Should a person pray the ‘Asr prayer in congregation in a masjid in which the congregation of the ‘Asr prayer takes place after the shadow of an object becomes twice the size of the object, according to the Hanafi time?
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 is His slave and Messenger.
The majority of the scholars held that the beginning of the time for the ‘Asr prayer is when the shadow of an object is equal to its length (other than its shadow when the sun is at its meridian), contrary to the famous view of Abu Haneefah.
The Kuwaiti Fiqh Encyclopedia reads:
"The majority of the Muslim jurists – the Maalikis, Shaafi‘is, Hanbalis, as well as the two disciples of Abu Haneefah – held that the beginning of the time of the ‘Asr is when an object's shadow is equal to its length other than its shadow when the sun is at its meridian. This was also one of the reported opinions of Abu Haneefah. They cited the hadeeth about Jibreel, may Allah exalt his mention, leading the Prophet in prayer as evidence: '...then he prayed the ‘Asr when everything equaled (the length of) its shadow...' However, the famous opinion from Abu Haneefah's two opinions is that the ‘Asr prayer begins when an object's shadow equals twice its length other than its shadow when the sun is at its meridian."
Al-Bahr Ar-Raa'iq, authored by the Hanafi scholar Ibn Nujaym, reads, "Shaykhul Islam (Khuwaahar Zaadah) stated that it is a precaution not to delay the Thuhr prayer until an object's shadow is equal to its length and not to pray the ‘Asr prayer until an object's shadow is twice its length, so that a person prays the two prayers at their prescribed fixed time according to the consensus of the scholars; as is stated in As-Siraaj."
Therefore, whoever finds a congregation that is praying the ‘Asr at its chosen time according to the view of the majority of the scholars, then let him pray with them, and if he does not find a congregation, then he should praythe ‘Asr individually at the beginning of its time, and if he then finds a congregation with a Hanafi imaam, he prays it again with them in order to get the reward of praying in congregation. The evidence for this is the saying of the Prophet to Abu Tharr, "'How would you act when you are under the rulers who would delay the prayer beyond its prescribed time?' Abu Tharr replied, 'What do you command me to do?' He (the Prophet) said, 'Observe the prayer on time; and if you are with them (when they pray in congregation), then pray with them again, for it would be a supererogatory prayer for you.'" [Muslim]
Imaam An-Nawawi said when interpreting Saheeh Muslim:
"What is meant by delaying it from its time is delaying it from its preferred time, not delaying it until its entire prescribed time has expired. What is reported from the former and the later rulers is that they delayed it from its preferable time (which is at the beginning of its prescribed time), and none of them delayed it until its entire prescribed time was over, so it is necessary to understand the accounts based on the reality. There is a hadeeth about urging people to perform the prayer at the beginning of its time, and it states that if the imaam delays it from the beginning of its time, it is recommended for the worshipper to pray it at the beginning of its time alone, and then he again prays it with the imaam. He would thus combine the two virtues: the virtue of praying at the beginning of the prayer's time and the virtue of praying in congregation."
For more benefit, please refer to fatwa 239650.
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