Edited by Muhammad Iqbal
Last year, one of my students has published a statement from me about the time of three prayers ‘Maghrib, Isha and Fajr‘ when there is no time of Isha. I think readers still remember the mess that created by Drama Queens from the UK as well Canada about this issue. Then, over several days I have explained all of the matters pertaining to this issue on my Facebook account. My explanation was also posted on my blog in June 2015. (you can read it here; https://shaykhatabekshukurov.com/2015/06/28/prayer-and-fasting-when-the-time-for-isha-does-not-occur/ )
Then Drama queens disappeared, but there was another game where two molanas challenged us for debate. After contacting them, one of them referred us to the second, and the second said he never challenged me. Again after nearly a year they’ve sent one of them to debate me. And this guy who had no any credibility, that he could not even understand fiqh, came to debate. You can watch it here; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ac9c4HfMXgs
They didn’t present any proof, nor any text or anything for that matter except for misquoting verses which they mistranslated, and only repeating their incorrect opinion several times in the hope that repeating the error many times would make the error to be right.
Within that time I’ve written an open letter to Mufti Taqi about Mortgage in Islam in January 2016. https://shaykhatabekshukurov.com/2016/01/31/mortgages-an-open-letter-to-sheikh-taqi-uthmani/
Finally last week I’ve got an email from the followers of Mufti Taqi, with a word document attached. It was a response from Mufti Taqi clarifying the issue of Isha where there is no time. I want to thank Mufti Taqi for clarifying his position and the position of Deobandis in his response. Obviously he didn’t present hanafi side except he mentioned only one opinion of hanafis where we say; ”if no time, then no prayer”. Then he supported Shafei position of estimating and attributed that to Hanafi school, as deobandis usually do. Hanafis class this isha as qadha, that’s why we don’t need to estimate the time as qadha is valid any time except three. This isha is Ada in shafei that is why they have to estimate and Deobandis follow them.
The arguments that Mufti Taqi brought as a response to me are exactly the same ones which I already tackled in my article a year ago. He didn’t bring anything new at all, that’s why I am not going to give a time to respond to it. Just I advice the readers after reading his response which his followers sent me last week, to read my article which I’ve written a year ago so that everything is clarified.
At the end I want to say that now we know that normal time limit for the responses is about a year after sending the letter. Means we have to wait about six months before we get his reply about the mortgage.
Here I am leaving you with the response of Mufti Taqi Usmani.
An-Nawwas b. Sam`an reported that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) made a mention of the Dajjal one day in the morning. He (ﷺ) sometimes described him to be insignificant and sometimes described (his turmoil) as very significant (and we felt) as if he were in the cluster of the date-palm trees. When we went to him (to the Holy Prophet) in the evening and he read (the signs of fear) in our faces, he (ﷺ) said:
What is the matter with you? We said: Allah’s Messenger, you made a mention of the Dajjal in the morning (sometimes describing him) to be insignificant and sometimes very important, until we began to think as if he were present in some (near) part of the cluster of the date-palm trees. Thereupon he (ﷺ) said: I harbor fear in regard to you in so many other things besides the Dajjal. If he comes forth while I am among you, I shall contend with him on your behalf, but if he comes forth while I am not amongst you, a man must contend on his own behalf and Allah would take care of every Muslim on my behalf (and safeguard him against his evil). He (Dajjal) would be a young man with twisted, contracted hair, and a blind eye. I compare him to `Abd-ul-`Uzza b. Qatan. He who amongst you would survive to see him should recite over him the opening verses of Sura Kahf (xviii). He would appear on the way between Syria and Iraq and would spread mischief right and left. O servant of Allah! adhere (to the path of Truth). We said: Allah’s Messenger, how long would he stay on the earth? He (ﷺ) said: For forty days, one day like a year and one day like a month and one day like a week and the rest of the days would be like your days. We said: Allah’s Messenger, would one day’s prayer suffice for the prayers of day equal to one year? Thereupon he (ﷺ) said: No, but you must make an estimate of time (and then observe prayer)…. (translation from Sunnah.com)
Ruling of prayers in places where there is uneven day and night
From this ḥadīth, the ruling of prayers in places where the night and day are uneven becomes known. For example there are places where there is not time for ishā’ and other places where the day or night are longer than 24 hours. The scholars (fuqahā’) of old and recent have spoken regarding the ruling of performing ṡalāh in these places. We intend here to put forth a concise word regarding this issue with some detail, because Muslims today reside in many of these places. There is also an academic need demanding a realization of the legal ruling regarding ṡalāh and fasting therein. We ask Allah for the ability for the correct just as he loves and is pleased with, He is the giver of ability and The Guide to the straight path.
Know, the places with uneven timings are divided into three;
1) Places where the duration of night and day are completed in 24 hours but certain times of ṡalāh with their apparent signs are not found. For example the vanishing of twilight (shafaq).
2) Places where the duration of night and day are completed in 24 hours and the times of all ṡalāh with their apparent signs are found expect that some of these times are very short which makes the division between it (the time of ṡalāh) and the following time (for the next ṡalāh) very small.
3) Places where the duration of night and day are not completed in 24 hours, rather the night remains for some seasons and day for some seasons which continues for a long period.
The first type: Places where signs for some timings (of ṡalāh) are absent
As for the first type, places where the duration of the night and day occur in 24 hours, but in some seasons the time for ishā’ is absent. They are places in the North that are 48.5 degrees latitude or higher than that, for example in Paris the shafaq does not disappear (it is at 49 degrees latitude) from 11 June to the beginning of July every year. The shortest night in this area (Paris) is 7 hours and 47 minutes and that is on 21st June. Indeed the shafaq during this period remains on the horizon throughout the night until the sunrises. The higher the latitude in the North, the period for the absence of ‘ishā’ increases. For example the shafaq does not disappear in London (it is at 51 degrees latitude in the North) between 25 May to 17 July (in other words for 1 month and 23 days) and in Edinburgh and Glasgow (which are both at 56 degrees latitude in the North) between 5 May and 7 August (3 months and 3 days). Likewise the period of the absence of the sign of ‘ishā’ in the summer months increases the higher the latitude of the place in the North. To such an extent that at 65 degrees latitude, places such as Norway, Sweden and Finland, the shafaq does not disappear from 7 April to 3 September. The shortest night in these areas is only the duration of 1 hour and 57 minutes. That is on the 21st May.
The time of ‘ishā’ begins at its known sign, which is the disappearance of shafaq. The shafaq does not disappear in these places in the mentioned dates. The known time for ‘ishā’ does not occur therein, so what is the ruling of the ‘ishā’ in these places?
When the fuqahā’ spoke about this issue, then it was when the case of the city of Bulghar was presented to them. It was a city that occurred at 55 degrees latitude in the north, as Imām al-Marjānī has mentioned in his book ‘Nāẓūrat al-Ḥaqq p.84 or at 50 degrees latitude as was mentioned by al-Qalqashandī in Ṣubḥ al-A’shā 4/462, al-Qalqashandī also mentioned that its length was 80 degrees.
The fuqahā’ had differed in regards to the ruling of ‘ishā’ in Bulghar and places similar to it where the shafaq does not disappear. A group of ‘ulamā’ held the position that in these places the obligation of ‘ishā’ is dropped and that is because the reason for the obligation is the time, and that is not found. This position is attributed to the ḥanafī scholars Shams al-A’immah al-Ḥalwānī and is preferred by al-Shurunbulālī as is mentioned in Radd al-Muḥtār 1/362 and al-Ḥalabī in Sharḥ al-Munyah 1/230.
Another group of ‘ulamā’ held position that ‘ishā’ is not dropped, rather it is obligatory upon them to pray ‘ishā’ by estimating (taqdīr) its time. The method of estimating is differed over, as it will come ahead. The opinion was chose by al-Burhān al-Kabīr, al-Muḥaqqiq Ibn al-Humām, his two students Ibn Amīr al-Ḥājj and al-Qāsim ibn al-Quṭlūbughā from the ḥanafīs. This is the same position held by the shāfi’īs as is found in Mughnī al-Muḥtāj 1/123 and preferred by al-Qarāfī from the mālikīs as is found in Ḥāshiyat al-Ṣāwī ‘alā al-Dardīr 1/225.
The first group (those who hold ‘ishā’ to be dropped) take evidence from the verse in the Qur’ān ‘Indeed, the prayer is on the believers prescribed (at) fixed times ‘(Surah al-Nisā:103). This indicates that the obligation of ṡalāh is bound by timings (awqāt). If the time is absent, than the ṡalāh is no longer an obligation. Ibn ‘Ᾱbidīn mentioned that according to al-Ḥalwānī, he would give the verdict (fatwā) of the obligation to make up the prayer (qadhā’), but then agreed with al-Baqqālī when he sent to al-Ḥalwānī regarding the one who asked him the ruling about the person who drops a ṡalāh from the 5 prayers, will he have disbelieved? He (al-Baqqālī) responded to the questioner ‘the one whose hands are cut or his feet are cut how many limbs are obligatory to wash?’ He (the questioner) said ‘3 limbs (meaning the face, head and the hands or feet depending which was cut off) because the 4th is absent’. He said ‘Likewise ṡalāh’. That reached al-Ḥalwānī and he liked it and turned to the position of al-Baqqālī of it (qadhā’) not being an obligation.
As for those who held the second view, that the obligation of ‘ishā’ remains by way of estimation, they then take evidence from the ḥadīth of this chapter, the ḥadīth about Dajjāl (mentioned in the beginning). Here the Messenger of Allah orders them to perform their ṡalāh in these abnormal days by estimating the times. This deduction is apparent based on the opinion that the length of the days of Dajjāl are a literal length by the slowing of the motions of the sun or the earth. As or those who understood it to be a form of magic or illusion, as we have proceeded by mentioning the opinion of al-Tūribishtī (also written as al-Turbushtī), then it is possible to say that man is responsible for that which he witnesses. So he will deal with it as if it was day, even if the reason to that is magic or an illusion. When the Prophet (saws) ordered that they must estimate the timings of ṡalāh, it becomes clear that that is the ruling for whenever the day is abnormally long. Indeed he will pray ‘ishā’ despite, apparently, the time of ‘ishā’ not commencing.
So analogy will be made with those areas where the shafaq does not disappear the whole night and the time of ‘ishā’ does not apparently appear. They will pray ‘ishā’ by estimation.
‘Allāmah Hārūn ibn Bahā’ al-Dīn al-Marjānī had written a work analysing this issue by the name of ‘Nāẓūrat al-Ḥaqq fī Fardhiyyat al-‘ishā’ wa in lam Yaghib al-Shafaq’. I have not seen it published as of yet but a received a manuscript copy from the library of Shaykh Muḥibb Allah al-Rāshidī, known as ‘Maktabat Pīr Jhandū’ in Sa’īd Ᾱbād, Sind. The author prefers the second view (the remaining of the obligation of ‘ishā’) and has brought convincing evidences. He has responded to the evidences of the first camp with solid speech. He (al-Marjānī) states:
‘’A summarized explanation is that to state that the timings are the causes for the obligation of ṡalāh and its presence are conditional to establish its signs, it is an untellable position. We do not accept the absence of the timings is by the absence of its signs and nor the dropping of ṡalāh due to its absence. If we were to hypothetically agree to that Even if it was assumed: What is identified as an observed event by categorical pronouncement of the lawgiver is: early morning, noon, evening, late evening and night. With respect to such [events as] the lengthening of the shadow and the disappearance of twilight, were it to be established as a condition, it would have only been established by conjectural proof and by involvement of the intellect, because the ambiguity on the confines of the timings and the separations of the endpoints has not been elucidated in our subject except by solitary reports and narrations of conjectural import’’.
As for what Ibn Ᾱbidīn narrated regarding al-Ḥalwānī accepting the position of al-Baqqālī by the evidence of the one whose hands or feet are cut off, then al-Marjānī responds to it with the following:
Some later scholars took this incident from al-Zāhidī and they brag with it and confuse the true belief… despite their claim that the al-Baqqālī (the one they frequently mention), who interacted with al-Ḥalwānī, is Zayn al-Mashā’ikh Abū al-Fadhl Muḥammad ibn Abī al-Qāsim al-Khawārizmī (student of Jār Allah al-Zamakhsharī, author of Tafsīr al-Kashshāf), he (al-Khawārizmī) came later, passed away 586H…. How is it possible for him to be a contemporary of al-Ḥalwānī and discuss this issue with him? Indeed the death date of al-Ḥalwānī is 448/449H…. It is possible that the Muftī who gave to verdict of dropping (meaning the obligation of qadhā’) is another man from the al-Baqqāliyyīn who would be unknown. Whoever it is, al-Baqqālī was a Mu’tazilī in creed and it is clear from the speech of al-Zāhidī his (al-Baqqālī’s) fanaticism for that sect.
Then he done analogy upon the amputated hands and feet without a general cause (‘illah muṭṭaridah) and nor is it inclusive for the analogy which is from the conditions for it to be correct. Indeed that which is ordered for in the text (naṡṡ) in the case of ablution is washing of specific limbs. In our case that which is ordered is the performing of ṡalāh in the evening and a time at night with the possibility of the time not being established at all, it is not doubt possible. If the cause of the time and its condition is established through a definitive (qaṭ’ī) text, then obedience is based on the ability let alone that which negates with it a defining sign for the establishment of a fixed period of time’.
‘Because of that ‘Allāmah Muḥaqqiq Kamāl al-Dīn Ibn al-Humām objected to it with his saying ‘’The pondering person should not doubt in that fact that there is a difference between the absence of the place of obligation (maḥall al-fardh) and between the absence of a cause that has been made a sign for the established obligation in and of itself (meaning the obligation) and it is permissible to have numerous signs for one thing. So the negation of time does negate the sign (of the ṡalāh) but the negation of evidence on a thing does not necessitate by its negation the possibility of another evidence. Indeed (another evidence) is found and it is that which the traditions about the night journey (isrā’) agree upon in making 5 ṡalāh an obligation after that it was initially ordered to pray 50. Then the matter was fixed on 5 as a general religious (shar’an āmman) duty for people from all places. There were no (different) details from one place to another…. Because of this the Prophet (saws) said ‘5 ṡalāh Allah has obligated on the servants’.
Then al-Marjānī goes on to say: ‘Then it is not conceded that time is a cause because the cause is the continuation of the blessings of Allah on his servants. But the timings are the place where they occur, so ṡalāh is attributed to it and it (the timings) are placed as the causes for ṡalāh so the rulings tends to return to it as ease for the servants. No amount of blessing is known that one should be grateful for than fajr ṡalāh or any other ṡalāh. It is a fine matter that cannot be measured. Thus, the passing of the time will take the place of its existence with regards to the applicability of the obligation of prayer upon its occurrence. Even if it is regarded as a cause, we do not accept that the time which is a cause is absent, because the duration of night and day in a land where the sun does not rise is twenty-four hours, whether the night and day are equivalent or they vary in length and shortness.
It should not be said:
“The time that is regarded as a cause for the obligation is not unrestricted, but rather each prayer has its specific timing. Hence, ‘isha’ has a specific time distinguished from maghrib and other prayers. If the time of ‘isha’ is stipulated such that it enters before the disappearance of twilight, it no longer has a specific time as the time of maghrib extends until the disappearance of twilight.”
(This is) Because we say: the extension of the time of maghrib is from sunset until the twilight (sets), whether it disappears or not. After sunset, when the duration of time for the setting of twilight passes in (normal) days and (equatorial) lands, the time of maghrib will exit and the time of ‘Isha will enter. As such, each prayer will have a specific time distinguished from the other’’.
The weak servant (may Allah forgive him) says: The opinion for the obligation of ‘ishā’ to remain in these places is preferred over the first opinion from the angle of evidence. Indeed the mass transmitted (mutawātir) and definitive evidences state the obligation of 5 ṡalāh every day and night. It is not possible to abrogate it or restrict it based on the fact that the sign of the time is a cause for the obligation of ṡalāh. What Muḥaqqiq Ibn al-Humām and al-Marjānī have mentioned in this regards is very strong it is suitable for one to take it. It is also the opinion preferred by Ibn Ᾱbidīn, he states in Radd al-Muḥtār 1/365 ‘’the opinion of the obligation (of ‘ishā’) is supported by that fact that a mujtahid Imam said likewise, and he is Imam al-Shāfi’ī as is narrated in al-Ḥilyah from al-Mutawallī’’. Likewise al-Țaḥṭāwī preferred it in his Sharḥ al-Durr 1/177, he stated ‘’the evidence of estimation (taqdīr) is clear’’.
Method of estimating timings in these types of places
When it is established that specifying ‘ishā’ in these places will be based on estimation, then there are varying methods for estimation. The fuqahā’ have mentioned
1) The first method is that estimation is based on the time of ‘ishā’ on the closest normal day (aqrab al-ayyām al-mu’tadilah) in the very place affected. For example the abnormal days at 54 degrees latitude (this occurs in some cities in England) begin from 11 May and remain to 31 July. The shafaq does not disappear during this period and remains apparent throughout the night. But it disappears before 11 May, so if the disappearance of the shafaq on 10 May (it is the last of the normal days) is 11:47 minutes and the true dawn (subḥ ṡādiq) rose at 11:56, these two times would be the time for ‘ishā’ and subḥ ṡādiq. So these two (times) would be considered as the basis for the two ṡalāh in the abnormal days as well, meaning that between 11 May and 31 July, these will the times of these two ṡalāh.
The result of this opinion is that the time for ‘ishā’ in this place would not remain except for 9 minutes and will remain like this from 10 May to 31 July.
2) The second method of estimation is that the timings of ‘ishā’ and fajr are calculated in these places based on the closest places where the time is normal (aqrab al-bilād al-mu’tadilah). This opinion is that which the shāfi’īs have held onto and the mālikīs have agreed to them on. For example the first places with abnormal timings in summer are those that occur at 48.5 degrees latitude to the north. The shafaq does not disappear at this latitude between 11 June and about the beginning of July, Those living in these places will estimate their timings based on the closest places that occur at 47 or 48 degrees latitude. They will be the closest places with normal timings for them where the shafaq disappears the whole year. So the time of ‘ishā’ will be estimated based on the timings of these close places with normal timings.
3) The third method of estimation is that the shafaq is always inclining towards setting (jihat al-ghurūb). Indeed it is a shared time between maghrib and ‘ishā’ (so it is possible that the first half is for maghrib and the latter half for ‘ishā’). As for when the shafaq begins to shift to the rising of the sun, then that is the beginning of fajr. This opinion was mentioned by al-Marjānī from amongst the various opinions he brings for estimation. Refer to Nāẓūrat al-Ḥaqq.
These 3 methods are all merely probable, so it is permissible to take that which is easier for those living in these places with abnormal timings. Allah knows better.
The second type: Places where timings of all ṡalāh are present but some of them are very short
As for the second time, then what are meant are those places where day and night are completed within 24 hours and all the times of ṡalāh are present therein, except that some of these times are extremely short. The difference between one time and the following is minimal. An example of that are those places that occur at 54 degrees latitude to the north. The period of the disappearance of the shafaq in these places on the 10th of May does not remain except for the period of 9 minutes.
The ruling of ṡalāh in these places is that every ṡalāh is performed at its prescribed time that which is known by its apparent signs, regardless how short that time is. ‘Ishā’ in those places will not be performed in the mentioned place except during those 9 minutes where the shafaq disappears. If that time does not allow for the performing of the sunan, then the farā’idh will be sufficed with (or the witr). It is encouraged to perform supererogatory prayers (nawāfil) the amount of which the sunan were left in another time.
I have not seen any early or cotemporary fuqahā’ who have permitted estimating in these places.
So one should not turn away from the original (aṡl) as long there is a possibility to act according to it. But it is clear that due to the short time in these places, that the area for excusing (the one who misses ṡalāh) widens as a person may not be able to perform ṡalāh in this very short time period. So they should perform qadhā’ whenever it is possible.
As for the case when the time is extremely short where a person cannot perform the obligatory units therein. Then there are two possibilities: 1) they begin their ṡalāh in that time even if its completing occurs out of the time; 2) You consider these places with those places where the times do not occur and estimate. Allah knows better
The third type: Places where night and day do not occur within 24 hours
As for the third type then they are inclusive of those places where night and day do not occur within the period of 24 hours. As is the case at 90 degrees at the two poles (north and south). Indeed the night remains for 6 months and likewise the day, so the day and night are completed in one year. At 86 degrees latitude in the north, the night remains from 30 October to 9 February every year. The light of day stretches from 10 February to 29 October. At 76 degrees latitude in the north, the night remains from 3 October to 8 March while the light of day stretches from 9 March to 2 October.
To do analogy on the opinion of those who claim that ‘ishā’ is dropped (in the first type) then 5 ṡalāh will not be compulsory throughout the year. But we have said previously that the opinion of estimating is more correct and preferred and is supported by the opening ḥadīth of the chapter. The shāfi’īs have also taken this stance. So that which is correct in these places is that the obligation of the 5 ṡalāh every 24 hours remain. The timings will be estimated based on the closest places where the time is normal…. This would continue until the day will occur in 24 hours, then the ruling of the first or second type will apply.
Ruling of fasting in places with abnormal times
As for fasting then al-Țaḥṭāwī has mentioned in his Sharḥ al-Durr al-Mukhtār 1/177 from the shāfi’ī scholars that they considered estimating the timings of fasting also.
The teacher of our teacher, ‘Allāmah Ashraf ‘Alī al-Thānawī, has mentioned in his Bawādir al-Nawādir 1/239 regarding those places where the night is not present that the inhabitants should fast Ramadhan by estimating the times based on the closest places to them with normal times. But their breaking of fast will be during their day although it is more cautious that they make up these fasts in normal times and places later. But this caution, if they do not make it up, then their fasting based on estimation will suffice.
As for those places where the night is found within 24 hours, even if for a very short time and as long as they do not find that the length of the day does not make it possible to fast, they will fast and break their fast based on their night and day. If the length of the day is such is beyond their ability to fast (for example there is not enough time at night to eat or drink or they are only able to eat once in 24 hours) it is permissible to estimate the time also, refer to Radd al-Muḥtār also 1/365-366.