- Asr is the afternoon prayer in Islam with varying start times based on location and date.
- Asr time is calculated based on the position of the sun and length of shadows.
- Typical Asr start times range from mid-afternoon to just before sunset.
- Prayer timetables provide Asr (and other prayer) times for specific locations.
- Knowing your local Asr time is important to perform the prayer within its permissible window.
What is the Asr prayer time in Islam?
The Asr prayer is the afternoon prayer recited by practicing Muslims. It is the third of the five daily prayers required in Islam. As one of the obligatory prayers, it is to be performed within a specific window of time each day. But when exactly does the Asr prayer time start?
The beginning time for Asr depends on the location and date. Unlike the Fajr (morning) prayer which has a fixed start time, the Asr start time varies. This is because Asr time is calculated based on the position of the sun in the sky and length of shadows cast on the ground. The specific method for determining Asr time is a matter of scholarly debate among various Islamic legal schools. However, the prayer becomes obligatory at some point in the afternoon.
How is Asr time determined in the Shafi'i school?
The Shafi'i school of Islamic jurisprudence is one of the four major Sunni schools. According to the Shafi'i school, the Asr time starts when the length of an object's shadow exceeds the length of the object itself plus the size of its shadow at noon. For example, if a 1-meter stick has a 2-meter shadow at noon, then the Asr time begins when the stick's shadow becomes longer than 3 meters.
This calculation method means that Asr time will begin sometime in mid-afternoon when shadows have elongated enough to satisfy the length requirement. Based on the sun's position, the Shafi'i Asr time may start as early as an hour after noon or as late as a few hours before sunset, varying by location and season.
What time does Asr start in the Hanafi school?
The Hanafi school is another major authority in Sunni Islam. By their convention, the Asr prayer time starts when the length of an object's afternoon shadow equals twice the length of the object plus the size of its midday shadow.
For instance, if a 1-meter stick has a 2-meter noon shadow, Asr begins when its shadow reaches 5 meters long. This typically delays the start of Asr by an hour or more compared to the Shafi'i method. Hanafi Asr times begin in mid to late afternoon, closer to sunset.
Both the Shafi'i and Hanafi schools agree that Asr cannot start after sunset. They just differ on the degree of shadow elongation used to mark the beginning of Asr. Other minor schools have additional opinions on the ideal Asr criteria.
When does Asr start in locations like the United States?
Applying these principles across time zones and latitudes results in typical Asr start times as follows:
In locations like the United States, Asr often begins:
- Between 3:30pm and 5:00pm in winter months
- Between 5:00pm and 7:00pm in summer months
For example, in Phoenix, Arizona on September 6, 2023, the Asr start time is 4:55pm. Meanwhile, in Buckeye, Arizona on the same date, Asr will begin at 4:05pm. The variance is due to differences in geographical coordinates.
Asr times also differ on other dates. On June 20, 2023, Asr is set to start at 5:08pm anywhere in the United States, as the sun's position will be the same nationwide on that summer solstice day. Overall, Asr time in America tends to be in the late afternoon or early evening.
When does Asr start in the Middle East?
Given its proximity to the equator, countries in the Middle East experience less seasonal variance in daylight compared to higher latitude areas. There, Asr often starts:
- Between 4:30pm and 6:00pm year-round
As an illustration, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Asr begins at 5:32pm on September 6, 2023 and 5:34pm on June 20, 2023. Being close to the equator results in a more consistent Asr schedule throughout the year. But the exact time still shifts across different Middle Eastern cities based on longitude.
How can I find Asr times in my local area?
With so many variables involved, the simplest way to determine accurate prayer times for your area is to consult Islamic prayer timetables. These timetables take into account the location, date, school of thought, and other criteria to provide a tailored schedule of prayer times.
Printed guides may be available at mosques and Islamic centers. There are also prayer time calculators available online and via mobile apps that can be customized. By entering a zip code or city, you can access a localized Asr schedule.
Consulting these resources allows you to easily reference the start time for Asr and other obligatory prayers in your community. Paying attention to the Islamic prayer schedule enables you to fulfill your religious duties at the proper times.
Why does the Asr time matter?
In Islam, the Asr prayer must be completed within a specific window of time known as waqt al-asr. This permissible time frame begins at the start of the Asr period and ends just before the sunset prayer (Maghrib).
It is essential to pray Asr within the allotted timeframe. Intentional delay which causes the prayer to be performed outside waqt al-asr is considered a sin. There are differences of opinion across legal schools regarding how soon before sunset the Asr time ends. But all agree that completing the prayer before term expiry is mandatory.
As such, being aware of the exact Asr start time in your locality is crucial. It enables you to estimate the closing time and have certainty regarding the entire permissible span. This allows performance of Asr at any point within the allocated timeframe, but never beyond it.
What should you do if you miss the Asr prayer time?
Sometimes due to circumstances like work, errands, forgetfulness, or even deliberately, Asr may be missed beyond its waqt before Maghrib. In such cases, the obligation still remains and must be fulfilled through qadha (make-up prayer).
The standard approach is to perform the qadha immediately upon remembering or after the obstacle has been resolved. If missed at work, take a break to pray. If missed due to errands, pray after returning home. Pray the obligatory rak'ats for Asr and sincerely repent to Allah for the delay.
Chronic issues require reform through steps like setting reminders before prayer times or curtailing activities causing excessive distraction. Consistency is key as 每Asr prayers missed intentionally without a valid excuse still constitute disregard of an Islamic duty.
What are some tips for never missing Asr time?
Here are some tips to ensure you regularly perform the Asr prayer within its designated time slot:
- Consult Islamic prayer timetables for your city's accurate Asr schedule. Sync the times to your calendar or set reminders.
- Build your afternoon schedule around the Asr window. Plan any meetings and tasks accordingly.
- Avoid activities that can make you lose track of time and miss prayers. Manage your time effectively.
- If working, take an Asr break to pray. If studying, factor in prayer breaks between classes.
- Consider the option of jam'ah (group) prayers at your local mosque if prone to missing prayers.
- Make niyyah (intention) to pray Asr on time and seek Allah's help in fulfilling your obligation.
In summary, when does Asr time start?
In conclusion, the Asr is the afternoon obligatory prayer for Muslims with its time starting based on the sun's position and length of shadows. Asr begin anywhere from mid-afternoon to just before sunset, varying by school of thought and location. Accurately identifying your local Asr start time allows you to consistently perform this prayer within its designated window of acceptance