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Lancaster UK Lt = 54:03N Lg = 2:48W GMT+0
Qibla Compass = 122:11E (2005.75)
Qibla from True North = 118:21E



Why there is a difference opinion between Shafi’i and Hanafi in a decision of Asr prayer time? Which one is true?


In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate

The difference of opinion that exists between the four schools of Islamic law—the Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi`i, and Hanbali schools—all return to plausible understandings of the Quran and the sunna of the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace). More often than not, the differences found in the legal literature of the four schools have a precedent in similar differences of opinions among the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) and the early Muslims.

Someone who is (a) trained in legal reasoning and (b) has comprehensive knowledge of the Quran and hadith corpus will be able to appreciate first-hand that the jurists of all four schools were knowledgeable and intelligent men who had strong cases for their legal positions.

Non-scholars—like us—will, at times, be able to come to such an appreciation and, at other times, will not. People like us may sometimes imagine that a particular hadith or a particular verse clearly supports the position of one school at the expense of another. This imagination stems from our lack of knowledge and expertise: if Allah Most High had blessed us with the knowledge and intelligence of the great imams, we would truly be able to appreciate their positions.

For people like us, the scholarly validity of the four schools of law can be understood from the scholarly consensus that developed around the acceptance of these four schools over the last millennium. It is naieve to believe that we–after generations upon generations of sincere, knowledgeable, trained, and intelligent Muslim scholars—have stumbled upon a hadith or a verse that decisively invalidates a position of one of the four schools of Sunni jurisprudence.

The answer to your question, then, is that as far as non-specialists like us are concerned, the positions of the Hanafi and Shafi`i schools are both valid to follow because this is an issue that was not decisively decided by a clear, unequivocal text of the Quran or sunna (this is the nature of all the disagreements that exist between the four schools).

In actual fact, one of the two positions is the correct one and the other is incorrect. However, Allah Most High did not make it incumbent upon us to spend decades of our lives learning and mastering the various disciplines of Islamic knowledge in order to come to a personal conclusion regarding the matter. All that he has asked us to do is to “ask those who know well, if you know not.” (16:43) All four schools of Islamic law fall under this category. Instead of creating an atmosphere of intolerance and division between Muslims by debating the proofs of one school against the proofs of another, our focus should be on drawing closer to Allah Most High by learning one of these schools of law and putting them into practice in our daily lives.

Answered by Shaykh Hamza Karamali, SunniPath Academy Teacher

From this we know that there are accepted valid differences, not only regarding this prayer timing, but likewise with even how an individual prays. There are minor difference. As scholars say, we should focus less on where our hand is in prayer but more so on where our heart is.

May God grant us understanding.

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