Q: I paid a visit to
Bergen, the Western capital of Norway
after being invited by the Islamic Cultural Centre there. During my stay, I observed how the Islamic community is in great need of a Da`y (Islamic caller) who has both righteousness and religious knowledge. Like most European countries,
there is no qualified scholar in Bergen who can undertake the responsibility of Da`wah (calling to Islam) and Fatwa. Some people who lack proper religious knowledge hold the position of a Da`y and issue invalid Fatwas which misguide Muslims there. This poses a great danger to Islam. The Prophet (peace be upon him) is reported to have said:
When honesty is lost, then wait for the Hour." It was asked, "How will honesty be lost, O Allah's Messenger?" He said, "When authority is given to those who do not deserve it, then wait for the Hour."
(Part No. 5; Page No. 116) For example: The responsibility of making Da`wah efforts and issuing Fatwas in this city is undertaken by a man named
who is officially responsible for the Islamic Society. He has also been appointed as an Imam in the society for many years. He used to issue Fatwas which lacked proper religious knowledge. One Fatwa stated the following:Changing Prayer times in the city. He issued what has been called Al-Dahri Calendar. He distorted many religious matters for Muslims. He made them offer Maghrib (Sunset) and `Isha' (Night) Prayers before sunset. He also made them break their fast many hours before sunset. He attributed this Fatwa to a group of Saudi scholars and jurists.However, I happened to read a Fatwa issued by the Fatwa Committee of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which states otherwise. It says that Muslims are obliged to abide by the regular prayer times as long as night and day continues to alternate. The Fatwa bears No. 2769 issued in 31/1/1400 AH.The Saudi Fatwa was released many years before this fabricated Fatwa was issued. Some people may imagine that the alleged Fatwa abrogated the Saudi Fatwa. Based on this, we hope that the Fatwa Committee will issue a new Fatwa in this regard. (Part No. 5; Page No. 117) This is necessary because many people are still convinced of the invalid Fatwa issued by that man. This Fatwa has invalidated the Salah and Sawm (Fast) of the Muslims. It should be noted that the duration of night at this city is almost four hours.We hope that this incident may motivate Islamic institutions to think about sending qualified Du`ah (Islamic callers) to Islamic centers in Europe. It is a serious matter and all Muslims will bear the evil consequences. Please accept our best regards.As-salamu `alaykum warahmatullah wabarakatuh (May Allah's Peace, Mercy, and Blessings be upon you)
A: The Council of Senior Scholars of
the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia issued a decree on the stated times of Salah. The decree also set the time of dawn and sunset of every day of the month of Ramadan at similar countries. The decree stated:Following careful examination of the subject, the council decided the following:Muslims who live in countries where the day continuously alternates with night, but where the duration of the day is longer in summer than in winter, they must offer the Five Obligatory Daily Prayers at their stated times. This is based on the general meaning of the Ayah (Qur'anic verse) in which Allah (may He be glorified) states: (Part No. 5; Page No. 118)
Perform As-Salât (Iqamât-as-Salât) from mid-day till the darkness of the night (i.e. the Zuhr, ‘Asr, Maghrib and ‘Ishâ’ prayers), and recite the Qur’ân in the early dawn (i.e. the morning prayer). Verily, the recitation of the Qur’ân in the early dawn is ever witnessed (attended by the angels in charge of mankind of the day and the night).
In another Ayah, Allah (Glorified be He) states:
Verily, As-Salât (the prayer) is enjoined on the believers at fixed hours.
It has been reported on the authority of
Buraydah (may Allah be pleased with him) that
A person asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) about the stated time of Salah. Upon this the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Pray with us these two; meaning two days. When the sun passed the meridian, he commanded
Bilal to announce Adhan (call to Prayer). Then he commanded him to announce Iqama (call to start the Prayer) for Zhuhr (Noon) Prayer. (Then at the time of the `Asr (Afternoon) Prayer) he again commanded him to announce the Iqama for the `Asr Prayer when the sun was high, white and clear. He again commanded him to announce Iqama for the Maghrib (Sunset) Prayer when the sun had set. He again commanded him to announce Iqama for the `Isha' (Night) Prayer when the twilight had disappeared. He again commanded him to announce Iqama for the Fajr (Dawn) Prayer at the break of dawn. The following day, he commanded him to delay the Zhuhr Prayer until the extreme heat had passed and he did so, and he allowed it to be delayed until the extreme heat had passed. He offered the `Asr Prayer when the sun was high, delaying it beyond the time he had previously observed it. He offered the Maghrib Prayer before the twilight had vanished; he offered the `Isha' Prayer when a third of the night had passed; and he observed the Fajr Prayer when there was clear daylight. The Prophet (peace be upon him) then said: "Where is the man who inquired about the stated times of Salah?" The inquirer said : "Here I am O Messenger of Allah. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "The time for your Salah lies within the limits of what you have seen."
Muslim) It was narrated on the authority of
`Abdullah ibn `Amr ibn Al-`As that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:
The stated time for the Zhuhr Prayer is when the sun passes the meridian (Part No. 5; Page No. 119) and a man's shadow is the same length as his height, and it lasts as long as the time for the `Asr Prayer has not come; the stated time for the `Asr Prayer is as long as the sun has not become pale; the stated time for the Maghrib Prayer continues for as long as the twilight has not ended; the stated time for the `Isha' Prayer is up to the middle of the average night and the time of the Fajr Prayer is from the appearance of dawn, as long as the sun has not risen; but when the sun rises, refrain from Salah for it rises between the horns of the devil.
Muslim in his Sahih) There are other similar Hadiths regarding the stated times of the Five Obligatory Daily Prayers. These Hadiths do not make a distinction between the long or the short duration of the day and night. The stated times of Salah are identified by the signs that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) specified.During the appointed times of starting and breaking the fast during the month of Ramadan, adult Muslims have to abstain from eating, drinking and all the things that nullify their fasting from dawn till dusk. This is as long as the day continues to alternate with the night during a period of twenty-four hours. It is lawful for them to eat, drink, and engage in sexual intercourse with their wives only during the night even though its duration may be short. The rules of the Shari`ah (Islamic Law) remain one and the same at all places. (Part No. 5; Page No. 120) Allah (Glorified be He) says:
...and eat and drink until the white thread (light) of dawn appears to you distinct from the black thread (darkness of night), then complete your Saum (fast) till the nightfall.
Those who are incapable of fasting during the day due to the length of its duration, because of a doctor's advice not to fast, because fasting is likely to make them ill, or their sickness is likely to aggravate on account of fasting, it is lawful for them to break their fast and make up for the days they miss at a later time. Allah (Exalted be He) says:
So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan i.e. is present at his home), he must observe Saum (fasts) that month, and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe Saum (fasts) must be made up] from other days.
Allah (Exalted be He) also says:
Allâh burdens not a person beyond his scope.
Allah (Exalted be He) also says:
...and He has not laid upon you in religion any hardship
Second: People who live in countries where the sun never sets in summer and never rises in winter, and those who live in countries where daytime prevails for half a year and where night-time prevails for the half of the year have to (Part No. 5; Page No. 121) offer the Five Obligatory Daily Prayers throughout twenty-four hours. They have to calculate the stated times of Salah depending on the timing of the neighboring countries.
Allah, the Exalted enjoined upon the people of the Muslim Ummah to perform fifty prayers daily. The Prophet (peace be upon him) repeated his question to his Lord to make the duty lighter till Allah (Exalted be He) said: O Muhammad! They are fifty prayers daily; every one equals ten, so the result is fifty prayers.
It was authentically reported on the authority of
Talhah ibn `Ubaydullah (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said:
A man from Najd with ruffled hair came to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him),
and we heard his loud voice but could not understand what he was saying. It was not until he had come near to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) that we knew he was asking about Islam. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "You have to offer five Prayers each day and night.'' The man inquired: ''Do I have to do anything else?" The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "No, unless you want to offer voluntary prayers...."
(Part No. 5; Page No. 122) It was authentically reported on the authority of
Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said:
We were forbidden to ask the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) about anything (useless), so we used to like it when an intelligent person from among the desert people would come and ask him a question while we were listening. Once a Bedouin came and said: "O Muhammad, your messenger came to us and said that you claim that Allah sent you." The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) replied: "He has spoken the truth." The man kept asking the Prophet (peace be upon him) until he said: "And your messenger claimed that we have to offer five prayers each day and night." The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "He has spoken the truth.” The man said, “By the One Who sent you, has Allah commanded you to teach this?" He said: “Yes...."
It was also authentically reported that
The Prophet (peace be upon him) was talking to his Sahabah (Companions) about Al-Masih-ul-Dajjal (the Antichrist) when they asked: "For how long will he stay on earth?" The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: "For forty days, the length of one day is equivalent to one year, the length of another day is equivalent to a month, the length of a third day is equivalent a week's time and the rest of the days will be like normal days." The Prophet (peace be upon him) was asked: "O Messenger of Allah! Would one day's prayer suffice for the prayers of day equal to one year?" Thereupon he said: "No, but you must make an estimate of time (and then observe prayer).
The Prophet (peace be upon him) affirmed that during the day whose length is equivalent to one year, it will not be sufficient to offer the Five Obligatory daily Prayers one time and that one will be obliged to offer these prayers every twenty-four hours. (Part No. 5; Page No. 123) Muslims in these countries must specify the appointed times of Salah depending on the nearest country where the night alternates with the day and where the appointed times of Salah are known through the signs specified by the Shari`ah (Islamic Law).They must observe fasting during the month of Ramadan. They must specify the beginning and end of Ramadan. They must also specify the time of starting and breaking the fast for every day. They may depend on the break of dawn and sunset in the nearest country to them. This is based on the Hadith in which the Prophet (peace be upon him) was asked about Al-Masih-ul-Dajjal. He instructed his Sahabah about the proper method of specifying the appointed times of Salah. There is no difference between Salah and Sawm in this regard. The Dahri Calendar mentioned in the question is invalid as it contradicts the explicit Hadiths narrated from the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and because it spoils the Salah and Sawm. Therefore, Muslims must be warned about following it. (Part No. 5; Page No. 124) May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.