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In the Name of God بسم الله

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There is consensus amongst Shias and Sunnis that fajr begins when there is a faint glow of the morning Sun across the horizon, before the Sun actually rises above the horizon.  This is referred to in the verse in Surah Baqara v187:


وَكُلُوا وَاشْرَبُوا حَتَّىٰ يَتَبَيَّنَ لَكُمُ الْخَيْطُ الْأَبْيَضُ مِنَ الْخَيْطِ الْأَسْوَدِ مِنَ الْفَجْرِ

And eat and drink until the white thread becometh distinct to you from the black thread of the dawn. 


The white thread of dawn referred to in the verse is that faint glow of white across the horizon.  This was fairly easy to see in the past when people lived in small communities without loads of buildings in the way, and without modern day light pollution.  For most of us today, its a lot harder if not impossible to determine the start of fajr directly, so we rely on prayer timetables.  Unfortunately there is no agreement amongst prayer timetables as to the start of fajr, with both Sunni and Shia timetables disagreeing with each other on the exact time.  

The disagreement basically boils down to what angle the Sun has to be below the horizon before the condition mentioned in the above verse is met, namely the appearance of a white thread across the horizon.  Some say fajr begins when the Sun is 18 degrees below the horizon- this is known as the astronomical twilight.  Others, such as Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi believe that fajr begins when the Sun is 12 degrees below the horizon- this is the nautical twilight.  See here :  https://www.al-islam.org/articles/al-fajr-sadiq-new-perspective-sayyid-muhammad-rizvi


I've checked najaf.orgs timings against different angles, and cant seem to figure out what their method is :  http://astro.ukho.gov.uk/surfbin/placefinder_beta.cgi?program=Prayers&ticket=d57af32f57c40e74

Recently, the OpenFajr project based in Birmingham has tried to determine the exact timing of fajr using a 180 degree camera, and a panel of experts, including the Seminary in Najaf (according to their paper).  They have found that the timing of fajr isnt fixed to a particular angle of the Sun below the horizon, but seems to vary from 12 to 15 degrees in Birmingham.  It could be different in other parts of the world.  See here :  http://www.openfajr.org/#about

All this presents us with 2 problems:  When are we supposed to pray fajr, and when do we begin our fasts?  I havent been able to find anything from Sayid Sistani [ha] other than the general rule in the above verse.  Caution seems to dictate that we pray at 12 degrees, but then when do we begin our fast?  We can do Imsak, but for what time period?  On Jan 1st in London, the Sun is at 12 degrees at 6.43am, and is at 15 degrees at 6.23, so 20mins Imsak gets us 3 degrees extra.  But this is different at different times of the year

Any suggestions or corrections welcome.  


Edited by .InshAllah.
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Guest silasun

Salaam Alaikum

Sh. Ahmed Haneed and Sh. Bahmanpour said to take one- I guess you ought to take the one which is most accurate in your opinion. So you take one method and use it for both prayer and fasting. This is, according to one of t them, valid according to Ayatollah Khamenei.

I am very confused by Mahfil Ali's timings which were 18 degrees which seems impossible in London in the summer.

With regard to Islamic Center of England and Najaf.org, last I checked it is the same- 20 mins before naughtical twilight for fajr. But outside of London najaf.org just put the naughtical twilight on.

I just do ihtiyat between the Khoja WF centers and ICE.

Edited by silasun
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Guest silasun

No problem.

So it seems that Stanmore center and Mahfil Ali have fairly imilar times now according to what I checked for the problem date of 21st ish of June. So really if you want to do ihtiyat to the maximum level, then it seems sufficient to go by ICE and Stanmore.

I looked at other Khoja WF centers as I am not from London. I think they use/used similar method to Stanmore so I take it that the same methody of ihtiyat can be used wherever in the UK you are. All that is really needed is to google search" (place name) naughtical twilight".


Edited by silasun
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