In the name of Allāh, Most Gracious, Most Merciful


بِسۡمِ اللهِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِيۡمِ




Just over 10 years ago when I returned to my hometown in the U.K. after having spent several years working abroad I noted that during the month of Ramadan there were several different prayer timetables whereas when I was in  Riyadh, a large city, we had only one prayer timetable. When I analysed the local masjid prayer timetable I noted an anomaly that defied logic. When I enquired about this anomaly from those involved in producing the local prayer timetable I came to realise why there were so many different prayer timetables. And, henceforth, began my journey to understand the prayer timetables in the U.K. I spent a lot of time studying the subject and analysing the data from HMNAO. I shared my findings with a number of individuals responsible for the prayer timetable at that time and I am repeating the process 10 years later as there is some renewed interest from some of the local masaajid, but this time through my website hoping some people will take it upon themselves to learn this subject for the benefit of the local community.

Accurate prayer times are very important as they determine the validity of our salawat and the validity of our fasts during Ramadan. Knowing that a particular prayer time has started is essential before offering the prayer.


Where I live, in Kirklees, within a radius of about 5 miles there are over 50 Islamic institutions/ masaajid and this area probably has the highest concentration of Islamic scholars in the U.K. So it rather surprising and disappointing that we have so many different timetables when the sunrise, solar midday and sunset times in the three towns which make up Kirklees are essentially the same throughout the year, as shown below. If the Muslims could agree on a unified prayer timetable that would certainly bring the Muslim community a little closer towards unity. It is with this objective in mind that I have written this article. We should be willing to make some sacrifices in terms of pride and self-interest for the sake of our local Muslim unity, and willing to sit together to cooperate for the benefit of the local community as a whole, rather than each masjid or group behaving as if it is living in a silo under the notion of rightfulness and self-sufficiency.


The source of raw data used to construct virtually all prayer timetables is essentially limited to the HMNAO and the US Naval Office, the data from these two sources is almost identical for practical purposes, so one would expect all the prayer timetables within a relatively small area to be essentially the same. Unfortunately not. Even masaajid located only a short distance from each other can have very different prayer times. It is important to note that Islamic prayer times are based on visual phenomena, it is not an exact science whereby prayer times need to be pinpointed to the exact minute or second based on geographical coordinates. These visual phenomena are affected by live atmospheric conditions so certain precautions have to be undertaken to avoid praying during forbidden times and to ensure that a Ramadan fast is not mistakenly invalidated. In fact, if a group of observers were to undertake recording the times of sunrise and sunset it is highly unlikely their recorded times would be the same even though they are in the same location at the same time observing the same sun rising and setting. So a minute or so here or there in prayer times is of no essential consequence.

The geographical location of the U.K, as we shall see later on, does pose some special problems notably the determination of Fajr and Isha times. 

The HMNAO raw data required to generate a prayer timetable is readily accessible, the raw data can be downloaded as a PDF file which can then be saved as an Excel file from which a prayer timetable can be readily constructed.

I have used the rulings of local Islamic scholars in the U.K., primarily Wifaq-ul-ulema, to produce a prayer timetable for my local town of Huddersfield. While generating this prayer timetable I have analysed and compared data from HMNAO for Huddersfield, Dewsbury, and Batley over many years as well as other cities around the world.  I also spent a lot of time reading up about the subject, gathering information from various sources to try to understand the opposing viewpoints on the isuue. 8 years ago I  produced a timetable with the help of Ml. Farid Patel for our local hospital in Manchester, the original printout copies of which are still in use today, prior to this many people use to bring different timetables from their local masaajid with slightly varying prayer times leading to confusion and disagreement. The BST and GMT changes are taken into account without the need to produce a new prayer timetable every year. 

One must be cognizant of the following basic points when constructing an Islamic prayer timetable.

  1. The civil day is of fixed length of 24 hrs (1440 min) as defined by modern timekeeping and the average day length is consistently close to 24 hours, however, the Islamic day (Maghrib to Maghrib) in the U.K. varies in length by a few minutes from day to day which can have an effect in prayer time calculations.
  2. The length of day in Huddersfield during a one-year cycle varies from 7h 26 min to 17h 4min.
  3. All the five fard prayers start and end times are related to the elevation or depression of the sun with reference to the Earth's horizon as illustrated below.


  1. There are certain times when offering prayer is forbidden and the prayer timetable usually try to mitigate this by making adjustments to the raw data.
  2. The forbidden prayer times are when the sun is rising, when the sun is setting and when the sun is at its zenith (istiwāʾ)  also known as the Sun-meridian upper transit time). The transit time is referred to as nisf qaws al‑nahār al‑ḥaqīqī.
  3. As a precautionary measure to try to ensure that people do not offer prayers at these forbidden times a few minutes are subtracted from the actual sunrise time and a few minutes are added to the actual upper transit time and sunset times.
  4. Once the sun touches the horizon it takes about 2 to 3 minutes for it to disappear below the horizon, but this is dependent on several factors including latitude, time of the year, and the thickness of the atmosphere through which the sun's rays have to travel. As the Earth rotates the sun appears to travel across the sky at a rate of 1° per 5.6 minutes, the sun's disc measures approximately 0.5° in diameter. If, for our purposes, transit time is taken when the leading limb of the sun crosses the celestial meridian and lasts until the trailing limb crosses the celestial meridian this should take 2.8 minutes. If at transit time the sun's disc is placed centrally over the celestial meridian then it should take 1.4 for the sun's disc to cross the celestial meridian. (Using the simple calculation of 360° rotation of the Earth in 24 hours gives an answer 0.5° over 2 min)
  5. An additional reason for adding a few minutes to the actual sunset time is to try to ensure that during Ramadan one does not mistakenly break one's fast too early, which would nullify the fast.
  6. I have made the following adjustments to the raw data from HMNAO to construct a prayer time able for Huddersfield/ Kirklees:

i) 5 minutes have been added to the upper transit times to derive at Dhur times. 5 minutes ensures that the sun's disc has crossed the celestial meridian, so as reduce the risk of someone praying when the sun is at its zenith ( a forbidden time for praying). Some timetables add 2-4 minutes others make no adjustments. I have opted for 5 minutes to conform with what Wifaq-ul-ulema and Salahtimes have done.

ii) 5 minutes have been subtracted from the actual raw data from HMNAO to generate sunset times for the prayer timetable and 5 minutes have been added to the actual raw data from HMNAO to derive at Maghrib times this is because refraction near the horizon is substantial, and current methods of calculation are based on normative models which cannot account for live atmospheric conditions and are imprecise below 1°. These adjustments have been discussed by Wifaq-ul-ulema on their website and they recommend adding and 5 min to quoted sunset times to generate Maghrib times. 5 minutes allows uncertainty of 1°. Some prayer timetables make no such additions or subtractions. A detailed scientific discussion of variation in astronomical refraction of the sunset and sunrise can be found here. Some scholars advocate a precaution of only 2 minutes.

  1. Although adding or subtracting a few minutes serves a useful precautionary purpose there are a few potential disadvantages. For instance, someone may think Fajr time has ended when in reality a few minutes may remain, enough to offer 2 rakat salah and praying Asr just before the quoted Maghrib time may result in one praying when the sun is actually setting. Like everything else in life, it's a trade-off between risk v benefit.
  2. Dhur time starts when the trailing limb of the sun has passed the celestial meridian i.e. the sun has passed its maximum elevation point (zenith/ solar noon/ istiwāʾ). The solar midday and civil midday should not be confused with the Islamic midday (al-dhawatul-kubra). The shadow of an object is at a minimum at solar noon, as seen in the picture below. Also, note that solar noon in the U.K. is around 12 pm during GMT and around 1 pm during BST. 


  1. The Asr time starts when the shadow of an object is equal to its length + its shadow at solar noon according to the Shafi, Malaki and Hanbali fiqh and it starts when the shadow of an object is equal to twice its length + its shadow at solar noon according to the Hanafi fiqh. The HMNAO raw data provides both of these times for Asr.


  1. Maghrib time starts when the upper limb of the sun disappears below the horizon at sunset. 5 minutes are added to the HMNAO sunset times to generate Maghrib times as explained on the Wifaq-ul-ulema website.
  2. Determining Fajr and Isha times in countries located at high latitudes has been discussed in some detail by Wifaq-ul-ulema on their website here.



The vast majority of Muslim scholars over the centuries have agreed that Fajr starts at subh sadiq (true dawn) and their observations have shown that subh sadiq corresponds to the time when the sun is 18° below the Earth's Eastern horizon. Shams-Ul Huda Khan Misbahi explains that there is ijma on this issue of 18° for Fajr start time for centuries. Islamic scholars from different Sunni Muslim denominations in the U.K. (Barelwi, Deobandi and Salafi) advocate 18° solar depression marks the time of subh sadiq.

There was an agreement on this by a large congregation of UK ulema in 1983 under the guidance of mufti Mahmudul Hasan Gangohi.

This was endorsed at the International Conference for Time-table at I.C.C. London in 1984 in accordance with the Muslim World League Conference's Resolutions in 1406H.

There are several fatawa and scholarly endorsements of supporting the 18° criterion for Fajr. 

Darul Ifta Binnori town Karachi

Darul-Uloom Karachi

Jamia Farooqia

Mufti Shafi

Mufti Taqi Usmani

A detailed article by ICOP in Arabic

Some timetables in the U.K do not use subh sadiq as the start of Fajr time during the summer months of May and June, instead, they use tabayyun times for Fajr. So what is subh sadiq (true dawn) in Islam? Subh sadiq begins when a whiteness appears on the Eastern horizon which spreads horizontally along the length and breadth of the horizon as explained by Shaikh Shams-ul-Huda Khan Misbahi. In astronomy when the sun's depression reaches 18° below the Earth's horizon astronomical twilight period starts and lasts until the sun's depression reaches 15°. Subh sadiq time coincides with the start of astronomical twilight.

In determining Fajr time the problem is that the sun's maximum depression below the Earth's horizon does not reach 18° during the Summer in the U.K. This means astronomical twilight remains through the night. This is known as the persistent twilight period. In Huddersfield/ Kirklees this persistent twilight period extends from 13-14th May to 30th-31st July. This period varies with latitude, the period is shorter in London and longer in Edinburgh. The diagram below shows the maximum solar depression throughout the year illustrating the time period when the solar depression does not reach 18°.

The Islamic scholars have put forward a number of solutions to determine Fajr time during the persistent twilight period. Determining the Fajr start time is particularly important during Ramadan as Fajr start time is the same as sehri end time as Shams-Ul Huda Khan Misbahi explains.

The four main solutions (methodologies) put forward are:

Aqrabul-ayyam (nearest day)  أقرب الأيام 

Nisf-ul-layl (half of the night) نصف الليل

Aqrabul-bilad (nearest country/ place/ lattitude)  أقرب آل بلد 

Wahid sub' al-layl (1/7 of night) واحد السابع ليلة

In order to assess these different methodologies let's apply each of these methodologies and see their effect on prayer and fasting times during Ramadan. As the day length increases or decreases from day to day one would logically expect the duration of the fast to also increase or decrease in a similar fashion. However, the application of these 4 methodologies reveals that aqrabul-bilad and sub' al-layl cause the fast duration to jump by about 2 hours from one day to the next, as illustrated below, his defies logic since the duration of the fast decreases while the duration of day increases.

The 2 methods advocated by wifaq-ul-ulema are aqrabul ayyam, which was also favoured by ulema at the 1983 meeting and nisf-ul-layl. In the nisf-ul-layl method Fajr starts at the lower transit time (solar midnight), described here by Dr. Stephen Bell, head of HMNAO, will occur just after 1am BST in the Summer. This time is very close to the early times of aqrabul-ayyamAqrabul-ayyam means that during the persistent twilight period you use the time for Fajr of the last day when the sun did reach 18° depression, and you continue to use this time until the sun reaches 18° depression again, so in effect, the Fajr time is constant during this period (12th-13th May to 30-31st July for Kirklees). Different locations within the U.K will have different periods of persistent twilight. The application of aqrabul-ayyam to generate subh sadiq times is akin to the application of the principle of presumption of continuity. The underlying principle of nisf-ul-layl is explained by Shams-Ul Huda Khan Misbahi in this video and diagrammatically in this video. The application of nisf-ul-layl is probably the closest to the appearance of the light of subh sadiq as the twilight shifts from the West to the East as the sun crosses the celestial meridian at the time of solar midnight. Aqrabul-ayyam method is used by quite a few masaajid in the Kirklees area. For those wishing to use aqrabul-bilad methodology, the nearest place to the U.K. where persistent twilight does not occur is in the north of France, Lat. 48° 30' 7.3728" Long. 0° 0' 39.5496".

In the timetable below I have applied the aqrabul-ayyam methodology to generate subh sadiq/ Fajr times.

A crucial question is does the 18° criterion apply all over the Earth or does it vary with location, i.e. does subh sadiq occur all over the world at a fixed angle of 18°? According to Dr Stephen Bell, head of HMNAO, the answer is "Yes,", he states this in this video when asked this question specifically. According to Hizb-ul-Ulema and Dr. Khalid Shaukat, the answer is, "No." The latter group does not think that Fajr (nor Isha) start times in high latitude countries are based on a fixed angle principle. Calculated sunrise and sunset times are based on a fixed angle of 0.5° of the sun's depression below the Earth's horizon, so logically since the sunrise, sunset, Fajr, and Isha times are directly connected to the visibility of the sun's rays from the Earth then all these parameters should also be fixed angle based. 

The original hand-written Hizb-ul-ulema data for prayer times can be seen here. Prayer times for major UK cities using Hizbul Ulema criteria are available here and Dr. Khalid Shaukat's methodology for Fajr and Isha times can be found here and prayer timetables using Dr. Khalid Shaukat's methodology can be generated and downloaded from his website

It is important to be aware of the limitations of whatever method one uses and its correct application. Subh sadiq/Fajr time is a visual phenomenon which is affected by refraction and local atmospheric conditions. Calculations come with a degree of error and during the persistent twilight period when the sun is near inflection this error is more pronounced and can be in the order of tens of minutes. The next time when Ramadan will occur during the persistent twilight period will be in 2044CE (Ramadan 1466AH). During such times it is a ggod precautionary measure to end suḥūr early and offer Fajr offered lateish with reference to the printed times, i.e. ±15 minutes, as a precaution. Allowing for such margin of error as a precaution practically means that the aqrabul-ayyam times are very close to nisf-ul layl times for Fajr. Some prayer timetables use a fixed time for suḥūr during the persistent twilight period, this fixed suḥūr time during persistent twilight period should not be later than the actual suḥūr time of a location of lower latitude (a location further South), i.e. the fixed estimated time for suḥūr during persistent twilight period for Huddersfield cannot be later than the actual suḥūr time for Solihull, both being on the same longitude. During the Summer the day length is longer in Huddersfield than in Solihull, so a fixed time for Fajr/ suḥūr during persistent twilight period such as for Huddersfield cannot be later than the actual Fajr/ suḥūr time in Solihull. Note in the table below the sunrise times are earlier in Huddersfield than Solihull as are actual Fajr times. Preparation of a prayer timetable must take such factors into consideration.

Table 1 below shows the times of aqrabul-ayyam times for the years 2020-2053. The next time when Ramadan occurs during persistent astronomical twilight will be from 2044 to 2053. I have also written down the dates when the clocks change from GMT to BST and then from BST to GMT.





@0100 Hrs



2020 01:25 12th May to 30th July 2020 Sunday, 29th March Sunday, 25th October 2020
2021 01:29 12th May to 30th July 2021 Sunday, 28th March Sunday, 31st October 2021
2022 01:11 13th May to 30th July 2022 Sunday, 27th March Sunday, 30th October 2022
2023 01:19 13th May to 31st July 2023 Sunday, 26th March Sunday, 29th October 2023
2024 01:24 12th May to 30th July 2024 Sunday, 31st March Sunday, 27th October 2024
2025 01:28 12th May to 30th July 2025 Sunday, 30th March Sunday, 26th October 2025
2026 01:10 13th May to 30th July 2026 Sunday, 29th March Sunday, 25th October 2026
2027 01:18 13th May to 31st July 2027 Sunday, 28th March Sunday, 31st October 2027
2028 01:24 12th May to 30th July 2028 Sunday, 26th March Sunday, 29th October 2028
2029 01:28 12th May to 30th July 2029 Sunday, 25th March Sunday, 28th October 2029
2030 01:08 13th May to 30th July 2030 Sunday, 31st March Sunday, 27th October 2030
2031 01:18 13th May to 31st July 2031 Sunday, 30th March Sunday, 26th October 2031
2032 01:23 12th May to 30th July 2032 Sunday, 28th March Sunday, 31st October 2032
2033 01:28 12th May to 30th July 2033 Sunday, 27th March Sunday, 30th October 2033
2034 01:06 13th May to 31st July 2034 Sunday, 26th March Sunday, 29th October 2034
2035 01:17 13th May to 30th July 2035 Sunday, 25th March Sunday, 28th October 2035
2036 01:23 12th May to 30th July 2036 Sunday, 30th March Sunday, 26th October 2036
2037 01:27 12th May to 30th July 2037 Sunday, 29th March Sunday, 25th October 2037
2038 01:31 12th May to 30th July 2038 Sunday, 28th March Sunday, 31st October 2038
2039 01:16 13th May to 30th July 2039 Sunday, 27th March Sunday, 30th October 2039
2040 01:22 12th May to 30th July 2040 Sunday, 25th March Sunday, 28th October 2040
2041 01:26 12th May to 30th July 2041 Sunday, 31st March Sunday, 27th October 2041
2042 01:30 12th May to 30th July 2042 Sunday, 30th March Sunday, 26th October 2042
2043 01:15 13th May to 30th July 2043 Sunday, 29th March Sunday, 25th October 2043
2044 01:21 12th May to 30th July 2044 Sunday, 27th March Sunday, 30th October 2044
2045 01:26 12th May to 30th July 2045 Sunday, 26th March Sunday, 29th October 2045
2046 01:30 12th May to 30th July 2046 Sunday, 30th March Sunday, 28th October 2046
2047 01:14 13th May to 30th July 2047 Sunday, 31st March Sunday, 27th October 2047
2048 01:21 12th May to 30th July 2048 Sunday, 29th March Sunday, 25th October 2048
2049 01:25 12th May to 30th July 2049 Sunday, 28th March Sunday, 31st October 2049
2050 01:29 12th May to 30th July 2050 Sunday, 27th March Sunday, 30th October 2050
2051 01:13 13th May to 30th July 2051 Sunday, 26th March Sunday, 29th October 2051
2052 01:20 12th May to 30th July 2052 Sunday, 31st March Sunday, 27th October 2052
2053 01:25 12th May to 30th July 2053 Sunday, 30th March Sunday, 26th October 2053

Table 1

The persistent twilight period will coincide with Ramadan from years 2044 to 2053




According to Imam Abu Hanifa (RA) the beginning time of Isha is when there is no trace of light left in the sky, i.e. the disappearance of shafaq abyad.  According to the sahibain, the two prominent students of imam Abu Hanifa (RA), imam Muhammad (RA) and imam Abu Yusuf (RA), Isha time begins with the disappearance of the sun's red glow (shafaq ahmar). The disappearance of white light (shafaq abyd)  correlates with the disappearance of astronomical twilight, i.e. and the disappearance of the red light (shafaq ahmar) correlates with the disappearance of nautical twilight which occurs at 15°. The Hanafi fiqh follows the opinion of imam Abu Hanifa (RA) on this issue. Many scholars in U.K. have opined that it is permissible to follow the 15° for Isha in the U.K. The Wifaq-ul ulema also approved a method of restricting the Isha time to 65min from the astronomical sunset time on the longest day of the year. Some ulema also opined that the Isha time should be locked throughout the U.K. irrelevant of sunset times.

If we apply the 18° or 15° criteria throughout the year Isha will be after civil midnight during the Summer months and in the application of both methodologies, there will also be a persistent twilight period when the shafaq abyd and shafaq ahmar does not disappear, furthermore Isha times during summer months will be beyond civil midnight. Due to this hardship and inconvenience (haraj) Islamic scholars in the U.K have put forward a number of solutions (methodologies) to determine Isha start time in the U.K. which are detailed on the Wifaq-ul-ulema website. These methodologies allow the use of either 18° or 15° criteria in combination with  sub' al-layl method to generate Isha prayer times. It's only by applying these different methodologies to the raw data and analysing the results can we determine which methods work well from a practical perspective. Wifaq-ul-ulema timetables in the past used a combination of 18° criterion with sub' al-layl but more recently use 15° criterion together with the sub' al-layl method. Some local timetables in Kirklees use a combination of 18° criterion together with 15° criterion and placing a limit for Isha at 2250Hrs., this combination also works well but has not been mentioned by Wifaq-ul-ulema although they do mention using 15° criterion with a fixed upper limit. I have generated timetables for Huddersfield 2022 using both the 18° criterion (from 20th Oct. to 20th Feb.) combined with the sub' al-layl (21st Feb. to 19th Oct.) as well as the as 15° criterion (from 19th Sep. to 22nd Mar.) combined with the sub' al-layl (23rd Mar. to 18th Sep.). Both methodologies work equally well. The reason for using these dates for the changeover is because on these dates the Isha times for 18° or 15°criterion coincide with the times using the sub' al-layl method, hence allowing for a smooth switchover from one methodology to the other. Note these dates for changeover will vary with location and probably from year to year. 

Analysis of the different generated timetables show that the Mahgrib-Isha time interval varies from 54min to 1h 46min with the latest time being 2240Hrs when using the 15° criterion and it varies from 54min to 2h 7min. with the latest time remaining at 2240Hrs when using the 18° criterion. If the time between astronomical sunset and Isha or a fixed upper time limit is used then, obviously, the Maghrib-Isha time interval does not vary throughout the year.  From a logical perspective, one would expect the Maghrib-Isha time to change as the length of day changes, hence using the 15°or 18° criteria in combination with the sub' al-layl produces a more logical result than using the fixed time interval between astronomical sunset and Isha.

It is very important that one is consistent in the application of legal theory. If you choose to follow the ruling of Hizb-ul-Ulema for Fajr times then you must follow their ruling for Isha times as well. If you choose to follow the Wifaq-ul-ulema ruling for Fajr rimes then you must follow their rulings for Isha times as well. This is particularly so as both groups consider the other group's timings as inaccurate. Hizb-ul-ulema prayer times have been refuted in detail by Mufti Sajid Patel, similarly Dr. Khalid Shaukat's data has been criticised in detail here. Hizb-ul-Ulema for their part have criticised the 18° criterion methodology.

The subh sadiq/ Fajr starts times are much more important than Isha start times because Fajr start time = suḥūr end time.

It is also perhaps worth mentioning that in Saudi Arabia the Umm al-Qura committee's ruling is that Fajr times are based on 19° solar depression and Isha timings are based on a fixed 90 minutes after Maghrib throughout the year except Ramadan when the Maghrib-Isha interval is 120 minutes. 

Those masjid committees who review their prayer timetables and come to the conclusion their timetable do indeed need modification are often reluctant to do so, often due to an anticipated backlash from the local community and masjid namajees, the argument being changes may bring about more problems and it is much easier to do nothing and continue as before. But if you are convinced you were on the wrong track previously then it is a duty upon you to change and advise others around you. The question often arises what about all those acts of ibadat performed according to the old timetable, which is answered in this video?

The timetable for Huddersfield 2022 displayed below has been produced using the 18° solar depression criterion with aqrabul-ayyam for subh sadiq/ Fajr times and 15° solar depression criteria in combination with the sub' al-layl method for Isha times as this was the method approved by a large number of ulema including ulema from Kirklees and surrounding areas. The timetable can be downloaded as a XLS file using the links below. Using aqrabul-ayyam and nisf al-layl methodologies for Fajr start/ suḥūr end times results in longer fasting times in comparison to using aqrabul-bilal or sub' al-layl methodologies. Some U.K. based Islamic scholars such as Dr. Musharaff Hussain have advocated taking the easiest option other Islamic scholars have argued against using late suḥūr times for convenience. 

If anyone would like a timetable using 18° in combination with the sub' al-layl method for Isha times please see attached XLS file..  Anyone in the area who is responsible for producing their local masajid prayer timetable and would like to discuss any issues feel free to contact me. Those who generate prayer timetables for their own local masaajid in the area are welcome to check and validate or point out any errors in my work. I sincerely hope that people of responsibility will read this article and reflect on their own prayer timetables before 2044 when Ramadan will again occur during the persistent astronomical twilight period. It is highly unlikely I will be round to perform those fasts but I hope this timetable will still be around  If you have any comments or queries please contact me via email on [email protected] or send a WhatsApp message to +44 7788 7788 75.


Dr. A. Hussain, 2021