What is the ruling of performing obligatory prayer without waiting for the adhan?
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the many countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
The worship of prayer is a type of worship where the starting and ending time of it is specified, Allah SWT state:
إِنَّ الصَّلاَةَ كَانَتْ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ كِتَابًا مَّوْقُوتًا
Indeed, prayer has been decreed upon the believers a decree of specified times.
Surah al-Maidah (103)
The Prophet PBUH has explained in detail regarding the times for the 5 times of obligatory prayers. The Prophet PBUH said:
عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عَمْرٍو أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ: "وَقْتُ الظُّهْرِ إِذَا زَالَتْ الشَّمْسُ وَكَانَ ظِلُّ الرَّجُلِ كَطُولِهِ مَا لَمْ يَحْضُرْ الْعَصْرُ وَوَقْتُ الْعَصْرِ مَا لَمْ تَصْفَرَّ الشَّمْسُ وَوَقْتُ صَلَاةِ الْمَغْرِبِ مَا لَمْ يَغِبْ الشَّفَقُ وَوَقْتُ صَلَاةِ الْعِشَاءِ إِلَى نِصْفِ اللَّيْلِ الْأَوْسَطِ وَوَقْتُ صَلَاةِ الصُّبْحِ مِنْ طُلُوعِ الْفَجْرِ مَا لَمْ تَطْلُعْ الشَّمْسُ"
“The time of the noon prayer is when the sun passes the meridian and a man's shadow is the same (length) as his height, (and it lasts) as long as the time for the afternoon prayer has not come; the time for the afternoon prayer is as long as the sun has not become pale; the time of the evening prayer is as long as the twilight has not ended; the time of the night prayer is up to the middle of the average night and the time of the morning prayer is from the appearance of dawn, as long as the sun has not risen; but when the sun rises, refrain from prayer for it rises between the horns of the devil.”
Sahih Muslim (612)
Prayer performed before its time is invalid and should be reperformed if there is still time for the prayer and should be replaced (qadha’) if the time for prayer has ended. Refer al-Muktamad fi Fiqh asy-Syafie (1/206)
Ibn Qudamah said: “Whoever performs the prayer before the time for prayer, the prayer is invalid according to the majority of the scholars’ opinion, whether it is performed on purpose or otherwise, or whether it is just a part of the prayer or for the whole prayer. This is the opinion of az-Zuhri, al-Auzai’e, asy-Syafie dan Ashab ar-Ra’yi. Narrated from Ibn Umar RA and Abu Musa RA, they both repeated the Subuh prayer that they performed before the time for Subuh prayer has started.” Refer al-Mughni (2/45).
If a person did not determine for sure whether the time for prayer has started before praying, then he found out afterwards that the time of prayer has not started, then his prayer is invalid and it is considered as if he has not prayed any obligatory or sunnah prayer. Refer Nihayah al-Muhtaj (2/5)
This differs from a person who is certain of the time of prayer but afterwards found out that he has prayed before the time of prayer, then the prayer he has performed is considered as sunnah mutlak prayer or replacement (qadha’) prayer for any prayer he had missed at the same time of the prayer he performed. Refer Hasyiah al-Syarwani ‘ala Tuhfah al-Minhaj (2/110), Nihayah al-Muhtaj (2/5)
These situations are cited by Imam Muzani from Imam al-Syafie:
فَلَا يَجُوزُ لِأَحَدٍ أَنْ يَحُجَّ قَبْلَ أَشْهُرِ الْحَجِّ فَإِنْ فَعَلَ فَإِنَّهَا تَكُونُ عُمْرَةً كَرَجُلٍ دَخَلَ فِي صَلَاةٍ قَبْلَ وَقْتِهَا فَتَكُونُ نَافِلَةً
“It is impermissible for a person to perform the worship of hajj before the months of hajj, if he performed it, then it is considered as umrah, the same with a person who performed a prayer before its time, then it is considered as sunnah prayer.” Refer Mukhtasar al-Muzani (pg. 159)
Prayer performed before the adhan can be divided into two situations:
- If a person performed a prayer before the adhan when the time for prayer has not started, then his prayer is invalid and he should perform it again after the time of prayer has started.
- If a person performed a prayer before the adhan but he is certain that the time of prayer has started, then his prayer is valid and it is unnecessary for him to perform his prayer again.
However, we advise all of us not to be hasty in performing prayer before the adhan because usually the adhan will be called out as soon as the time of prayer started, unless in certain places where they call the adhan a bit later or when a person is in a hurry or has to handle emergencies or unavoidable important matters.
Performing prayer before the adhan after the time for prayer has started without any urgent need is a contradiction from what is prioritized (khilaf aula), which is congregational prayer in mosques or surau which is an encouraged commandment.
May Allah SWT give us goodness and the right understanding in understanding His commandments and subsequently give us the strength to practise it. Amin.