FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ON PRAYER TIMES
Click on any of the following questions to see that question and its answer.

General
G1. How do I know the beginning and ending times of every prayer?
G2. Where day and night are several months long, how do Muslims fast and pray?
G3. If you stand on the moon, would you see the sun rise and set?
G4. What is Zodiacal light and when can it be seen?
G5. What is the history of International Date Line?

Fajr & Isha
F1. How about the method employed by Saudi Arabia for Isha' (1-1/2 hour after Maghrib)?
F2. What is your opinion about 15° versus 18° for Subh-Sadiq?
F3. Which one is the correct time for end of suhoor; 15° or 18°?
F4. Why there is a wide difference in Fajr & Isha times adopted by various organizations?
F5. Is it OK to adopt 12° for Isha at places like Chicago?
F6. Is it true that disappearance of Shafaq for Isha, and Subh-Sadiq for fajr cannot be related with any degrees (neither with 18° nor with 15°)?
F7. Islamicfinder.org gives an option for ISNA prayer Schedule. If that is ISNA's official position, then why moonsighting.com gives a different prayer shcedule?
F8. Are prayer times given by Islamicfinder.org correct and reliable?
F9. How long does it take to diasappear Shafaq Ahmer, and how long for Shafaq Abyadh?
F10. What is the relationship of diappearance of Shafaq Ahmer, and disappearance of Shafaq Abyadh with degrees?

Zuhr
Z1. Does Zuhr time begin at noon?
Z2. What is the difference between 'zawwal' and 'noon', and what do you use in calculations?
Z3. Shafi'i Asr time is about one hour before Hanafi. Can I pray Zuhr after Shafi'i Asr time?
Z4. Is it correct that one can find true North from the position of shadow at Zawal?

Asr
A1. Why add noon time shadow (people do not know) for Asr in both Shafi'i and Hanafi Fiqh?
A2. What is Asr Shafi'i and Asr Hanafi. I do not know the difference. Could you explain?

Maghrib
M1. Is Maghrib prayer time at sunset or not?

General
Question G1: How do I know the beginning and ending times of every prayer. The schedules I get give the beginning of prayer times but not the ending, after which Salat is QAZA. Also I want to know the Zawaal timing.

Answer: According to Hanafi Fiqh, Fajr ending time is 5 to 10 minutes before sunrise. Zuhr time begins approximately 5 minutes after Zawaal (So, Zawaal is 5 minutes before Zuhr in the schedules provided by Moonsighting.com). Zuhr ends at Asr time. Asr ends 5 to 10 minutes before Maghrib. Maghrib ends at Isha. Isha ends at Fajr, but it is preferrable to pray Isha before Midnight.


Question G2: At polar regions day and night are several months long, so how do Muslims fast and pray in those regions?

Answer: The answer is simpler than what you may think. Polar regions like Norway, Finland, and Alaska have areas where the sun stays below horizon for several months in winter, and stays above horizon for several months in summer. However, there comes a time in every day when the sun is at its highset point (Noon) and at lowest point (Midnight). At temperate latitudes, the highest point is visible but lowest point is below horizon. But at higher latitudes (Polar region, like Norway, Finland, and Alaska) the highest and lowest point occur below horizon in winter (meaning several months long night), and above horizon in summer when the sun never sets for several months (meaning several months long day). But we can calculate those two points and determine Prayer times around those two known times every day. Having determined the prayer times, the fasting time is already set.
Actually, except for poles, no where is the 6 months long day and 6 months long night. Look in the table, that even at 70 miles away from the pole, there are 10 days when sun rises and sets. Also note that up to 65 degrees latitude the sun rises and sets daily.
Latitude Approximate Location Miles from North Pole Sun Remains below horizon Sun Remains above horizon Sun Rises and Sets Fasting Time on June 22 Fasting Time on Dec. 22
40:00N Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 3500 miles ----- ----- 365 days 14.9 hrs 11 hrs
65:00N Fairbanks, Alaska 1750 miles ----- ----- 365 days 22.2 hrs 5.6 hrs
66:30N Arctic Circle 1575 miles Dec17-Dec 26 (10 days) May 29-Jul 13 (47 days) 308 days ~23 hrs 4.7 hours
70:00N Dead Horse, Alaska 1400 miles Nov 25-Jan 16 (53 days) May 17-Jul 27 (72 days) 240 days 23.3 hrs 4.6 hrs
80:00N Franz Josef Land, North Russia 700 miles Oct 21-Feb 19 (122 days) Apr 14-Aug 19 (128 days) 115 days Hardly Any Population Hardly Any Population
84:00N North-most, Greenland 420 miles Oct 10-Mar 2 (144 days) Apr 2-Sep 9 (161 days) 60 days Hardly Any Population Hardly Any Population
89:00N 0:0 Longitude, No land mass 70 miles Sep 27-Mar 15 (170 days) Mar 20-Sep 21 (185 days) 10 days Hardly Any Population Hardly Any Population
89:45N 0:0 Longitude, N. Pole, No land 20 miles Sep 26-Mar 17 (173 days) Mar 18-Sep 23 (190 days) 2 days Hardly Any Population Hardly Any Population


Question G3: If you stand on the moon, you see earth only from one side of the moon. Would you see the sun rise and set?

Answer: Sunrise and sunset are the phenomena due to the rotation of earth on its own axis. The sun rotates in 24 hours. The moon rotates on its own axis in about 27.3 earth days. So no matter where you are on the moon you will see the sunrise and sunset once in 27.3 earth days, but you can call that 1 moon day. Now, would you pray 5 times in one moon day or follow earth days for prayer is a Fiqh question. Ask any Aalim for that.


Question G4: What is Zodiacal light and when can it be seen?

Answer: Zodiacal Light: The faint conical glow of the Zodiacal Light,produced by reflection and scattering of sun-light from countless small particles lying in the ecliptic plane, is an elusive sight in our light-polluted times. Comparable in brightness to the fainter parts of the Milky Way (such as the stretch in Monoceros), the Zodiacal Light is best seen from truly dark locations. From temperate latitudes like those of the British Isles, the best times to look are when the ecliptic is steeply inclined to the evening western horizon (spring) or morning eastern horizon (autumn); the former circumstance applies around the equinox in March. It is also to observers’ advantage that the distracting glare of both the Moon and Venus will be absent in the western evening sky at this time.The last ten days of March probably offer the best chance to glimpse the Zodiacal Light. A clear dark western horizon is essential (Atlantic coastal views have an obvious advantage), and the best time to look will be about an hour to 1˝ hours after sunset, just as full darkness approaches. The Zodiacal Light, if visible, will appear as a diffuse glow extending towards Taurus. It has been suggested that the presence of persistent high-speed particle streams in the solar wind (emerging from coronal holes) at sunspot minimum enhances the brightness of the Zodiacal Light by exciting the tenuous interplanetary medium. This being so, March could be the best opportunity for sometime to catch this elusive sky-glow.


Question G5: What is the history of Internationa Date Line?

Answer: International Date Line: Click here


Fajr & Isha
Question F1: How about the method employed by Saudi Arabia for Isha' which, to my knowledge, is 1-1/2 hour after Maghrib all year long? Isn't that disregarding the change in sun's declination?

Answer: For latitudes close to Equator, like Saudi Arabia, India, Pakistan, 1-1/2 hours is a good approximation and also practical, and the variation of twilight time (due to sun's angle of depression) is small in different seasons. The Isha' time on some days begins earlier then 1.5 hours, but there is nothing wrong in starting prayers after 1.5 hours. So, this practice of 1.5 hours is a matter of convenince and of course is within Shari'ah guidelines.

Haramain (Makkah & Madinah) in Saudi Arabia use the folowing:
Fajr18.5°
Shurooq1 minute before sunrise
ZuhrZawaal = Calculated Noon
AsrHanbali (Shafi'i)
Maghrib1 minute after sunset
Isha90 minutes after Maghrib


Question F2: What is your opinion about 15° versus 18° for Subh-Sadiq?

Answer: The real answer is that no degrees can be fixed for all latitudes. The phenomenon of subh-Sadiq will vary in degrees at different latitudes and different seasons (day of the year), becuase of the sun travelling (apparently) along a specific latitude on a specific date. The sun (apparently) travels between tropic of cancer and tropic of Capricorn in different seasons. People in different locations around the globe have made observations about Subh-Sadiq and the results are anywhere between between 9° to 18° from high latitudes to equator respectively. Here is an e-mail sent to me by Brother Ghulam Dandia (CREAMICE@aol.com) of Miami.

"On Dec 3, 2000, five of us went to Miami Beach area of Sunny Isles to observe the start of Subh Sadiq. The time that moonsighting.com had provided for 15° was 100% accurate. The phenomena was observed at 5:45 am eastern standard time. The witnesses were myself (Salam Dandia), Raffia Dandia, Abdul Razz Khanani, Kaiser Perverse, and Mufti Rafique Ahem (imam of bait-ul-mukkram masjid Dhaka, Bangladesh) Jazak Allah... "

In 1987 a group of Ulema in Blackburn, England including Molana Yaqub Miftahi from UK, desired to solve this problem for the Ummah in the UK and sacrificed their valuable time by diligently striving to determine the correct times for Subh-e-Sadiq. They carried out the Mushahada (from September 1987 to August 1988) and chose to disregard the times provided by the Observatory, therefore starting from a clean sheet and not being psychologically swayed by already given Observatory times. Their Observations, therefore, unlike the observations by others did not seek to confirm or reject any of the Observatory Degree times but to provide prayer timings based purely on what was observed. Observations show that the degrees for Fajr times fluctuate throughout the year.

From UK, Maulana Y.Ismail Qasmi (in his book, Bartaniya me Subh-e-Sadiq ka Sahih Waqt: Dewsbury U.K., 1983...Suppl. 1984) mentions several observations by the Ulama in England citing that Fajr prayer should be at 12° or even to 16°.

Limited Observations made in Chicago in 1985 for Subh-Sadiq by Rajaullah Qureshi, Azmatullah Qadri, Mohammad Abdul Hai, Maulana Abdurrahman Sayeed Siddiqi, Maulana Irfan Ahmed Khan and a few others confirms 13 to 15°.

Other individual limited observations made in Buffalo, Toronto, Montreal, San Francisco, Tempe (AZ), Houston (TX), Washington DC show Subh-Sadiq at 12° to 14°.

Limited Observations for Subh-Sadiq in Tando Adam (Pakistan) show 15°.

Some observations made in New Zealand and Australia point Subh-Sadiq between 12° and 15°.

Observations made in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) in 2004 by a group with Sheikh Abdul-Aziz Fauzan for the whole year shows Subh-Sadiq was observed at 15°.

A decade long research by Moonsighting.com found that the Subh-Sadiq or disappearance of Shafaq is a function of latitude and seasons. So, Moonsighting.com calculates Fajr and Isha using that function of latitude and day number of the year.


Question F3: Some Ramadan timetables in my area have the sehri end time based at 15° and others at 18°. Which one is the correct one?

Answer: 18° is considered appropriate by many Ulamaa, although observations for Subh-Sadiq in many parts of the world show that Suh Sadiq fluctuates in degrees. No fixed degree is the correct answer. It is suggested that if one has 15 degree chart for Fajr then one should finish eating 20 to 30 minutes before that chart time for Fajr. Get the most accurate Prayer Times from Moonsighting.com.


Question F4: I was very surprised to see a wide difference in timing for Fajr & Isha calculated by assumptions of various organizations. Can you explain?

Answer: Fajr & Isha are calculated by different organizations using different criteria, all over the world. Some use 17°, 19°, 20°, or even 21°. Others use 90 minutes, 75 minutes or 60 minutes criteria. These criteria fail to calculate Fajr & Isha at high latitudes. Muslims have resorted to some easy solution of choosing specific degrees, but that is not right. Remember, in the times of Prophet (SAV), there were no watches. Much more variations were in practice, even to the extent that Sahaabah (RA) prayed Fajr in Ghalas (darkness of night mixed with light) or Isfaar (when the light has spread conspicuously). This variation was more than half an hour. Qur'an mentions Fajr time as when you can differentiate a black thread from a white thread. Some Sahabi (RA) was observed to physically take two threads and trying to see them; the Prophet (SAV) clarified to him (RA) that this is not the intent of Shari'ah. It is when the very faint light of morning begins to spread horizontally in the darkness of night. Moonsighting.com has been doing research for the calculation methods and after a continuous effort of more than a decade, we are in a position to calculate Fajr and Isha based on actual observations at different latitudes in different seasons. This method meets the intent of the Shari'ah, and we should not be alarmed with differences of even 15 minutes.


Question F5: Our local masjid in Chicago publishes Isha timetable at 12°. To date I have not seen a fatwa which establishes 12° as acceptable (most of my reading supported 15 or 18°). In your scientific judgement is 12° for Isha acceptable?

Answer: No. Any fixed degree is not the answer. Moonsighting.com calculates Fajr and Isha as a function of latitude and seasons.


Question F6: Is it true that disappearance of Shafaq for Isha, and Subh-Sadiq for fajr cannot be related with any degrees (neither with 18° nor with 15°)?

Answer: Yes, observations made by many ulamaa' and other groups confirm that these phenomena occur at different degrees for different latitudes. Sometimes disappearance of Shafaq for Isha, and Subh-Sadiq for Fajr do not even occur at higher latitudes. This is becuase at higher latitudes the sun does not go much below horizon on some days and its light remains on the horizon for a long time and the phenomenon in Ahadith cannot be observed. So, 15° or 18° is not a solution for all latitudes.

Moonsighting.com have been studying this problem for over 25 years, and with the benefit of Shari'ah knowledge as well as the capability of computer programming to calculate prayer times, a practical solution was found, that other computer programmers have not used because they either did not have Shari'ah knowledge or did not spend enough time to look into this problem.

At latitudes beyond 66.5°, only some days in summer will not have any night and for them a practical solution can be provided with specific calculations done manually, but that occurs only a few days in summer for all land masses where people live. Moonsighting.com has been providing the prayer times specially to extreme Northern latitides up to 72° (Barrow, Alaska and Tromso, Norway) and the people over there found them most accurate and more convincing than any solution proposed by others who do not have clear understanding of what is happening at such latitudes. One Aalim (Shaikhul-Hadith from India, Hafiz Maulana Mohammad Naeem from Daoband) has gone to Northern area of Alaska after talking to Khalid Shaukat of Moonsighting.com, observed what happens there in summer time, and compared those phenomena with what was calculated and his conclusion was that prayer schedule by Moonsighting.com is a better solution, than adopting Makkah time there or any other solution Ulamaa' had proposed earlier.


Question F7: Islamicfinder.org gives an option for ISNA prayer Schedule. If that is ISNA's official position, then why moonsighting.com gives a different prayer shcedule compared to Islamicfinder.org's ISNA option?

Answer: Islamicfinder.org has used ISNA's name without verifying from ISNA. ISNA never had any official position. Islamicfinder.org is wrong and at fault to use ISNA's name and that ISNA uses 15°. Use of 15° or 18° is not correct. Read more about How We Calculate on http://moonsighting.com/how-we.html Moonsighting.com offers what we believe is the more towards reality and that does not use any fixed degrees nor any fixed interval from Maghrib. It uses a complex formula based on latitudes and seasons.


Question F8: Are prayer times given by Islamicfinder.org correct and reliable?

Answer: Islamicfinder.org has serious errors. Sometimes, sunrise and sunset time jump by several hours in one day. Click to see one example from IslamicFinder.org where the times jump by 3 to 4 hours in one day. Look on January 8 & 9 Sunrise time. On Jan 8, it is 7:28. On Jan 9, it is 11:14. Look on July 20 & 21 Sunset time. On July 20, it is 8:31. On July 21, it is 12:22. You can get to the same page, if you go to Islamicfinder.org, click on Norway, Click on "N" in search of a city, "Narvik". Click on "Na" in search of the same city, "Narvik". Scroll down and click on "To see more Click Next". Scroll down and click on "Narvik". Scroll down and look in the right column for Gregorian Annual Schedule. Click on "Annual Schedule".


Question F9: How long does it take to diasappear Shafaq Ahmer (red), and how long for Shafaq Abyadh (white)?

Answer: There is no one fixed answer. Firstly, red Shafaq is greatly affected by humidity in the atmosphere. At different latitudes, shafaq (both red and white) disappear in different time interval from Maghrib every day. Secondly, in different seasons, shafaq (both red and white) disappear in different time interval from the same location. You can verify that if you do the "Mushahidah" (observation) in different seasons.


A booklet of about 28 pages (8-1/2 x 11), "Fajr & Isha" has been written by Khalid Shaukat of moonsighting.com giving information from Qur'an, Hadith, practices of Sahabah, developments from 8th century onwards, astronomy and scientific basis, observations for Subh-Sadiq and disappearance of red and white Shafaq etc. Moonsighting.com has developed algorithms for function of latitudes and seasons based on observations after decades of research. These algorithms are included in the booklet. A solution for higher latitudes where sun does not set in summer or does not rise in winter is also provided in this booklet. The booklet is not yet published, but a hard (xeroxed) copy of the manuscript can be sent by postage mail (NOT by e-mail) upon request. Send your request by clicking on:
Question F10: What is the relationship of disappearance of Shafaq Ahmer (red), and disappearance of Shafaq Abyadh (white) with degrees?

Answer: There is no fixed relashionship in terms of degrees. Observations from different parts of the world prove that. Moonsighting.com has collected observations done by scholars and other volunteers in many places in the world [Riyadh (S. Arabia), Tando Adam (Pakistan), Cape Town (S. Africa), New Zealand, Buffalo (New York), Toronto (Canada), Sydney, Australia, Phoenix, Arizona, and Trinidad] for few days in a year. More observations were done in Blackburn, Lancashire, England (from September 1987 to August 1988) by a group of Ulamaa'. Although these observations were not for 365 days of the year, but covered almost entire year with a few months missing.

All collected observations show that for areas at or near equator Shafaq disappearance and Subh-Sadiq occurs at 18° every day of the year, and it translates into 75 minutes in all seasons. As you move to other latitudes, subh-Sadiq and disappearance of Shafaq occurs at different degrees in different seasons. Subh-Sadiq at higher latitudes (like Blackburn) is observed at 94 to 122 minutes (14.6° to 10.6 degrees) in different seasons. Red Shafaq disappears at 66 to 105 minutes (12° to 9.7°) at higher latitudes in different seasons. A decade long research by Moonsighting.com found that the Subh-Sadiq and Shafaq are functions of latitude and seasons. Moonsighting.com uses these functions of latitude and seasons for calculating Fajr and Isha times.


Zuhr
Question Z1: Does Zuhr time begin at noon?

Answer: According to Shari'ah, Zuhr time does not begin at noon. It begins after Zawaal. Noon or Zawaal is when the sun is at its highest altitude during its journey from sunrise to sunset. At this time, no prayer should be performed. At least 5 minutes after Zawaal should be allowed before beginning Zuhr prayers (Adhaan, Sunnah and fard).


Question Z2: The terms 'zawwal time' and 'noon time' have been used interchangeably in your web site regarding the prayer timings. I think the term 'noon' generally refers to 12:00pm while the zawwal time keeps on shifting all year round. Could you please tell me what time have you used in your calculations?

Answer: The term "Noon" is loosely used for 12:00Noon, but the "Noon" in geography and astronomy (which is also "Zawaal" in Islamic terminology) changes every day when the sun comes to a highest point in its journey from sunrise to sunset. Zuhr is prescribed after Zawaal when the sun has past Zawaal. For the sun's disc to completely pass Zawaal, it takes few minutes after "Astronomical Noon" time. For Zuhr, 5 minutes after "Astronomical Noon" is a good approximation having a little factor of safety, because at Zawwal (Astronomical Noon), no prayer should be performed.


Question Z3: I am a bit confused with the timings of Asr. Shafi'i Asr time is one hour before us (Hanafi). Due to this I get confused with the Zuhr time. Can I also say the Zuhr prayer after Shafi'i Asr time. Also people say that Maghrib time is just for 20 to 30 minutes. Is that correct?

Answer: Your thirst for knowledge is appreciated. Asr times according to Imam Abu-Hanifa starts at twice the shadow, and Zuhr time continues till that time. According to Shah Waliullah Dehlvi (a famous scholar born in India around 1654 AD) who made research (in Qur'an, Hadith & Fiqh) and came to the conclusion that "Between the shadow of one time length and two times length, i.e. between Asr(Shafi'i) and Asr(Hanafi) is the time permissible for both Zuhr and Asr, and in that time Zuhr would not be considered Qaza, and Asr would be considered acceptable also.

According to Hanafi Fiqh, Maghrib time continues till the beginning of Isha time. However, it is very much stressed that Maghrib should not be delayed after sunset, and should be prayed as soon as possible preferably within 15 to 20 minutes of sunset. It is considered Makrooh to delay Maghrib prayer without any legitimate justification. If due to unavoidable circumstances, you are delayed for Maghrib, it will not be Qaza until the beginning of Isha time.


Question Z4: I heard that one can find true north from the position of shadow at zawal. Is this correct?

Answer: Yes, it is true that one can find true North from the position of shadow at Zawal time when the sun reaches its maximum height during the day, then it starts declining. However, at some latitude on earth, the shadow would be unnoticeable or very very small. But many locations will have a definite shadow small or big.


Asr
Question A1: It seems impractical to find the time for Asr based on object's length plus shadow at Zawaal time for Shafi'i, or twice the object's length plus shadow at Zawaal time for Hanafi. How, an individual is supposed to know what is the shadow at Zawaal time. It appears to me that both Shafi'i and Hanafi Fiqh are not practical for this.

Answer: We in the 20th century may feel so much difficulty in knowing the shadow at Zawaal, but the Muslims in early centuries of Islam did not have any such difficulty. That's why, no one ever posed this question in early centuries objecting the Fiqh positions. Those early Muslims knew the time telling by sun's shadows, star's positions and moon phases. However, in the 20th century, we do not have time to observe skies during day or night as much as our ancestors did, but we have the technology to get much of that type of information from our computers, astronomical knowledge, and mathematics. Let us use the tools available in the times we are living in, and not object Fiqh positions.

Sun's shadow at Zawaal time is zero when the sun is exactly overhead at a location. Say, at Equator the sun is exactly overhead on March 21 and September 21. On those dates, the shadow of a stick at noon time would be zero on Equator. However, at the same time on the same longitude in Northern Europe, the shadow may be more or less equal to the length of the stick. So, Asr time (one length shadow according to Shafi'i) has already begun at Noon. When would you pray Zuhr. That's why the shadow at noon must be neglected in order to calculate Asr time.


Question A2: What is Asr Shafi'i and Asr Hanafi. I do not know the difference. Could you explain?

Answer: Fiqh (jurisprudence) is the interpretation of Hadith. Since every Muslim in not knowledgeable enough to interpret the Qur'an and Hadith, he/she must rely on some scholar who has done this interpretation. In early Islamic period there were four major scholars, Imam Abu-Hanifah in Iraq, Imam Malik in Madinah, Imam Shafi'i in Egypt, and Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal in Baghdad, who did a thorough job for this interpretation. An overwhelming majority of Muslims (Sunni or Ahl-e-Sunnah wal-Jama'ah) have converged to limit the interpretation with-in these four school of thoughts of Fiqh. All, or at least overwhelming majority, of the Fiqh scholars (Fuqahaa') in the later centuries consider themselves either Hanafi, Malikii, Shafi'i, or Hanbali.

For the beginning time of Asr, there are two distinct Fiqh positions and both are valid. Shafi'i, Maliki, and Hanbali fuqaha' agree that Asr time begins when shadow of any vertical object is equal to its length. Hanafi fuqahaa' say that Asr time begins when the shadow of any vertical object is twice its length. Both are based on authentic Hadith and practices of Sahaabah.


Maghrib
Question M1: Is Maghrib prayer time at sunset or not? What is the definition of sunset in Islam? Is it the time when the solar disc touches the horizon or is the time when the solar disc has completely disappeared below the horizon?

Answer: The definition of sunset in Islam is no different than astronomical definition, i.e. it is the time when the solar disc has completely disappeared below the horizon. It is not the time when the solar disc touches the horizon. However, there is a difference in theoretically calculated sunset and actual sunset. Maghrib time is actual sunset. The calculated sunset is when the sun has just disappeared below horizon to an observer on the surface of the earth assuming earth as perfect sphere and level ground, and assuming some estimated values of temperature, pressure, and humidity conditions in the atmosphere, that affect refraction of light. Maghrib is when looked at the western horizon, the sun just vanishes below horizon with actual effects of refraction, that could change by actual temperature, pressure, and humidity, and the actual ground whether it is sloping downward towards horizon or level ground. Calculations for sunset are done assuming the earth is perfect sphere (which it is not), also assuming that the ground towards western horizon is perfectly level (which may not be), and assuming estimated values of temperature, pressure, and humidity conditions in the atmosphere.

For this purpose at least 3 minutes must be added to the calculated time of astronomical sunset for Islamic sunset or Maghrib. There are 3 reasons for this addition of 3 minutes:
1. The calculations are made at one point by longitude and latitude, and the observer in most cases could be up to 15 miles away from it.
2. The refraction of light through atmosphere whose density keeps on changing due to temperature, pressure and humidity and that changes angle of refraction.
3. There is a possibility of the sloping downward ground towards western horizon, while the calculations are made assuming level ground.

Someone may ask, what would we do if there are mountains and the sun sets behind the mountains for a person who is at the base of a mountain. Is that instant of time OK for Maghrib. The answer is no, because the same person can drive or go up the mountains and see the sun. For mountains regions, the sunset should be calculated as if the monutains are not there, to make sure that no one can see the sun if one is in the valley between the mountains.


top Back to Top    Updated October 30, 2013