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Frequently Asked Questions (faq) - Search for 'twilight'

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What are the definitions of the 5 prayer times?

Muslims pray 5 times a day. The times of each prayer vary from place to place and from day to day. It is vital that Muslims perform these prayers at the correct time.

The 5 prayers are described below:

Starts at dawn or morning twilight
Ends just before sunrise

Starts at approximately 5 minutes after Zawaal
Ends at start of Asar time

The start of Asar is dependant upon the length of the shadow that is cast by an object. Different schools use different criteria.
Ends just before sunset

Starts at sunset
Ends at the start of Isha (i.e. when there is reddishness in the sky)

Starts after dusk
Ends when the evening twilight disappears (i.e. when it first starts to get light)

How are the times of the prayers determined?

The times of the prayer are determined by the position of the sun, i.e. by defining the above in astronomically measurable terms.

However for countries above 48 degrees (including Britain), Fajr and Isha timings require some estimation as the twilight may persist between sunset and sunrise for certain months of the year.

In these months the sun does not go below the horizon by a sufficient amount and so there is no true night.

Under these circumstances Salahtimes uses the 1/7 rule method by default (for UK) to calculate the Fajr and Isha times respectively, although you can change this to an alternative method.

What is twilight?
Twilight is the name given to the light that is observed after sunset and before sunrise. At this point the sun is below the horizon.
What is the twilight angle?

To determine Isha and Fajr calculations, one needs to calculate the time when the sun is at a certain distance below the horizon. The twilight angle is used for this purpose and it is defined as the angle in degrees of the sun below the horizon, when total darkness begins or ends.

Some organizations' use a fixed time after Maghrib to determine the start of Isha time.

Several standards have been established for determining Fajr and Isha prayer times.

Egyptian General Authority of Survey:
Region Africa, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Malaysia, parts of the USA
Fajr – twilight angle 19.5
Isha – twilight angle 17.5
Islamic Society of North America (ISNA):
Region Parts of the USA, Canada, parts of the UK
Fajr – twilight angle 15
Isha – twilight angle 15
Islamic Organisations Union of France:
Region France
Fajr – twilight angle 12, 15 or 18
Isha – twilight angle 12, 15 or 18
Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura:
Region Singapore
Fajr – twilight angle 20
Isha – twilight angle 18
Muslim world league:
Region Europe, Far East, parts of the USA
Fajr – twilight angle 18
Isha – twilight angle 17
Umm Al Qura:
Region The Arabian Peninsula
Fajr – twilight angle 18.5
Isha – twilight angle 90 minutes after Maghrib (120 minutes during Ramadan)
University of Islamic sciences, Karachi:
Region Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Afghanistan, parts of Europe
Fajr – twilight angle 18
Isha – twilight angle 18
What is dusk?
Dusk is when it is dark, or when the reddishness in the sky ends. The dictionary defines dusk as the darker stages of twilight.

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