Salaah and fasting according to makkah times or local times ???
Written by: (Imam) Tehsin Abo Barirah
Created: 19-07-2012 Edited and updated 13/06/2015
Assalamo Alaikom Wa Rahmatollahi barakatoh!
The purpose of this article is not to create a conflict among Ulama/scholars, or to disgrace any scholar of Islam or to create fitnah in the Ummah of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, but clarifying what is right and wrong understandings of the fatawas and views of the majority of ulama of all world.
“Oh Allah give me the strength and ability to write what is right and forbid me from writing anything wrong.”
Bismillahir Rahmaanir Rahim.
One of the conditions of prayer (salaah) being valid, on which there is consensus among the scholars, is that the time for the prayer should have begun. Allah, may He be exalted, says:
“Surely the Prayer is prescribed to the Believers at specified timings”[an-Nisa’ 4:103].
People often hear / read fatawas (Fatwa is an answer to a religious question), but either misunderstand them or interpret them as they wish.
One person stood up in a masjid in Stavanger (Norway) and started saying that European Fatwa Council has given fatwa that people in Norway and other European countries can follow prayer times of Makkah.
I knew at once that this is wrong, or at least partly wrong. When I asked where he had heard or read that, I didn’t get a good answer.
I started searching, asking scholars and alhamdulillah got hold of several fatwas. The result of all was to follow local times except one fatwa, the respected fatwa from some scholars of Al-Azhar.
When I had read the Al-Azhar fatwa which is in Arabic, I could clearly see that the majority of the ulama (Sawad al aazam) would agree upon this written fatwa except for one matter.
I would insha’Allah explain it further.
In the fatwa from Al-Azhar, the famous hadith dajaal is mentioned. (Hadith of the Ruling period of anti christ)
The first day of his time will be prolonged as long as one year.
This is the following hadith:
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]
Hadith comes in several ahaadith books such as Sahih Muslim.
Prophet Muhammad alaihi wasallam sallallaho told us clearly to calculate the salaah times and pray even though the sun would be visible and the respected times for salaah would be invisible and there will not be any darkness for a year
My question is that shouldn’t we analyze and ponder upon this hadith, which is the base of this respected fatwa?
It says that the first day of dajjals appearance will be as long as one year.
It means the sun wouldn’t set for a year on the first day.
The analogy should be that places that doesn’t have sunset, must calculate prayer times, not those places where there is sunset and sunrise.
Some jurists (ulama) deny using analogy, because hadith dajjal is it self based upon special circumstance, which is illogic. How can we use logic upon an illogical event.
However, if we take the stance of those ulama who make qiyaas (analogy) from this hadith it should then be done exactly or as near as possible.
Let’s assume that the time of Dajjal (Anti Christ) arrives (May Allah preserve us from this great tribulation) and the first day is as long as one year. How will Muslims pray salaah? They would most likely, naturally follow the time they prayed previously, they will look at the previous days, most likely not follow Makkah or some other city, although it would be permitted as its also a calculation.
Still, most natural thing would be to fix the times of the previous day’s for this abnormal period.
In hadith Dajjal its mentioned that it will not be sunset for one year the first day, but in our case we have sunset and sunrise in mid, south, west, and east regions of Norway, even if the night is very short in summer and long in winter.
Fatwa from Al-Azhar
A summary of Al-Azhar fatwa can be read here: http://eng.dar-alifta.org/foreign/ViewFatwa.aspx?ID=2806 (English)
Critical point in the fatwa given by respected Shaykh Gad Ul Haq (fatwa from Al-Azhar) is that the Shaykh mentions that it is not normal to fast for 18 hours.
The first fatwa of Rabita Al Islamiyyah (World Islamic League) says 20 hours. If the day is longer than 20 hours then some calculations must be done.
(Latest fatwa of the committee is that as long as there is sunset and sunrise, one must follow the local time)
Sheikh Gad ul-Haq fatwa says that the night must be 6 hours long.
Rabita Al islamiyyahs (first) fatwa, issued by the European Fatwa Council 4 hours.[Reference of Rabitas first retracted fatwa:
Muslim World League # 3 at the times of prayer and fasting in countries with high latitudes, adopted at the fifth session of the Council on 10 Rabi-Thani 1402, (4 February 1982)]
Brief explanation about Rabita Al Islami (Muslim World Leagues) first fatwa.
In 1982 the biggest fatwa committee from around the world Rabita Al-Alam Al-Islami (Muslim World League), agreed that if the night is 4 hours or less, then salaah times can be calculated/fixed.
Then came a new fatwa from Rabita AL-ALAM AL-Islami OR MUSLIM WORLD LEAGUE in1986 WHICH PARTED THE WORLD IN 3 REGIONS.
Read the full fatwa here http://www.ummah.com/forum/showthread.php?65752-Praying-and-Fasting-at-High-Latitudes
This has a little more:[http://reocities.com/athens/8383/computing.html or Computing_Prayer_Times.pdf]
The summary of the latest fatwa is that regions at high latitude divided into three zones:
1- The first zone 45-48 latitude north and south, follow local times even though the days are long or short.
2- Second zone from 48 to 66 latitude north and south where some salaah times like Fajr and Isha are invisible for a few days or months. (This is our region, UK, Norway)
3- Third zone 66 north and south to south or north pole. Most salaah times are invisible most of the time of the year.
The first zone will follow local times no matter the length of days or nights.
Other zones can perform Isha and Fajr in different ways, either analogue a country in the first zone or other methods mentioned by scholars.
(Aqrab Ul Ayyam, Aqrab Ul Bilaad, Nisf Ul Lail or Sub Ul Lail)
This part of the above fatwa is about the beginning of Fajr and Isha, not that one is permitted to pray Maghrib before sunset in this zone. Maghrib would be performed after sunset.
EUROPEAN Fatwa Council (http://e-cfr.org/new/
Also read what European Fatwa Council advice muslims to do:
Translation into English:
When the majority of ulama of all different school of thought from the respected committees like “European Fatwa Council” and “Rabita Al Aalam Al Islami” (Muslim World League) doesn’t permit people to follow Makkah times, how could we ignore the majority of well versed and well learned scholars from all world??
Many of the scholars of the European Council for Fatwa, live in Europe and some often visit Europe.
So it would be wrong of muslims living in Oslo, Stavanger, Bergen etc (U.K) to follow Makkah prayer times according to the Qur’an, hadith and logic.
It would also have a negative physiologically effect upon people.
Followers of the non local times would be lonely, would have difficulty in participating in iftaar parties in masaajid, inviting friends and families to iftaar.
It would be wise to follow the view of majority of learned Muftis and Ulama.
With regard to North-Norway, it is important that local scholars agree on a principle which then becomes a common principle of all in their city or region.
1- Islam is easy, hadith: Religion IS EASY.
2- How can children to fast so long?
3- We live in abnormal places whereas the commands of Allah were descended for normal places and situations
4- Why do ulama have different opinions?
1- Islam is easy.
Of course, Islam is easy. This hadith has been misinterpreted, misused and even interpreted without boundaries. Some even begin to deny commands that are clearly mentioned in Quran and sunnah by up fronting it with this hadith.
Hadith says, Islam is easy, not that everything easy is Islam.
(AD-DEENU YUSR not AL-YUSRU DEEN)
A person could find it difficult to pray the five daily prayers, but it wouldn’t mean that he is excused from prayers. It clearly contradicts his false understanding of this hadith.
Islam’s principles are simple, easy and obviously clear. Faith and knowledge will make practice of Islam very easy, in fact leaving Islam would be nearly impossible.
2- What about children?
Living in west isn’t as easy as we want it to be. We have to make efforts upon our children and give them good tarbiyah (upbringing) according to quraan and sunnah. Learn how to do tarbiyah. Teach our children imaan, so that they would themselves fulfill Allahs commands without any force or pressure. Force and pressure is very harmful and would destroy the faith and future of our children.
Where there is a will there is a way. Best to take advices from your local ulama.
3- We live in abnormal zones.
Of course we live in abnormal places where the days are either extremely short or very long.
Remember that Allahs command came to this earth. Wherever a person chooses to live he wouldn’t be excused from the practice of the commands of Allah unless Allah Taáala himself has given alternate.
Back to hadith e dajjal.
Would that time be a normal time? It would be the largest fitnah ever to come as warned by every great Prophet.
So even in the greatest and worst fitnah (trial) to come, muslims where not given permission to leave out salaah. No time, still no permission to leave salaah.
Even salaah of “one day” wasn’t allowed, but to calculate it and pray a years salaah in that first long day of Dajjals rule.
So even in that most ABNORMAL period we would have to follow Allahs command no matter how hard it might be. What about fasting for a few more hours in summer????
What is normal and what is abnormal?
Next question would arise, what is normal and what is abnormal. How can we define that? We do not have anything clear from Quraan and sunnah.
Is it normal to fast 15 to 16 hours in 45-degree heat? On 23. June in Makkah the length of fast will be around 15-16 hours and temperature approx. 40-50 degrees.
We have 3-4 hours more but maybe 20-25 Celsius.
SHOULDN’T PEOPLE IN MAKKAH SAY THAT SINCE IT IS DIFFICULT, ESPECIALLY FOR THE YOUNG ONES TO FAST 15 HOURS IN 45 DEGREES IN MAKKAH, SO WE WILL FOLLOW WINTER TIME OF OSLO CITY, BECAUSE ISLAM IS EASY?
If the above statement is absurd so was the question.
Finally, I pray that Allah gives us the proper understanding and the opportunity to understand what our scholars say, according to the Qur’an and hadith, and follow the opinion of As-Sawaad Al-azaam (the majority of the pious scholars)
With all due respect to Al-Azhar fatwa, it could be a solution for Northern Norway, but not for the whole Norway.
4- Why do scholars differ?
The scholars of this ummah have always had individual opinions that go against the majority’s understanding and they are fully entitled to have their opinions.
Nevertheless, it is important to have respect for different opinions, and be careful not to criticize the scholars.
Sahaabah even had disagreements, some of which led to war, but their hearts for each other was filled with love.
Muslim Ummah has always followed the majority, the strongest opinions of the ulama and Alhamdulillah they are still doing that.
May Allah forgive my mistakes and correct and guide me and the whole ummah.
Written by slave of Allah:
Tehsin Abo Barirah (Norway)