Prayer and Fasting times

References from Quran:

Eat and drink, until the whiteness of day becomes distinct from its blackness of the night at dawn, thereafter complete the fast until night (2:187)

Be strict in observance of the prayer, especially the midmost prayer and stand up with devotion to Allah (SWT) (2:238)

Glory be to Allah when you enter the evening and when you enter the morning (30:17). For his is the praise in the heavens and the earth – at the sun’s decline and when you enter the noon (30:18)

Definitions:

Imsak

Time when fasting begins

Fajr

True dawn - Time for Fajr prayers*

Sunrise

Sun appears above horizon

Dhuhr

Sun begins to decline after reaching highest point in sky. Time for Dhuhr prayers.

Sunset

Sun disappears below horizon

Maghrib

Time the redness of the sky in the east – which appears after sunset – has passed overhead. Time to break the fast and Maghrib prayers

*Near the time of Morning Prayer, a whiteness in the sky moves upwards towards the east, which is called ‘the first dawn’. When the whiteness spreads, it is the second or true dawn.

Angles used in calculation:

Convention

Fajr Angle

Maghrib Angle

Shia Ithna Ashari, Leva Research Institute, Qum

16

4

Institute of Geophysics, University of Tehran

17.7

4.5

Muslim World League

18

Sunset

Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)

15

Sunset

Egyptian General Authority of Survey

19.5

Sunset

Umm al-Qura University, Makkah

18.5

Sunset

University of Islamic Sciences, Karachi

18

Sunset

Note: Astronomical dawn is 18 degrees and civil dusk is 6 degrees

 

 Horizon

 

Higher Latitudes

In locations at higher latitude (latitude >45), twilight may persist throughout the night during some months of the year. In these abnormal periods, the determination of Fajr and Isha is not possible using the usual formulas mentioned in the previous section. To overcome this problem, several solutions have been proposed, three of which are described below.

Middle of the Night

In this method, the period from sunset to sunrise is divided into two halves. The first half is considered to be the "night" and the other half as "day break". Fajr and Isha in this method are assumed to be at mid-night during the abnormal periods.

One-Seventh of the Night

In this method, the period between sunset and sunrise is divided into seven parts. Isha begins after the first one-seventh part, and Fajr is at the beginning of the seventh part.

Angle-Based Method

This is an intermediate solution, used by some recent prayer time calculators. Let α be the twilight angle for Isha, and let t = α/60. The period between sunset and sunrise is divided into t parts. Isha begins after the first part. For example, if the twilight angle for Isha is 15, then Isha begins at the end of the first quarter (15/60) of the night. Time for Fajr is calculated similarly.

In case Maghrib is not equal to Sunset, we can apply the above rules to Maghrib as well to make sure that Maghrib always falls between Sunset and Isha during the abnormal periods.

Shia Fiqh Ruling

According to Ayatollah Sistani, If a Muslim lives in a city that has daylight for six months and night for six months [e.g., the northern part of Europe or Canada]:

  • As for salãt, one should, as a matter of obligatory precaution, observe the closest place that has night and day in a twenty-four hour period, then say salãt according to its timings with the intention of mutlaqa [i.e., just qurbatan ilal lah without specifying whether it is ada (on time) or qadhã (after time)].
  • For fasting, it is obligatory for him to move during the month of Ramadhãn to a city with ‘normal’ day and night so that he can start fasting, if not, he should move after that month to fast as qadhã (making up the missed fast).

    However, if it is not possible for him to move, then he has to pay compensation (fidya) instead of fasting; that means giving 750 grams of food [rice or flour] to a poor person per day.

    If a Muslim lives in a city where daylight in some seasons is for 23 hours and the night is only for one hour or vice versa, it is still obligatory on him to fast, if he has the ability to do so. But if he is not able to fast, the obligation is forfeited. If it is possible for him to do qadhã later on [e.g., in other seasons or] by moving to another city, it is wãjib for him to do the qadhã.

    If he is unable even to do the qadhã, it is obligatory on him to pay fidya in lieu of fasting.