Question 94 : Assalaamu alaykum Shaykh.
Can you please clarify on when Salatul Isha finishes. I’ve always had the belief that Salatul Isha finishes when Salatul Fajr begins, but I’ve recently learnt that there is an opinion that it finishes at midnight.
Answer : Assalamualaikum Br Aziz Karim
The Prophet ﷺ said in authentic reports that the time for Isha finishes at middle of the night. There are other authentic evidences which indicate that the time for Isha finishes at Fajr time.
Combining these evidences, many scholars, such as Imaam Nawawi, Ibn Taimiyah and others, said that the acceptable time for Isha ends at midnight and beyond it (till Fajr i.e. dawn) is necessity time. They said that Isha should not be delayed by choice after the middle of the night, at which point it would be a sin.
The necessity time is for people who may have slept or women who become pure after menses during the night, or an unconscious person gaining conciousness, etc.
This division of the time into permissible (till middle of the night) and necessity (till Fajr) is the opinion of three madhabs: Maliki, Shafi’ee and Hanbali.
The Hanafi madhab divided the time into preferred (till middle of the night) and permissible (till Fajr).
It should be noted that middle of the night is calculated as half way between sunset (i.e. Maghreb) and Dawn (i.e. fajr), and is not set as 12am.