Prayer times in Judaism and Islam

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There are many similarities between the Jewish z’man tefillah and the muslim waqt salat (time for prayers), in this post we explore these similarities.

Arabic prayer Description Hebrew prayer Description
Fajr Dawn when “when white thread can be distinguished by you from a black one”, until sunrise Brachot Dawn “When one can distinguish between blue and white”, until the first quarter of the day”
Shuchar After true noon until Asr Shacharit From sunrise to the first third of the day
Asr

Afternoon

According to Imam Abu Hanifa “Asr starts when the shadow of an object becomes twice its height (plus the length of its shadow at the start time of Shuchar).” For the rest of Imams, “Asr starts when the shadow of an object becomes equal to its length (plus the length of its shadow at the start time of Shuchar).” Asr ends as the sun begins to set”

For Shia Muslims “Asr has no set times but is performed from midday. Shuchar and ‘Asr prayers must be performed before sunset, and the time for ‘Asr prayer starts after Shuchar has been performed”.

Ashrei / Mincha

Ashrei/Mincha may be recited from half an hour after noon until the last quarter of the day.

Ideally, one should complete the prayers before sunset, although many authorities permit reciting Mincha until nightfall

Maghrib After sunset until dusk Ma’ariv After nightfall until midnight, in extenuating circumstances it can be recited up until dawn.
Isha’a

This can be said from twilight, according to the Hanafi school, Isha begins when complete darkness has arrived and the white twilight in the sky has disappeared. According to the Maliki and Shafi’i schools, the time begins when the red thread has disappeared from the sky. It can be said until the beginning of dawn when the time for Fajr prayer begins. It should ideally be said within the first third of the night but in extenuating circumstances it can be recited up until dawn.

For Shia Muslims the time period within which the Isha’a prayer must be after Maghrib until dawn. However, it is very important to recite the prayer as soon as the time begins.

Shema Dusk until dawn

These times should not be followed by religious readers trying to find the correct prayer times, for this you should consult a religious authority.

Expanded on an article by Rabbi Ben Abrahamson

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Prayer times in Judaism and Islam