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Summarising 18 Degree Prayer Timetable

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Over the years we have published a number of articles on the topic of the beginning time of Fajr and ʿIshā’ during the summer periods for northern cities of Europe affected by a phenomena called Persistent Twilight when the physical signs for Fajr and ʿIshā no longer appear for a period of a few days to weeks. This article is a brief summary with some further clarifications to what has seemingly become quite a complicated topic for masājid and their congregations.

The importance of the Prayer is something the Jurists of Islām in all ages have never taken lightly, for it is indeed the first thing that we will be held to account for on the Day of Reckoning.

The Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said,

“The first deed that the servant will be held to account for on the Day of Judgement is the prayer.  If it is good, he will be successful and safe, but if it is not good, he will be of the unfortunate and wretched”.[1]

It is in this light that we need to carefully consider the time for our prayers and the start of our fasting closely.

The Hizbul ʿUlamā’ 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, Regents Park Mosque and many other large mosques. 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, it must be noted that this timetable has adopted times which are in opposition to virtually all the Major fiqh councils from across the Muslim world from North America, through the Middle East and the Indian Subcontinent. Due to the adoption of this timetable by many mosques and the reality that the much earlier time for Fajr makes it seemingly more difficult, there is a general feeling that this timetable is the norm and what has been agreed upon by the majority of jurists is actually abnormal and cannot be true.

With the fast being a very much private worship between the worshipper and His Lord, the individual obligation of a person to ensure they are fasting at the correct times is even more important.

Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) says: “The fast (Sawm) is for Me and I will reward it.”[2]

So, simply relying on the decision of the Imām in this matter does not remove the burden on the individual. To believe that this issue can be left with the masjid to decide is an incorrect approach to have and we Muslims should exercise some more care and concern relating to our personal worship, even if we consider ourselves laymen. As Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) addresses the lay people with this Quranic guideline:

“O you who have believed, obey Allāh and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allāh and the Messenger, if you should believe in Allāh and the Last Day. That is the best [way] and best in result”.[3]

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. The conceptualising of this astronomical phenomena can be difficult for many of us  and even much more in areas where the phenomena seems to breakdown due to the northerly position of many cities in North Europe. But with this in mind, it is important for individuals and their masājid to consider the following before deciding on what they believe is the correct timetable and in protecting their fasts in particular.

Your trusted source for accurate prayer times all year round, any location worldwide.

Please consider the following points:

1. The 18 degree opinion is the opinion held by the vast majority of Major Fiqh councils from North America all the way across to the Indian Subcontinent. This position which can mean very early Fajr start times in Northern Europe during the Summer has been a position not only held in recent times but over centuries. In recent times the lower angle of 15 degrees held famously by the Islamic Society of North America Fiqh Council was changed to 17.5 degrees in September 2011; this means the determination for Fajr is virtually uniform across the globe.

See table:

mahmud table 3

* ISNA traditionally held the latest Fajr time due to an adopted angle of 15 degrees. But in September 2011 they revised their position to 17.5 degrees which is more or less in line with the rest of the World. [4]

** It has been widely attributed to them to hold the position of 19 degrees which is even earlier Fajr or a position of 90 mins after Maghrib for ‘Isha. Although in using calculation of 18 degrees the times for Fajr are virtually the same in Makkah which indicates that the 90 minute position is in effect the same as 18 degrees and due to its equatorial position this does not change much at all throughout the year.

2. Some of those who have misrepresented the 18 degrees position have claimed that it is an angle arrived upon by astronomers using an incorrect definition of what is Fajr. They mention that 18 degrees is representative of Astronomical twilight which is effectively total darkness and this is not Fajr. The reality is that the angle was not decided upon by reading definitions made by astronomers but was done by carrying out observations (Mushāhada) whose times were then translated into an angle which would allow people in any location to determine their prayer times easily. In the same way even the Hizbul Ulama timetables/Unified prayer timetables have not got observations for every single location but rather they did a few observations and then calculated the rest through extrapolation.

It should be further noted that the Hizbul Ulama/Unified Prayer timetable when engineered backwards produce times which are more closely reflective to an angle of 12 degrees or even less. Not only is this a major departure from all other Major Fiqh councils. When looking at the astronomical phenomena related to 12 degrees as described by astronomers, this is an even more unlikely description to suit the shar’ī description for Fajr. This strange position results in people starting their fast sometimes 2.5 hours after the standard position.

The matter for beginning our fast/Fajr times was not based on an astronomical description as is commonly misunderstood. Rather observations have been done across the globe and even across centuries whose times were then related to the angle of the Sun below the horizon. The vast majority corresponding to 18 degrees. This then set the platform for astronomers to then produce methods of calculating the time for Fajr wherever a person or mosque was based in the World. So the 18 degree method is clearly based on observations and by scholars who certainly knew the distinction between the false Fajr (al-Fajr al-Mustatīl) and the true Fajr (al-Subh al-Sādiq).

3. The reasoning that we should only rely on physical observation (Mushāhadah) and that calculation is not from the sunnah has been heavily discussed and to avoid repeating this discussion, we will just mention two points. The first being that in many places, due to adverse weather conditions, weakness of eyesight and even lack of persons who know how to interpret the actual shar’ī sign, it may not be possible for there to be a physical observation for each day. So the sunnah allows for one to estimate through extrapolating the time from a previous day through calculation. As Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) says about prayer times:

“Perform As-Salāt (Iqāmat-as-Salāt) from mid-day till the darkness of the night (i.e. Dhuhr, ʿAsr, Maghrib, and ʿIshā’ prayers), and recite the Qur’ān in the early dawn (i.e. the Morning Prayer). Verily, the recitation of the Qur’ān in the early dawn is witnessed.” [5]

This verse establishes that prayer times are linked to actual astronomical phenomena rather than seeing it with the naked eye, in contrast to the ḥadῑth concerning the start of Ramadān which is linked to the notion of physically sighting the moon and not depending on astronomical actualities. The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said,

“Fast when you see the moon and cease your fast when you see the moon.”[6]

It is the consensus of classical Muslim scholars that astronomical calculations cannot be used as a replacement for actually sighting the moon (for Ramadān) with the naked eye. This is the difference between sighting the moon, which is needed to confirm the start of the month of Ramadān or Hajj, and the sighting of the twilight which is used to decide prayer times.

In summary, we hope everyone understands that the Hizbul Ulama / Unified Prayer timetable are actually a departure from the norm. As it goes against the vast majority, we need to consider first personally and then communally which timetable to follow as in these Summer months there is over 2.5 hours in difference between the start of Fajr and hence the time we start fasting. This is not the case of taking the easiest position and what some people term as ‘fatwa shopping’ but remembering that our prayer is the first thing we will be accounted for and that the fast is a very personal private worship between our Lord and ourselves and we would wish not to jeopardise this in especially the most auspicious of months, Ramadān.

For further information and more detailed discussions, including the methodology employed by us to calculate the prayer times especially in Summer when the signs of Fajr disappear, please refer to these previous published articles:

1. The correct time to start your Fast
2. Summer ‘Ishā & Fajr Prayer times*
3. Imāms & Masjid Committees should inform their congregations of the 18 degree standard
4. UK and Europe Prayer & Fasting Explanation

* Please note the methodology of estimating Fajr during periods where the shar’ī signs have disappeared have been further refined in 2016. The latitude of 48 degrees 33mins 30secs is now the default for calculating the earliest Fajr. In previous years it was estimated at generally 48 degrees 33mins, so there is an added level of accuracy along with a standardisation of the exact location used for every city.

Source: www.islam21c.com

Notes:

First published in 2015

[1] Sunan al-Tirmidhī

[2] Related in Bukhāri & Muslim

[3] Al-Qur’ān 4:59

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

[5] Al-Qur’ān 17:78

[6] Bukhāri & Muslim

About Shaikh (Dr) Haitham Al-Haddad

Dr. Haitham al-Haddad is a jurist and serves as a judge for the Islamic Council of Europe. 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 Council of Europe 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.

38 comments

  1. As salaamu ‘alaykum,

    I have seen the true Fajr with my own eyes during the summer months and this corresponds to about 10 minutes later than the start time of Fajr based on the Unified Prayer Timetable. I give the adhan 10 minutes later than the Unified Prayer Timetable at the “B&Q” mosque in Sutton, Surrey.

    True Fajr begins when the white thread is distinct from the black thread. That means that the white thread is distinctly white and the black thread is distinctly black. Sometimes there is a redness as well. I have taken photos and forwarded them to Khalid Shaukat at Moonsighting.com and he has confirmed my observations.

    Prayer times are based on observation since neither the Prophet [saws] nor his Companions performed their prayers based on 18 degrees. There weren’t any Fiqh Councils at that time.

    This clearly implied in the following hadiths:

    “…then he [saws] commanded him [Bilal (ra)] to give the iqamah for fajr when dawn came…and he [saws] prayed fajr at the time when it was already light…” – Ibn Majah Sahih 667; Muslim 1391 [176/613], 1392 [177/613], An-Nasa’i Sahih 520; At-Tirmidhi Sahih 152

    “… Then he [saws] had the iqamah called for fajr when dawn broke and the people could hardly recognise one another [because it was so dark]…Then the following day he delayed fajr until when it was over one would say that the sun had risen or had almost risen…” – Muslim 1393 [178/614], An-Nasa’i Sahih 524, Abu Dawud Sahih 395

    Furthermore, there is a clear link between starting on one’s fast and true Fajr in the following hadith:

    “…Then he [Jibril (as)] prayed fajr when fajr began and when eating is prohibited for the fasting person…Then he prayed subh when the land glowed [the light was apparent]. Then Jibril [as] turned towards me and said, ‘O Muhammad [saws]! These are the times of the Prophets before you and the time is what is between these two times.'” – At-Tirmidhi Hasan 149; Abu Dawud Hasan 393; An-Nasa’i Hasan 503

    Therefore, the methodology for determining the beginning of Fajr must be the same as that for starting the fast, otherwise, you will be praying Fajr at one time and beginning your fast at another time in contradiction to Jibril [as] and Muhammad [saws].

    So what to do if your mosque prays out of time,

    1. you should offer your wajib prayer on time at home – Ibn Majah Sahih 1255

    2. you should join the prayer out of time if you are in the masjid but this will be a voluntary prayer – Muslim 1468 [241/648], 1470 [243/648], 1465 [238/648], 1466 [239/648], Abu Dawud Sahih 431, Muslim 1471 [244/648], 1469 [242/648], Abu Dawud Sahih 433, Ibn Majah Sahih 1257, Abu Dawud Hasan 432

    3. you should pray with out-of-time imams only if they pray facing the Qiblah – Abu Dawud Hasan 434

    If you follow 18 degrees what are you going to do when you are travelling in an airplane? Are you going to miss your salah or are you going to look at the sky from the window?

    • I agree with what Sheikh Haddad mentions in his video.
      But I also agree with this brother.

      Sheikh Haddad is correct that we should use calculations for prayer times, just like we do for the rest of the year and for other prayers also.
      HOWEVER, the calculations should be backed by observation.

      And despite some shuyookh and societies mentioning that there’s too much background light to observe the whiteness from the darkness, I disagree.

      I’m not sure about north of UK or Ireland, but as for Herts (north of London), I also observed fajr with my own eyes – the “white thread from the black” about 10 or 15mins after the fajr timings from the masjid, so based on the “unified prayer timetable”.
      On some days, it’s more difficult, especially with the full moon or clouds, but not impossible.

  2. as-salaamu ‘alaikum,

    SubhanAllah, as usual, Sheikh Haddad is spreading fitna / corruption with these timetables.
    And it’s clear to anyone with a bit of hiqma / wisdom that the timings are utterly stupid.

    Islam should be easy, why make it so difficult with ridiculous timings?!

    For example, for London, hardly any time between maghrib and isha to actually eat anything before rushing to masjid for taraweeh. And when taraweeh finishes, it’s already 1am, or 12:30am the earliest, so if fajr is at 1am, when in the world does one find the time to eat?! Not to mention the commute time to/from masjid!
    And imagine if one is living alone or with friends, and you have to cook – Islam is so difficult?!

    Really, anyone with half a brain would realise that if sunrise is at 4:45am, then how in the world can fajr be at 1am, i.e. almost 4 hours between fajr and sunrise?!
    At the same time, depriving people of the blessed time between fajr and shurooq.

    I have to praise the massaajid who has thus far stuck up to the bullying and fitna of Sheikh Haddad on this matter.

    was-salaamu ‘alaikum.

  3. Asim Siddiqui

    Assalamu Alaikum. Why the respected sheikh concentrating on Fajr only and not eisha. If the fajr starts at 1.00 am ( according to 18 degree calculation ) then there is no eisha time and that is why the column is blank. Islam is practical religion. We are supposed to pray in congregation. So we have to follow masjids timetable and most of the masjids and majority of scholars in UK agreed to a unified timetable. Sheikh has given his opinion we respect his opinion , but saying it again over again is like forcing once opinion , it can creat a fitnah and disunity in the muslim ummah. May Allah SWT forgive our mistakes and accept our salah and fastings Ameen. Even if we follow the above timetable, what is the guarantee that it will be accepted and bare in mind no one will enter Jannah just because of the deeds…. Please remember all in your duas.

    • Marwan Al jazairi

      Jazaka Allah khayr brother..that’s exactly what I think.
      Plus I do not believe that south England at least has a problem of what the sheikh is calling persisting twilight. I worked night shifts many years ago and I always managed to tell the difference, even in summer, between times of isha and fajr no problem.

  4. Hannah Farooque

    Assalam alaykum,
    whatever the ijtihad on the matter, people leaving in the same country, in the same town and of course people going to the same masjid should agree on ONE prayer timetable. Nowadays you can see in the same masjid some persons prying Fajr while some are still praying tahajjud!! And sometimes you even have 2 different times for the Fajr salah… It is better to leave your opinion even you are more convinced that it is nearer to the truth for the sake of UNITY. How sad would be the first generation of Muslim to see us so divided…

  5. Salaam alaikum,

    I’m from the Netherlands. I have compared the prayer times from this website with the prayer times here in the Netherlands used by the Moroccan mosques. When it comes to the beginning of fajr, there’s more than an hour difference, i.e. fajr is calculated too early in the methodology supervised by Sheikh Haddad.
    I therefore urge, to abandon this method and use more reliable websites for assessing your prayer times, like http://izaachen.de/wp-content/uploads/Gebetszeiten/WEBAPP/REPO/international/repo/overview.php
    Or http://www.moonsighting.com/pray.php

    • Muhammad Muzammil

      I agreed this website fajr times are completely wrong. It shows Astronomical Twilight (and hence fajr time in UK) around 1:35am while Government of UK website is saying there is no Astronomical Twilight in UK in June. http://astro.ukho.gov.uk/nao/miscellanea/birs2.html

      • Come on, mate – you are showing the fact that you haven’t read even the article you are commenting underneath!

        If you say that there is no astronomical twilight then you are AGREEING with these timetables! If there is no astronomical twilight then how can you say it’s at 245 or any time?? Either you say there IS astronomical twilight and say it’s at 245, or you say there isn’t—then you by definition agree with this article. You can’t have your cake and eat it.

        BTW those later times of between 245am-4am aren’t the ‘normal’ ones in the uk, the normal ones in the uk are these timetables above (± a few minutes) – only a few influential masjids CHANGED their timetables a few years ago because of a mixture of mistaken calculations and the fast being too long. See their OWN timetables from 10 years ago if you don’ t believe me.

        If the fast is too long for you you don’t change the blinking timetable for everyone lol you just break your fast if you are feeling sick or if it’s too *difficult* for you personally and then make it up in another date.

        • Muhammad Muzammil

          The only thing I need is third party evidence for the time of Fajr? I cannot rely on the timings of Skheikh unless I can see a third party evidence probably from a unbiased website like I mentioned above.

          BTW what I was saying, if there is no astronomical twilight then next best alternative is Nautical Twilight. Also one more thing I don’t mind fasting for more than 20 hours but the problem is these timetables are causing fitna among Muslims which are already divided.

  6. Muhammad Muzammil

    You are trying to make fast so difficult that Muslims in UK & Ireland and Northern Europe will stop fasting at all. Good method to promote Kuffar. Currently, there is around 19 hours fasting in UK&I your method will make it to 20 and in some places to 21. It is sheer non-sense. According to your method it takes more than 3 hours for sun to come to sky after your fajr time. I don’t believe it. Please don’t promote it. It’s a disaster.

    • What a silly comment.

      Muslims have been fasting for 1400+ years all over the world. If it is too long for you personally then go and fast somewhere else, or don’t fast and keep it to yourself—don’t try and look for a shorter timetable which has no basis. Blame the sun if it’s out too long!

      • Muslims haven’t been fasting for 1400+ years all over the world. For most of history muslims lived in climates with not much variation in the length of light and darkness throughout the year. Most muslims still live in such countries. Muslims living in northern areas are going to face difficulties in fasting at the height of summer.

        • Yes they have. I’m not talking about where the official Islamic empires spanned – Muslim explorers and traders were all over the place.

          Even if we do take only the “official” lands of the Muslims – it may come as a surprise but the northern territories of the orient are at a similar northerly latitude to UK. Istanbul for example has an almost 18 hour fast.

          • Don’t “explorers and traders” count as travellers, which means many of them would have exemptions, and more may well have excused themselves anyway.
            Today – just before the solstice – Istanbul has just over fifteen hours from sunrise to sunset, London (over ten degrees north of Istanbul, in fact) sixteen and a half. These aren’t “official” hours of daylight for assessing when abstinence should start and finish, of course, but given the need to fit rituals and necessities which would take place over eleven to thirteen hours of officially recognised darkness in the area where islam was invented into a shorter time will greatly increase the discomfort, inconvenience and disruption imposed.

      • Muhammad Muzammil

        Your comment is silly. Muslims have been fasting in lands where fasting time is less than 18. Also the problem is not in sun but in this timetable. The time table currently followed in UK&I shows the start of fajr at 2:15 to 2:45. I don’t know from where did you made this time table. Your fajr starts at 1:30pm earlier than normal fajr time. Your time table has no basis man. See this http://astro.ukho.gov.uk/nao/miscellanea/birs2.html. It shows that there is Astronomical Twilight in UK in June.

        • Come on, mate – you are showing the fact that you haven’t read even the article you are commenting underneath!

          The link you pasted says there is NO astronomical twilight, which is what you probably meant to say—as you did in another comment.

          If you say that there is no astronomical twilight then you are AGREEING with these timetables! If there is no astronomical twilight then how can you say it’s at 245 or any time?? Either you say there IS astronomical twilight and say it’s at 245, or you say there isn’t—then you by definition agree with this article. You can’t have your cake and eat it.

          BTW those later times of between 245am-4am aren’t the ‘normal’ ones in the uk, the normal ones in the uk are these timetables above (± a few minutes) – only a few influential masjids CHANGED their timetables a few years ago because of a mixture of mistaken calculations and the fast being too long. See their OWN timetables from 10 years ago if you don’ t believe me.

          If the fast is too long for you you don’t change the blinking timetable for everyone lol you just break your fast if you are feeling sick or if it’s too *difficult* for you personally and then make it up in another date.

          In summary – you would save yourself the hassle if you just read these articles and understood them first, and if even then the fast is too long for your personally then keep your objection to yourself and don’t try and cause fitna and confuse others in order to justify your desires of having a shorter fast.

  7. Salam,

    These articles creates a lot of confusions between the Muslims. I’ve been studying this subject for long enough. the 18 Degree which matches the Astronomical Twilight is absolutely misguided. I don’t understand how Sheikh Haitham insist on following a methodology that has been calculated by a non-muslim man in the 1906 where the Ummah was suffering division and occupation from western countries. Egypt appointed this noble role to an english man who arrived to Egypt to come up with the Fajr timing, he concluded based on the Hadith Evidences given to him by the Scholars at that time that 18 degrees is the time for Fajr. For those who read and understand arabic, you can verify the above statement which was made by the so called Mufti of Egypt today in the following youtube video: http://youtu.be/wrkgaqAqxmI . My dear readers, Astronomers divid the Fajr into 3 types or as they call it Twilights: Astronomical twilights which begins when the sun is 18 degrees below the horizon, Nautical twilight which begins when the sun is 12 degrees below the horizon and Civil twilight which begins when the sun is 6 degrees below the horizon. I won’t put much of writing here however to find out the description of each of these twilight, go to the following website: http://www.timeanddate.com/astronomy/different-types-twilight.html, it is amazingly that these descriptions and especially Civil twilight matches the description of the Quran that says, eat and drink until you distinguish the white thread from the black thread. I ask Sheikh Haitham, does the 18 degree applys to this Ayah at all? Prophet saw explains that is the white light that goes across the horizon.

    It is very clear that this 18 degree calculation is nonsense for setting the start of Imsak and the start of prayer. The Fajr at this time or I would call it Fajr Al-Kathib, the sky is very dark and no signs or descriptions are displayed on it to prohibit us from eating or praying.

    Our religion is based on certainty, if we are told to stop eating at this time why are we told to wait and pray at a later time which is more likely the time when we should stop eating, and apparently according to this website is about 2hrs after the Imsak! If the time of Imsak has arrived so the prayer as well!

    This Deen is based on Yusr (ease), and for people to stop eating and even praying at a wrong time (remember prayer must be done when time enters) at 18 degrees, I fear they prayer may not be accepted and at the same time they will suffer more then anybody else.

    One other point I want to make, there is no precise moment where you must stop! some people really get very frightened that they’ve eaten 2mins after the entry of Fajr. There is no Hadith that dictate on you where everyone must stop eating, it is your naked eye that looks at the sky can really tell you to stop or continue eating. Allah says until you distinguish between the white thread from the black thread. I understand it may be difficult for people to observes this event here in the UK but according to this website (which also sheikh Haitham follow although I am not too sure if he is aware of it, at least the time of Fajr islam21c is propagating matches the time on the website as well) the Imsak can be stopped between 90-100min before the sunrise. http://www.timeanddate.com/sun/uk/london this timing is based in London, change to your city to see your timing.

    I believe according to the Ahadeeth of the prophet the time is somewhere closer or between the Nautical and Civil twilight where the white light across the horizon is clearly distinguished and clearly described by our Lord and prophet mohammed Sala Allaho 3alayhi Wa Salam.

    • as-salamu’alaykum wa rahmatullah

      Br. Hamza,

      I would ask you to please read the article above as most of your points are answered or were tackled. The article itself was specifically compiled to respond to many of the false claims mentioned in your post.

      I find it quite disturbing that despite 18 degrees being accepted across the Muslim world and by the majority of major fiqh councils, it is derided as a crazy/absurd/ridiculous position. Would it not be more just to say, ‘I disagree with this majority opinion because…..’ or ‘Almost everyone got it wrong but I am right…’?

      But sadly it feels like a serious misrepresentation of reality is taking place by a few over zealous people in order to present their argument as the correct position while taking advantage of the lack of understanding of this issue amongst even the majority of scholars these days.

      This fatwa is not something unique to Shaykh Haitham or Wifaq al-Ulema or the Markaz in Dewsbury etc. Rather it is just reiterating what is the norm across the World (excluding polar regions which UK is not from!).

      May Allah accept all of our Ramadans and help us maximise our reward from it. Amin.

      Jazakamullahu Khayran

      • truth.is.simple

        Salaam brother,
        You are overlooking a very important FACT. No one is disagreeing with the fiqh councils ruling in relation to the 18 degree rule which does probably corroborate the true fajar time in those lands where these fiqh councils are based. Their is admittedly a problem in countries in the northern hemisphere the Uk being part of those countries. Who from the fiqh council have visited the UK to address the issue of the “so called persistant twilight”. Just because the 18 degree rule applies to those countries it DOES NOT MEAN THAT IT CAN BE APPLIED TO THE UK whats the harm in checking to see if the shari’e signs match with either astronomical twilight (which I believe is the earlier false dawn) or with the nautical twilight when their is a light spreading across the horizon. P.S What happens when the sun only goes 16 degrees below the horizon ?? The respected shaikh also is mistaken if he assumes that the rays are mixed from when the sun sets to when it rises as all you need to do is look to the eastern horizon. Their is also a clear time for Isha salah without hvaing to estimate as many live streaming webcams from the east coast (Blackwater sailing clubs timelapse feed from 18th May to 31st May 2016) show that the redness in the sky after maghrib does totally disappear at just before 11pm. Here is the link http://blackwatersailingclub.org.uk/index.php/views/timelapse-yesterday to view the time lapse. For the past few days it goes up to 10pm only for some reason. It does begin at 3am and you can see the changes in the sky and horizon no persistant twilight on the east coast as alleged.

    • Marwan Al jazairi

      Wa alykoum Assalam
      Brother Hamza;
      You have sent everything . I always believed that this 18 degrees debate is a storm in a cup, causing more division in our Umah. I personally would totally ignore it.
      Salam

  8. As-salamu’alaykum

    Please can you provide time for Aberdeen, Scotland. This the third biggest city in Scotland after Glasgow and Edinburgh and Also for Inverness the fifth city in Scotland.

    JazakAllah Khairan

  9. With all due respect,Muslims have been on the shores of UK long before the arrival of shiekh haitham al haddad. They have led a good islamic life with little confusion. Islam21c has turned islam into rocket science and seems to have rediscovered something we all have missed. Leave your academic discussions to the scholars and leave the Muslims to follow the imams that they have followed, this twilight business is history, We are all tired of this nonsense.

    • “This twilight business” has been in the UK longer than the Muslims have. Just because some pakistani gentlemen made a blunder 5 years ago and caused SOME mosques to begin to ignore it, it doesn’t mean reminding them about it is something new.

      • Jazakamullahu khayran.

        I think people really need to learn what respect means before beginning their sentences ‘With all due respect’. May Allah guide us all. Amin.

    • I have to agree with Abdul. What’s worse is the kind of arrogance that some Muslims are portraying stating that a fast is invalid if we choose to abide to our local mosques. I’m sticking with my local timetable….how can it be that in rajab and shaban fajr starts at a certain time allowing for some reduction, and then come Ramadan there seems to be an almost 2 hour jump backwards to start super early? Anyway, to each their own…don’t get me started on mosques that start Ramadan a day later than everyone else….

  10. The article continues to carry the same confusion (as in the previous articles on the subject) about two things:

    A. The consensus of scholars over 18 degree rule for valid periods of the year (where shari signs exist).
    B. Extrapolation of 18 degree rule over to exceptional periods (where shari signs disappear).

    But these two are not the same. The recent piece above again tries to justify the validity of B by providing supporting evidences for A. In particular no new argument is provided for B.

    If we take a step back we would see that in emphasising the extrapolation of 18 degree rule, the over-arching principle that Allah has mentioned in Quran, related in particular to fasting, seems to be ignored completely [2:185]: “يُرِيدُ اللَّـهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلَا يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ”.

    With the suggested timing we have almost 1 hour left between end of taraweeh and start of fajar, which is a major inconvenience for everybody not just about length of the fast but also about another important function of life… Essentially it translates to a “total sex ban” between husband and wife for an entire month. Is this inconvenience in line with the general direction of shariah? This might be understandable for something clear-cut… but arriving at this conclusion for an exceptional situation seems an over-kill.

    • You don’t have to like or even accept the above but let’s not mix things up.

      Firstly your point between A and B—it makes no difference since the timing for fajr before the shar’i signs disappear and after they reappear are STILL the same ‘inconvenient’ times for some. If someone accepts A then they’re already seeing fajr at just after 1am. Furthermore, I am sure you agree that in the absence of any legislatively valid reason then B follows on from A; in other words the burden of proof is on those who suggest otherwise—if somebody has a valid shar’i reason then let’s hear it and discuss it.

      Secondly, the notion of ‘ease’ and ‘difficulty’ is on an individual level. Islam has built into it a legislative process for dealing with difficulty—it is not to blanket change the entire calendar, but give *individuals* exceptions to break their fast early when needed. There is an important difference between the two.

      • Jazakamullahu Khayran

      • Thanks and jazakallaho khair for your comments. Accepting A does not mean it needs to be accepted universally. The 18 degree is an induction from observations that works under certain limits. To find these limits one needs to make more observations, especially at high latitudes and near summer times. Is there any observational data to support that 18 degree rule works flawlessly until the mid May when it fails completely? It is more likely that the rule starts failing much earlier. Most natural phenomenons are smooth.

        The period of existence of sharii sign should be defined as those periods of the year when sun goes well below the horizon to produce a reasonable length of night (complete darkness). The 18 degree coincides with the astronomical dusk where the last light goes away and astronomical dawn when first light appears. As the summer approaches the duration of complete darkness starts to decrease. The sun would only dip below 18 degree and would start rising again. This is in my view already departure from the norm and 18 degree rule should no longer be applied. We do not need to wait for the complete failure point when sun just touches 18 degree or would never actually come down to 18 degree before starting to rise back again.

        So there are three kind of periods to consider:

        1. Period when sharii sign appears and duration of night (absolute darkness) is long enough. 18 degree rule will be a good generalisation as a working model for this period only.
        2. Period when sharii sign is there but duration of night (absolute darkness) is short. During this period 18 degree rule becomes doubtful.
        3. Period when sharii sign completely disappears. 18 degree rule does not apply at all.

        The definition of “long” and “short” can be established separately. Sh Haddad actually discussed what is shortest duration of night to complete sharii ihkaam. However the list did not include convenience or rest.

        There exists a scientific justification for expecting some doubt in the case (2) above. During winter time sun crosses the 18 degree mark with constant speed and in a straight line (in the graph of sun angle and time). However in period (2) the speed of the sun is not constant. It would approach 18 degree after sunset with some deceleration. Similarly before sunrise it would cross the 18 degree mark with some acceleration… making a curved path on the graph.

        The period (2) can be considered a switch over time where the 18 degree rule becomes variable. It can be slowly reduced to 17, 16, 15, … and so on thus matching the “reasonable” angle (say 12 degrees) in the middle of summer.

        There is no need to associate sharii sanctity to this 18 degree rule itself. It is only a working model and serves good purpose where it is applicable. There is no direct sharii proof for this rule. On the other hand ease or convenience is very much established by nass and is an objective of shariah. Therefore prioritising it makes more sense.

  11. Salam

    I believe you are mistaken here.

    18 degrees was an indication of the “Spreading of whiteness” which the evidences state we should look for.

    In Northern countries this does notnot work as the whiteness being looked for doesn’t dissappear at night as twilight doesn’t occur.

    This requires going back to the evidences and looking at their import.

    Here i an explanation by a Shaykh i follow:
    As for Fajr when the fasting has to begin, it is the Azaan and prayer of al Fajr. In the referred hadith by Muslim, the Prophet (saw) said:

    « فَأَقَامَ الْفَجْرَ حِينَ انْشَقَّ الْفَجْرُ…»
    and he observed the dawn prayer when there was clear daylight.

    « فَأَمَرَ بِلَالًا فَأَذَّنَ بِغَلَسٍ، فَصَلَّى الصُّبْحَ حِينَ طَلَعَ الْفَجْرُ…»
    He commanded Bilal, and he uttered the call to prayer in the darkness of night preceding daybreak and he said the morning prayer till dawn had appeared…

    While in the hadith narrated in Tirmidhi, when Jibreel led the Prophet (saw) in Fajr, it is narrated:

    «ثُمَّ صَلَّى الفَجْرَ حِينَ بَرَقَ الفَجْرُ، وَحَرُمَ الطَّعَامُ عَلَى الصَّائِمِ…».
    He then performed Fajr salah when dawn broke and the fasting person was prohibited from eating…

    Ibn Atheer says: ‘Ghalas’ is the darkness of night when mixed with the morning light.

    The Fajr here is the Fajr Sadiq when the darkness of night changes towards whiteness even if there is partial darkness as is the case in your region. When this darkness changes towards whiteness and visibly spreads over the horizon, you must begin the fast and pray fajr. This is different from the Fajr Kathib which is when the darkness changes to white but appears rising up towards the sky but does not spread across. At this time, fajr is not to be performed because it is still part of night and one may eat and drink…i.e. this is not when one has to necessarily begin his fast.

    The whiteness that is mixed with the darkness of night at the time of Fajr Sadiq does not mean that one can see everything, rather if one observes the eastern horizon he finds that the ‘partial’ darkness has begun to disperse, i.e. the darkness has begun to spread across right and left on the horizon as different from a little earlier.

    Ibn Hajar in Fatah al Bari, explaining the hadith narrated by Muslim on the authority of Abdullah ibn Masood(Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (saw) said:

    “The Adhan of Bilal should not restrain anyone among you from eating Sahur (last meal before daybreak during the month of Ramadan) for he announces Adhan (or he calls) at (the fag end of) the night to return those who stand for prayer among you, and to awaken those who are sleeping among you. And he said: The dawn is not like it, as one says (and he lifted his hand) till he (dispersed his fingers) and said: It is like this. And Zuhair (r.a) said: With his index fingers over one another and extended it towards his right and his left.

    Ibn Hajar, explaning this hadith said:
    “Morning follows the sleep, so it is appropriate to turn those people who are awake to prepare themselves and understand the virtue and preference of early period, and Allah knows the best…”. By saying that “he raised his fingers”, it is meant that he indicated…His saying: “he lifted his fingers and dispersed them”, …it means that he gathered his fingers and then dispersed them to indicate the Fajr Sadeq because it rises visibly and spreads over the horizon horizontally towards right and left as distinct from Fajr Katheb which the Arabs refer to as the tail of the wolf which appears high in the sky and then dilutes or reduces, this is what is indicated by saying he raised his hands up and brought it down..” which is visible across the width horizontally.

    In Conclusion: Since there is no reliably determined timings for fasting in your region, you act as follows:

    · Break your fast when the sun sets…
    · And when whiteness which appears horizontally and is more than the ‘partial’ darkness, which you know is the condition in your region during the nights, i.e. when you can see a visible change towards whiteness horizontally across right and left in the eastern side, this is the Fajer Sadeq. So you start the fast and pray Fajr…

    • The presumption that so many scholars from history and across the world seemingly don’t know the difference between fajr alkadhib / fajr as-sadiq is very unfair, to say the very least. The observations were done and they EQUATED to a time which represents the Sun’s depression of 18 degrees. There observations were based on a horizontal white thread of light not a vertical light in the sky.

      Jazakallah Khayr

      • That isnt the point being made above – please do look into whether the sun actually goes to 18 degrees in northern countries in summer. This is the discussion here.

  12. Why can’t we just take the time backwards an hour and a half from sunrise and start fajr then?
    The time you’ve given for fajr in the timetables is also estimated as there is no real darkness of night to differentiate.
    Some of the times are so short between Isha and the time you have given for fajr, and some mosques still do fajr jamaat at a much later time. Also it means that some people have started their fast and other people in UK are still going to be eating their suhoor.

    • That can be an ijtihād, if scholars/fatwa committees/fiqh councils agree on that. But then the problem is that places just south of you who do see the shari’ sign of fajr will often have much longer periods between their visible sign and sunrise than 1.5hours and then paradoxically you would have a shorter fast than they would even though you are further north (in summer) where the days are certainly longer.

      This ijtihād from Shaykh Haitham and the major fiqh councils gives better consistency in times across the regions during their periods of persistent twilight.

  13. Can this timetable also be published for India.

    JazakAllahu Khair

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