The Hanafi Time for the Asr Prayer
Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
I want to know what is the ruling for time of asr prayer in hanafi madhab and is it permissible to pray asr prayer at time of shafi madhhab as is customarily done in western countries where there is no exclusively hanafi or shafi congregations. The thing is if I were to pray at hanafi time I have to miss jamah prayer and pray by myself.
There is great difference of opinion within the Hanafi school about the time of Asr. This arose from the fact that both of Abu Hanifa’s main students, Qadi Abu Yusuf and Muhammad ibn al-Hasan, held Asr to come in at one shadow length, contrary to their teacher’s position of two shadow lengths.
As a result of this, though the majority of the texts of the Hanafi school followed Abu Hanifa’s position, there are many major texts that chose the position of his two main students, which is also the position of the other three schools. Of the early Hanafi imams, Imam al-Tahawi is the most notable person who chose their position. And many later works did so too, even saying that the fatwa was on their position! This was, however, dismissed by Ibn Abidin.
However, it is permitted to follow their position in cases of need, such as when the area you live in only has congregational Asr prayers at the earlier time.
This is the case in the Arab lands: Syria, Jordan, and other countries, even with the presence of Hanafis, have been following the earlier Asr time for a long, long time. The Hanafi scholars of Damascus and the Levant (Sham) act on the position of Abu Hanifa’s students.