Scholarly Consensus: Faj’r begins at 18 degrees

(Qari) Muhammad Shoyaib Nurgat

Ques­tion: Please explain as to what time Fajar begins in Unit­ed Britain? And what should we do dur­ing the time of per­pet­u­al twi­light?

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gra­cious, the Most Mer­ci­ful.

As-salā­mu ‘alaykum wa-rah­mat­ul­lāhi wa-barakā­tuh

We would like to begin by extend­ing our grat­i­tude to you for ask­ing this ques­tion. May Allah (SWT) give you the best of rewards (Ameen).

The last major agree­ment of Schol­ars in Unit­ed King­dom on this sub­ject was in 1983. This was con­duct­ed on the 6th Sha’ban 1403AH cor­re­spond­ing to the 29th of May 1983 on Sun­day at 10 AM at Brad­ford. This meet­ing was attend­ed by approx­i­mate­ly 70 Schol­ars and more than 100 respon­si­ble mem­bers of var­i­ous Mosques. The con­clu­sion reached was that Faj’r Salah should be cal­cu­lat­ed at 18 degrees dur­ing nor­mal days. Dur­ing the days of per­pet­u­al twi­light, although there are mul­ti­ple meth­ods advised in Islam­ic law, Aqrab­ul-Ayyam was rec­om­mend­ed as the pre­ferred option. Mufti Yusuf Sacha (DB), Mufti Shab­bir Ahmed (DB) and Maulana Ahmed Sarkar (DB) were present at the meet­ing (amongst oth­ers). I have con­firmed the con­clu­sions with them in addi­tion to hav­ing seen the orig­i­nal hand­writ­ten agree­ment. We will fol­low the agree­ment of the Schol­ars, until a sim­i­lar con­fer­ence is held and the schol­ars revise their opin­ion. Nation­al­ly and Inter­na­tion­al­ly, there are many oth­er Schol­ars who endorse this view.

Many Schol­ars have also men­tioned the 1/7th method but this is not viable for British Mus­lims and the issue is dis­cussed in detail by Mufti Shab­bir Ahmed (DB). In addi­tion, I also rec­om­mend read­ing about the issue of fol­low­ing fast­ing times of Sau­di Ara­bia dur­ing long day­time hours in Britain since it has rel­e­vance to the top­ic.

Salah Times using 18 Degress (Maulana Farid Patel)

18° Prayer Times; The BIG Discussion (Sheikh Dr Haitham al Haddad)

 

Ramadan Webinar

 


Islamic Ruling on using 1/7th as a rule for determining Subh Sadiq?

Mufti Shabbir Ahmed (DB)

In response to a ques­tion, Darul-uloom Karachi respond­ed with an affir­ma­tion from Shaykh (Mufti) Mah­mood Ashraf (HA) as fol­lows:

It is per­mis­si­ble to act upon any of these 3 meth­ods. The 1/7th method (out­side of these 3 options) which is sug­gest­ed by some peo­ple is not cor­rect for geo­gra­phies with unequal day/night dura­tion. This method of divid­ing the night into 7 (equal) parts was sug­gest­ed by Shaykh (Maulana) Ashraf Ali Thanwi (RA) for parts of India which are tem­per­ate (and with rough­ly equal day­light and night hours). How­ev­er, there is no scope for act­ing on this (1/7th method) in coun­tries (with unequal day­light and night lengths) there­fore this method should not be utilised.

Shaykh (Mufti) Muham­mad Shafi Usmani (HA) responds to a query:

The stip­u­la­tion of 90 min­utes (before sun­rise) for Subh Sadiq (true dawn) as a prin­ci­ple for all sea­sons and all places is not a uni­ver­sal­ly applic­a­ble prin­ci­ple, it is for tem­per­ate (mod­er­ate) areas i.e. loca­tions where day­light and night and almost equal.

He (RA) fur­ther states:

Shaykh (Maulana) Ashraf Ali Thanwi (RA) has also writ­ten about the issue in last book­let and clar­i­fied the mat­ter and this book­let is enti­tled “As-Sa’aat Lit-Ta’aat”.

He (RA) fur­ther states:

In Imdadul-Fatawa where Shaykh (Maulana) Ashraf Ali Thanwi (RA) has con­clu­sive­ly declared Subh Sadiq (true dawn) to be 1/7th of the night than this is not a uni­ver­sal­ly (con­clu­sive) state­ment but more of an esti­mat­ed (admin­is­tra­tive) state­ment (see Fatawa Darul-uloom Deoband Vol 2/page 303 for fur­ther details).

Our respect­ed and hon­ourable father Shaykh (Mufti) Shab­bir Ahmed (HA) states:

In fact this 1/7th isn’t an estab­lished fact but an esti­ma­tion for tem­per­ate (mod­er­ate) areas.

Then Shaykh (Mufti) Shab­bir Ahmed (HA) elab­o­rat­ed on the issue in detail and append­ed the fat­wa of Shaykh (Mufti) Muham­mad Shafi Usmani (HA) in its entire­ty to his state­ment. Sim­i­lar­ly, he also append­ed one of the let­ters of Shaykh (Mufti) Rasheed Ahmed Gan­go­hi (RA) (page 121) in its entire­ty to his response. Shaykh (Mufti) Rasheed Ahmed Gan­go­hi (RA) states:

This 1/7th rule for Subh Sadiq (true dawn) is not cor­rect; it is an esti­ma­tion and not a cer­tain­ty. You can climb on a high build­ing and observe the emer­gence of Subh Sadiq (true dawn) dur­ing night hours of 14 hours and it doesn’t occur 2 hours before sun­rise. This is an esti­ma­tion of our coun­try and I don’t know there cir­cum­stances (of your coun­try) but there is a dif­fer­ence in lat­i­tude between our coun­try and there.

Shaykh (Mufti) Shab­bir Ahmed (HA) con­tin­ues to write:

It becomes evi­dent from the state­ments of these Schol­ars (of Fiqh) that where they have men­tioned this 1/7th rule it is meant as an esti­ma­tion and not a con­clu­sive (all applic­a­ble) rule. Accord­ing to exclu­sive­ly con­clu­sive rules of research this rule isn’t even true as we have learnt from the state­ments of Shaykh (Mufti) Muham­mad Shafi Usmani (HA) and Shaykh (Mufti) Rasheed Ahmed Gan­go­hi (RA).

Shaykh (Mufti) Shab­bir Ahmed (HA) adds:

This 1/7th rule is not an estab­lished (and per­va­sive) prin­ci­ple and any­one can con­firm with obser­va­tions. In non-tem­per­ate coun­tries where the lengths of day­light and night (great­ly vary through­out the year) this rule most cer­tain­ly doesn’t hold true. In Unit­ed King­dom, we know that that the min­i­mum time dif­fer­ence between sun­rise and Subh Sadiq (true dawn) is around 1 hour and 50 min­utes and there is nev­er a time dif­fer­ence less than that in Sum­mer or Win­ter. In fact, dur­ing Sum­mer approx­i­mate­ly the (sec­ond half) of the night becomes Subh Sadiq (true dawn). In order for us apply this 1/7th rule we have first to deduce (con­clu­sive­ly) that the time for Faj’r i.e. Subh Sadiq (true dawn) doesn’t actu­al­ly occur (ear­li­er state­ments actu­al­ly prove that it does occur). Since the time for Faj’r i.e. Subh Sadiq (true dawn) occurs there is no room for esti­ma­tions and deduc­tions. If it can be con­clu­sive­ly proven that Faj’r i.e. Subh Sadiq (true dawn) doesn’t occur then we can make deduc­tions based on equat­ing (these coun­tries) with oth­er coun­tries because the Schol­ars of Fiqh have writ­ten in the absence of true dawn Aqrab­ul-Bilad (near­est coun­tries) should be con­sid­ered. (Al-Falaq Idha Lam Yaghib Ash-Shafaq, page 11, unpub­lished book from 1982)

Sim­i­lar­ly the Faqih of the era Shaykh (Mufti) Rasheed Ahmed Lud­hyan­wi (RA) writes:

Some Schol­ars have giv­en an esti­mat­ed time dif­fer­ence between (the lim­its) of Subh Sadiq (true dawn) and sun­rise. It is not their inten­tion to state that in every sea­son and at every loca­tion the same (set) time dif­fer­ence is present because it is cat­e­gor­i­cal­ly incor­rect.

Fur­ther states:

It was their inten­tion that if the max­i­mum time dif­fer­ence in a par­tic­u­lar loca­tion and at a par­tic­u­lar date is tak­en (as a yard stick) and applied to oth­er loca­tions (with­in the coun­try) then the fast will be valid. Some of them have stip­u­lat­ed a cer­tain per­cent­age of the night to be Subh Sadiq (true dawn) and its real­i­ty is also sim­i­lar to what we have described (Ahsan­ul-Fatawa Vol 2/Page 183)

Sim­i­lar­ly Shaykh (Mufti) Ahmed Khan­puri (HA) has also pro­hib­it­ed the use of 1/7th rule for non-tem­per­ate cli­mates and he (HA) writes:

The rule of 1/7th and the last part being the time dif­fer­ence between Subh Sadiq (true dawn) and sun­rise is an esti­ma­tion. Sim­i­lar is the esti­ma­tion of a set time peri­od (of 90 min­utes or more or less) and then he has ful­ly record­ed the response of Shaykh (Mufti) Rasheed Ahmed Lud­hyan­wi (RA) in its entire­ty. (Mah­moodul-Fatawa Vol1/Page 410)

In sum­ma­ry, there is no authen­tic­i­ty in declar­ing the last 7th part of the night as Subh Sadiq (true dawn) and it is against log­ic and trans­mis­sion. The light of Subh Sadiq (true dawn) spreads much before the last 7th of the night there­fore act­ing on this 1/7th (deter­mi­na­tion) should be avoid­ed.

Allah (SWT) knows best and unto Him we Sur­ren­der

Com­piled by (Maulana) Yusuf Shab­bir Ahmed (HA)

Ser­vant of Hadeeth at Darul-uloom Ta’leemul-Islam

Masjid Jamia Black­burn (UK)

25th of Rabi­ut-Thani (1436) equiv­a­lent to 14th of Feb­ru­ary 2015

This is cor­rect!

Will fasting for 12 hours or following the fasting times of Saudi Arabia suffice for Muslims in the UK

Mufti Yusuf Shabbir (DB)

Fast­ing dur­ing the month of Ramaḍān is one of the five pil­lars of Islam. The tim­ing of fast­ing is fixed between Ṣubḥ al-Ṣādiq (true dawn) and sun­set based on the loca­tion of the indi­vid­ual. This is clear­ly evi­dent from the verse of the Qurʾān (2: 187) where­in Almighty Allah says, “And eat and drink until the white thread (light) of dawn appears to you dis­tinct from the black thread (dark­ness of night), then com­plete the fast till the night­fall.” The words “appears to you” explic­it­ly affirm that the tim­ing of the fast­ing is based on the loca­tion of the indi­vid­ual, irre­spec­tive of whether the day is long or short. This is no dif­fer­ent to the tim­ings of Ṣalāh. There may be a legit­i­mate dif­fer­ence of opin­ion regard­ing the pre­cise time of true dawn and what con­sti­tutes Subḥ Ṣādiq in astro­nom­i­cal terms but there is no legit­i­mate dif­fer­ence of opin­ion regard­ing the prin­ci­ple of fast­ing dur­ing the day from true dawn to sun­set.

The com­pan­ion Sahl ibn Saʿd (d. 91/709–10) (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The verse “And eat and drink until the white thread appears to you dis­tinct from the black thread” was revealed, and the words “of dawn” were not revealed. Thus, when peo­ple want­ed to fast, one of them would tie a white thread and a black thread to his foot. Then he would con­tin­ue to eat until he could dif­fer­en­ti­ate between them when he looked at them. There­after, Allah revealed the words, “of dawn”. They then realised that the verse referred to night and day. 1 Sim­i­lar­ly, ʿAdī ibn Ḥātim (d. after 60/679) (may Allah be pleased with him) nar­rates that when the verse “Until the white thread of dawn appears to you dis­tinct from the black thread” was revealed, I took a black rope and a white rope and put them beneath my pil­low, and I start­ed to look at them dur­ing the night, but I could not see any dis­tinc­tion between them. The next morn­ing I went to the Mes­sen­ger of Allah ﷺ and informed him about this. He said, “Rather that is the black­ness of the night and the white­ness of the day”2 These nar­ra­tions affirm that the tim­ing of fast is between true dawn and sun­set, based on the loca­tion of the indi­vid­ual.

Sim­i­lar­ly, Almighty Allah says in the same verse, “It is made law­ful for you to have sex­u­al rela­tions with your wives on the night of the fasts.” This part of the verse explic­it­ly affirms that that the tim­ing of the fast is the full day from true dawn to sun­set. Adopt­ing a twelve hour fast or fol­low­ing the fast­ing times of Sau­di Ara­bia direct­ly con­tra­dicts this verse.

The unan­i­mous posi­tion of the var­i­ous schools of thought is that fast begins at true dawn and ends at sun­set. This has been men­tioned by all the jurists in the books of jurispru­dence. Many schol­ars have cit­ed con­sen­sus on this. 3 There is no dif­fer­ence of opin­ion among main­stream schol­ars regard­ing this. Iso­lat­ed views on this mat­ter appear­ing from so called schol­ars advo­cat­ing a twelve hour fast or fol­low­ing the times of Sau­di Ara­bia must be dis­re­gard­ed and will not affect the Ijmāʿ (con­sen­sus) of the Ummah. Such attempts to dis­tort the fun­da­men­tal ten­ants of Islam and devi­ate Mus­lims in the guise of mod­erni­sa­tion and ref­or­ma­tion are illu­so­ry and a con­tin­u­a­tion of the attempts that have occurred from the time of the Prophet ﷺ in dif­fer­ent forms. The Prophet ﷺ warned us from such peo­ple when he said, “Towards the end of the time, there will be ‘dajjāls’ liars. They will relate to you say­ings, which nei­ther you nor your fore­fa­thers have heard. Beware of them lest they mis­guide you and cause you tribu­la­tions.”4 The famous Ḥan­balī schol­ar and min­is­ter, Imam Ibn Hubayrah (d. 560/1165) writes in the com­men­tary of this nar­ra­tion, “The jurispru­dence of this nar­ra­tion includes a severe pro­hi­bi­tion on inno­va­tions, a strong warn­ing against inno­va­tors, and encour­age­ment to fol­low [the Sun­nah]. This warns a per­son that he should in all mat­ters only fol­low that per­son who he trusts to have sound views and who adheres to the Sun­nah.” 5 The famous Ḥanafī schol­ar Mul­lā ʿAlī al-Qārī (d. 1014/1605) nar­rates that the nar­ra­tion refers to a group of indi­vid­u­als who will claim that they are schol­ars and saints qual­i­fied to speak on mat­ters of faith. How­ev­er, they will nar­rate fab­ri­cat­ed nar­ra­tions, inno­vate unfound­ed rul­ings and cor­rupt beliefs.6

It is worth not­ing that Mus­lims have been resid­ing in the UK for many decades and have man­aged to fast dur­ing the sum­mer peri­od. Over the cen­turies, Mus­lims have resided in areas that share a sim­i­lar lat­i­tude to the UK. An exam­ple of this is Bul­gār (Kazan, Rus­sia) regard­ing which jurists men­tion that dawn appears before the dis­ap­pear­ance of the Shafaq in the sum­mer months and there­by the time of ʿIshāʾ Ṣalāh does not occur. 7 This is sim­i­lar to the UK. The famous trav­eller Ibn Baṭū­tah (n.d.) vis­it­ed Bul­gār in or around the year 732/1332, in which the begin­ning of Ramaḍān fell on 27 May. 8 He writes, “I had heard of the city of Bul­gār and desired to vis­it it, in order to see for myself what they tell of the extreme short­ness of the night there and also the short­ness of the day in the oppo­site sea­son. It was ten night’s jour­ney from the sultan’s camp, so I request­ed that he would give me a guide to take me to it and he did so. We reached it in the month of Ramaḍān. When we per­formed Magrib Ṣalāh, we had Ifṭār, and the call for the ʿIshāʾ Ṣalāh was made dur­ing our Ifṭār. We per­formed [ʿIshāʾ] Ṣalah and Tarāwīḥ and Witr Ṣalāh and dawn appeared there­after. Sim­i­lar­ly, the days are short in the win­ter sea­son. I stayed there for three days.”9  This account clear­ly indi­cates that the Mus­lims in Bul­gār fast­ed until sun­set. More­over, the jurists who have dis­cussed the issue of ʿIshāʾ Ṣalāh in Bul­gār have not men­tioned an alter­na­tive time or for­mu­la for fast­ing. This is because Ṣubḥ Ṣādiq (true dawn) occurs in Bul­gar just as it occurs in the UK through­out the year. The per­sis­tence of twi­light at night in the sum­mer months does not mean that Ṣubḥ Ṣādiq does not occur. This should not be con­fused with those lands in which the sun does not set dur­ing the sum­mer and does not rise dur­ing the win­ter, or in which the day lasts for six months and the night lasts for six months. In such places, they will fol­low the clos­est coun­try where the sun ris­es and sets with­in a 24 hour peri­od.

Islam is a reli­gion of ease and does not over bur­den any­one. Almighty Allah says, “Allah does not bur­den a soul beyond that it can bear.”10  Accord­ing­ly, if some­one is unable to fast dur­ing the sum­mer months due to a jus­ti­fi­able rea­son such as elder­ly age or ill health, the Sharīʿah has pre­scribed alter­na­tive solu­tions for such peo­ple depend­ing on their cir­cum­stance. If they are able to fast in the win­ter months, they will be required to under­take Qaḍāʾ of their fasts. If they are unable to fast at all, they will com­pen­sate via Fidyah as out­lined in the Qurʾān. 11  If indeed it was pos­si­ble to under­take a short fast, per­mis­sion would have been grant­ed for the ill and elder­ly to do so. The fact that the Qurʾān men­tions an alter­na­tive demon­strates that the time of the fast is fixed and can­not be altered.

In con­clu­sion, fast­ing for twelve hours in the sum­mer months in the UK or fol­low­ing the fast­ing times of Sau­di Ara­bia is imper­mis­si­ble and con­tra­venes the teach­ings of the Qurʾān and Sun­nah and dis­re­gards the con­sen­sus of the schol­ars and the prac­tice of the Ummah. The oblig­a­tion will only be ful­filled by fast­ing from Ṣubḥ Ṣādiq (true dawn) to sun­set.

Allah knows best

Yusuf Shab­bir

29 Shaʾbān 1437 / 5 June 2016

 

جزاك اللهُ خيرًا

  1. Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī (1917)
  2. Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī (1916).
  3. Sunan al-Tir­mid­hī (705); Sharḥ Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī Li Ibn Baṭṭāl (4: 102); Marātib al-Ijmāʿ (1: 39); al-Iqnāʿ Fī Masāʾil al-Ijmāʿ (1: 226); al-Majmūʿ (3: 45).
  4.  Muqad­damah Ṣaḥīḥ Mus­lim (7); Mus­nad Aḥmad (8596)
  5. Al-Ifṣāḥ ʿAn Maʿānī al-Ṣiḥāḥ (8: 195).
  6. Mirqāt al-Mafātīḥ (1: 239).
  7. Ḥāshiyah al-Shilbī (1: 81); al-Nahr al-Fāʾiq (1: 161); Ḥāshiyah al-Ṭaḥṭāwī ʿAlā Marāqī al-Falāḥ (1: 178); Radd al-Muḥtār (1: 362).
  8. Some his­to­ri­ans ques­tion Ibn Baṭuṭah’s vis­it to Bul­gār whilst oth­ers sug­gest an error in the order of events or in the num­ber of days of trav­el. This is because the dis­tance between Bul­gār and the Sultan’s palace is 1300 km mak­ing it impos­si­ble to cov­er this dis­tance in 10 days (see al-Falaq Idha Lam Yag­ib al-Shafaq, unpub­lished, p. 19).
  9.  Riḥlah Ibn Baṭūṭah (2: 236).
  10.  Al-Qurʾān al-Karīm (2: 286).
  11.  Al-Qurʾān al-Karīm (2: 183).