There are five pillars or fundamentals upon which Islam stands, one of which is prayer or Salah. It is obligatory for every Muslim to offer prayers five times a day, and most importantly, at their fixed times.
When asked which deed was the dearest to Allah, the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said, “To offer the prayers at their early stated fixed times.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 527).
This is why knowing accurate prayer times is significant; otherwise, you will miss your prayer and need to offer Qaza namaz. However, it sometimes becomes difficult to remember prayer timings because of seasonal timing changes and if you don’t live near a mosque and cannot listen to the Azaan.
So, today we’ll tell you some simple ways to find accurate prayer times so that you’re never late for your Salah!
The Importance and Benefits of Prayer in Islam
As mentioned, Salah is the second pillar of Islam and the most repetitive obligatory action in a Muslim’s everyday life. While fasting lasts for a month, Zakat is given once a year, and Hajj is to be performed only once in a lifetime; the five-time prayers continue till death.
So, before discussing the timings, we must first understand the importance and benefits of offering five-time daily prayers.
1. Shield Against Evil Deeds
It is narrated by Hazrat Abu Hurairah (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ):
I heard Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) saying, “If there was a river at the door of anyone of you and he took a bath in it five times a day would you notice any dirt on him?” They said, “Not a trace of dirt would be left.” The Prophet (ﷺ) added, “That is the example of the five prayers with which Allah blots out (annuls) evil deeds.”(Sahih al-Bukhari 528)
Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى) also says in the Holy Quran:
Surely prayer forbids indecency and evil. And Allah’s remembrance is of even greater merit. (Quran 29:45)
Surely, someone who prostrates before Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى) five times a day will behave and think differently from someone who doesn’t.
2. Direct Link with Allah
The Arabic word ‘Salah’ is derived from the word ‘connection.’ Hence, prayer is a direct connection between you and Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى). The opportunity to connect with Allah and seek his blessings and forgiveness comes five times daily, so don’t cut off this link and respond promptly when He calls.
3. Strict Compulsion
The command to offer prayers is absolute, no matter what the circumstances, as is established by this Quranic verse:
“Maintain with care the [obligatory] prayers and [in particular] the middle prayer and stand before Allah, devoutly obedient. And if you fear [an enemy, then pray] on foot or riding. But when you are secure, then remember Allah [in prayer], as He has taught you that which you did not [previously] know.” (Quran: 2-238-9)
4. Savior from Torture of the Grave
Surely, the first question a Muslim will be asked in the grave and on the day of Judgement regarding prayers.
Huraith bin Qabisah narrates it:
“I heard Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) say: “Indeed, the first deed by which a servant will be called to account on the Day of Resurrection is his Salat. If it is complete, he is successful and saved, but if it is defective, he has failed and lost.” (Jami`at-Tirmidhi 413)
5. Encourages Humility
By submitting to Allah’s Greatness five times a day, a Muslim becomes humbled and is rid of pride and arrogance. For example, while prostrating on the ground during prayers, a Muslim repeat thrice: “How perfect is my Lord, The Most High.”
Allah also says in the Quran:
“Successful indeed are the believers, those who humble themselves in prayer.” (Qur’an 23:1-2)
6. Unites All Muslims
Offering prayers in the congregation encourages equality, brotherhood, and humility. Muslims of different races, colors, nationalities, and statuses stand shoulder to shoulder, in rows, without distinction, praying as a single body.
The Holy Prophet (ﷺ) said that praying in congregation is twenty-seven more rewarding than praying alone.
Finding Accurate Prayer Times in 4 Simple Ways
To determine accurate prayer times today, you first need to learn how to identify the nine significant points of time that occur every day:
These are as follows:
- Fajr: when the first light in the sky (dawn) is seen
- Sunrise: when the first part of the sun can be seen over the horizon
- Dhuhr: when the sun starts to decline after attaining its maximum height
- Asr: when the length of an object’s shadow becomes the length of the object plus the length of the object’s shadow at noon
- Sunset: when the sun sets below the horizon
- Maghrib: right after sunset
- Isha: when there is darkness and no scattered light in the sky
- Midnight: average time between sunset and sunrise OR from sunset to Fajr
Here are some ways to accurately determine the timings of prayers:
1. Mathematical Calculation
To calculate prayer times for a certain location, you must know the following:
- Longitude (λ) and the latitude (φ) of the location
- Local Time Zone of the location
- Equation of time (eqt: the difference between time from a sundial and a clock)
- Declination of the Sun (D: angle between the rays of the sun and the plane of the earth’s equator)
So, the timings for the Dhuhr prayer can be easily calculated using the following formula:
Dhuhr = 12 + TimeZone – Lng/15 – EqT
2. Local Newspapers and Islamic TV Channels
Other accurate and easy sources of prayer timings are local newspapers (in Muslim-majority countries) and TV channels. Newspapers generally display this information as a table or list, often mentioning the timings for different Fiqh.
Islamic television channels also feature a break for the Azan whenever it is time for a particular prayer. Sometimes, they also display the timings of prayers between intervals or momentarily display it as a table or list on one side of their screen.
3. Local Mosque
Local mosques are the best and easiest source to find out the timings of prayer. If you have a mosque nearby, the sound of the Azan is enough. However, you can always contact your local mosque to ask about prayer timings or visit their website, where this information is generally displayed on the Home Page.
4. Meteorological Departments or Other Weather Forecasting Agencies
You can also visit the national weather department or other government agencies providing weather forecasts to check the time of sunrise and sunset to calculate prayer times. In some countries, the national met or weather forecast agencies may provide prayer times as a public service. You can visit their website for daily forecasts.
5. Mobile Apps
Last but not least, it is also possible to use online tools or mobile apps to get prayer times for your location. These tools often allow you to choose the method of calculation and your school of thought to get the most accurate prayer times for your specific circumstances. One great example is the Muslim and Quran Pro mobile app.
Muslim and Quran Pro
Muslim and Quran Pro aims to connect Muslims with their interests and aspirations and the worldwide Muslim community. It provides state-of-the-art Islamic mobile application and content for Muslims to practice and perfect their faith.
From prayer times and the Qibla direction finder to streaming online religious lectures, Muslim and Quan Pro has revolutionized the Muslim tech space. Apart from getting Azaan notifications and namaz timetable, you can read the Quran online, check the date from the Hijri and Gregorian calendars, and read informative Islamic blogs to become a better-educated Muslim.