A major condition for the acceptance of your salaah after having been properly purified (ghusl, wuduu) from impurities, is praying at the right time. Allah says:
"When you are free from danger set up regular prayer for such prayers are enjoined on believers at started times." (Q4[Nisaa]:103).
Therefore it is important to know and abide by the correct timing for each salaah.
TIMING OF DIFFERENT SALAAH: Abdullahi ibnmar (RA) reported that the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said:
"The time of the zuhr (noon)prayer is when the sun passes the meridian and a man's shadow is of the same length as his height. It lasts until the time of the asr (afternoon) prayer. The time of asr prayer is as long as the sun has not become yellow (during and setting).The time, of the maghrib (sunset) Prayer as long as the twilight has not disappeared. The time of the isha (night)prayer is up to the midnight. And the time of the fajr (morning) prayer is from the appearance of the dawn as long as the sun has not risen; (but when the sun rises, abstain from prayer; for it rises between horns, of the Shaytan). (Muslim)
Zuhr: The time of the zuhr (noon) prayer is when the sun passes the meridian ..,lt lasts until the time of the asr (afternoon) prayer This indicates that the time of zuhr begins when the sun passes the meridian (from the start of the suns decline) and lasts up to the time when a mans height and size of the shadow are equal in lenght. After that, the time of asr prayer starts.
'Asr: The time is also described as:
"When the sun is white and clear"(Muslim).
`asr lasts up to the time when the sun sets:
"time of asr prayer is as long as the sun has not become yellow (during its settings)" (Muslims)
Further,the time of Maghrib prayer extends from sunset till the twilight begins to disappear. The prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said:
"The time of Maghrib prayer is as long as twilight has not disappeared."(Muslim).
The twilight (shafaq) is the redness on the western horizon at evening after the sun has set before it is really dark.
Ishaa: The time for ishaa prayer begins right after the shafaq twilight has disappeared and it lasts until the midnight:
"The time of the isha" (night) prayer is up to the midnight."(Muslim)
Fajr (Subh): The time of fajr commences from the time the dawn appears till the sun rises:
"And the time of the fair (morning)prayer is from the appearance of the dawn as long as the sun has not risen; (but when the sun rises abstain from prayer for it rises between horns of the Shaytan)" (Muslim)
THE EARLY THE BEST
Although it is allowed to perform fajr (subhi) prayers as long as the sun has not appeared, but it is better at its early time (as soon as the dawn appears), Abu Musa (RA) said that the Rasul (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) offered the fajr prayer at break of day when the people could hardly recognize one another.(Muslim) The Rasul (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said: "
Offer the morning prayer at dawn for it is greater for your rewards. (Tirmidhi)
Zuhr should also be prayed at its early period except as the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said: "When it is hot, delay the zuhr prayer till it cools down " Maghrib is also performed very early such that after the prayer has been concluded, the companions would sit down, someone would shoot an arrow and they will still sight where it has landed. Rati ibn Khadij (RA) narrated: "We used to offer maghrib prayers with Allahs Messenger and then one of us would go (out of the mosque) and still will be able to see the spot his arrow would fall at." (Agreed Upon). For all the salaah, it is best to perform them in their earliest time. Ibn Masud narrated that Allaah's Messenger (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said:
One of the best deed is to offer salaah (prayer) in its early time (Tirmidhi)
except for isha prayers which is preferable to be delayed.
Aisha (RA) said the prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) delayed the isha prayer one night till part of the night passed then he went out and offered the prayer and said,`this is the prayer time for it, were not that I will impose a burden on my followers."(Muslim)
it is reported that the prophet(salallahu alayhi wa sallam) loved to delay the isha prayers. and he disliked sleeping before it and conversation after it." (Agreed Upon). The motive behind this dislike of conversation is that the sins. of the believers are pardoned after his offering the prayers, and it is better to go to bed than talk and engage in worldly affairs which may bring more sins. Thus, after prayer (isha)would be regarded as the last action before sleep."
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited