Ascertaining the Time-Range for each Prayer

Ascertaining the Time-Range for each Prayer


Hadīth

(This write-up was prepared by the HadīthCell of Javed Ahmad Ghamidi)

روي أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال:أمني جبريل عليه السلام عند البيت مرتين. فصلى الظهر في الأولى منهما حين زالت الشمس وكان الفيء مثل الشراك ثم صلى العصر حين كان كل شيء مثل ظله ثم صلى المغرب حين وجبت الشمس وأفطر الصائم ثم صلى العشاء حين غاب الشفق ثم صلى الفجر حين برق الفجر وحرم الطعام على الصائم وصلى المرة الثانية الظهر حين كان ظل كل شيء مثله لوقت العصر بالأمس ثم صلى العصر حين كان ظل كل شيء مثليه ثم صلى المغرب لوقته الأول ثم صلى العشاء الآخرة حين ذهب ثلث الليل ثم صلى الصبح حين أسفرت الأرض. ثم التفت إلي جبريل فقال: يا محمد هذا وقت الأنبياء من قبلك، والوقت فيما بين هذين الوقتين.

It is narrated that the Prophet (sws) said: "Gabriel (sws) led me twice[1] in [five] prayers, in the vicinity of the Baytullāh. On the first day, Gabriel offered zuhr prayer at the time when the sun starts its descent [immediately after midday] the time when the shadows of things are no longer than a shoe lace.[2] Then he offered the 'asr prayer at the time when the shadows of things stretch in length to match the height of the thing.[3] Then he offered the maghrib prayer at the time when the sun falls [below the horizon]: the time when a person ends his fast.[4] Then he offered the 'ishāprayer at the end of dusk.[5] Then he offered the fajr prayer when the dawn breaks: when a fasting person practices restraint from eating food. On the second occasion, Gabriel offered the zuhr prayer when the shadows of things lengthen to equal to the actual height of things – at the same time, when he had offered the 'asr prayer during the previous day. Then he offered the 'asr prayer at the time when the shadows of things were twice the length of the thing itself. Then he offered the maghrib prayer at the same time as he had offered these prayers on the first day. Then he offered the 'ishāprayer when one-third of the night had expired. Then he offered the morning prayers when the earth had brightened up [before sunrise]. Then Gabriel turned to me and said: 'Muhammad, this is the time of prayers of the prophets before you. Within the two time limits set forth [during the two days] is the prescribed time for each prayer.'"

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Notes on the Text of the Narrative

This narrative or a part of it, with some variations, has been reported in Tirmidhī (Nos. 149 and 156), Nasā'ī(Nos. 513 and 526), Abū Dā'ūd(Nos. 393 and 394), Ahmad (Nos. 3081, 3322, 11267, 12664, 14578, 15011 and 21054), Ibn Hibbān(Nos. 1472, 1494 and 1502), Ibn Khuzaymah (Nos. 325 and 352) Nasā'īSunan al-Kubrā(Nos. 1493, 1507 and 1508) Bayhaqī(Nos. 1575, 1582, 1583, 1589, 1590, 1597, 1598, 1599, 1601, 1618, 1625, 1641, 1895, 1917 and 1937), 'Abū Ya'lā(No. 2750). The preferred text, except where otherwise specified, is the one reported in Tirmadhī (No.149).

Some of the narratives (as, for instance, the narratives reported in Bukhārī and Muslim) do not mention that Gabriel came to the Prophet (sws) twice for this purpose.

In some narratives, as for instance in Nasā'īnarrative (No. 513), it is reported that during the referred incident, the Prophet (sws) followed Gabriel and the other people followed the Prophet (sws). Thus, Nasā'ī(No. 513) includes the words

أن جبريل أتى النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم يعلمه مواقيت الصلاة فتقدم جبريل ورسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم خلفه والناس خلف رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم (that Gabriel came to the Prophet to inform him about the prescribed time for prayers. Thus, Gabriel led the prayers and the Prophet (sws) followed him while the people followed the Prophet (sws)).

The words حين زالت الشمس (when the sun starts its descent) have been reported in Nasā'ī(No. 513). In some narratives, however, as for instance in Ibn Khuzaymah (No. 325), the phrase حين زالت الشمس وكان الفيء مثل الشراك (when the sun starts its descent and when the shadows of things are no longer than a shoe lace) has been reported as حين مالت الشمس قدر الشراك (when the sun had only bent as much as a shoe lace) and as حين زالت الشمس على مثل قدر الشراك (when the sun had only descended as much as a shoe lace) in AbūYa'lā(No. 2750), while in Bayhaqī (No. 1583), the same phrase has been reported as حين مالت الشمس فكانت بقدر الشراك (when the sun had started tilting, its tilt being only as much as a shoe lace).

In Bayhaqī(No. 1575), there is an addition of the words أربعا (i.e., "four [rak'ahs]"), after mentioning the zuhr, the 'asrand the 'ishāprayer, ثلاثا (three [rak'ahs]) after mentioning the Maghreb prayer and ركعتين (two rak'ahs) after mentioning the fajrprayer, signifying the number of rak'ahswhich the Prophet (sws) offered with Gabriel in each prayer.

The words حين كان كل شيء مثل ظله (when the shadows of things stretch in length to match the height of the thing) have alternatively been reported as حين كان الظل مثل شخصه (when the shadows were equal to the person of that shadow) in Nasā'ī (No. 513) and as كان فيء الرجل مثله (when the shadow of a person was equal to his height) in Nasā'ī(No. 526) and as حين كان الفيء قامة (when the shadows were equal to a man's height) in Ahmad(No. 11267) and as حين صار ظل كل شيء بقدره (ie, when the shadow of everything becomes equal to [the height of] that thing) in Bayhaqī(No. 1589) and as حين صار الظل مثل قامة شخص الرجل (when the shadow becomes equal to the height of the man) in Bayhaqī(No. 1599).

The words وجبت الشمس (the sun falls) have been replaced with غابت الشمس (the sun vanishes) in Nasā'ī(No. 526) and with حين غربت الشمس (when the sun sets) in Bayhaqī(No. 1601).

The words وأفطر الصائم (when a fasting person ends his fast) have been omitted in some narratives.

In Bayhaqī (No. 1589), the words ثم صلى العشاء (then he offered 'ishā) have been reported as وصلى العتمة وهي العشاء (and he offered the 'atamah, that is, the 'ishā), which indicates that "عتمة"(a part of the night or night) was another name for the 'ishāprayer.

The word برق (to appear or to shine) has been replaced with "انشق"(to break) in Nasā'ī(No. 513) and with "سطع"(to spread, as in "spread of light") in Nasā'ī(No. 526).

The words وحرم الطعام على الصائم (when food becomes prohibited for a fasting person) have been omitted in some narratives.

The words حين كان طل كل شيء مثله (when the shadows of things lengthen to equal to the actual height of things) have been replaced by حين كان ظل الرجل مثل شخصه (when the shadow of a person was equal to his physical height) in Nasā'ī(No. 513) and by "حين كان فيء الرجل مثله"(when the shadow of a person was equal to that person) in Nasā'ī(No. 526). While in Bayhaqī(No. 1589), the sentence has been rephrased as فأخر الظهر إلي قدر ظله (then he delayed offering the zuhrprayer till the time that shadows became equal to physical structures).

The words حين كان ظل كل شيء مثليه (when the shadows of things become twice the length of the thing itself) have been replaced with حين كان طل الرجل مثل شخصيه (when the shadow of a person was twice that of his physical height) in Nasā'ī(No. 513) and with حين كان فيء الرجل مثليه (when the shadow of a person was twice in length of the person's height) in Nasā'ī(No. 526) and with و الظل قامتان (while the shadow was twice the height [of the thing]) in Ahmad (No. 11267) and with

حين كان كل شيء مثلي ظله (when everything was double the length of its shadow) in AbūYa'lā(No. 2750), which is clearly a mistake of one or more of the narrators. While in Bayhaqī(No. 1589), the sentence has been rephrased as وأخر العصر إلي قدر ظله مرتين (and he delayed the 'asrtill the time that shadows became double the height of physical structures).

The words حين ذهب ثلث الليل (when one-third of the night had expired) have been replaced in Nasā'ī(No. 513), with فنمنا ثم قمنا ثم نمنا ثم قمنا فأتاه فصنع كما صنع بالأمس فصلى العشاء (then we slept for a while and woke up then we fell asleep again and woke up again and then he came to the Prophet and did what he had done the previous day then he offered 'ishā) and with ثلث الليل الأول (the first one-third part of the night) in Nasā'ī(No. 526) and with ثم أعتم بالعشاء (then he prepared for 'ishā) in Bayhaqī(No. 1589). While in Ahmad (No. 14578), the words حين ذهب نصف الليل أو قال ثلث الليل (when half or one-third of the night had expired) express the narrator's doubt regarding the time.

In Nasā'ī(No. 513), the words حين أسفرت الأرض (when the earth had brightened up) have been replaced with حين امتد الفجر وأصبح والنجوم بادية مشتبكة (when the light had spread and it was morning but the stars were still slightly visible) and with حين أسفر جدا (when it had brightened up significantly) in Nasā'ī(No. 526).

In some narratives, as in Nasā'ī(No. 513), the words هذا وقت الأنبياء من قبلك (this is the time [of prayers] of the prophets before you) have been omitted.

In Nasā'ī(No. 513), the words والوقت فيما بين هذين الوقتين (within the two time limits set forth is the prescribed time for each prayer) have been replaced with ما بين هاتين الصلاتين وقت (between the prayers offered during the two days is the prescribed time for that particular prayer), with ما بين هذين وقت كله (within these two limits is the time [for that prayer]) in Nasā'ī(No. 526), with هذا وقتك ووقت النبيين قبلك (this is the prescribed time of prayers for you as well as the that of the prophets before you) in Ahmad(No. 3322), with الصلاة فيما بين هذين الوقتين (prayer is to be offered between these two times) in Ahmad(No. 11267) and with الصلاة ما بين صلاتك أمس وصلاتك اليوم (prayers are to be offered between the time that these prayers were offered yesterday and the time when they were offered today) in Nasā'ī'sSunan al-Kubrā(No. 1493) and with ما بين هذين كله وقت (all that lies within these two times is the prescribed time of the prayer) in Bayhaqī(No. 1598) and with ما بين الصلاتين وقت in Bayhaqī(No. 1599).

In an alternative reporting, as, for instance, is given in AbūDā'ūd(No. 394), the same implication is conveyed in the following words:

روي أنه كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم صلى الظهر حين تزول الشمس وربما أخرها حين يشتد الحر ورأيته يصلي العصر والشمس مرتفعة بيضاء قبل أن تدخلها الصفرة فينصرف الرجل من الصلاة فيأتي ذا الحليفة قبل غروب الشمس ويصلى المغرب حين تسقط الشمس ويصلى العشاء حين يسود الأفق وربما أخرها حتى يجتمع الناس وصلى الصبح مرة بغلس ثم صلى مرة أخرى فأسفر بها ثم كانت صلاته بعد ذلك التغليس حتى مات ولم يعد إلى أن يسفر.

It is narrated that the Prophet (sws) offered the zuhr prayer when the sun started its descent [immediately after the midday] and sometimes, when the day was extremely hot, he would delay offering it. And I saw him offering the 'asr while the sun was still shining white, high in the sky before turning yellow. If a person would set out for Dhū al-Halīfah after offering his prayers, he could reach his destiny before sunset. And he would offer the maghrib prayer at the time when the sun went down [from the horizon]. And he would offer the 'ishāprayer when the horizon had completely blackened and sometimes he would delay it till the time that people would gather for the prayers. And he offered the morning prayer while it was still dark and, at another instance, he waited till the time that it had brightened up. Nevertheless, after this one time he would always offer the morning prayer while it was still dark and never delayed it till light had spread.




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