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What is the justification for delaying the Maghrib prayer till the disappearance of the eastern redness?

This article is a translation of a question posed to Shaykh Hobbollah, it can be found in Arabic: here


Question:

Could you explain to us the origin of the difference of opinion on the issue of the time of Maghrib prayer and the time of breaking the fast between the Imami Shi’as and the rest of the schools of thought? 

Because Muslims generally pray and break the fast when the disc of the sun has disappeared, while the Imami Shi’as wait until the eastern redness disappears aswell, and this is the opinion of most of the late Shia jurists. 

Note that I have read that some of the classical scholars of our sect, such as the shaykh of the sect al-Tusi, used to hold that the Maghrib prayer is at the time that the disc of the sun has disappeared.. Who else held the opinion like that of Sheikh al-Tusi? 

Could you please explain to us who was the first to say that it is necessary to wait for the eastern redness to disappear from the Shia jurists? What is the opinion regarding the group of conflicting and contradictory narrations on this topic?

Answer:

This issue of disagreement between the scholars of the Imamiyya is present from ancient days, and several trends emerged, most notably:

The first view:

It is the view that the disappearance of the eastern redness is what concludes sunset, or that the eastern redness reveals the reality that the sunset has actually been achieved, and the islamic law is dependent on this, and the ones who adopted this view or it was attributed to them are:

  • Allamah al-Hilli (d. 726 AH)
  • Al-Shaheed al-Awwal [al-Amili] (d. 786 AH)
  • Al-Miqdad al-Sayuri (d. 826 AH)
  • Al-Fadhl al-Abi (d. ~7th Century AH)
  • Ibn Saeed al-Hilli (d. 690 AH)
  • Shaykh Yusif al-Bahrani
  • Muhaqiq al-Karaki
  • Shaykh al-Ardabili
  • Hurr al-Amili
  • Shaykh Hussain al-Usfoor
  • Al-Fadhil al-Hindi
  • Al-Shaheed al-Thani
  • Shaykh Murtadha al-Ansari
  • Sayed al-Qazwini
  • Shaykh Kadhim al-Khorasani
  • Sayed Jawad al-Amili
  • Sayed Hussain al-Burujerdi
  • Sayed Ali al-Tabatabai
  • Mirza al-Naini
  • Shaykh al-Araki
  • Sayed Muhsin al-Hakeem
  • Sayed al-Khomeini
  • Sayed al-Golpaygani
  • Sayed Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr
  • Shaykh Muhammad Fadhil al-Lankarani
  • Sayed Ali al-Sistani
  • Sayed Ali al-Khamenei

    and others.

And among those we have mentioned are those who held this position as an obligatory precaution, and we did not find books of research on this topic from them so that we can confirm their academic position.

The second view:

And this is view that is in accordance with the opinion of the majority of the Muslims, which is the view that sunset is concluded shar’an [by islamic law] with the disappearance of the sun disc, and the ones who adopted this view or it was attributed to them are:

  • Ibn Abi Aqeel al-‘Amani (d. 3th Century AH)
  • Ibn al-Junayd (d. 3th Century AH)
  • Shaykh al-Tusi (d. 460 AH)
  • Shaykh al-Saduq (d. 381 AH)
  • Sayed al-Murtadha (d. 436 AH)
  • Al-Qadhi Ibn al-Baraj al-Tarabulsi (d. 481 AH)
  • Salar al-Daylami (d. 463 AH)
  • Muhaqiq al-Hilli (d. 676 AH)
  • Al-Fadhil al-Saymari
  • Allamah Majlisi
  • Al-Faydh al-Kashani
  • Al-Waheed Al-Behbahani
  • Al-Muhaqiq al-Naraqi
  • Shaykh al-Ridha al-Hamdani
  • Shaykh Muhammad Hassan al-Najafi
  • Sayed Muhammad al-Rouhani
  • Sayed Muhammad Sa’eed al-Hakeem
  • Sayed Muhammad Hussain Fadhlullah
  • Shaykh Muhammad Taqi Bahjat

    and others.

This opinion was favoured by Sayed al-Khoei, Sayed Muhammad Sadiq al-Rouhani and Shaykh Muhammad Ishaq al-Fayadh, based on their academic research. But they took it as an obligatory precaution to delay till the disappearance of the eastern redness in their fatawa.

Thus, it becomes clear to us that the classical scholars of the Imamiya were more inclined to rule on the sunset by the disappearance of the disc, while the popularity of the rule of sunset concluding with the disappearance of the redness started with Ibn Saeed al-Hilli and Muhaqiq al-Abi in the 7th Century AH and beyond.

The reason for their difference of opinion is that the narrations on this topic vary, some of them rule [Maghreb time to be concluded] by the disappearing of the sun disc, and some of them rule the necessity to wait till the disappearance of the eastern redness, and some scholars favoured the judgment of the disappearance of the disc because of the large number of the narrations [proclaiming this view] and from them which have an authentic chain of narrators, supported by general texts at the level of linguistic argumentation, or by the understanding that the disappearance of the eastern redness is in the context of making sure of the disappearance of the disc, especially in the mountainous regions.

So if we know that if the earth was flat at which time the disappearing of the sun disc is achieved – as science informs us of nowadays – there would not have been a need to take into account the disappearance of the eastern redness, and it was expressed in some of the narrations on the disappearing of the eastern redness that waiting for the disappearance of the eastern redness is a precaution of religion, which indicates that the issue came to be in order to obtain certainty that the disc actually disappeared, but some narrations express that if the sun is gone, the disk has disappeared, which indicates – for some of them – that the issue of the redness disappearing is an expression of the disappearance of the disc, and some expressions are understood to indicate desirability [istihbab] to wait for the redness to disappear or for a planet to appear in the sky, indicating night and darkness.

As for those who went on to say that it is necessary to wait for the eastern redness to disappear, they considered the narrations of the disappearance of the disc as being issued under taqiyya, because of their opposing the other group of ahadith, and there are some narrations that allude to this, and they also have a differing understanding of the details of the texts which we wont discuss at this time.

The favoured view according to my humble opinion is that sunset is concluded with the disappearance of the disk, under the condition that he knows this with certainty, and the knowledge of this matter is with Allah.

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