Question: Is it better for a Hanafi to pray Asr prayer at the Shaf’i time or to delay Asr to the end of its time if one is unable to pray Asr at its appropriate time?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate,
Before answering your question, it must be said that one should arrange their lives and responsibilities around the prayer as best as they can. One should not arrange their prayers around their responsibilities.
However, there are sometimes unexpected circumstances that one must deal with.
If unexpected circumstances force us to choose between praying Asr in the Shaf’i Asr time or delaying Asr to the end of its time, one is allowed to pray in the Shaf’i time for the following reasons:
In the Hanafi school, the replied upon position regarding the Asr prayer time is that it begins when the shadow of each object becomes double that object’s size. [Tahtawi/Shurunbulali, Hashiyat Maraqi al-Falah]
However, there is a second opinion that corresponds with the Asr time of Imam al-Shafi’i. This opinion is held by the students of Imam Abu Hanifa, and it is a valid opinion. [Ibid.]
Following a valid secondary opinion is better than committing the prohibitively disliked action of delaying the prayer to the end of its time.
If pressing circumstances to come, one is allowed to take the secondary opinion of the Hanafi school regarding the Asr prayer time. They are then acting in accordance with a valid opinion in the Hanafi school, and they are not in need of acting upon another school of thought.
I hope this helps,
Allah knows best.
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani