Thursday, August 21, 2008

Visitor suggestions

Please leave your suggestion by clicking on 'comments' below.

Thank you.


Anonymous said...

Jazak Allahu Khairan for this good effort.

I think what is needed - and what would make it easier for people to understand this issue - is to post pictures of what to look for when measuring Sunset / and Sunrise times. Another would be to ask people to post their timelapse video of sunrise and sunset together with a counter showing actual time over on youtube. As tens (hopefully hundreds) of such videos are posted - it would become easy to calculate the correct time.

Finally - I think there is an effort to define darkness and brightness of the sky (horizon). May be there are devices (photographers have) that captures the ambient light and then shows in some unit of measurement how much light it is. Such grading can then be used to define when is the begining and end of such timings.

Anonymous said...


I admire the efforts this individual is taking and at the very least he;s doing something about it.. but i can;t help wondering why we are re-inventing the wheel.. it;s not as simple as sighting the times.. other factors of islamic jurisprudence also have to be taken into account of whether the sky gets dark enough in the summer.. in which instance WHEN are we going to pray isha...
secondly.. aren;t we just re-inventing the wheel?? hasn;t Mushahadah been done by our elders allreayd?!?!

khair.. good luck inshallah.. howevver.. you will have the problems of Authenticity, backing by ulemas and acceptance by mainstream masjaids if it;s not Peer led and scrutinised for thoroughness.

Allah guide us all on the straight path and give us istikamah, unite the ummah and forgive our shortcomings.


Ahmed A. said...

Jazakum Allah khair for your comments.
You are correct, the work must be scrutinised by scholars and have the backing of main stream fiqh councils. Alhamdulliah I am pleased to say that this project began after discussions with leading scholars on the issue. Insha Allah I will be uploading their recommendations and research papers on the subject soon.
Regarding previous work, leading experts in the field have said that their is a lack of data from sightings. The more sightings we can obtain from different parts of the world, in all four seasons, the better.
Regarding salah timing in persistent twilight, the most recent research papers will be posted to the constant-twilight site soon insha Allah.
Jazakum Allah khair for your constructive criticism.
Your brother in Allah,
Ahmed Al-Samarrai,
Site moderator.

Abu Ammar Mangorangca said...


This is a good effort. It is fortunate that you are doing the project with open participation.

The problem with determining the correct times for Isha and Fajr is similar to ascertaining the first appearance of hilal to mark the start of the month. The three items are actually variable and not susceptible to a definite mathematical solution.

The Shari'ah demands that these phenomena be observed by eyesight, not computed mathematically. And rightly so because they don't provide distinct geometric models. This is very much different with the times for Maghrib, Dhuhr and 'Asr where we have a fixed configuration of all the factors for computation: the sun, the horizon and the position of the observer.

What we can obtain as times for Fajr and Isha using the depression angles of the sun are approximation that may vary according to geographic location and season.

Abu Ammar Mangorangca
Marawi, Philippines

Ahmed Al-Samarrai said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ahmed Al-Samarrai said...

Thank you for your comments.

Many contributors have asked for further information on the methodology for the project.

Please find a detailed outline below:

1. A sighting is qualified by viewing a white envelope that appears on the horizon under the following condition:

a. The brightness of the envelope has reached the minimum level qualified by fiqh. (The qualification is set as: that which two will not differ concerning its presence).

The reason for such qualification was understood from the action of one of the scholars of the companions who had gone blind in old age:

While he was having suhur, one of those present said that he could see the light of Fajr appearing. Another man present said that the light was not visible to him. To this, the scholar replied that we are permitted to eat until both of you have no doubt.

The reason for his doing so was in his interpretation of the phrase tabayan lakum (clearly visible to you), mentioned in the Ayah on fasting.

Hence, we have a limiting magnitude that is both objective (two objective observers) and in line with juridical principals.

Thus, the angles found will also be according to the criteria set by fiqh.

2. Regarding scientific instrumentation:

It is my understating from consulting with scholars that the use of light measurement devices is not a prerequisite for establishing a sighting. The most advanced lux meters can measure light that is barely perceptible to the human eye. Scholars have argued that these levels of light do not qualify for Fajr.

However, what we could do is measure the magnitude of light that two people will just agree is present. We may be able to use this as a new criteria for Fajr and Isha. It would be an interesting exercise and I do not know that anyone has carried this out.

3. We could improve the sighting method by making it more systematic:

1. Each observer is given a watch set to an incorrect time by a third party. The times on each watch are also different.
2. Each observer sights at a distance away from the other.
3. When one observer sees light, they make note of the time and remain in place for a set time.
4. They both return to a meeting point where the third party informs them of the delay that was put into their watch so that the correct times could be found and recorded.

With this method:

a. No observer is under the impression that light is visible to the other but unseen by them. This may influence them psychologically
b. Neither can verify their own claims with Fajr times they remember from a time table as the watches are delayed.

Jazakum Allah khair
Ahmed Al-Samarrai.

Mohibullah said...

As Salaamu Alykum to all,

May Allah swt Bless and Reward all those that endeavor for Allah's Pleasure, amin.

I will like to mention a few introductory remarks:

1. It would be beneficial if a more rigorous (scientific) process is adopted in defining what is considered as the start of Fajr and the start of Ishan times.

1a. If the start of the Fajr/Ishan is based on the appearance / disappearance of the "redness" of the sky, it should be noted that the aerosols (small "dust" particles) and water vapor present in the atmosphere (which can vary in concentration over days/months) would definately affect the duration, intensity and spectral wavelenths (color) of the twilight colors.
1b. If the appearance of the "stars" is considered as the defining factor, it should be noted that the Planets are sometimes visible first and then the Stars are visible in the evening sky. It should also be specified as to how many planets/stars need to be seen and by how many people. I will not go into the additional parameter of whether the withness is male or female, that is a Fiqhi issue.

When these guidelines (and some additional ones) are clearly specified in the requirements of a report then, and only then, would the obervations of the viewers be useful. If not the spread of the data point could be too wide to be of any statistical consequence.

I pray that Allah swt Helps all of us in these efforts, amin.

Your brother in Islam,

Dr. Mohib. N. Durrani.

Ahmed Al-Samarrai said...

Dr. Mohib. N. Durrani, Jazakum Allah khair for your comment.
I will contact the scholars I am in touch with on this topic to get the required information.
Thank you for your comment.

Ahmed Al-Samarrai said...

Just a point of clarification, the site will be using the normal method of observation through the eye.

The suggestion of using a lux meter to find the limiting magnitude - the minimum light detectable by two individuals - as a new criteria, posted in the comments above, is only an after thought and open to suggestions.

It will not be used in this project.


Ahmed Al-Samarrai said...

Dr. Mohib. N. Durrani, Jazakum Allah khair for your comment.

I have been in touch with the Islamic Research Center and the Dar Al-Ifta in Egypt.

They inform me that the criteria adopted in this website is the criteria to be used for sighting the Fajr al-Sadiq and the start time of Isha. Neither ruled that the appearance of stars marks the start of Isha.

Please find the Dat Al-Ifta(Egypt )communication below:
Fatwa 200750

الموضوع: وقت صلاة العشاء
فضيلة الشيخ، هل هناك مذهب معتبر يُوََقِت دخول العشاء بظهور بعض النجوم فوق الأفق؟ وجزاكم الله خيرا تلميذكم أحمد السامرائي


أمانة الفتوى
يبدأ وقت العشاء حين يغيب الشفق بلا خلاف بين أبي حنيفة وصاحبيه , إلا أنهم اختلفوا في معنى الشفق , فذهب أبو حنيفة إلى أن الشفق هو البياض الذي يظهر في جو السماء بعد ذهاب الحمرة التي تعقب غروب الشمس , وذهب الصاحبان إلى أن الشفق هو الحمرة , وهو مذهب جمهور الفقهاء , والفرق بين الشفقين يقدر بثلاث درجات , وهي تعدل اثنتي عشرة دقيقة . وذهب الشافعية إلى أن للعشاء سبعة أوقات : وقت فضيلة وهو أوله , واختيار إلى آخر ثلث الليل الأول , وقيل إلى نصف الليل لحديث : { لولا أن أشق على أمتي لأخرت صلاة العشاء إلى نصف الليل } وجواز بلا كراهة للفجر الأول , وبكراهة إلى الفجر الثاني , ووقت حرمة وضرورة وعذر . استدل أبو حنيفة على أن الشفق هو البياض , بما روي عن أبي هريرة في حديث : { إن آخر وقت المغرب حين يسود الأفق } وإنما يسود إذا خفيت الشمس في الظلام , وهو وقت مغيب الشفق الأبيض . واستدل الجمهور على أن الشفق هو الحمرة بما روي عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم : { أنه كان يصلي العشاء عند مغيب القمر في الليلة الثالثة } وهو وقت مغيب الشفق الأحمر . - أما نهاية وقت العشاء , فحين يطلع الفجر الصادق بلا خلاف بين أبي حنيفة وأصحابه , وهو مذهب الشافعية , وغير المشهور عند المالكية ; لما روي عن أبي هريرة { أول وقت العشاء حين يغيب الشفق , وآخره حين يطلع الفجر } والمشهور في مذهب المالكية أن آخر وقتها ثلث الليل , لحديث إمامة جبريل المتقدم , وفيه : { أنه صلاهما في اليوم الثاني في ثلث الليل } . وذهب الحنابلة إلى أن آخر وقتها الاختياري ثلث الليل , وبعده إلى طلوع الفجر وقت ضرورة , بأن يكون مريضا شفي من مرضه , أو حائضا أو نفساء طهرتا .


Dr.Durrani, I understand the point of statistical correlation. Observations currently held on the database show that good correspondence between results is achievable. However, this will only be confirmed with the arrival of new data from observers.
The new site - launch planned for this summer insha Allah, will contain all observations made to date by this site and others.

Regarding the fiqhi question of male/female sighting:

The Dar al -Ifta in Egypt also ruled that the witness of one person is acceptable to mark the start of of Fajr so long as they are reliable/trustworthy (thiqa), be they male or female.

Please find communication below:

( (fatwa ruling below):
فضيلة الشيخ، السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته، عندما نكون في البر وبعيدا عن المساجد و جداول وقت الصلاة، هل تكفي شهادة إمرأة واحدة للإعلام بدخول الفجر الصادق؟ وجزاكم الله خيرا

تلميذكم أحمد السامرائي بريطانيا


أمانة الفتوى
يجوز معرفة دخول الوقت بإخبار الثقة فإن كانت ثقة فيجوز أن تكون طريقة لمعرفة دخول الوقت

The Dar al-Ifta also mentions that the visibility of Fajr Sadiq can be qualified by specialist astronomers. I am perusing this in the hopes that they may be able to offer further guidance. Please see communication below:

Fatwa 983737 (

الموضوع: وقت دخول الفجر مقياسا علميا
السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته، سماحة المفتي، ما هو الحد الذي يتحقق به سبب دخول وقت الفجر ، وهل هناك مقياس علمي لعرض الفجر الصادق المستطير في الأفق والذي به يتحقق دخول الفجر. وجزاكم الله خيرا أحمد السامرائي
أمانة الفتوى
المسلم يتعرف على دخول الوقت إما بالنظر إلى السماء ومعرفة العلامة المخصوصة لكل وقت، فالفجر يخرج الفجر الصادق منتشرا في السماء في الأفق، وأصبحت هذه العلامة خاصة بعلماء الأفلاك والقائمين على وضع مواقيت الصلوات بالحسابات، وأصبح أغلب المسلمين الآن يتعرفون على دخول الوقت بالآذان أو النظر في الساعة من خلال الحسابات المعدة في النتائج


Thank you for your contribution, we look forward to your suggestions and comments.
Best wishes,

Ahmed Al-Samarrai.

Anonymous said...

Assalamu alaikum

Subhana Allah, I was just speaking to an expert at ICOP on that and there are some initiatives coming up soon.

The pictures and videos to be taken have to follow a standard guidelines that would make comparison and analysis meaningful.

Also what is to be pictured is not sunset and sunrise, it is Fajr Saadiq and Magheeb Shafaq Ahmar/Abyadh (disappearance of the sun redness and whiteness for Isha). A timed video clip is best I would say because it will record time while the event takes place.

We are in dire need of this.

Abdelkader Tayebi
Windsor, Canada

Anonymous said...

Asalam alaikum, the ICOP have now began their Fajr/Isha observation project ( they provide some tips for sightings.

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