In Preparation for the Holy Month of Ramadan:
A message regarding Imsak and the time for Fajr (morning) prayer and an important ruling on prayer times according to smartphone applications
To all believers, may you be protected by God Almighty,
Periodically we receive the same two questions regarding the timings of prayer: one regarding how to establish the time of Imsak (abstaining from food) and the Fajr (morning) prayer, and the other regarding which of the many apps available for smartphones is the most accurate and dependable. The differences among the times given by these apps have caused disagreements among believers, particularly at critical times such as congregation prayers or Iftar in the holy month of Ramadan, amongst other examples.
We first would like to inform the believers that the offices and representatives of the Supreme Religious Authority usually use the time table provided by the “Leva Research Institute”, which is available on many smartphone apps. However, it should be noted that establishing the correct times of prayers is the responsibility of the individuals themselves, as they should attain the “knowledge” or, at the very least, the “certainty” that the time for prayer has come, before they start their prayers.
That being said, because of the disagreement among experts and the various calculations, the supreme religious authority, Grand Ayatullah Sayyid Ali al-Sistani, may God prolong his life, says the following regarding the time of the Fajr prayer:
- As an obligatory precaution, a person who is not certain that the time indicated on the table is correct must postpone the Fajr prayer by 10-15 minutes after that time.
- As a recommended precaution, a person who is certain that the time indicated on the table is correct should postpone the Fajr prayer by 10-15 minutes after that time.
In addition, the time of Imsak is the same as the time of the Fajr prayer. There is no difference between the two times. However, in order to ensure the validity and correctness of their fasting, believers should refrain from eating and drinking for a short period of time before the time of the Fajr prayer and busy themselves with reciting the Qur’an or supplications until they are certain that the time of the Fajr prayer has come.
We ask God, the Glorified, to accept your worship and submission. May you have a blissful month of Ramadan.