Time of obligatory prayers according to Maaliki school
Fatwa No: 343828

Question

Assalamu alaykum. How authentic is the Maaliki view that the time for the Thuhr prayer extends to sunset and the time for the Maghrib and Isha' prayers extends to dawn? May Allaah reward you. Wassalaamu alaykum.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

There are two times for performing the prayer according to the Maaliki School and those who agreed with them: the time of choice and the time of necessity.

The time of choice (Waqt Ikhtiyaari) means that the Mukallaf (the person who is competent for religious assignments) is free to choose any time during this period of time to perform the prayer, but he is not permitted to delay it past this time except in case he has a sound excuse, such as sleeping or forgetting.

The time of necessity (Waqt Dharoori) means the time for the people who delay the prayer due to a necessity and those who have sound excuses.

The time of choice of the Thuhr prayer begins when the sun is at its meridian (middle of the sky), and it extends until the shade of everything is like its length (height), whereby its time of choice ends. It is at this time that the time of choice of the ‘Asr prayer begins, which extends until the sun becomes yellowish; whereby the time of choice of ‘Asr ends. The time of necessity of both the Thuhr and ‘Asr extends until sunset.

The time of choice of the Maghrib prayer begins from sunset until performing this prayer after having completed its conditions of purity (performing ablution), and it was said that its time extends until the twilight. The time of choice of the ‘Isha prayer begins from the disappearance of the red twilight, and it extends until the first third of the night, and it was said until the middle of the night. The time of necessity of both the Maghrib and ‘Isha extends until the beginning of Fajr.

The Maaliki scholar Al-Akhdhari  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said in his Muqaddimah (Introduction):

The time of choice of the Thuhr prayer begins when the sun is at its meridian and extends until the shade of everything is like its height; and the time of choice of the ‘Asr prayer begins from the time when the shade of everything is like its height and extends until the sun becomes yellowish; and the time of necessity of both of them (Thuhr and ‘Asr) extends until sunset.

The time of choice of the Maghrib prayer extends until performing this prayer after having completed its conditions, and the time of choice of the ‘Isha prayer begins from the disappearance of the twilight, and it extends until the first third of the night. The time of necessity of both the Maghrib and ‘Isha extends until the break of dawn." 

Therefore, the time of necessity of both the Thuhr and ‘Asr extends until sunset, and the time of necessity of both the Maghrib and ‘Isha extends until the beginning of Fajr. If the time goes beyond the time of necessity, then it is the time of making up for the prayer [i.e. its prescribed time has elapsed] and it is no longer considered as performing the prayer on time. Al-Akhdhari said, “Making up for the prayer in regard to all these prayers is after their time that is described above (i.e. when the time goes beyond the time of necessity).

However, it is not permissible to deliberately delay the prayer from its time of choice to its time of necessity, and the one who does so is sinful unless he is in a case of necessity or has a sound excuse, such as sleeping or forgetting and the like. Al-Akhdhari said, “Whoever delays the prayer until its prescribed time has expired, then he has committed a grave sin unless he forgot or was sleeping…

Allah knows best.

Related Fatwa