Postponing Salah

Q 1: There are more than six hundred students in the faculty. We have a fixed daily program that extends from the Fajr (Dawn) Prayer until after the `Isha' (Night) Prayer. We change the time of Salah (Prayer) according to the previously prepared schedule. For instance, we might delay the Zhuhr (Noon) Prayer until one o'clock in the afternoon. All the people offer Salah at this time in the same Masjid (mosque). The Adhan (call to Prayer) is said on time, but the Iqamah (call to start the Prayer) is delayed. We would like to inquire about the ruling on delaying the Fajr Prayer until the time just before sunrise, and the ruling on staying asleep (Part No. 5; Page No. 87) until the Iqamah before sunrise. Please advise concerning the times of Salah and the ruling on shifting them. In case this is permissible, would it be considered carelessness?

A: It is better to offer the obligatory Salah in the beginning of its time, according to the following Hadith related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim as follows: It was narrated on the authority of `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said: "I asked the Prophet (peace be upon him): What is the deed most liked by Allah?" He said: "Offering Salah in the beginning of its due time." If a person delays Salah to the end of its prescribed time, there is no blame on them, according to what was reported in Sahih (authentic) Hadith, such as the following: Jibril (Gabriel) came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) to inform him about the times of Salah. On the first day, he led him in the Five Obligatory Daily Prayers in the beginning of their time. On the second day, he led him in the Five Obligatory Daily Prayers in the end of their times and said to him, "The time of Salah is between these two times." However, it is desirable to offer Salah in the beginning of its time according to the previously-mentioned Hadith, except if the weather is too hot. In this case, the Zhuhr Prayer might be delayed until the weather is more bearable, provided that it is offered before the time of the `Asr (Afternoon) Prayer. The same applies to the `Isha' Prayer, which is desirable to be delayed until the congregation gathers, based on what was authentically reported from the Prophet (peace be upon him). When the Prophet (peace be upon him) found the Sahabah (Companions) assembled early for the `Isha' Prayer, he would offer Salah early, but when they came late, he used to delay the Salah. (Agreed upon by Al-Bukhari and Muslim) (Part No. 5; Page No. 88) May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.