Length of shadow when the time of 'Asr begins
Fatwa No: 92246

Question

I want to ask about the timing of asr cos i came acroos some brothers in Nigeria, saying that, the timin of asr is determined by the one onf the noon time(forbiden time) cos, there will be no shadow during tat time, but here in our state in Nigeria there is wat we called residual shadow durin tat time, so they determine asr by adding the shadow of residual during the forbideen time to the equality of shadow of asr, which makes the actual time of asr tat is known in the hadeeth i.e equality of one's height to the shadow, to be lenghten a bit, pls give us explanation for tat

Answer

All Perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger. We ask Allaah to exalt his mention as that of his family and all his companions.

 

The time of 'Asr prayer begins when the shadow of an object becomes of the same height as the object itself. This is the opinion of majority of Muslim scholars. The evidence is the narration reported by Imaam Abu Daawood and others  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them which describes the prayer of Jibreel (Gabriel) while leading the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) in prayer. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "Angel Jibreel led me in 'Asr prayer while the shadow of an object was similar to its height."

In addition to this shadow, one must consider the shadow which usually exist at the time of Zawaal (i.e. the time when sun moves from Zenith which marks the beginning of Thuhr time). In other words, the time of ‘Asr begins when the shadow of an object becomes similar to its height plus the height of the shadow existed at the time of Zawaal.

Imaam An-Nawawi wrote in his book Al Majmoo'a: ‘The time of 'Asr prayer begins when the shadow of an object becomes similar to its own height in addition to the shadow that existed at the time when the sun passes its meridian.

This can be illustrated by erecting a stick on a flat surface. Now, when the sun passes its meridian you will observe a shadow that we need to mark. Thereafter, the shadow increases gradually as the sun passes further from its meridian, until this shadow becomes similar in height to the erected object in addition to the marked shadow at the time of meridian. This is when the time of Thuhr prayer ends and the time of 'Asr prayer starts.

Even the Hanafi school of jurisprudence, who are of the opinion that the time of 'Asr prayer starts when the shadow of an object becomes twice its height, add to it the shadow which existed at the time of zenith.

Therefore, the brothers' practice to which you referred in your question, who include the shadow which exists at the time of zenith when they measure the shadow of an object is correct.

For details read Fataawa 82253 and 82907.   

Allaah Knows best.

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