One of my students recently issued a Fatwa (legal verdict), that it was permissible to begin your fast at Sunrise and fast until sunset. He also explained that a person can pray their Maghrib, Isha and Fajr at any time within this timescale. This has caused controversy amongst many supposedly learned scholars, some of whom are famous for issuing a multitude of Islamic rulings (‘fatwas’) and others who allegedly teach these specific books in which the information my student used is found. So I will explain the step by step process which resulted in the fatwa given by my student and I will also provide evidence for each aspect of the process. In this article I will tackle the issue from the perspective of Hanafi Jurisprudence. There is a wealth of evidence solely from this source. Once I have proven the issue from the perspective of Hanafi Jurisprudence which is solely following the established rulings of classical Islamic Scholarship. A subsequent article will demonstrate the strength of the ruling based on Hanafi epistemic Principles (‘Usul’). There have been many people who have been warning against the article/fatwa in question, but no countering evidence was brought forth. This further confirms my fear that Islamic Scholarship has died and the people have accepted this fact. It is the reason such warnings were spread without anyone stopping to question the basis of the warning and asking for supplementary evidence to be presented.
What is The Time of Maghrib, Isha and Fajr Prayer?
The first text will demonstrate the times of Maghrib, Isha and Fajr. The text below is from Imam Abu al-Barakat an Nasafi, a scholar from the seventh century Hijri, in his book ‘Kanz al-Daqaiq’ (p. 154):
“The time of Fajr is from Subh Sadiq until sunrise. The time of Maghrib is from [sunset] until Shafaq disappears, and it [Shafaq] is the whiteness. The time of Isha and Witr is from it [Shafaq disappearing] until Subh [Sadiq].”
There is a disagreement between Imam Abu Hanifa and the Sahibayn (the students of Imam Abu Hanifa Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad) regarding the meaning of ”Shafaq”. We will discuss this later in the article. Subh Sadiq literally means ‘true morning’, this is when there is a thin horizontal line of light along the horizon after complete darkness. This should be differentiated from Subh Khadib which is a vertical light that appears in the sky between midnight and the horizontal light.
What is The Definition of Shafaq (Twilight)?
It is well known that the position of Imam Abu Hanifa is that Shafaq (twilight) is the whiteness. What this is referring to is the white light in the sky after sunset. The position of Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad (the two students of Imam Abu Hanifa) is that Shafaq (twilight) is instead the redness in the sky. The text below is from ‘Mukhtasar al-Qaduri’, p.23. In some of the books such as ‘Nur al-Idah’ it says the ruling is given on the opinion of the Sahibayn. But this is not the reliable position within the Hanafi School. I will explain the issue of Tarjeeh later.
In ‘Mabsut’ of Imam Muhammad (p.145):
“Abu Hanifa said that Shafaq (twilight) is Whiteness. Abu Yusuf and Muhammad (two students of Abu Hanifa) said Shafaq is redness. Also narrated (by Seegha Tamreed [meaning that this is a weak opinion according to Abu Hanifa]) from Abu Hanifa that Shafaq is redness. The second narration from Abu Hanifa is from Nawadir of Asad. But Dhahir Riwaya from Abu Hanifa is whiteness.
Some of the Scholars supported the position of Sahibayn claiming that we have a narration from Abu Hanifa about that too, and that we have a narration from Abu Hanifa that he left his first opinion and supported the opinion of redness. This issue with is that the narration of redness is from ‘Nawadir’, but in ‘Dhahir Riwaya’ which is the highest authoritative text in the Hanafi school, Abu Hanifa states the opinion of whiteness. The statement of Abu Hanifa leaving his opinion is Shadh (weak) and therefore cannot be taken. In the Hanafi School an opinion narrated in ‘Dhahir Riwaya’ takes precedence over a narration stated in ‘Nawadir’.
The Text is from ‘Tas’heeh’ (p. 64).
After a long discussion and testing the proofs of Shafaq being redness, we come back to the position of ‘Dhahir Riwaya’ which is the official position of Hanafi School. Read the last red line where it says; (‘Tas’heeh’ page 65)
“So it was established that the opinion of Abu Hanifa is the most reliable, as Nasafi has chosen…”
Countries Where Shafaq (White Twilight) Does Not Disappear
In the countries where Shafaq never disappears we have two opinions in the Hanafi School. The first is that there is no Isha and Witr prayer at all. No Ada’ and No Qadha, this means that there is no Isha in its original state (Ada’) nor is there a need to make it up (Qadha). This is the strongest position in Hanafi school and it is supported by huge number of Fuqaha (Some of them Mujtahid fil-Madhab, and most of them are As’hab al-Tarjeeh). Mujtahid fil-Madhab such as Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad. Theoretically they should not leave the madhab and they are able to use the already established principles of the madhab to issue fatwa (rulings) based on Hanafil principles (Usul). As’haab Tarjeeh – examples would be individuals such as Qadikhan, Sarakhsi. It’s those who can chose the stronger opinion if there is more than one opinion available within the madhab, by weighing the evidence for each position and choosing. The second and much weaker opinion is that there is Isha and those who followed this opinion disagreed amongst themselves, which we will look into later.
Firstly the Scholars who said there is no Isha and Witr in our current situation. Imam Nasafi states in ‘Kanz al-Daqaiq’ (p.154):
“Anyone doesn’t find the time of two [Isha and Witr}, it is not compulsory upon him to pray them!”
‘Fatawa Hindia’, volume 1, page 51:
“The one who doesn’t find the time of Isha and Witr, for example he is in a place where Fajr comes as soon as Shafaq goes, or before even Shafaq goes, then it’s not compulsory to pray them two, as it is mentioned in Tab’een…”
So the text is very clear; that Isha and Witr is not compulsory in two situations. The first is if the time between Shafaq disappearing and Fajr rising is very short and the second is if there is no time at all (which is the case in the UK and other parts of the world which are above 48.5 degrees latitude), as the previous article explained.
‘Bahr Raiq’, volume 1, page 425:
The person for whom the time of Isha and Witr does not happen does not have to pray them, and it is as if he lives in the place where Fajr rises before Shafaq going such as Bulgar. Or where it is the case in the shortest nights of the year. There is no compulsion, because there is no pre-condition for the compulsion. And it is the position of Baqqali. It is the same as the one with no arms, as he doesn’t have to wash his arms… But some of the scholars gave a fatwa of them been compulsory. And that is the position of Muhaqqiq…” [Muhaqqiq is ibn Humam. I we will comment on that too].
‘Muheet Burhani’, Volume 1 Page 274:
Some question was presented in the time of Al-Sadr al-Kabeer Burhan al-Aimmah RA, and there was the following text; “We are really confused in our country. That’s because as soon as the sun sets Fajr appears from the other side. Do we have to pray Isha? [Imam] has responded to them; you don’t have to pray the Isha. Also Dhaheer al-Deen used to give fatwa too.” (Fajr appears when whiteness shows in the horizon).
Nur al-Idhah’, (p. 20):
“The one who does not have the time of these two [isha and witr], does not have to pray them.”
The irony is that this is the very first book that beginner students learn when they begin studies in Fiqh (Jurisprudence). Most of the Hanafis teach it in the UK and abroad and it has even been translated into English.
‘Maraqi al-Falah’ commentary of ‘Nur al-Idhah’ (p. 70), confirms all of the above mentioned issues.
Hashia al-Tahtawi, page 178. He confirms the same thing and responds to the hadeeth of the Dajjal which confused some Hanafi scholars, which we will discuss later.
‘Fatawaa Shami’ (volume 1, page 19), just follow the names of the scholars who said there is no Isha and Witr; such as Halwani, and Baqqali. Real Scholars are able to recognise these names and the clout that they hold.
‘Bahr’ (volume 1 page 429), just follow some of the names that are mentioned who also hold this opinion; Halabi, Baqani, Shurunbulali, Nuh Afandi, Imam ibn Nujaim brother of Zain, Haskafi…
These names are in addition to what I mentioned already, i.e; Quduri, Nasafi, Tahtawi, ibn Abideen Shami, Nizamuddeen (Hindia) etc…
So, these are some names of the scholars and authentic books that supported the opinion of no Isha and no Witr. We will now look at the scholars who disagreed with this opinion. The scholars are the following Imam Burhan al Kabeer, Ibn Humam, ibn Shuhna, ibn Amir Hajj, and ibn Qutlubgha
‘Al-Durr al-Mukhtar’ with ‘Shamia’; (volume 2, page 22)
Here is the statement of Kamal, from ‘Fath al-Qadeer’, volume 1, pages 225 – 226. In here he narrates the position of Baqqali, early and latest positions of Halwani, also position of Nasafi. Then supports the position of al-Burhan al-Kabeer.
The Status of Isha and Witr
Halwani in his first stance used to say that Isha must be prayed. But it is ”Qadha”. Al-Burhan al-Kabeer said that Isha must be prayed but without intending the ”Qadha”. In the comment we will see that even in the stance of Burhan it is Qadha. Ibn Humam also said that he shouldn’t intend Qadha.
Actually, the scholars who have a knowledge of Fiqh know that for some act to be ‘Ada’ it has to be performed in its time. All of the Hanafis agreed that the time of Isha does not enter and therefore it is not possible that it can be Adha. As for what Burhan and Kamal mentioned, that was for some other reason. Zaila’e, ibn Abideen and others corrected the text of Burhan RA. Anyway as I said, the official Hanafi position is that this Isha prayer is in fact Qadha!
This text is from Ta’been where Zaila’e confirms that it is Qadha.
Confirmation from ibn Abideen that it is Qadha necessary!!!
There are many more texts which confirm that this Isha according to the Hanafi School of thought is ”Qadha”.
Some of the Hanafi texts say that you have to ”Yuqaddaru”. What does it mean? How do you estimate the time? ”Yuqaddaru” in some of the Hanafi texts is not ”Taqdeer” of guessing and estimating. But it is ”taqdeer” which is ”fe’lan”, which means we consider that time of Isha happened ”Taqdeeran” not ”haqeeqatan”. The reason for that is, we don’t know for 100% if the time occurred or not. Nor do we know for 100% when exactly it entered. So we consider i.e. do ”Taqdeer” that it entered. Therefore we pray it as Qadha, because one of the conditions of validity of a prayer is certainty or strongest thought about time, which is absent here.
Here is an explanation from ibn Abideen.
Hanafis do not estimate the time as Shafis, Malikis and others do. Also, some of the later Hanafis copied the method of estimating from the Shafis and Malikis, which is fine on individual basis. But it is not right to attach it to the Hanafi School, as Hanafis have their own Mu’tamad (relied upon opinion).
To summarise what we have demonstrated thus far:
- The time for Isha and Witr is when Shafaq disappears
- Shafaq is whiteness according to Abu Hanifa and that is the official Hanafi stance.
- In places where Shafaq doesn’t disappear till sunrise, there are two opinions in the Hanafi School. First is that there is no isha there, this is the position of the majority of the Hanafis. And that is Mu’tamad (strongest opinion). The second is that Isha is still compulsory and this opinion is weak
- Even this Isha is not Ada but it is Qadha.
From here we know that the difference between Hanafis who say that there is Isha and the Shafis, Malikis and Hanbalis. That according to these Hanafis this Isha is Qadha. But accordingly to the rest it is Ada.
Is Combining Two or More Prayers at One Time Permissible in the Hanafi School
Prayers are of two types, the compulsory and the optional:
In the optional prayers, you can combine as much as you want as long as you are not praying in the ”Haram” (forbidden) or ”Makrooh” (highly disliked) times.
The Compulsory prayers are of two types;
- ‘Ada’, means praying in its correct time.
2. ‘Qadha’, means the prayers that you were unable to pray in its correct time.
The Qadha prayer, can be prayed these in one time, as much as you want, as long as you avoid the three ”Haram” times.
Ada has two scenarios:
- Combining two prayers at the time of one of them
- Combining two prayers physically with each of them being at its own time (i.e. you pray the Dhuhr at its last time, and you pray the Asr at its beginning time)
The second option, which is in the Hanafi Fiqh books is called ”al-Jam’ al-Suriy” and this is permissible.
Combining two prayers at the time of one of the prayers can occur in two situations:
- During the Hajj
- Without Hajj
In the situation of performing Hajj, it is permissible only for the people who are performing Hajj, and only for four of the prayers; Dhuhr with Asr in Arafaat, and Maghrib with Isha in Muzdalifah.
As for the situation of combining when its not in Hajj, it is not permissible it in the Hanafi school.
Just read the entire passage from “Bahr” volume 1 page 441.
Where There is No Time of Isha, Can One Combine Maghrib, Isha and Fajr?
To understand this issue we need to have a full picture:
- After Sunset we have redness, then whiteness then Sunrise.
- We have no beginning time for Fajr at all.
- We have certainty only about the beginning time of one prayer, and that is Maghrib
- There is however, certainty about the end time of Fajr which is Sunrise.
- Isha in this situation is Qadha according to the Hanafi School for those wishing to pray it.
Based on this, if the time of Maghrib is occupied by its time then where is the time of Fajr? It is not possible that there is no time of Fajr, because there is sunrise. Whenever there is sunrise there is Fajr. But if that time is given to Fajr then where is the time of Maghrib? It is also not possible that there is no Maghrib time, as there is a sunset.
So when are the times of prayer? We have two certainties which are Sunset and Sunrise, but we have nothing else in between these two certainties. Everything else must follow from these two certainties. So, when there is no indication of the beginning time then we disregard the indication and we keep the order between the prayers, so first Maghrib and then Fajr. As for the Qada of Isha, if you want to pray it then if you are Sahib al-Tarteeb then you have to pray it before Fajr and if you are not Sahib al-Tarteeb then you don’t have to pray it before Fajr (you are not Sahib al-Tarteeb if you have five or more Qada prayer to make up, in that situation you can pray the Qada prayers times at any time. If you have less than five prayers to make up then you are Sahib al-Tarteeb and therefore in this situation you must make up the missed prayer before you pray any other fard prayer, as long as certain conditions are met)
The following text is from “Kanzul Daqaiq” about the order between Qadha and Adha and the issue of Sahib al-Tarteeb:
Based on this, combining the Maghrib and Fajr is Jam’ Suriy, and not a Jam’ Haqeeqiy, which has been explained previously.
Are the Issues Presented an Act of Disbelief (Kufr)
There are two different aspects pertaining to this issue. The first is the Mu’tamad position of the Hanafis which is that if there is no time of one of the prayers, then one has to pray four prayers a day and not five. The second is the position of the other schools such as the Malikis and Shafis which then became amalgamated into the Hanafi School by the later Hanafis and that is that when there is no time of one of the prayers, then one has to estimate the time of that prayer and perform it. The question arises whether any of these positions are an act of disbelief (‘kufr’)?
Let’s begin with the position of the other schools. I want to start with the position of the Malikis and Shafis which was followed by the later Hanafis who propagate the method of estimation. Both the Quran and Mutawatir Sunnah prove that each prayer is attached to its time. To now detach time from prayer one would need a similar standard of proof and an Ahad hadith nor Qiyaas (analogy) cannot remove the Hukm (ruling) which is setup by certainty.
The proof that they use to detach the Quranic attachment of time and prayer are following three: The hadith of Miraaj which says that Muslims have to pray five prayers a day, the Hadith of Dajjal and Ijma’ of the Ummah (nation)that there are five prayers a day.
There are three problems with using the hadith of the Miraaj in this circumstance. Firstly, it is an Ahad narration and as such it doesn’t hold the same strength of proof and this is why both the Maturidis and Ash’aris agree that if someone denies the whole of Me’raj he is not considered a disbeliever but is considered wrong. There are a large number of verses and Mutawatir Sunnah that have established that these five prayers are to be performed in their own time. The hadith of the Miraaj does not explicitly detach the prayer from its own time. So the argument to reject something that has been setup by Qati (certain) evidence is very weak.
The Sahabah (radi Allahu anhum) asked Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) about the Dajjal, “O Messenger of Allah, how long will he stay on earth?” He replied, “Forty days; a day like a year, a day like a month, a day like a week, and the rest of the days like your days.” The Sahabah asked, “O Messenger of Allah, on that day which is like a year, will the Salat (prayers) of one day be sufficient for us?” Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) replied, “No. Calculate the time (for prayer).” [Sahih Muslim]
As for the hadith of Dajjal, there are several problems. If you want to detach prayer from its time as a whole then it is impossible to do this using a hadith which is Ahad. The strength of proof provided by Ahaad cannot eradicate the many verses of Quran and Mutawatir Sunnah. In the Hadith of Dajjal, the Prophet (PBUH) explained that this situation will occur for only three days and only in three specific conditions; first day will be like a year, the second day will be like a month and the third day will be the length of a week. Based on this one would only be able to estimate based on two situations. The first is that you have to follow the opinion that says that ahad hadith can specify Qat’i (in our case it is big number of verses and Mutawatir Sunnah). The second is that you can only use this estimation if the length of the days are either as a year, a month or a week. But without meeting these conditions you cannot estimate!
The reason we cannot use the hadith of the Dajjal and to do Qiyaas (analogy) of our situation is that for the validity of Qiyas we have one important condition, which is the issue has to be Ma’qool al-Ma’na (rational matter). That’s because the whole concept of Qiyas is that you derive the illah (reason) of the Hukm (ruling) by using the intellect from the issue which is Mansoos, and to find the illa in the issue which is Ghair Mansoos, the issue of the times of the prayers and the number of prayers is not rational. Meaning that by using the intellect one cannot explain why it is that we have to pray five times a day and why they are specified to take place in exactly these times. Therefore as this issue is Ghair Ma’qool al-Ma’na (not rational) you cannot use Qiyas (which is nothing but using rationale).
There is a Fiqhiy principle which states: “Ma warada Ghair Ma’qool al-Ma’na, uqtusira bihi ‘ala mawrid al-Nass.” The hukm which is has not been setup up based on rationale, has to be restricted to that issue which is specifically mentioned in the text. Also, this hadith of the Dajjal is conflicting with Qati texts, so you have to keep to only the circumstance which is mentioned in it (which is only if a day is as a year, month or week). “Ma kana mukhalifan lil-qias, ghairuhu ‘alaihi la yuqas”. Any hukm which is established opposing qiyaas, then the rest of the cases cannot be compared to it. There are also a few other hadithiy problems too.
There are also some issues with the position that it is Ijma that there are five prayers in a day. Firstly, any Ijma which opposes Quran and Mutawatir sunnah is not valid. There is also ijma which confirms that prayers are attached to the time. Also this ijma is fiqhiy, as for Aqeeda it cannot be taken because for the validity of the second type, we need all sects of Islam to be in. As we know Ja’faris and several Mutazila groups say it is three per day, Hanafis say it is six a day, a big group of Mur’jia and some Mu’tazila said it is twice a day, etc. This ijma is conditional, because of situations such as the following. A lady during her period stops bleeding after sunrise, for her it is only four prayers in that day and if she stops bleeding in the time of asr then three etc. The same is applicable on a person with mental problem who becomes normal after missing some prayers. For him it will be less than five in that day. So we know that this ijma’ is conditional. When there are no exemptions then it becomes five a day. As this lady had her condition, and this other person had his mental condition which allowed them to pray less than 5, similarly we have our own ‘condition’. Therefore they must only be prayed if specific conditions are met. Ijma is only applicable if it meets its own conditions, but it is not applicable if there are different circumstances.
We all know that the times of each of the five prayers is established by Quran and Mutawatir Sunnah. So, rejecting these times and setting up your own by using qiyas, is this permissible? According to Imam Abu Hanifa, if the issue is mentioned in the Quran then we don’t look anywhere else. That’s because the Quran is sufficient! And what do you think about a situation where the Quran is supported by Mutawatir sunnah? Hanafis are the foremost group that uses the intellect and they use this intellect where it should be used perfectly. But where it shouldn’t be used they don’t use it!
In our case we have both of the Quran and Sunnah which explained the times and this issue is not something that the brain can understand. But as for others, I hope that it is the matter where Shubha is in Mahall. In the scenario of Shubha fil-Mahall there is no kufr even if one is aware. Prayer is attached to its specific times, here are some verses from Quran;
“But when you become secure, re-establish [regular] prayer. Indeed, prayer has been decreed upon the believers a decree of specified times.” (4:104)
Prayers are specified explicitly by their exact times in the Quran;
“Establish prayer at the decline of the sun [from its meridian] until the darkness of the night and [also] the Qur’an of dawn. Indeed, the recitation of dawn is ever witnessed.” (17:78)
“So be patient, [O Muhammad], over what they say and exalt [Allah] with praise of your Lord before the rising of the sun and before its setting, and [in part] of the night exalt Him and after prostration.” (50:39-40)
This is hadeeth where the angel Jibreel comes and teaches the exact times of the prayers and leads the prayers for two days. I highlighted the exact places where specific times are mentioned.
There are many other hadeeths where the Prophet (PBUH) attaches the prayers to its own specific times such as, the best deed is the Prayer on its own time, the best deed is the prayer at its beginning time warning the people who miss the times of the prayers and explaining the punishment of the people who sleep and miss their prayers. Anyway the hadith about attaching the prayers to their times is Mutawatir. Therefore, Qiyas which is taken from the hadith of Dajjal cannot eradicate all of the big number of verses and hadith. As mentioned the times of the prayers and number of their Rakaat (cycles) are not rational matters. Therefore, using the intellect in this issue is not permissible. I wish if Muslims would actually use the intellect in the areas that it needs to be used. Sadly in these circumstances they ask you to switch it off. They use it in where it is prohibited to do so, for example in issues such as comparing God to Prophet Adam (PBUH).
To sum up the situation because they attempted to do ijtihad it is not classed as a kufr even though they went against big list of verses and Mutawatir Sunnah. Because they used the Qiyas in issues in which Qiyaas cannot be used. The reason is that we have Shubha fil-Mahall!
Is it the stance of the Hanafis an issue of disbelief? If someone denies five times a day prayer in normal circumstance, then it is classed as Kufr, accordingly to the Hanafis and the rest of Ahl Sunna. But if someone says that in certain circumstances you have to pray less than five prayers in a day, then this is not Kufr. But in fact this is the truth in some of the situations such as the examples mentioned previously, a woman who finishes her monthly bleeding after sunrise has to pray only four prayers in that day, if she stops in the time of Asr then only three, etc. But is it not the case that purity is the condition of compulsion? Yes, indeed. Time is also condition of compulsion. It is the same as there are four fards in Wudu. But that is generally speaking.
But if there is a person who has had both feet chopped off, he will have only three faraid. And he doesn’t have to wash the air which is attached to his shin. Neither does he have to put on an artificial foot to wash it nor does he have to wash the artificial leg if it is not present. Faraid of wudhu for him would be three. A person becomes mukallaf (when acts are compulsory on a person) after missing some of the prayers of a day, he has to pray only the rest of them when the number missed are less than five. Therefore rejecting five prayers is only dangerous if it is done without any conditions.
Did Hanafis comment on the issue of not having the time of Isha and the rest of the conditions in which we in the UK find ourselves? Or can this only be found in the texts from Ahmad Radha Khan and a few other Deobandi Moulanas who took the Shafi/Maliki position? As we all saw, all of the top Hanafi Scholars of the past spoke about this scenario such as Halwani, Baqqali, al-Burhan al-Kabeer, and al-Sagheer, Quduri, Nasafi, etc. They didn’t forego explaining its ruling, because they were aware of this condition. Hanafis spoke explicitly about the situation when the twilight of the sunset and sunrise fails to disappear and these texts are nearly in each single Fiqh book. There are terminologies that we must learn, because knowing Arabic language is not enough to understand Fiqh books. As an example just pick up the book of Nasafi and try to understand it.
My advice is to just ignore these brothers who have been looking to criticize us without ever bringing any evidence. Inshallah after these posts we will display some of their fatwas to find out if they are on the level to understand fiqh. You have seen that even now they have not answered a single question or presented a single proof.
Usul – Principles
There are three main problems with estimating according to the Hanafi School of thought. The first Fiqhiy principle states; “La yu’taddu bilqiyas fi Muqabalat al-Nass wa la ‘inda wujoodihi” which means Qiyas is disregarded when it is opposing the text, and it is also disregarded when a text exists. The second Fiqhiy principle is “La madkhala lil’aqli fee nas al-abdal” The intellect cannot establish religious replacements. The third is the Fiqhiy principles; “La Qiyas fee Ghair Ma’qul al-Ma’na”. Using the analogy (qiyas) in irrational issues is not valid. These are the main principles that are connected to this issue. There are other smaller principles but for now we will look at these three.
La yu’taddu bilqiyas fi Muqabalat al-Nass wa la ‘inda wujoodihi” (Qiyas is disregarded when it is opposing the text, and it is disregarded when a text exists). I quoted some of the verses that mention that prayer has been attached to its time by God and the Prophet (PBUH. As long as these verses are there we cannot use qiyaas to setup new times by disregarding the Qur’anic times. We all know that as soon as the sun sets there is a twilight everywhere in the sky (East-West). If this whiteness is from the west then that is the time of Maghrib and when it is on the east that is the time of Fajr. Both are confirmed by text. So as long as the textual condition is met we don’t need qiyas. So estimating the time of Maghrib and Fajr is not valid. But estimating the time of Isha is not valid because of the other two principles which I will explain. Also, if you follow the al-Mu’allaq bi al-Shart, Mafhoom al-Shart and few other usuli principles then these texts are creating the Ta’leeq, and Shart. That’s because the compulsion of the Prayer is attached to the time and this means out of the time it’s not compulsory. “But when you become secure, re-establish [regular] prayer. Indeed, prayer has been decreed upon the believers a decree of specified times.” (4:104)
“La madkhala lil’aqli fee nas al-abdal” The intellect cannot establish religious replacements. For example, if you are ill then you pray sitting, if you cannot then you pray by laying and using ima. That much is confirmed by text. But what about if you are unable to do ima? What is the replacement of ima? The text didn’t establish any replacement, which means that is the last thing you can do. And it’s not permissible to use the intellect to setup a replacement such as ” why you have to pray by moving one arm or one foot or eyes etc.” If you want to pray then you have to use the water for wudhu. If there is no water then the text said that you use the clean part of the ground. But what if you are stuck somewhere in the cold winter, where there is no access to any part of ground? You are not allowed to setup a replacement by using the intellect and stating for example that one should ”use the air, or use fabric”. So the time of prayer is established by text in the same manner. Therefore, what to do when there is not that specific time nor any other replacement established by text? The Hanafi School said that there is no replacement and we do not artificially create a new time by using the intellect. Therefore one group of Hanafis said that there is no Isha at all and the second group of Hanafis said that we consider that Isha happened, but because we don’t know exactly when this occurred then we pray the Isha as Qadha. So, this whole issue is only applicable on Isha, and not Maghrib and Fajr. As for those two, no replacement is needed as we have the condition which is setup by the text.
The following text from Hidaya, if you follow the red bit it states that a replacement cannot be setup by intellect. He was speaking about the non-permissibility of praying by using the eyes or eyebrows.
“La Qiyas fee Ghair Ma’qul al-Ma’na”, using analogy (qiyas) in non-rational based issues of the religion is not valid. In the application of Qiyas there are four important things:
- Illa means the reason for something, for example intoxication
- Asl is the issue which is mentioned in the text, for example wine
- Far’ is the issue in which we have the illa of the asl, for example Vodka
- Hukm on the level of fiqh, in our example it is that it would be Haraam.
For the validity of the qiyas, the ”illa” should be rational. Because qiyas is when you have a reason of prohibition in some issues then one tries to find it in other issues. If it is there then it takes the Hukm of Asl, otherwise it doesn’t. So if illa is not something which could be understood by the intellect, then how can you find what is the actual illa and does it exist in other issues? The questions that arise in the case of prayer being rational are that: Why is it five times a day? Why are these five times spread in the way that they are? What makes these times different to other times? If the answer is I don’t know then how are you going to compare your estimated times to the times which is stated by text?
Here is the text from ‘Usul Shashi’. Here are five conditions of the validity of qiyas:
- Qiyas shouldn’t go against text (if you remember our first comment)
- It shouldn’t damage the issue which is already stated in the text (it’s again our situation with regards to Maghrib and Fajr)
- It shouldn’t be an irrational issue.
- Reasoning should be religious and not linguistic
- The issue shouldn’t be on the matters which are stated in the text. (Applicable on estimating the time of Maghrib and Fajr)
Before looking into the detailed Shuruh (commentary) books, we need to solve a few issues:
- The text we have presently encountered are not talking about the time of the two Fard prayers when they merge into one. So, the question is that what if you have the time of two prayers in one period as we do in the case of Maghrib and Fajr when astronomical twilight does not disappear?
- Why is it that we are allegedly the only one to have understand this issue?
- This is insinuating that one can combine prayers. But we know that Hanafis don’t combine. So, how is this possible?
- What about the great Deobandi and Brelawi scholars, why have they supported estimating the time?
- The actual reason for Shafi and Malikis using estimation is because the time of two prayers have occurred within one time. So if you cannot read two prayers in one time can you say for sure that estimation is permissible?
- Why is it that there is no Hanafi Scholar has said that it’s permitted to combine Maghrib and Isha in the time when there’s no time of Isha?
We will discuss these and a few more issues.
Two Fard Prayers Which are Found to be at the Same Time
The following text explains that if you find the time for prayer, then you have to pray. In terms of the two Fard prayers being in one time it is explained in the same page just few words before it. As well as it is explained in other places of the book and these conditions and issues are left to the correct understanding of the student as Nabulsi and ibn Nujaim said. So, if you find the times of two prayers at once then you to pray them. And you are not exempted unless the time does not occur, in our case, the time of Maghirba and Fajr occurs continuously (i.e.: astronomical twilight). Here is the same text of Nasafi, if you follow the red box, “And time of Isha and witr from after shafaq until subh.” He is saying that time of both of them are same! And you can pray them in the same time or separately as long as you pray the Isha first as he said right after that (between two red boxes).
The issue of two Fard prayers being in one time is very well known in Hanafi School. Here is the Inaya of Baburti on Hidaya; he is explaining the disagreement between Abu Hanifa and Sahibain about the time of Witr; so according to Imam Abu Hanifa, the time of Isha and Witr is exactly same. But accordingly to Sahibain time of Witr is after practically performing the Isha prayer. Baburti is explaining the stance of Abu Hanifah, if you follow the red; “the reason for that is, the Witr according to Abu Hanifa is Fard Amali. And if two compulsory prayers will come together at one time, so the exact same time will be the time of both of them. It is the same as Fard of Ada and Fard of Qada.” As you see, one time being a time of two fard prayers is not a strange or new phenomenon for the Hanafis (real ones).
Here is the quote from Laknawi, also confirming the same thing;
When two compulsory times will come together, the same exact time will be the time for each of them.
Here is the text about two Fards being in the same time which are Isha and Witr.
So the question becomes can you combine Isha and Witr? As they are both Fard prayers. The answer is that you are not combining them but you are praying each of them on its own time and this time happens to be the exact same time as each other. So, it is now your option to pray them in one go, or pray them separately.
Do you have to estimate a time between them? Why does one need to estimate the time when the time of each of them is present? The Quran explained the time of Isha and Mashhoor Sunnah explained the time of Witr. So, why do you need to estimate? As I said previously, in Hanafi School there are two options, to hold that the time is there, so you have to pray or that the time is not there, so you don’t have to pray.
By this we have answered the following questions too:
- This is insinuating that one can combine prayers. But we know that Hanafis don’t combine. So, how is this possible?
- Why is it that there is no Hanafi Scholar who said that it’s permitted to combine Maghrib and Isha in the time when there’s no time of Isha?
To add regarding the 6th question; Hanafi scholars didn’t say that you can combine, because it’s not really combining. But instead it is when the times of two prayers are exactly same.
As you see, two prayers being in one time is not something new which would cause the real hanafi fuqaha to panic. It was well known and well established.
So, that’ why Nasafi, Nur Idhah, Marginani and the many others mentioned that the issue of there not being the time for Isha. But then didn’t explain how to prayer Maghrib and Fajr in this situation, as the time for both of them happened in the same time. And they never spoke about estimating, because it well known among Hanafis about what to do when you have two Fard prayers at the same time. So, all of the Fuqaha mention our situation but did no explain what to do, the reason is that they have explained that in other places, including the very page that has been mentioned. As Nabulsi and Ibn Nujaim said; Fuqaha may mention some issues generally without mentioning its details just by assuming that the student will understand it. An example of this is that it is not mentioned in any of the books of Fiqh that one can wink at their wife, but it is mentioned that everything between husband and wife is permissible except the exceptions to this rule, and we see this throughout the entire corpus of Fiqh.
From here we get the answer to a very important question which is that why is it that Burhan Bukhari, Nasafi, Marghinani, Shurunbulali and many other fuqaha mentioned the condition that we face but then didn’t explain what to do? They didn’t mention how to estimate. The answer to this is very simple, they answered this question perfectly. But sadly people are looking for a Shafi answer and not the Hanafi answers!
There being one time for two Fard prayers is an issue which was not unknown by Hanafis. It was well known and practiced on daily bases. So when they speak about it they don’t struggle to explain, but simply refer to it. Please see some more examples. Here Baburti again speaks about two Fard prayers at one time, Dhuhr and Asr in the time of Dhuhr in Arafat. He is discussing about Adhan been read only once for Dhuhr and Asr. He is giving a proof why it is one Adhan. Please follow the red box, Adhan is read once and not repeated for Asr. That’s because these two Fard prayers came in one time, that’s why one Adhan is sufficient as Isha and Witr! As we see, the scholars are not struggling to explain these issues it’s simply said ”as Isha and Witr”.
If you have some free time, then just read our books of Fiqh to find that the real Fuqaha have never panicked about basic issues and they are well understood. They didn’t have to issue any warning or sign petitions. But they would simply refer to these situations by saying two Fards in one time as Ada and Qada or as Isha and Witr etc. And no one would EVER ask for estimation because if the time which is mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah is present then we pray, if not than we do no pray or it is Qada.
The text shown has Nur Idhah and Maraqi at the top, and Tahtawi at the bottom. The beginning of the Isha and Witr when Shafaq goes according to the differences of opinions as we mentioned earlier, until just before Subh Sadiq, based on Ijma. And the Hadith of Jibreel leading the prayer, does not prove that the time which came after is not included. Prophet PBUH said; God has increased your prayers by one extra, and that is odd. So pray it between Isha until Fajr. Witr shouldn’t be prayed before Isha, because of this hadith. And because of the importance of keeping the order between Fard of Isha and Wajib of Witr according to Imam Abu Hanifa.
The person for whom the prayer is not connected to time for them the two prayers such as Isha and Witr, where this occurs, then one does not need to pray. For example, he lives in Bulgar, and the Far East where Fajr starts before Shafaq disappearing in the shortest nights of the year. That is because the condition of the compulsion is not there, which is time.
In the next text both Shurunbulali (on the top) and Tawtawi (bottom) explain why you cannot estimate the time as claimed by those who use the hadith of the Dajjal. They said that “in the hadith of Dajjal there is no time at all” and tahtawi further states; “As for the hadith of Dajjal it is stated that it goes against qiyas, so we cannot do qiyas of other situation based on this hadeeth.
Please think about the text by keeping the two principles of Nabulsi and Ibn Nujaim in your mind
If the author of the above text is familiar with this condition of Shafaq (astronomical twilight) not disappearing then what is the reason for him not explaining when to perform the prayer? As I said there are two opinions, firstly that there is no Isha or that there is Qadha of Isha. So the author is supporting the first. But we support the second.
Ibn Abideen spoke about this issue in his book ‘Fatawa Shami’, if you follow the red lines; “This is because Fajr occurs before Shafaq has disappeared. It means that they only do not have the time for Isha and Witr. But that is not right! Because there is also no time for Fajr too. This is because for Fajr to start there has to be darkness before it and there is no darkness in our situation but Shafaq (twilight) occurs throughout the entire time.”
This text is proving that the start time of Fajr also does not occur (as those who wrote one of the petitions said). So according to this, after sunset there has to be darkness then light from the East. But if the light comes from the East with no darkness before it then this is not the valid time for Fajr. This statement is going against what I stated, that the time of Fajr starts as soon as there will be light on the horizon. Based on this, I said that from sunset till sunrise technically there is time for both Maghrib and Fajr. Magrib because of Sunset and Shafaq. Fajr because of the Light in the horizon and Sunrise. Now follow what Ibn Abideen has to say about this issue (no start of Fajr, due to no darkness).
“The disagreement between the Scholars of the School is only about the compulsion of Isha and Witr only. We have never seen anyone who said that Fajr is also missed in this situation! But they called it ‘Fajr’. That’s because ‘Fajr’ according to them is the name for the spreading light in the horizon, as it is confirmed in the authentic hadeeth and as we quoted that there is no condition of ”darkness” before it. And more than that we don’t agree that there is no darkness in this situation”
From these passages of Ibn Abideen, we have learnt the following things;
- For the time of Fajr to enter we do not need ”darkness”. Therefore as soon as there is light spread in the horizon that is the time of Fajr.
- Scholars of the School called ‘Fajr’ as ‘Fajr’, and none of them classed this prayer as missed.
- He didn’t fully agree that there is no darkness.
The question arises that is Ibn Abideen failing to explain what one should do in this situation? The answer is that he is not failing to answer what one should do, he in fact explaining the situation. He is stating the time of Fajr is present, he is also stating that our scholars called this prayer as Fajr and not a missed prayer. So if it is Fajr then pray the Fajr at its time which was explained a few pages before this. Further, Ibn Abideen explains the meaning of ”Taqdeer of Isha”. So he states that “for us to believe in the Qadha of Isha there has to be its Ada time. But if there is no Ada time then how can some Hanafis say that it is Qadha? The answer is that we do ”taqdeer of the time of Isha” and this is how we believe that Isha is Qadha. The meaning of ”taqdeer” is that we consider that the time of Isha is present.
Ibn Abideen continues on the next page. At the beginning of the page he explains that the meaning of taqdeer is to consider the time is present, so Isha becomes Qadha. In the second paragraph he explains the root of the disagreement between the three scholars; Halwani, Baqqali and Burhan. He mentions that one must exclude the meaning of ”Taqdeer” as explained by the Shafeis, that you estimate the time of Isha based on the country which is closest to you if Shafaq does not occur in your location. In the next paragraph he mentions that ”Estimating the time as Shafeis do” is not valid according to the Hanafis at all! In the last paragraph he completely disregards the Shafei method of estimating.
This is very clear from Ibn Abideen and he is explicitly rejecting the usage of estimation. He is even mentioning estimation as the “Shafei time” several times (for those who may not understood the ramifications of his statement). So why have people brought forward the position of the Shafi School and then claimed that this is the position of the Hanafi School? If you want to take the opinion of Shafei or Malik that is fine. But do not fabricate the situation and say this is the position of the Hanafis this is not the behaviour of a genuine Muslim.
In this page he mentions the names of the scholars who supported that there is no Isha whatsoever, and they are; Kanz, Durar, Multaqa, Baggali, Halwani, Marghinani, Shurunbulali, Halabi. And the last two comprehensively rejected what Kamal ibn Humam stated. Ibn Abideen then quotes what Ibn Humam said. Basically Ibn Humam says that you have to pray five regardless. But if times are there then within these times, otherwise five prayers are still wajib, he also says that we cannot compare five times prayers to four limbs of wudu. Then he mentions the hadeeth of Dajjal.
In this page Ibn Abideen comprehensively refutes ibn Humam. He confirms that the explanation about the four limbs of wudu is correct. Then he gives examples from the five times of prayers. He then mentions many situations where Muslims do not have to pray five times a day, but instead pray less than the five prayers. At the end he says that the example of the four limbs was correct and this is the reason for Halwani accepting it. He then explicitly states that when you do not have an arm then you do not have to wash the air which is attached to the place that has been cut. And that you do not have to estimate using some the size of the arm that is remaining up to the shoulder and similary you do not have to estimate the time for the Isha that has been lost, to include it into the time which belongs to Fajr or the time that belongs to Maghrib!
What else do you need? Ibn Abideen in the previous page has refuted the entire concept of estimation used by the Shafeis. In this page he is giving you an even better explanation by saying that if your arms are chopped off, then you don’t estimate to apply wtaer on the left over part of the arm! In this page Ibn Abideen is responding to the other schools who estimate the time.
In this page ibn Abideen continues to speak about the impermissibility of estimating the time for Isha according to the Hanafi School. He says that to estimate you have to give over the time of Fajr or Magrib to the lost time of Isha which is not permissible. In the second paragraph Ibn Abideen goes back and reminds us that Hanafi scholars who said that there was Isha, meant it was Qadha and not Ada. He then states that neither Burhan nor ibn Humam estimated the time for prayer, but they rather said that the time of Isha is considered to be there. But they didn’t support the Shafei way of estimating. In the next paragraph he says that Ibn Humam didn’t mention the hadith of Dajjal to support the ”estimating” but he instead was speaking about the five prayers being compulsory. In the paragraph containing one line Ibn Abideen says that Ibn Amir Hajj and Ibn Qutlubgha supported the position of Ibn Humam. In the last paragraph he states that we have two supported opinions in our school and our opinion which states that it is compulsory through qada is supported by Mujtahid which is Shafei.
So he is saying that there is no estimation in the Hanafi School! That no Hanafi ever supported estimation! We don’t give away the time of Fajr and Maghrib to Isha! Even Hanafis who said that you have to pray Isha didn’t say you have to estimate. In the Hanafi School there are two positions, that there is no Isha at all or that there is Qadha of Isha. Hanafis who mentioned the hadith of the Dajjal, quoted it to support the position of there being five prayers a day, and not to support the estimation. So in each single page there are several statements of ”no estimation”!
I am not denying that Deobandis and Brelawis follow the positon of the Shafeis and Malikis. So, we have three positions, two belong to the Hanafi school, and one that is practised by some Hanafis who in fact follow the Shafei or Maliki position. But we prefer to follow the pure Hanafi position, this is my methodology and the methodology of my institute
As I stated, our scholars spoke about this issue explicitly, intensively, obviously and in nearly all of the books. But if people do not understand the books that they are teaching, we cannot help them. My method has always been that if the later Hanafis such as Deobandis and Brelawis wish to follow the Shafei, Maliki or Hanbali School that is their prerogative, but we prefer to follow the classical and pure Maturdi Aqeedah and Hanafi Fiqh. As you have seen our position is completely in line with the Hanafi School. We are always happy to teach those who want to learn the pure classical positons of our scholars and our School.