Did I Miss the Maghrib Prayer by Praying 35 Minutes After It Came In?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question

I was confused about the end time of maghrib, as I heard a Shaykh saying it is 50 to 70 minutes after the starting time so I prayed after 35 minutes of the starting time even though I thought that the redness in the horizon had disappeared. Later on, I came to know that most scholars say the time of maghrib ends at the end of civil twilight. According to that, I was late in my prayer because civil twilight ended almost 25 minutes after the starting time. (I googled it).

Am I sinful for delaying Maghrib while I was in a state of confusion?

Answer

Thank you for your question.

I have copied and pasted a section from Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller’s article on the subject below. According to the calculation he has provided, maghrib time in Toronto, Canada, is 63-68 minutes long, depending on 12 or 13 degrees. My understanding is that your prayer is definitely valid.

Please see more details here:
Ramadan and Fixed True Dawn
Can I Pray Isha Right After Praying Maghrib? (Shafi’i)

“The red leaves the sky in most places, marking the beginning of nightfall (isha) for Shafi‘is when the center of the sun descends below the horizon by somewhere between 12 and 13 degrees. It is more variable than the 18-degree “astronomical twilight” because atmospheric factors at night such as the amount of humidity, smoke, or dust in the air may influence how long the redness in the sky remains visible to the human eye.

So relying on one’s own observation may work better than a simple formula stated in degrees. What most observe is that 12 degrees (known as “nautical twilight”) plus about ten minutes’ time is usually enough to see the last redness depart, while 13 degrees is an added margin of safety, and only means an additional delay of ten minutes or so.

Redness means the color people ordinarily describe as “red.” If one remains stymied, consult the tables of a local astronomical observatory for 12 degrees, add twenty minutes to it, then pray isha. It is most important when one cannot clearly observe the redness of the sky, however, to pray the sunset prayer (maghrib) as soon as the sun sets, or within forty-five minutes or so thereafter, to make sure it falls within the right time.

What we have just mentioned above about the time of isha is a precaution for isha, not maghrib. What I have seen time and time again in Jordan is that the time of maghrib lasts about fifty-five minutes, then isha has come, according to the Shafi‘i school.“

May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.