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irsyad al hadith 449


What is the status and meaning of the hadith?

  • Narrated by Abdullah bin ‘Amr RA, where the Prophet PBUH said:

وَوَقْتُ صَلاَةِ الْعِشَاءِ إِلَى نِصْفِ اللَّيْلِ

“The time of the night prayer is up to the middle of the average night,”

Sahih Muslim (612)



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.

Referring back to the question asked, the scholars have differing opinions on stating the ending time to perform Isha’ prayer. This is due to the presence of different dalil in discussing the matter. Coming back to the above hadith, it is a sahih narrated by Imam Muslim in his Sahih when the Prophet PBUH was asked on the time for prayers. There is also a hadith which mention the action of the Prophet PBUH who delayed his Isha’ prayer to the middle of the night as follows:

  • Narrated by Anas bin Malik RA, he said:

أَخَّرَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم صَلاَةَ الْعِشَاءِ إِلَى نِصْفِ اللَّيْلِ، ثُمَّ صَلَّى ثُمَّ قَالَ ‏ "‏ قَدْ صَلَّى النَّاسُ وَنَامُوا، أَمَا إِنَّكُمْ فِي صَلاَةٍ مَا انْتَظَرْتُمُوهَا ‏"

The Prophet () delayed the `Isha' prayer till midnight and then he offered the prayer and said, "The people prayed and slept but you have been in prayer as long as you have been waiting for it (the prayer)."

Sahih al-Bukhari (572)

Imam al-Nawawi when commenting on this hadith state the meaning of Isha’ prayer to the middle of the night is by saying that the time is an ikhtiyar (chosen) time. While the jawaz time (permissible time to perform salah) is ongoing until before the sunrise (of fajr sadiq). [See: al-Minhaj Syarah Sahih Muslim, 5/111]

The ikhtiyar time means Allah has chosen the time to perform salah if one does not perform it during the afdhal time. [See: al-Taqrirat al-Sadidah, 181]. Therefore, the ikhtiyar time for Isha’ prayer starts rightly after the end of the afdhal time to one-third of the night. This opinion of Imam al-Nawawi is supported by a general hadith which states that a particular time for prayer ends by the coming of the next time for prayer as stated in a hadith:

  • Narrated by Abi Qatadah RA, where the Prophet PBUH said:

أَمَا إِنَّهُ لَيْسَ فِي النَّوْمِ تَفْرِيطٌ إِنَّمَا التَّفْرِيطُ عَلَى مَنْ لَمْ يُصَلِّ الصَّلاَةَ حَتَّى يَجِيءَ وَقْتُ الصَّلاَةِ الأُخْرَى

There is no omission in sleeping. The (cognizable) emission is that one should not say prayer (intentionally) till the time of the other prayer comes

Sahih Muslim (681)

Besides, Imam Zakaria al-Ansari states that this hadith clearly indicates that the time for a particular prayer goes on until the coming of the next prayer of the five times prayer except for Subh which ends by the coming of fajar sadiq. [See: Fath al-Wahab, 1/36]

In addition, there are different opinions regarding the ending time of Isha’ prayer according to scholars as we mentioned in the beginning of this article. Hence, pertaining to the exact ending time for Isha’ prayer, we already answered them briefly in the article al-Kafi li al-Fatawi series 266 entitled the ending time for Isha’ prayer. There we already quoted some opinions on the ending time for Isha’ prayer.


In conclusion, the hadith which states that the time for Isha’ prayer is until the middle of the night narrated by Imam Muslim is sahih. However, the scholars have differing opinions in understanding the meaning of the hadith. Still, in madhhab al-Shaf’ie, the time for Isha’ prayer ends by the rise of fajar sidiq which is the coming of Subh prayer. Moreover, the best time to perform salah is at the early time as there are numerous hadith which state on the virtue of praying early. Lastly, may Allah SWT give us understanding in this religion so that we are grouped among His slaves who attain all the goodness. Ameen.