Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
You know when you say you need to follow one madhab in a unitary act of worship. Does this mean a hanafi Muslim has to pray his Asr salaat at the hanafi time (1 and 1/2 or 2 shadow lengths) and not before? If he prays, say at the Sha’fi time – will it mean he has mixed the madhab’s in one unitary act and therefore the pray is not valid?
As discussed previously at length, both times for Asr are valid in the Hanafi school. The two shadow-lengths opinion is stronger in the madhhab, as clarified at length by Ibn Abidin in his Radd al-Muhtar, and is the opinion of Abu Hanifa himself.
However, the one shadow-length opinion, which is the position of Abu Hanifa’s main students, Abu Yusuf and Muhammad ibn al-Hasan, was also chosen by major Hanafi imams, as mentioned by al-Haskafi in Durr al-Mukhtar and by al-Shurunbulali in Maraqi al-Falah.
As such, both are valid to follow when there is a need, such as if the congregation in your areas prays on the earlier time, as Mufti Mahmoud Ashraf Usmani and scholars in Damascus have explained.
For more details, search for “Asr time” in the search engine at the Hanafi list’s page: http://www.sunnipath.com