Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Assalam alaikum.
If Asr time enters and I am still reading the fatiha of my first cycle of Dhohr prayer is my prayer valid?
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
Yes, your prayer is valid, and you do not need to repeat any past prayers which were prayed in such a manner. [Ibn `Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar `ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar, quoting al-Hawashi al-Sa`diyya; Ibn Nujaym, al-Nahr al-Fa’iq]
The jurists distinguished between two types of times in the day: (a) complete (kamil), and (b) deficient (naqis). The latter relates to three specific times, and the former, to the rest of the day.
These times are: (1) sunrise, (2) zenith, and (3) sunset. Sunrise and sunset are determined by whether or not the disc of the sun can be directly observed without eye protection or the like, and difficulty; this can be estimated to be around 15-45 minutes, depending on your location and the time of year. As for the zenith, what is intended is the time before it at which the sun is at its highest point in the sky. [Tahtawi, Hashiyat al-Tahtawi `ala Maraqi al-Falah]
During these three times, the jurists explain that it is not permitted to pray. `Uqba ibn `Amir (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “There are three times the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) forbade us from praying in: during sunrise until the sun rises, when the sun is at its highest point in the sky until it moves, and when sunset begins until the sun sets.” [Muslim]
So Can We Pray During these Times?
The basis is that the prayer needs to be performed in a complete prayer time, void of any dislikedness or deficiency. This consideration only applies to two prayer times, namely Fajr, when the time exits, and `Asr, at the end of its time. The Hanafis ruled that the `Asr prayer would be considered valid if the deficiency entered upon it, as the time is still present, yet the Fajr prayer would not.
Therefore, if the time ran out during your Fajr prayer, your prayer would be invalidated, and you would need to make it up (qada’) after sunrise. The remaining prayers, however, would be valid even if the time exits as the legal deficiency is not found therein.
Further, this discussion in legal theory (usul) explains why we also cannot perform makeups during these three times of day. [see: Prohibited times for Prayers and Makeup Prayers]
Should I Rush Through the Prayer to Finish it on Time?
As for rushing through the Fajr prayer, lest it become invalidated by the rising of the sun, it would appear to be best avoided because:
(1) depending on the amount of remaining time, it won’t be a completely sound prayer (i.e. if necessary actions are omitted), thus,
(2) proper manners would entail making the prayer up— necessarily, according to one position,
(3) the prayer is actually valid according to another school of law, and
(4) it is contrary to the dictates of slavehood and the prayer itself which is supposed to be an intimate moment with the Divine as opposed to a rush of obligatory movements.
Can I Begin Praying Just Before the Time Exits?
Nevertheless, note that it is obligatory to start and finish the prayer within its respective prayer time in view of the Words of Allah Most High, “After performing the ritual prayer, continue to remember God– standing, sitting, and lying on your sides– and once you are safe, keep up regular prayer, for prayer is obligatory for the believers at prescribed times.” [4.103]
As such, you should seek repentance for your shortcoming– which includes: leaving the sin, feeling remorse over having committed it, and resolving never to return to it– and then ask Allah to facilitate prayers on time for you.
And Allah alone gives success.
قال في رد المحتار: (قوله وقت الظهر) فيه أن الوقت سبب لا شرط وأنه لا بد منه في سائر الصلوات. والجواب أنه سبب للوجوب وشرط لصحة المؤدى وشرطيته للجمعة ليست كشرطيته لغيرها فإنه بخروج الوقت لا تبقى صحة للجمعة لا أداء ولا قضاء بخلاف غيرها سعدية اهـ.
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani