Answered by Ustadh Sufyan Qufi
According to the Hanafi madhhab in my country dhuhr ends at 4:02 pm. I started praying the fard of dhuhr at 3:50 and finished at 3:57. When I was about to finish the prayer I heard the beginning of the adhan of asr prayer in a mosque far away. Other mosques near my house recite the adhan of asr at 4:15 pm.
Was I sinful for this? Is my prayer still valid?
In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful.
I pray this finds you in the best of states.
Your prayer was valid because you prayed it within its time. [Shurunbulali, Nur al-Idah]
Allah, Most High, says: “Prayer is obligatory for the believers at prescribed times.” [4.103]
This is something you can be sure about as you have taken the means to pray in time and there is nothing wrong in doing so through the help of a timetable as reliable contemporary scholars teach us.
You are not sinful for having prayed this late but it would have been better for you to pray in congregation at the mosque as you have missed its reward.
It is an emphasized sunna for men who have no excuse to pray in a congregation. [Taqrirat Ar-Rafi‘i on Hashiyat Ibn Abidin]
To get used to missing the congregational prayer without excuse is sinful. [Tahtawi/Shurunbulali, Hashiyat Maraqi al-Falah ]
The sunna is fulfilled even by praying in a congregation outside of the mosque, even though it is better to perform it in the mosque. [Tahtawi/Shurunbulali, Hashiyat Maraqi al-Falah]
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said:
“Praying in congregation is twenty-seven times better than praying alone” [Bukhari; Muslim].
And Allah knows best.
[Ustadh] Sufyan Qufi
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani