 174

        It is a sign of the End Times that some Muslims will follow the example of heretical Jews and Christians and imitate them blindly.

        The Prophet (saas) said, “Surely you will follow the ways, of those nations who were before you, span by span and cubit by cubit (i.e. inch by inch) so much so that even if they entered a hole of a lizard, you too would follow them,” We said, “O Allah’s Messenger! Do you mean the Jews and the Christians?” He replied, “Whom else?”(Bukhari)

        Signs before the day of Judgement:
        There will be years of deceit, in which a truthful person will be disbelieved and a liar will be believed(Ibn Kathir)

        The time will be years of confusion. People will believe a liar, and disbelieve one who tells the truth. People will distrust one who is trustworthy, and trust onewho is treacherous.(Ahmad)

        Deceit and cheating will be common,(‘Allamah Safarini, Ahwal Yaum al-Qiyamah)

        Bribes will be called gifts, and will be considered lawful.(Amal al-Din al-Qazwini, Mufid al-‘ulum wa-mubid al-humum)

        Undoubtedly, a period will come upon people wherein not a single person will be saved from indulging in interest. If anyone avoids direct indulgence in interest, yet he will not escape from the smoke (effects) thereof.. Its effects will somehow reach him.(Narrated by Abu Hurairah)

        Wolf in sheep’s clothing:

        A time will come when a man will not care about how he gets things, whether lawful or unlawful.(Bukhari)

        Allah’s Messenger (saas), revealed to us that, in the End Times, some people acknowledged as scholars will actually be two-faced impostors:

        Wolves will give readings in the End Times. Let those who come to see those times seek shelter from their evil in Allah. They will be very corrupt people. Hypocrisy will prevail, and nobody will be ashamed of it and its manifestations.(Tirmidhi, Nawadir al-‘usul)

        There will appear in latter times a people who will gain this world with the help of religion.(Tirmidhi)

        Allah’s Messenger (saas) said, “In the End Times men will come forth who will fraudulently use religion for worldly ends and wear sheepskins in public to display meekness. Their tongues will be sweeter than sugar, but their hearts will be the hearts of wolves.”(Tirmidhi)

        • Follow the Quran. Throw away your timetables and start your fast when the first thread of white light appears. It is an unambiguous commandment at latitudes where there is pitch darkness in summer. In most of the England that is the case. Islam for the most part is a simple religion.

      • Muhammad Humayun Khan

        Evidence that prayer times are to be observed with the naked eye and not through calculations:

        The Fajr prayer is witnessed by the Angels:

        “Keep up prayer from the declining of the sun till the darkness of the night and the morning recitation; surely the morning recitation is witnessed.” [Sûrah al-Isrâ’: 78]

        `Abd Allah b. `Amr relates that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “The time for observing the Zuhr prayer begins when the Sun declines from its zenith until the time when a man’s shadow is equal to his height, and this is when the time of `Asr prayer comes in. The time for observing the `Asr prayer continues up to the time when the Sun turns yellow. The time for observing the Maghrib prayer remains until the light disappears from the sky. The time for observing the `Ishâ’ prayer is up until the middle of the night. The time for observing the Morning prayer starts from the advent of dawn and continues up until sunrise. When the Sun starts to rise, desist from prayer, since it rises between the two horns of Satan.”
        This is an authentic hadîth related in Sahîh Muslim.

        The Meaning of the Hadith:

        This hadîth outlines the times of the five obligatory daily prayers.

        The times for these prayers have been appointed for us by Allah, who says: “Indeed, prayer has been prescribed for the believers at specific times.” [Sûrah al-Nisâ’: 103]

        “Keep up prayer from the declining of the sun till the darkness of the night and the morning recitation; surely the morning recitation is witnessed.” [Sûrah al-Isrâ’: 78]

        “Glorify your Lord by the praising of Him before the rising of the Sun and before its setting, and during hours of the night do also glorify (Him) and during parts of the day, that you may be well pleased” [Sûrah TâHâ: 130]

        The phrase “before the rising of the Sun” refers to the Fajr prayer and “before the setting of the Sun” refers to the `Asr prayer.

        These, then, are the verses that refer to the times of prayer.

        The Sunnah gives us the times of prayer in precise detail.

        Hadith related by Jâbir b. `Abd Allah that is found in Sunah al-Tirmidhî and Sunan al-Nasâ’î:
        The Prophet (peace be upon him) was approached by Gabriel who said to him: “Stand and offer the prayer.” He prayed the Zuhr prayer at the time when the Sun began its descent from its zenith.

        Gabriel approached him again at the time for the `Asr prayer and said: “Stand and offer the prayer.” He prayed the `Asr prayer at the time when the shadow of every object was equal to its height.

        Then Gabriel came to him at the time of sunset and said: “Stand and offer the prayer.” He prayed the Maghrib prayer at that time.

        He offered the `Ishâ’ prayer at the time the light disappeared from the horizon.

        The angel came to him for the Fajr prayer at the first light of dawn.

        On the second day, Gabriel approached him again for the Zuhr prayer and said “Stand and offer the prayer.” He prayed the Zuhr prayer at the time when the shadow of every object was equal to its height.

        Gabriel approached him again at the time for the `Asr prayer and said: “Stand and offer the prayer.” He prayed the `Asr prayer at the time when the shadow of every object was equal to double its height.

        Then Gabriel came to him at the time of sunset and he offered the prayer at the same time he did before.

        He approached him again for the `Ishâ’ prayer after a half of the night [or maybe a third of it] had passed and he offered the prayer.

        Then Gabriel came to him at the time the sky had turned very yellow and said “Stand and offer the prayer.” Then he offered the morning prayer.

        Then, Gabriel said: “Between the two times is the time for (each) prayer.”
        Al-Bukhârî said about this hadîth: “It is the most authentic of what is related about the times of prayer.”

        Detailing the Time of the `Asr Prayer:

        The two hadîth show us that the time for the Zuhr prayer begins when the Sun begins its decline from its highest point in the sky and extends up to the time that the shadow of an object is equal to its height. The time for the `Asr prayer begins when the shadow of an object reaches its height and the end of it preferential time is when the Sun turns yellow in color.

        This method of observing the times of prayer can be used regardless of the hours of daylight and does not require calculations even if you live in a high place. Furthermore the birds can be heard during the time of Fajr & Maghrib indicating the correct times of the prayers. As the time draws nearer in your area, the birds singing gets louder.

        أَلَمْ تَرَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ يُسَبِّحُ لَهُ مَن فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَالطَّيْرُ صَافَّاتٍ كُلٌّ قَدْ عَلِمَ صَلَاتَهُ وَتَسْبِيحَهُ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ بِمَا يَفْعَلُونَ
        Transliteration Alam tara anna Allaha yusabbihu lahu man fee alssamawati waal-ardi waalttayru saffatin kullun qad AAalima salatahu watasbeehahu waAllahu AAaleemun bima yafAAaloona

        “Do you not observe that all those who are in the heavens and the earth, and the birds with outspread wings, glorify Allah? Each one knows the mode of its prayer and glorification, and Allah has full knowledge of all they do. ” Al-Qur’an 24:41 Surah An-Nur (The Light)

        The Prophet (pbuh) said:
        “If only you relied on Allah a true reliance, He would provide sustenance for you just as He does the birds: They fly out in the morning empty and return in the afternoon with full stomachs.”
        (Ahmad, Tirmidhi, others)

        “The seven heavens and the earth and all that is therein, glorify Him and there is not a thing but glorifies His Praise. But you understand not their glorification. Truly, He is Ever Forbearing, Oft-Forgiving.” (al-Israa: 44)

        The birds truly devote their praises to Allah (SWT) in all weathers and hardships, night and day.

        When Prophet Dawood(A.S) sang (The Zabur- Psalms) the praises of Allah(SWT) he had such a beautiful voice that the birds would fall out of the sky.

        Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 38 Surah Saad verses 17-20:
        17 Have patience at what they say and remember Our Servant Dawood, the man of strength: for he ever turned (to Allah).
        18 It was We that made the hills declare in unison with him Our Praises at eventide and at break of day.
        19 And the birds gathered (in assemblies): all with him did turn (to Allah).
        20 We strengthened his kingdom and gave him wisdom and sound judgment in speech and decision.
        Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 34 Surah Saba verse 10:
        10 We bestowed grace aforetime on Dawood from Ourselves: “O ye Mountains! sing ye back the Praises of Allah with him! And ye birds (also)! And We made the iron soft for Him.

        The Azaan Flower:

        CNN sent a team to report on this subject verifying the truthfulness of this adhan flower phenomenon. This flower blooms at the exact time of each of the 5 prayers (evening, days, or night), as indicated in the report. Glory to Allah, the greatest.
        see the others 69 miracles:
        http://youtu.be/2ekIMXhEYh8

    • Muhammad Humayun Khan


      The correct timing for Prayer:
      The timings of Prayer are mentioned by the Scholars of Fiqh in their books and evidently they have been derived from the Sunnah, Narrated / Authority Of: Ibn Abbas, reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Jibril(A.S) led me in Salah twice near Bayt Allah. The first time, we offered the Salah of Zuhr when the shadow was like the thong of a sandal. Then, we offered Asr when the shadow of everything was equal to it, and maghrib after sunset when the fasting man takes if tar (breaks his fast), and Isha when the twilight disappeared, and fair when one who fasts is forbidden food and drink. The second time, we offerred Zuhr when the shadow of everything was like it in length at the time of Asr on the previous day. Then we offered the Asr when the shadow of everything was twice as long. We prayed Maghrib at the same time as the previous day; we prayed Isha when one-third of the night was over and Fajr when the earth was well-lit. Then Jibril turned to me and said; “0 Muhammad! This was the time observed by Prophets (SAW) before you, and the time (of five Salah) is between these two times.”
      [Ahmed 3081, Abu Dawud 393]

      Referring to the Hadith above this is where the evidence that the Scholars of Fiqh differed in their opinions.

      The Hanifi’s say in regards to the Asr Prayer that it is when the shadow of one becomes twice the size of ones body height. And their evidence is from the Hadith mentioned above, ‘ …Then we offered the Asr when the shadow of everything was twice as long.’ [Ahmed 3081, Abu Dawud 393]
      In general the meaning to their opinion is that they Pray roughly one hour after the Adhan Al-Asr…

      They (The Hanifi’s) also differed from the majority in reference with the Fajr Prayer, and they referred this to the part of the Hadith that is mentioned above, ‘…and Fajr when the earth was well-lit.’ [Ahmed 3081, Abu Dawud 393]
      This is ment by ‘the earth was well-lit’ is towards the ending of Fajr just a little bit before the time of Sharook where most of the sun light starts to show. Undoubtedly Abu Hanifa has based his opinion on an authentic Hadith, but the Majority such as Malik and As-Shaaf’ie and Ahmad choose the fist timings of the Prayer that was revealed to the the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) by “Jibril (as mentioned above). The opinion of the Majority is the more revised because this assures that one Prays on time without the worry of the Prayer over lapsing its prescribed time.
      Allah the Exalted said, ‘Indeed, prayer has been decreed upon the believers a decree of specified times (Fixed hours).’ (4/103)
      Also delaying the Prayer of Fajr and Asr to the time that is close to it ending is disliked because of the hadith narrated by Uqbah ibn Amir, that the Prophet forbade us from performing Prayer and burying the dead (praying over the dead) at 3 times: the rising of the sun, nor at its stationary point at midday, nor at its setting.` (all 6 sound compilations except Bukhari).

      As to the explanation according to the more revised view, Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid said,
      Allah has enjoined upon His slaves five prayers throughout the day and night at specific times decreed by the wisdom of Allah so that the slave may be in contact with his Lord in these prayers throughout all of these times. They are for the heart like water for a tree, given to it time after time, not all in one go and then it stops.

      Part of the wisdom behind doing the prayers at these times is so that people will not get bored or find it too difficult, which would happen if they all had to be done at once. Blessed be Allah, the Wisest of judges.

      (From the Introduction to Risaalat Ahkaam Mawaaqeet al-Salaah (Essay on the Rulings on the Times of the Prayers) by Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Uthaymeen, may Allah have mercy on him).

      The times of the prayers were mentioned by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in the hadeeth: “The time for Zuhr is from when the sun has passed its zenith and a man’s shadow is equal in length to his height, until the time for ‘Asr comes. The time for ‘Asr lasts until the sun turns yellow. The time for Maghrib lasts until the twilight has faded. The time for ‘Isha’ lasts until midnight. The time for Subh (Fajr) prayer lasts from the beginning of the pre-dawn so long as the sun has not yet started to rise. When the sun starts to rise then stop praying, for it rises between the two horns of the Shaytaan.” (Narrated by Muslim, 612).

      This hadeeth explains the timings of the five daily prayers. As for defining them by the clock, that varies from one city or country to another. We will define each in more detail as follows:

      1 – The time of Zuhr

      The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The time for Zuhr is from when the sun has passed its zenith and a man’s shadow is equal in length to his height, until the time for ‘Asr comes.” So the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) defined the start and the end of the time for Zuhr:

      The start of the time for Zuhr is when the sun has passed its zenith i.e., has passed the highest part of the sky and started to descend towards the west.

      Practical way of knowing when the zenith has been passed (and the time for Zuhr has begun):

      Put a stick or pole in an open place. When the sun rises in the east, the shadow of this stick will fall towards the west. The higher the sun rises, the shorter the shadow will become. So long as it keeps growing shorter, the sun has not yet reached its zenith. The shadow will keep on growing shorter until it reaches a certain point, then it will start to increase, falling towards the east. When it increases by even a small amount, then the sun has passed its zenith. At that point the time for Zuhr has begun.

      Knowing the time of the zenith by the clock: divide the time between sunrise and sunset in half, and that is the time of the zenith. If we assume that the sun rises at 6 a.m. and sets at 6 p.m., then the zenith is at 12 noon. If it rises at 7 a.m. and sets at 7 p.m., then the zenith is at 1 p.m., and so on.

      See al-Sharh al-Mumti’, 2/96

      The end of the time for Zuhr is when the shadow of everything is equal in length to the object itself, plus the length of the shadow of the object at the time of the zenith.

      Practical way of knowing when the time for Zuhr has ended: go back to the stick or pole which we described above. Let us assume that its length is one meter. We will notice that before the sun reached its zenith, the shadow decreased gradually until it reached a certain point (make a mark at this point), then it started to increase, at which point the time for Zuhr began. The shadow will continue to increase, falling towards the east until the length of the shadow is equal to the length of the object itself, i.e., it will be one meter long, starting from the point marked at the zenith). As for the shadow before the mark, that is not counted, and it is called fay’ al-zawaal (the shadow of the zenith). At this point the time for Zuhr ends and the time for ‘Asr begins straight away. A sundial can serve the same purpose.

      2 – The time of ‘Asr

      The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The time for ‘Asr lasts until the sun turns yellow.”

      We know that the time for ‘Asr begins when the time for Zuhr ends, i.e., when the length of an object’s shadow becomes equal to the length of the object itself. There are two times for the end of ‘Asr.

      (1) The preferred time: this lasts from the beginning of the time for ‘Asr until the sun begins to turn yellow, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The time for ‘Asr lasts until the sun turns yellow.” Defining this time by the clock varies according to the season.

      (2) The time of necessity. This lasts from the time the sun turns yellow until sunset, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever catches up with one rak’ah of ‘Asr before the sun sets has caught up with ‘Asr.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 579; Muslim, 608)

      Question: what is meant by the time of necessity?

      Necessity here refers to when a person is distracted from praying ‘Asr by some essential and unavoidable work, such as dressing wounds, and he is able to pray before the sun turns yellow but it is difficult, then he prays just before sunset. In this case he has prayed on time and has not sinned, because this is the time of necessity. If a person is forced to delay the prayer, there is no sin so long as he prays before the sun sets.

      3 – The time of Maghrib

      The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The time for Maghrib lasts until the twilight has faded.”

      i.e., the time for Maghrib starts immediately after the time for ‘Asr ends, which is when the sun sets, until the twilight or red afterglow has faded. When the red afterglow has disappeared from the sky, the time for Maghrib ends and the time for ‘Isha’ begins. Defining this time by the clock varies according to the season. When you see that the red afterglow has disappeared from the horizon, this is a sign that the time for Maghrib has ended.

      4 – The time of ‘Isha

      The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The time for ‘Isha’ lasts until midnight.”

      So the time for ‘Isha’ begins immediately after the time for Maghrib ends (i.e., when the red afterglow disappears from the sky) until midnight.

      Question: how do we calculate when midnight is?

      Answer: if you want to calculate when midnight is, then calculate the time between sunset and sunrise then divide it in half; that halfway point is the end of the time for praying ‘Isha’ (and that is midnight).

      So if the sun sets at 5 p.m., and Fajr begins at 5 a.m., then midnight is 11 p.m. If the sun sets at 5 p.m. and Fajr begins at 6 p.m., then midnight is 11.30 p.m., and so on.

      5 – The time of Fajr

      The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The time for Subh (Fajr) prayer lasts from the beginning of the pre-dawn so long as the sun has not yet started to rise. When the sun starts to rise then stop praying, for it rises between the two horns of the Shaytaan.”

      The time for Fajr begins with the onset of the “second dawn” (al-fajr al-thaani) and ends when the sun starts to rise. The “second dawn” is the brightness that appears along the horizon in the east and extends north to south. The “first dawn” (al-fajr al-awwal) occurs approximately one hour before this, and there are differences between the two:

      (1) In the “first dawn” the brightness extends from east to west, and in the “second dawn” it extends from north to south.

      (2) The “first dawn” is followed by darkness, i.e., the brightness lasts for a short period then it becomes dark. The “second dawn” is not followed by darkness, rather the light increases.

      (3) The “second dawn” is connected to the horizon, with no darkness between it and the horizon, whereas the “first dawn” is separated from the horizon with darkness between it and the horizon.
      See al-Sharh al-Mumti’, 2/107.
      And Allah knows best….

    • To respected “brother” who mentioned this has caused fitna between him and his wife…

      Basically, the wife should follow the husband, even though she may be right and he may be wrong.
      There is also a fatwa on islamqa about the matter of a wife following a particular madhab, and the husband following a different madhab.
      http://islamqa.info/en/3755

      SubhanAllah, madhaahib – another great source of fitna and division between Muslims!
      (it was fine for that time and place, but not any more).

  4. ISNA has switched from 15 degrees to 17.5 for Fajar!
    Asslamo Allaikum All,

    Please see confirmation from ISNA of their switching from 15 degrees to 17.5 for Fajar, therefore this reference needs to be added to the article above

    http://www.icoproject.org/ISNA-Adopts-New-Angles-for-Fajer-and-Isha_ad-id!81-l!en.ks

    Jazakullah Khairun

  5. ISNA no longer uses 15 degrees for Fajar Salah
    Asslamo Allaikum All,

    Please see confirmation from ISNA (North America) that they no longer use 15 degrees for Fajar:

    http://www.icoproject.org/ISNA-Adopts-New-Angles-for-Fajer-and-Isha_ad-id!81-l!en.ks

    The article needs a slight correction and a reference adding.

    Jazakullah Khairun

  6. Twilight
    I had to do some research and had to look at this unfortunatly, because sadly all our Shaiks differ, Allah forgive us and unite us as brothers!

    http://astro.ukho.gov.uk/nao/miscellanea/birs2.html

    Difinitions
    Civil Twilight
    Civil twilight is defined when the sun is 6 degrees below the horizon. This is the limit at which twilight illumination is sufficient, under good weather conditions, for terrestrial objects to be clearly distinguished; at the beginning of morning civil twilight, or end of evening civil twilight, the horizon is clearly defined and the brightest stars are visible under good atmospheric conditions in the absence of moonlight or other illumination. In the morning before the beginning of civil twilight and in the evening after the end of civil twilight, artificial illumination is normally required to carry on ordinary outdoor activities.

    Nautical Twilight
    Nautical twilight is defined when the sun is 12 degrees below the horizon. At the beginning or end of nautical twilight, under good atmospheric conditions and in the absence of other illumination, general outlines of ground objects may be distinguishable, but detailed outdoor operations are not possible, and the horizon is indistinct.

    Astronomical Twilight
    Astronomical twilight is defined when the sun is 18 degrees below the horizon. Before the beginning of astronomical twilight in the morning and after the end of astronomical twilight in the evening the sun does not contribute to sky illumination; for a considerable interval after the beginning of morning twilight and before the end of evening twilight, sky illumination is so faint that it is practically imperceptible.

    Salaam

  7. dr.shahid mahmood

    new fatnas
    aslamoelakum,after reading this ,i come to conclusion, this umat which is already splitted into 72 ferqas,will complete 73th also.why such kind of sheikh do not think the long consequences.i saw on website about 15-12 degree also.allah save this ummat from these kind of sheiks,amin

  8. Talat Mehmood

    Correct time for Suhur
    Alhamdulillah-The Ramadhan time table shown on this website is 100% correct. In addition to this, astronomical data made available by the Royal observatory in London proves(july2012) that the time for Subah Sadiq (twilight) shown in the same time table is correct. There are far to many Mosques/Islamic centres propagating the false/incorrect times for Suhur (start time for fasting). Incredibly they are showing a 2 Hour difference which is just impossible. What is wrong with these people? Such fasts can not be valid.who is going to carry their sins? Their imams or their management committees?:(

  9. A new approach an old problem.
    Salamu alaikum,

    Since there have been discussions going on regarding the prayer times in our lattitudes (adapt to Makkah or be tough and stick to the astronomical times even if they don’t work in parts of Scandinavia) I just wanted to draw your attention to another, alternative, method recently proposed by a group of Scientists from Turkey, which is free of adhoc-fixes for higher lattitudes. (a very detailed report in Turkish is available here: http://www.suleymaniyevakfi.org/arastirmalar/kuran-arastirmalari/ekvatordan-kutuplara-namaz-ve-oruc-vakitleri.html)

    Ramis

    Prayer times (observations in Tromso, Norway):
    http://www.islamandquran.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/PRAYER-IN-THE-POLAR-ZONES.pdf

    The Excel calculation sheet is available here (it provides both astronimical and “real” prayer times):
    http://www.suleymaniyevakfi.org/go.php?http://www.suleymaniyevakfi.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/namaz-vakitleri.zip

    As a teaser I am copy-pasting the outcome for Stockholm based on the aforementioned Excel sheet, July 20, 2012

    (#VALUE! indicates that the astronomical result does not exist)

    Crack of Down (Fecr-i kâzib) 5:01
    Crack of Down (Astronomical) #VALUE!
    Imsak 5:48
    Imsak (Astronomical) 2:18 (IIF websida: 2:26)
    Sunrise 6:21
    Sunrise (Astronomical) 4:05 (IIF websida: 4:06)
    Zurh 12:55 (IIF websida: 12:56)
    Asr 16:10
    Asr (Astronomical) 17:18 (IIF websida: 17:26)
    Maghrib 19:25
    Maghrib (Astronomical) 21:40 (IIF websida: 21:41)
    Isha 20:03
    Isha (Astronomical) 23:52 (IIF websida: 23:12)
    Isha ends 20:41
    Isha ends (Astronomical) #VALUE!

  10. A new approach an old problem.
    Salamu alaikum,

    Since there have been discussions going on regarding the prayer times in our lattitudes (adapt to Makkah or be tough and stick to the astronomical times even if they don’t work in parts of Scandinavia) I just wanted to draw your attention to another, alternative, method recently proposed by a group of Scientists from Turkey, which is free of adhoc-fixes for higher lattitudes. (a very detailed report in Turkish is available here: http://www.suleymaniyevakfi.org/arastirmalar/kuran-arastirmalari/ekvatordan-kutuplara-namaz-ve-oruc-vakitleri.html)

    Prayer times (observations in Tromso, Norway):
    http://www.islamandquran.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/PRAYER-IN-THE-POLAR-ZONES.pdf

    The Excel calculation sheet is available here (it provides both astronimical and “real” prayer times):
    http://www.suleymaniyevakfi.org/go.php?http://www.suleymaniyevakfi.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/namaz-vakitleri.zip

    As a teaser I am copy-pasting the outcome for Stockholm based on the aforementioned Excel sheet, July 20, 2012

    (#VALUE! indicates that the astronomical result does not exist)

    Crack of Down (Fecr-i kâzib) 5:01
    Crack of Down (Astronomical) #VALUE!
    Imsak 5:48
    Imsak (Astronomical) 2:18 (IIF websida: 2:26)
    Sunrise 6:21
    Sunrise (Astronomical) 4:05 (IIF websida: 4:06)
    Zurh 12:55 (IIF websida: 12:56)
    Asr 16:10
    Asr (Astronomical) 17:18 (IIF websida: 17:26)
    Maghrib 19:25
    Maghrib (Astronomical) 21:40 (IIF websida: 21:41)
    Isha 20:03
    Isha (Astronomical) 23:52 (IIF websida: 23:12)
    Isha ends 20:41
    Isha ends (Astronomical) #VALUE!

  11. Why Is The Salah Timetable Circulated by Hizbul Ulama UK Incorrect? At Islamic Cultural Centre
    to all those who are sceptical about this article -WATCH THIS

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tcuxOtVN8s

  12. Why
    I am not sure what is the benefit of repeating this erroneous view again? The article suffers from logical mistakes, mis-understanding of the science behind the phenomenon under discussion and inaccurate claims about Hizb positions. There is no justification for propagating this bad advice. It will just cause more discord, confusion and misery.

  13. NOT FEASIBLE
    Salaam all,
    If someone can explain to me how you can travel to the mosque, perform 4 sunnahs, pray 4 rak’ah isha in jama’ah, pray 2 sunnahs, pray 20 rakaat of taraweeh, pray 3 witr, travel home and then eat suhoor ALL in 70 minutes – I will accept this calculation. Otherwise it is just not feasible. Allah does not burden us more than we can bear and, frankly, no human being can achieve the feat I have just described.

    Don’t come and say to me “oh taraweeh is only sunnah” because that is not the point – the point is that Allah has created the Earth with different proportions of sunlight, so to use one calculation throughout the planet is not balanced. For example, the North pole has 6 months day and 6 months night – how do you fast there?! And in some places it is night for only an hour or so!

  14. Salaam all,

    I have read this article and i am more confused than ever. I think this is an issue
    That must be dealt at scholar level, it is too tachnical for a lay man to
    Grasp and accept. How does one assume who is correct when all scholars
    Present their case with backing of strong hadiths. It is well and good scholars expressing
    Their findings knowing that they will not be penalised even if their wrong, where does this leave
    Us laymen who has to accept one of these opinions which maybe wrong? There will be no unity if the scholars do not come to an agreement regarding the most basic fundamental issues such as process of halal/haraam and fasting timings. Please accept my opinion in good faith.

    Jzk

    Faysal ahmed

  15. Claim of Ijma when there is none…
    NO SHARII IJMA

    May I request the sheikh to kindly provide the evidence of Sharii Ijmaa on this particular matter as he has claimed.

    In fact the claimed “ijmaa” on 18 degree is nowhere to be found in history except statements and claims of a few people that are not jurists or scholars. There is no proof presented in this article that these people were eligible to participate in the claimed sharii ijma. There is no evidence either that these people actually declared their observations and conclusions to form a sharii ijmaa (rather than a loose everyday consensus). It is completely absurd to generalise their observations and claim there is a sharii ijmaa on the matter when there is none. Such statements should be avoided by the learned people like sheikh Haitham.

    OUTSIDE THE REMIT

    It must be noted that this particular issue (18 degree criteria for fajr) is not a religious matter but more of a scientific problem. Therefore the majority opinion of expert scientists should be listened to rather than purely religious scholars. Has the sheikh stopped to consider what is the scientific consensus of experts in the field in UK and Canada on this matter!

    LOGICAL FLAW

    The biggest flaw in this argument is not even scientific one but a logical one. As noted by others all these observations that sheikh has claimed to form an ijmaa were made by people living near equator. In particular none of these people lived in the countries or areas where he is applying their conclusions. Clearly it is a scientific mistake to make a location-dependent observation at location A and apply it at location B where B is far away from A. I am disappointed to see such fallacious reasoning by learned scholars.

    EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE DOES NOT SUPPORT

    Furthermore the whole argument falls flat when one looks at the preferred time table ([url]http://astro.ukho.gov.uk/websurf/[/url]) and software ([url]http://www.icoproject.org/accut.html[/url])linked with this article. There is a clear defect in this timetable as all the calculated times for fajar in June and most of July are capped at 1:15. Has the sheikh and those who are supporting him blindly in this matter asked why is there such blatant discrepancy? Even the linked “Accurate Times” software fails during these dates as can be verified by anyone.

    I suspect the sheikh has initially made this mistake due to bad advice from other students and advisers who are thinking without employing much intelligence or consideration. May Allah protect and forgive him and allow him to re-consider his flawed views regarding this issue. But it is disappointing to see that the same article is repeated year after year. It would be a sign of arrogance if one persists in his flawed reasoning. Allah does not like arrogance. May Allah keep us away from the fitna.

  16. Over Complicated
    This is a somewhat over complicated article on what is essentially a simple matter. There were no advanced astronomical instruments at the time of the prophet pbuh and clearly the advise given was intented to make things as simple as possible. I think its about time we went back to basics and followed the hadith in spirit and not just to the letter.

  17. Majority
    I think what Sheikh Haytham is pointing out here is that, if for generations it has been established that an 18 degree angle for ‘Fajr’ has been agreed upon, then, even if some individuals disagree with this, the overwhelming majority need to be listened to, and not a small band who believe (however sincerely) what they are doing is correct.

    This method is one that has been adopted by the scholars throughout history – and yes, just as we have narrations of singular or minority opinions that came from a certain generation, we have found with the passing of time, this opinion never broke into the masses since it could not break down what most scholars agreed upon. This is in reality what is the dictating factor of the religion – not what one or two scholars have said here and there.

    We have Mufti Taqi agreeing with the Sheikh about the 18 degree angle (as he mentions in the article). Plus the religious authorities in Saudi, Pakistan and Egypt also stating the same. It would take a bold man to say that they are all wrong and they have ‘misunderstood’ the real matter at hand. It would taken an even bolder man to say that they scholars of the past (all/most of them) were wrong with the 18 degree angle just because of a few calculations we have done (now) – which is a misunderstanding the issue in the first place.

    With all due respect to the Hizb Al-Ulema – they have approached the issue of ‘how a prayer time comes in’ by stating that it is a matter that ‘has to be seen’ – rather then the fact that ‘the prayer time has come in’ when certain signs have taken place (weather it was witnessed or not).
    Seeing it or not does not dictate its ‘entry’. This is opposite to ‘moon sighing’ which ‘has to be seen’ for the month to start (ironically, something people are leaving in the modern day). All of this the Sheikh has explained in the article.
    And Allah (swt) knows best

  18. Is Shaykh a Member of HT?
    Is shaik Haddad a member of HT. If not, which I sincerely hope he isn’t, why did he give a speech at the HT conference?

  19. pray for Muslims ummaa
    Salam to all Muslims. The holy month of Ramadan is coming pleas specialy for all Muslims

  20. Tableeghijamaa'at

    Intrigued
    Asalaam ‘alaikum,

    This is an intriging topic, one must ask who, naming names, supports either side as we need to see the level of consensus on either side, and I mean across the Muslim world, in particular Egypt, India, Pakistan, Malaysia and to some degree Saudi (perhaps there is too much uniformity and too little expertise on such issues in Saudi).

    Csn anyone drop some names that AGREE with the shaikh?

    Btw I am not from TJ but I love the name.

  21. Rest Assured
    Aslamu’alaykum wr wb,

    I have tried to look into the matter (from a lay man perspective which I am) and have come across the following resources that I think are very useful.
    It will take you approx 15-20min to look through both sites and make up your mind….

    1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6etVXMdd54&feature=player_embedded
    This video explains clearly what Subah Saadiq is…

    2. http://www.hizbululama.org.uk/highlights/Why_18_Degrees.html
    this article explains why fixing a degree to sub saadiq with be incorrect.

    I am assuming you have already read Shaky Haithams (hafidhuallahs) article.

    Finally I think we really need to get out and make some observations ourselves if we are confused.
    I would also like to thank the Shaykh.. remember even if he is incorrect Allah rewards him for his opinion.

  22. fajar and isha
    assalamolaikum Sheikh Haitham
    I would just like to point out the flaw in your argument against the hizbululama timetable based on mushahadah. Despite what you say about winter gap beinglonger than summer this is not true of the hizb timetable. If you look at the record of obseravtions these show that winter length for twilight is around 1.5 hours whereas in summer the recorded time for First light is 3 hours. Also, the length is not similar to Saudi either. What you are comparing is not like for like. You are looking at the timetable construction which is based on the use of first light and tabayyun times switched in summer and winter. As such your arguments are completely flawed. Please seriously consider re-writing the article as it is not correct. I will send you the observation record separately for you to study as it seems you have not done so. Having said that I am very pleased you start off with a statment on tolerating differences. Recently some scholars have been using abusive language against other scholars and this clearly is wrong.

  23. Confusion and Fitnah – the first step to unity
    There is clearly significant confusion re the start of Fajr and Esha time which leads to confusion and fitnah in the community. However, there is some good in this. The scholars and major Islamic institutions may now feel the pressure from their congregations and students. This in turn may lead to an agreed upon timetable for next Ramadan – inshaalah. As a community we tend to be reactionary and we often need to feel some pain first before we are mobilised into action.

  24. Error in Judgement
    I completely agree with comments by Ramem and Abu Rumaysa (go out and check with your eyes!).

    As Allah(swt) says, start fasting when you _SEE_ the white thread (dawn) becomes clear to you from the black thread (night) – Qur’an 2:187.

    The 2:30am fajr time appears to be completely flaud and I’m shocked Hatham al-Haddad has yet again made such an error in judgement.

    I live in Hertfordshire (away from light pollution of London) and on the 2nd August 2011, I observed the whiteness of dawn become distinct at 3:50am – but more so at 4am.

    Why didn’t the sheikh use the eyes Allah(swt) has blessed us with?!

  25. check out the opposing view too
    under prayer times see moonsightingcom and calltoislam

  26. Check out the Opposing view too
    Please check out moonsightingcom, calltoislam for opposing view – prayertimes.

  27. Abu Abdurrahman

    To M. Ali
    Brother, the fact that a major mosque states fajr is at a given time, does NOT serve as an excuse for you/me to stop suhoor at their timings. We are individually responsible for our fasts respectively.

    Just because some major mosques have opined to a given time for Fajr/imsaak, is not a sufficient basis for individuals to feel their fast is safe when that means going against the overwhelming majority of classical scholars – some of whim cited a near consensus on the issue.

  28. Abu Abdurrahman

    The easiest option brothers and sisters, is to err on the side of caution. When you know that the criteria of the mass majority of classical scholars was the one advanced by the Shaikh, just syop the fast slightly earlier (with the time suggested). That way you are certain of correct suhoor. You don’t need to pray fajr until jamat time when the time has defintiely come in (ie the latest time).

    As for Isha – as the shaikh said, there’s some flexibility there inshallah.

    But at least just err on the side of caution for your suhoor – take the early time. And pray fajr once you are sure it’s in (the later time). And read Quran/make dua in that time!

  29. Ishaa time.
    Assalaamu alaykum,

    considering that the article mandates a later time for Ishaa, is there ANYWHERE in London, that actually follows this timetable so that I can join Ishaa in congregation and not miss some/all or taraaweeh???

    Most places have adopted the unified timetable where Ishaa is more than an hour earlier than the timetable in this article.

    Jazaakum Allaahu Khairan.

  30. Jazak Allah khair Sheikh for your advice. However, I am left feeling extremely confused now as to what to do and whom to follow – having contacted one of the main mosques for further guidance three times in the past 2 days, I have only been advised that the Unified timetable is absolutely valid – this has caused a tremendous amount of anxiety for fear of finishing Sehri late, and thus causing my & my family’s fast to be invalid. The technicalities of the calculations for the timings are complex, and for the majority of lay people such as myself – way beyond that which we can understand without some deeper study.

    Can there be some means of dialogue between the main parties in this issue to result in a truely unified timetable??

  31. Correct Fajr Time
    Assalamu alaykum,

    I think everyone is lost in numbers and calculations etc. There is one simple test; Go out into the country side, far away from light pollution in the early hours and test every calendar and physically see dawn beginning.

    The Science being used is not being applied correctly. The Muslims in the UK need to carry out emperical testing, e.g. carry out some real world experiments to assess twilight times.

    Salams

  32. Min Ummati Rasulilah Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam

    Another opinion
    The UK has been united under Hizbul Ulama’s Mushahadah for some time now, recently there has been alot of aggressive propaganda targetting Masjids which follow Mushahada in support of 18 degrees which is sowing disunity and creating Fitnah. Shaykh’s article timed at the start of Ramadan and aimed at the mass readership adds to more confusion for British Muslims and does not help the issue of unity….

    I request Shaykh Haitham please remove the article and leave this to the Scholarly circles and let us carry on with our Ibadah peacefully…

  33. Ignorance
    I am afraid the sheikh is speaking in a matter where he has no expert knowledge and therefore his conclusions are completely flowed. 18 degree formula was concluded by the scietists of the past all of whom lived near equator. This formula is not valid in summer times for countries that are further away from equator such UK itself. Using 18 degree formula results in abnormal times for fajr in june and july that sheikh has not even bothered to check himself. Anyone can check from the linked website (http://astro.ukho.gov.uk/websurf/) that 18 degree calculation fails in those dates.

  34. Shaikh mistaken
    The Shaikh is wrong in a few important places. He is confusing people when he says people should not follow their local mosque – why not?? If someone has confidence in the decisions of their elders/Ulama, who are you to question that?? Shariah allows it, you can disagree.
    Also, the issue of tabayyun is not about being certain whether the light has broken or not. Like a typical zahiri, you are misunderstanding it by following the literal meaning of tabayyun, without understanding the technical usage of the Fuqaha. Loo at the books of fiqh – there is a clear difference amongst the Fuqaha about whether Fajr starts at first light or at the spreading of the light – ‘intishaar’ and ‘istitaar’ are al;so used.
    Shaikh should be careful of the language he uses when he is so ignorant of the Shariah himself. Allahu yahdeena, ameen.

  35. Prayer Timings
    Asalam alaikum warahmatuLah;

    I read the very interesting article by Sheikh Haitham regarding the prayer timings and have had a look at the downloadable timetable.

    I was just wondering however, if the 18o method was used in calculating these times why do they seem to correspond at Ramadan Day 13 to timings calculated using the North American Islamic Society method which uses 15o?

    The reason I mention this is, the timetable on Islam channel’s website uses the North America method and it is identical to that on this website from Day 13 onwards.

    JazakumAllah khair

    If you can please provide a reply via email

  36. We have the same situation in Toronto and here is a link to an excellent presentation by Shaikh Yusuf Badat to clarify the matter

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6etVXMdd54&feature=player_embedded

  37. JazakAllahu Khairan
    For more details on 18 degrees times and timetables see salahtimes.wikispaces.com

    Looks like website was created last year and it explains a few things …

  38. Assalamualaykum
    JazakAllah khayran to the Sh. Haytham for writing on this matter but I feel that ultimately I found the article neither hugely clarifying nor persuasive enough to abandon the conclusions of two large mosques/a large organisation. It seems like one scholar asking people to abandon the opinions of a number of scholars for his own. I guess this is fine for his own students or others too if he makes a compelling argument but that hasnt been the case (for me at least). The Shaykh’s own students are prob the one’s best placed to follow the shaykh’s opinion – but then Islam21c somewhat pretentiously puts up a ramadan timetable calling referring to the ‘correct’ time for fajr. Just imagine how many different ‘correct’ fajr timetables there are up and down this small country. A small HTML article like this wouldnt be enough for me to abandon london’s biggest mosques not least because there are several unsubtantiated/unreferenced statements and it’s not a detailed rigorous analysis of Muslim ritual law like we’re used to seeing in books like nayl-ul-awtar etc. May Allah ta’ala bless us with more and more unity and I wish Sh. Haytham and all brothers/sisters here a productive and special Ramadan. wassalam

  39. Assalamualaykum
    JazakAllah khayran to the Sh. Haytham for writing on this matter but I feel that ultimately I found the article neither hugely clarifying nor persuasive enough to abandon the conclusions of two large mosques/a large organisation. It seems like one scholar asking people to abandon the opinions of a number of scholars for his own. I guess this is fine for his own students or others too if he makes a compelling argument but that hasnt been the case (for me at least). The Shaykh’s own students are prob the one’s best placed to follow the shaykh’s opinion – but then Islam21c somewhat pretentiously puts up a ramadan timetable calling referring to the ‘correct’ time for fajr. Just imagine how many different ‘correct’ fajr timetables there are up and down this small country. A small HTML article like this wouldnt be enough for me to abandon london’s biggest mosques not least because there are several unsubtantiated/unreferenced statements and it’s not a detailed rigorous analysis of Muslim ritual law like we’re used to seeing in books like nayl-ul-awtar etc. May Allah ta’ala bless us with more and more unity and I wish Sh. Haytham and all brothers/sisters here a productive and special Ramadan. wassalam

  40. assalamoaluykum,
    very interesting and informative.hope masjid committees take this on board.
    as regards to hizbul ulama study back in the 80’s it has errors and these need to be addressed for example the observed time for fajr does not always match the prayer time on the timetable.may ALLAH SWT guide and unite us all.
    as regards to ramadhan also i hope scholars would take a stand against hizbul ulama and highlight the errors in following saudi.

  41. questions need answers
    Assalaam.

    All these comments where poeple are asking further questions, as they are now confused (+1)

    All these questions that are raised due to this article need further answers. Please provide answers and suggestions.

    JazakAllah khair.

  42. this article has confused me :( my local masjid time table is like an hour ahead for fajr. will our fast be invalid if we follow local imam? so confused now….what to do?? help :o

  43. May Allah Ta Ala forgive us.
    Bismillah, Alhamdolillah.
    Jazakallah khairan shaikh for your efforts.
    I hope once and for all a valid solution for the Ummah will come
    and ask Allah ta ala(from my heart)by whom there is no other deity worthy of worship to hear my cry for justice on this matter and manny other issues on islam so that we can worship Allah ta ala as He The majestic and Sublime wants. May Allah ta ala forgive our shortcomings(those who realy seek justice and are sincere)and accept our deeds done for his sake only and grant us guidance and protection from the trials of life and death.
    Ameen
    Wa Alaikum salaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.
    Advise: Recite this dua often brothers and sisters:(Allahumaghfirlee, warhamnee, wahdeeni, wa afinee, warzuqni, fa innaka antal ghafurur raheem)
    Allahuma sali ala Muhammad (salallahu ta ala alaihi wassalaam)

  44. Surprising
    Sawr.
    Its surprising that the sheikh Is willing to oppose the mainstream evidence backed view based on his schools interpretation. Its correct for him to stand by his guns if he believes hes right, even if it goes against certain principles that would pertain to a situation like ramadan times in the UK, such a disputed topic. In fact this would be the perfect opportunity to stay silent or use the principles of “greater good”, istihsan, “lesser evil over greater evil” etc.

    Its a shame that He found so easily the use for these principles over all of the evidence in Quran and sunnah in other matters such as democracy and voting.

    Im not accusing anything here, I just believe that a man is affected by his environment, even a scholar and its something we see in others before ourselves, and I am much lower in my deeds than sheikh Haitham I do not doubt that.

  45. Faraz Choudhry

    No unity
    The easiest thing to do until then is follow your local imaam and community just to make things easy and prevent further division.

  46. Interesting
    Asalaamu Alaikum,

    Jazakallahu khairan shaykh for your efforts. This will have some practical implications such as not being able to attend for Tarawih prayers in most if not all the masaajid. Also probably will not be unable to attend qiyam al layl in the last 10-15 nights which many masaajid arrange for the local people.

  47. so many opinions
    just when finally i had decided to follow the opinion of a respected scholar, this article cums up….this is very confusing for laypeople. What do you do when more than one scholar gives convincing arguments. Who do you follow? And they’re both trustworthy? there are so many diff opinions out there right now, about fajr n isha, n they’re all backed by respected scholars….

  48. confusion on confusion
    Assalamu Alaikum,

    Jazah Kallah Khair ya Sheikh for your analysis.

    My concern however is that this is only creating further confusion. Though you have given your reasons for why Hisbul Ulama UK are incorrect- they are not without evidence (http://www.hizbululama.org.uk/files/fazar_&_isha_times.pdf and http://www.hizbululama.org.uk/highlights/Why_18_Degrees.html and even quoting islam-qa and Sheikh Albani Rahimullah).

    The times given for Fajr differ by 1 hour from my local timetable and I am confused as to what is my best option.

    On one hand stopping eating at the earlier time makes me safe. On the other hand given how long the days are in the UK, using the longer time offers ease where there clearly is not a consensus. Additionally convincing myself is one thing, but then there is the rest of the family

    Once again I praise your efforts but suggest these should be in discussion with the scholars and you for the sake of unity work to change them and not the people as many will be left confused.

    Wassalam

  49. Jazakallah khair for enlightening us on such a complex and contentious topics.May Allah increase your imaan and raise your darajat. wasalam

  50. Humera Shaikh

    JazakAllah khair
    Assalam alaikum Shaikh, JazakAllah khair for taking the time to answer such a complex question with so much clarity. I really appreciate it. Wassalaam