Question # 117: What is the end time of Maghrib prayer? I have heard from some of my office colleagues that the time for Maghrib ends with the start time of Isha prayer?

bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said, “The time of Al-Maghrib is as long as Ash-Shafaq has not disappeared.” Ash-Shafaq is the remaining light of the sun and its redness at the beginning of the night until it is close to actual nighttime (darkness). Other scholars say that the time for Maghrib prayer continues until the time for ‘Isha prayer begins; nevertheless, it is disliked (makrooh) to delay the maghrib prayer and praying it promptly, at the beginning of its time as much as possible is recommended (mustahabb).

Long Answer: Jarir ibn Abdullah narrated that the Angel Jibril (as) came to the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and said to him, “Stand and pray,” and they prayed the noon (dhuhr) prayer when the sun had just passed its meridian. He then came to him (صلى الله عليه و سلم) for the afternoon (asr) prayer and said, “Stand and pray,” and they prayed the afternoon (asr) prayer while the length of a shadow of something was similar to the length of the object. Then he came at sunset and said, “Stand and pray,” and they prayed the sunset (maghrib) prayer when the sun had just disappeared. Then he came at night and said, “Stand and pray” and they prayed the night (isha) prayer when the twilight had disappeared. He came again when dawn broke (and they prayed the morning (fajr) prayer). Then Jibril (as) came on the next day at noon and said (to the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم)), “Stand and pray,” and they prayed the noon (dhuhr) prayer when the length of the shadow of something was close to the length of the object. Then he came for the afternoon prayer and said, “Stand and pray,” and they prayed the afternoon (asr) prayer when the shadow of something was twice as long as the length of the object. Then he came at the same time (as the previous day) for the sunset (maghrib) prayer, without any change. Then he came for the night (isha) prayer after half (or a third) of the night had passed. Then he came when the sky was very yellow and said, “Stand and pray,” and they prayed the morning (fajr) prayer. Then Jibril (as) said, “Between these times are the times for the prayers. (Related by Bukhari, Ahmad, an-Nasa’i and at-Tirmidhi)

The time for the sunset prayer (Maghrib) begins with the disappearance of the sun and lasts until the red twilight ends. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr reported that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) “The time for the sunset prayer (Maghrib) is when the sun has disappeared and the twilight has not gone.” (Related by Muslim) Abu Musa related that a man asked the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) about the prayer times, and he mentioned the hadith which states that he ordered the sunset prayer (Maghrib) when the sun had set and, on the next day, he prayed it when the red twilight was ending and he said, “The time (for the sunset prayer) is between these two times.”

An-Nawawi says in his commentary on Sahih Muslim, “It is the opinion of the research scholars of our companions (the Shaf’iyyah) that … it is allowed to delay it as long as it is twilight. It is allowed to begin the prayer at any time during that period. There is no sin in delaying it from its earliest time.” Concerning the earlier quoted hadith in which Jibril (as) led the prayers and prayed the sunset prayer (Maghrib) at the same time on both days; it only shows that it is greatly preferred to perform the sunset prayer (Maghrib) as early as possible. This point is made clear by some other hadith: As-Sa’ib ibn Yazid related that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said, “My nation will always be along the natural path as long as they pray the sunset prayer (Maghrib) before the stars appear.” (Related by Ahmad and at-Tabarani)

In Ahmad’s Musnad it is related from Abu Ayyub al-Ansari that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said, “Pray the sunset prayer (Maghrib) when the fasting person breaks his fast and when the stars are about to appear.” In Sahih Muslim it is related from Rafa’ ibn Khadeej that “We prayed the sunset prayer (Maghrib) with the Messenger of Allah, and one of us would leave (afterwards) and would still be able to see where he  shot his arrow, (because there was still so much light left in the sky).” In Sahih Muslim it is recorded from Salamah ibn al-Aku’ that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) would pray the sunset prayer (Maghrib) when the sun had set and disappeared (behind the horizon). (‘Fiqh Us-Sunnah’ by As-Sayyid Sabiq)

Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an: “But no! I swear by Ash-Shafaq” (Soorah Al-‘Inshiqaq, 84:16) It has been reported from `Ali, Ibn `Abbas, `Ubadah bin As-Samit, Abu Hurayrah, Shaddad bin Aws, Ibn `Umar, Muhammad bin `Ali bin Al-Husayn, Makhul, Bakr bin `Abdullah Al-Muzani, Bukayr bin Al-Ashaj, Malik, Ibn Abi Dhi’b, and `Abdul-`Aziz bin Abi Salamah Al-Majishun, they all said, “Ash-Shafaq is the redness (in the sky).`Abdur-Razzaq recorded from Abu Hurayrah that he said, “Ash-Shafaq is the whiteness.” So Ash-Shafaq is the redness of the horizon, either before sunset, as Mujahid said or after sunset, as is well known with the scholars of the Arabic Language. Al-Khalil bin Ahmad said, “Ash-Shafaq is the redness that appears from the setting of sun until the time of the last `Isha’ (when it is completely dark). When that redness goes away, it is said, `Ash-Shafaq has disappeared.”’ Al-Jawhari said, “Ash-Shafaq is the remaining light of the sun and its redness at the beginning of the night until it is close to actual nighttime (darkness).” `Ikrimah made a similar statement when he said, “Ash-Shafaq is that what is between Al-Maghrib and Al-`Isha’.” In the Sahih of Muslim, it is recorded from `Abdullah bin `Amr that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said, “The time of Al-Maghrib is as long as Ash-Shafaq has not disappeared.” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir)

The time period for the sundown prayer begins when the sun has disappeared entirely over the horizon, and it ends with the disappearance of the red twilight glow. According to the Hanafis, the Western horizon goes through three successive stages after sundown, namely, (I) red, (2) white, and (3) black. The “twilight glow” as Abu Hanifah defines it is the “white phase” such that when the “black phase” begins, the period for the sundown prayer is over. As for the two companions [Abu Yusuf al-Qadi and Muhammad Ibn al-Hasan al-Shaybani), they define the “twilight glow” as the “red phase”, in agreement with the other three schools. (‘Islamic Jurisprudence According to the Four Sunni Schools’ by ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Jaziri’)

From the Introduction to Risaalat Ahkaam Mawaaqeet al-Salaah (Essay on the Rulings on the Times of the Prayers) by Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Uthaymeen, may Allah have mercy on him): “…The time for Maghrib starts immediately after the time for ‘Asr ends, which is when the sun sets, until the twilight or red afterglow has faded. When the red afterglow has disappeared from the sky, the time for Maghrib ends and the time for ‘Isha’ begins. Defining this time by the clock varies according to the season. When you see that the red afterglow has disappeared from the horizon, this is a sign that the time for Maghrib has ended…” (Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid)

According to Dr. Waleed AlMeneesey: “The correct ruling is that the time for Maghrib prayer continues until the time for ‘Isha prayer comes… However, it is [disliked to delay the maghrib prayer and is] recommended (mustahabb) to pray [it] promptly, at the beginning of its time as much as possible.”  (Permanent Fatwa Committee, of the Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America (AMJA))

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.

Wassalaam