The Time for the ‘Āsr Prayer

The Time for the ‘Āsr Prayer


Hadīth

(This write-up is prepared by the Hadīth Cell of Jāved Ahmad Ghāmidī )

روي أنه كانت عائشة تقول: أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم كان يصلي العصر والشمس في حجرتها قبل أن تظهر.

It is narrated that 'Ā'ishah (rta) used to say that the Prophet (sws) would offer the 'asr prayer while the sun [light] was [on the floor] in her room, before it[1] climbed [the walls][2].

Notes on the Text of the Narrative

This narrative or a part of it, with minor variations, has been reported in Bukhārī (Nos. 499, 519, 520, 521 and 2936), Muslim (No. 611), Mu'attā of Imām Mālik (No. 2), Tirmidhī (No. 159), Abū Dā'ūd (No. 407) Nasā'ī (No. 505), Ibn Mājah (No. 683), Ibn Khuzaymah (No. 332), Ibn Hibbān(Nos. 1450 and 1521), Ahmad Ibn Hanbal(Nos. 24141, 24598, 25677, 25726, 26421) Nasā'ī's Sunan al-Kubrā (No. 1494), Bayhaqī(Nos. 1580, 1918, 1919 and 1920), al-Dārimī (No. 1186) Musnad of Abū Ya'lā(Nos. 4420 and 4480), 'Abd al-Razzāq (No. 2071, 2072 and 2073) and Musnad of al-Humaydī (No. 170). The preferred text, except where otherwise specified, is the one reported in Muslim (No. 611).

The sentence والشمس في حجرتها قبل أن تظهر (while the sun was in her room, before it climbed [the walls]), is reported differently in various narratives. In some narratives, as in Bukhārī (No. 519), it is reported as: والشمس لم تخرج من حجرتها (while the sun [light] had not exited her room); In some narratives, as in Bukhārī (No. 520), it is reported as: والشمس في حجرتها لم يظهر الفئ من حجرتها (while the sun was in her room and shadows had not appeared in it); in some narratives, as in Bukhārī (No. 521), it is reported as: والشمس طالعة في حجرتي لم يظهر الفئ بعد (while the sun was shining in my room and shadows had not appeared yet); in some narratives, as in Muslim (No. 611 (b)), it is reported as:والشمس طالعة في حجرتي لم يفيء الفئ بعد (while the sun was shining in my room, shadows had not lengthened yet); in some narratives, as in Muslim (No. 611 (c)), it is reported as:والشمس في حجرتها لم يظهر الفئ في حجرتها (while the sun was in her room and shadows had not appeared in her room); in some narratives, as in Muslim (No. 611 (d)), it is reported as: والشمس واقعة في حجرتي(while the sun was in my room); in some narratives, as in Ibn Mājah (No. 683), it is reported as والشمس في حجرتي لم يظهرها الفئ بعد (while the sun was in my room and shadows had not stretched over it [that is, the room] yet); in some narratives, as in Ahmad Ibn Hambal (No. 25677), it is reported as:قبل أن تخرج الشمس من حجرتي طالعة (before the sun exited my room); in some narratives, as in Bayhaqī (No. 1918), it is reported as: والشمس في حجرتها قبل أن تظهر الشمس (while the sun was in her room before the sun climbed the walls); in some narratives, as in Bayhaqī (No. 1920), it is reported as: والشمسفي قعر حجرتي (whilethe sun was on the floor of her room); in some narratives, as in Musnad Abū Ya'lā (No. 4480), it is reported as: والشمس طالعة في حجرتي (while the sun was shining in my room); in some narratives, as in Musnad Al-Humaydī (No. 170) والشمسطالعة في حجرتي لم يظهر الفئ عليها بعد (while the sun was shining in my room, the shadows had not overtaken the room yet); in some narratives, as in 'Abd al-Razzāq (No. 2073), it is reported as: والشمس في حجرتها قبل أن تظهر ولم يظهر الفئ من حجرتها (while the sun was in her room, before it climbed the walls and shadows had not appeared in her room).

Clearly, this extensive variation in the reporting of the sentence is indicative of the variation in the interpretation and understanding of the sentence ascribed to 'Ā'ishah (rta). It is extremely difficult, under these circumstances, to be able to say, with any degree of certainty, what may have been the actual words used by the umm al-Mu'minīn. In view of this fact, the preference given to the words reported in Muslim (No. 611 (a)) is only on the basis of the point that most, if not all, of the variant narrations of the sentence correspond in meaning with this sentence.




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