It is proven from the Sunnah to pray two rak’ahs after Asr before the sun turns yellow. It is reported from Sayyidunah Abu Hurayrah (radiallah anhu):
نَهَى عَنِ الصَّلَاةِ بَعْدَ الْعَصْرِ ، حَتَّى تَغْرُبَ الشَّمْسُ ، وَعَنِ الصَّلَاةِ بَعْدَ الصُّبْحِ ، حَتَّى تَطْلُعَ الشَّمْسُ
“Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) forbade prayer after Asr until the sun had set, and prayer after subh (Fajr) until the sun had risen.”
[Saheeh Muslim: 825; Saheeh Bukhaari: 577]
The prohibition in this hadeeth and all the other similar ahadeeth will be interpreted to be on praying after the sun has turned yellow; the evidences for this are as follows:
- 1- Sayyidunah Ali ibn Abi Taalib (radiallah anhu) narrated:
ان النبي صلي الله عليه وسلم نهى عن الصلاة بعد العصر إلا و الشمس مرتفعة
“The Prophet (peace be upon him) forbade us from praying after Asr, except when the sun is High [meaning, it is permissible then]”
[Musnad Ahmed: 1/80-81, 129, 141; Sunan Abu Dawood: 1274; Sunan Nasaa’ee: 574; Sunan al-Kubra by Bayhaqi: 2/559, Chain Hasan]
Imaam Ibn Khuzaymah , Imaam Ibn Hibbaan , Imaam Ibn al-Jarood , Imaam al-Daya al-Maqdisi [763-766], Haafidh Ibn al-Iraaqi [Tarah al-Tathreeb 2/187], Imaam Dhahabi [al-Muhadhdhab: 2/890], Abdul Haqq al-Ashbayli [al-Ahkaam al-Sughra: 164], Shaikh Ahmed Shaakir [Musnad Ahmed: 2/282], Shaikh Albaani [Silsilah as-Saheehah: 200], and others have declared it “Saheeh”.
Haafidh Mundhiri has declared its chain to be Jayyid. And Haafidh Ibn Hajar [Fath ul-Baari: 2/161] & Imaam al-Nawawi [Majmoo: 4/174] declared it Hasan. Moreover, Ibn Hajar also declared it Saheeh Qawi [Fath ul-Baari: 2/163]
Imaam Ibn Hazam said: This is the ziyaadah of a reliable narrator, which is not permissible to reject. [al-Muhalla: 3/31]. He also said: “Take evidence from this narration” [al-Muhalla: 3/31]
- 2- Sayyidunah Anas bin Maalik (radiallah anhu) narrates that the Messenger of Allaah (peace be upon him) said:
لا تصلوا عند طلوع الشمس ، و لا عند غروبها فإنها تطلع و تغرب على قرن شيطان ، و صلوا بين ذلك ما شئتم
“Do not pray at the time of sunrise and neither at the time of sunset, for verily it rises and sets between the [two] horns of Shaytaan, and pray in between them as you like”
[Musnad Abu Ya’la: 4612, Chain Hasan; Authenticated by al-Albaani and others]
Aasim bin Damrah narrates:
” كُنَّا مَعَ عَلِيٍّ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ فِي سَفَرٍ فَصَلَّى بِنَا الْعَصْرَ رَكْعَتَيْنِ، ثُمَّ دَخَلَ فُسْطَاطَهُ، وَأَنَا أَنْظُرُ فَصَلَّى رَكْعَتَيْنِ “
“We were with Ali (radiallah anhu) on a journey, he led us in two rak’ahs of Asr, then he went to his tent and prayed two rak’ahs, while I was seeing all this”
[al-Sunan al-Kubra by Bayhaqi: 2/459, Chain Hasan]
The narrator of this narration, Ali (radiallah anhu) himself prayed two rak’ahs after Asr.
Note: Ali (radiallah anhu) narrates: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace be upon him) used to offer two rak’ahs after each obligatory prayer except Fajr and Asr” [Sunan Abu Dawood: 1275, al-Kubra lil Nasaa’ee: 441, Musnad Ahmed: 1/124, Saheeh Ibn Khuzaymah: 1195, al-Sunan al-Kubra by Bayhaqi: 2/459 and others].
The chain of this narration is Da’eef, as the narrator Abu Ishaaq as-Sabi’ee is a Mudallis and he is narrating it with AN, while there is no affirmation of his hearing present in this hadeeth.
Abu Ishaaq himself said: “I asked Abu Juhayfah about these two rak’ahs, so he said: ‘If these [rak’ahs] won’t benefit you, then they won’t also harm you’.” [Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah: 2/353, Al-Awsat by Ibn al-Mundhir: 2/393, Chain Saheeh]
Urwah bin az-Zubayr narrates that Sayyidunah Tameem ad-Daari (radiallah anhu) used to pray two rak’ahs after Asr, and he would say that Zubayr and Abdullah bin az-Zubayr (radiallah anhum) also used to perform two rak’ahs after Asr. [Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah: 2/353, Al-Awsat by Ibn al-Mundhir: 2/394, Chain Saheeh]
Tawoos bin Kaisaan said: “Ibn Umar (radiallah anhu) has given Rukhsah (permissibility) to pray two rak’ahs after Asr” [Sunan Abu Dawood: 1284, Al-Sunan al-Kubra by Bayhaqi: 2/476, Chain Hasan]
Imaam Sa’eed bin Jubayr said: “I saw Aa’ishah (radiallah anha) praying two rak’ahs after Asr while standing and Maymoonah (radiallah anha) would pray them while sitting” [al-Awsat by Ibn al-Mundhir: 2/394, Chain Hasan]
Note: Hammaad bin Salamah (the narrator) heard this hadeeth from Ataa bin as-Saaib before his Ikhtilaat as affirmed by Jumhoor.
Al-Asha’th bin Abi Sha’tha said: “I went out on a journey with my Father (Abu Sha’tha), Amr bin Maymoon, Aswad bin Yazeed, and Abu Waa’il, they all used to pray two rak’ahs after Asr” [Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah: 2/352, Chain Saheeh]
Abdullah bin Awn said: “I saw Abu Darda bin Abi Moosa (radiallah anhu) praying two rak’ahs after Asr” [Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah: 2/353, Chain Saheeh]
Ibraaheem bin Muhammad bin Muntashir narrates from his father that he used to pray two rak’ahs after Asr, when he was asked about it, so he said:
لَوْ لَمْ أُصَلِّهِمَا إِلَّا أَنِّي رَأَيْتُ مَسْرُوقًا يُصَلِّيهِمَا لَكَانَ ثِقَةً، وَلَكِنِّي سَأَلْتُ عَائِشَةَ فَقَالَتْ: «كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ لَا يَدَعُ رَكْعَتَيْنِ قَبْلَ الْفَجْرِ وَرَكْعَتَيْنِ بَعْدَ الْعَصْرِ»
“Why should I not perform them, I have seen Masrooq, he used to pray two rak’ahs, He was Thiqah, but I asked Aa’ishah (radiallah anha), so she said: ‘The Messenger of Allaah (peace be upon him) never missed two rak’ahs before Fajr and after Asr’”
[Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah: 2/133, Chain Saheeh]
If someone says that it was the habit of the Messenger of Allaah (peace be upon him) that once he would start an act, he would do it continuously, so these two rak’ahs are those rak’ahs that were left after Dhuhr, so he prayed them after Asr, then he continued offering them afterwards.
Our answer to this is that what prayer did Sayyidah Aa’ishah (radiallah anha) herself then prayed after Asr? This is the same prayer which the Prophet (peace be upon him) has given permission to. A group of Sahaabah and Taabi’een are also of the view to pray after two rak’ahs after Asr.
Those who prohibit praying two rak’ahs after Asr, themselves are of the view to perform many prayers after Asr, such as:
- 1- The missed sunnahs of Dhuhr.
- 2- The one who could not catch up with the congregation, so the one who has already prayed Asr can lead this person in prayer which would be Fard for him, and Nafal for the Imaam. This means that like this, Imaam will be praying four rak’ahs of Nafal after Asr.
- 3- The prayer of Rain.
- 4- The prayer of sun-eclipse.
- 5- The funeral prayer, etc.
If someone says that Umar (radiallah anhu) used to beat on the person who would pray after Asr, so the answer to this is that, Umar (radiallah anhu) himself said:
لاَ تَحَرَّوْا بِصَلاَتِكُمْ طُلُوعَ الشَّمْسِ وَلاَ غُرُوبَهَا.
“Do not look for the time of sunrise and sunset with your prayer.”
[Muwatta Imaam Maalik: 1/173, Chain Saheeh]
This proves that the beating of Umar (radiallah anhu) was not Mutlaqan for praying after Asr, rather it was due to praying on the forbidden time i.e. the time of sunset.
If someone says that Aa’ishah (radiallah anha) said: “Umar is Mistaken, the Messenger of Allaah (peace be upon him) had forbidden praying at the specific time of rising and setting of sun.” [Saheeh Muslim: 833]
So the answer is that, Sayyidah Aa’ishah (radiallah anha) only got to know the Mutlaq beating of Umar (radiallah anhu), not the exact reason for it. That is why; she declared this action of Umar (radiallah anhu) to be his Wahem (Mistake). When she got to know the real reason, she herself took the meaning what we described above and praised him.
Therefore, Shuryah bin Haani narrates:
سَأَلْتُ عَائِشَةَ عَنْ صَلاةِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ كَيْفَ كَانَ يُصَلِّي؟ قَالَتْ: كَانَ يُصَلِّي الْهَجِيرَ ثُمَّ يُصَلِّي بَعْدَهَا رَكْعَتَيْنِ، ثُمَّ يُصَلِّي الْعَصْرَ ثُمَّ يُصَلِّي بَعْدَهَا رَكْعَتَيْنِ، فَقُلْتُ: فَقَدْ كَانَ عُمَرُ يَضْرِبُ عَلَيْهِمَا وَنَهَى عَنْهُمَا، فَقَالَتْ: قَدْ كَانَ عُمَرُ يُصَلِّيهِمَا، وَقَدْ عَلِمَ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يُصَلِّيهِمَا وَلَكِنْ قَوْمَكَ أَهْلُ الدِّينِ قَوْمٌ صِغَارٌ يُصَلُّونَ الظُّهْرَ ثُمَّ يُصَلُّونَ مَا بَيْنَ الظُّهْرِ وَالْعَصْرِ وَيُصَلُّونَ الْعَصْرَ ثُمَّ يُصَلُّونَ بَيْنَ الْعَصْرِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ فَضَرَبَهُمْ عُمَرُ وَقَدْ أَحْسَنَ.
“I asked Aa’ishah (radiallah anha) about the Prayer of the Messenger of Allaah (peace be upon him) that how did he used to pray? So she replied: ‘He would pray the Dhuhr prayer and pray two rak’ahs after it then he would pray the Asr prayer and pray two rak’ahs after it as well’. I asked her, but Umar used to beat people on praying these two rak’ahs and he used to forbid them. Upon this, she (radiallah anha) said: ‘Umar himself used to pray these two rak’ahs, and he knew that the Messenger of Allaah (peace be upon him) also prayed these two rak’ahs, but the people of deen of your nation were silly, they used to pray until Asr after Dhuhr, and they would prayer Nawaafil until Maghrib after Asr, that is why Umar used to beat them up, and [this action of his] is well’”
[Musnad as-Siraaj: 1530, Chain Saheeh. Graded Saheeh by Shaikh Irshaad ul-Haqq Athari in Tahqeeq Musnad Siraaj]
Imaam Ibn al-Mundhir said:
فَدَلَّتِ الْأَخْبَارُ الثَّابِتَةُ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ عَلَى أَنَّ النَّهْيَ إِنَّمَا وَقَعَ فِي ذَلِكَ عَلَى وَقْتِ طُلُوعِ الشَّمْسِ وَوَقْتِ غُرُوبِهَا , فَمِمَّا دَلَّ عَلَى ذَلِكَ حَدِيثُ عَلِيِّ بْنِ أَبِي طَالِبٍ وَابْنِ عُمَرَ وَعَائِشَةَ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُمْ وَهِيَ أَحَادِيثُ ثَابِتَةٌ بِأَسَانِيدَ جِيَادٍ لَا مَطْعَنَ لِأَحَدٍ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْعِلْمِ فِيهَا
“The reports proven from the Prophet (peace be upon him) are evident that the prohibition [of praying after Asr] is only at the specific time of sunrise and sunset. The narrations that prove this include the narration of Ali ibn Abi Taalib, Ibn Umar, and Aa’ishah (radiallah anhum), and these ahadeeth are proven with Jayyid chains, no people of knowledge have any objection in it.”
[al-Awsat by Ibn al-Mundhir: 2/388]
Also see this.