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Does Isha Time Really Extend Until Fajr?

Question

I had a question regarding when Isha time expires.  

I recently heard that the common view that Isha time lasts until Fajr is incorrect. 

Can you kindly verify or let me know when the time of Isha expires according to the Hanafi school of Islamic law?

Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Badat

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Thank you for contacting the Mathabah Foundation for your question.

In response to your concern, kindly note that the timing of Isha lasts until the begging time of Fajr, which is at true dawn (just before fajr salah).

The famous Hanafi jurist, Imam Abul Hasan Al Quduri writes in his Hanafi fiqh manual, " The beginning of the Isha time is when the twilight departs, and the end of it’s time (Isha) is as long as the second fajr (true dawn) has not appeared.” (Mukhtasar Al Quduri)

It is also worthy to note the even though the validity of Isha timing stretches through out the night up until the morning true dawn, the fuqaha (jurists) have debated matters regarding the preferred timing for Isha prayer. On this note, kindly be aware of the following:

The Hanafi position is that it is mustahab (preferred) to delay the Isha up to the third or just before half the night. (I’alaa Al Sunan)

According to the Hanbali school, there are two timings for Isha; a) waqt Ikhtiyaari (preferred/ elected time) which is from the disappearance of the twilight to passing of the first third of the night.  b) waqt dharurah (necessity time) which is from the beginning of the second third of the night until true dawn . According to the Hanbali view, Isha salah performed after the second third up until the true dawn, is considered valid and adaa (fulfilled), however one will be regarded as sinful. (Al Fiqh Ala Madhahib Al Arba’a)

The Maliki school suggests that the waqt ikhtiyaari (preferred/ elected time) for Isha prayer begins from the disappearance of the evening red twilight and ends at the completion of the first third of the night, while the waqt dharuri  (necessity time)  is the timing after that up until true dawn. In the Maliki school, however, a person will only be regarded as sinful, when performing after the first third of the night, if the individual does not have a genuine necessity to perform salah with such delay. (Al Fiqh Ala Madhahib Al Arba’a)

Some of the above discussion regarding the preferred time for Isha is due to narrations such as the following:

Had I not feared difficulty upon my nation, I would have instructed them to delay the Isha prayer up to the third or half of the night”. (Tirmidhi)

And Allah Knows Best

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