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Can we rely on Ramadan timetables?

 

Praise
be to Allah

Firstly:

It is not
permissible to rely on the timetables that are widespread among people
unless two conditions are met:

i.                   

That the
organisation that issues a timetable should be people of knowledge and
experience.

ii.                 

That the time
for beginning the fast should be specific to the town for which the
timetable is issued. It is not permissible for someone who is living far
away from a town to rely on its timetable, because of the differences in
timings between the two towns.

If someone does
not have a timetable that he can rely on for the times of beginning and
ending the fast, then he can check for himself the times of the true dawn
and sunset by observing them himself, or he can follow a trustworthy
mu’adhdhin who knows the proper times. If it is known that the mu’adhdhin
only gives the adhaan at the time of the true dawn, then he must stop eating
and drinking as soon as he hears his adhaan. If it is known that he gives
the adhaan after sunset, then it is permissible for the fasting person to
break the fast, and no attention should be paid to the adhaan of one who
gives the adhaan some time before dawn or after sunset so as to be on the
safe side.

Secondly:

In the answer to
question no. 8048, we quoted Shaykh ‘Abd ar-Rahmaan
al-Barraak as saying: These timetables have become a means for people to
know the times for the prayers to the hour and minute, and we should pay
attention to that.

But this does
not mean that there are no mistakes in those timetables. In the answer to
question no. 26763, we quoted from Shaykh al-Albaani
an explanation of the mistakes in some timetables, particularly with regard
to the time of Fajr, and this was based on his investigation into the issue
(may Allah have mercy on him).

It is well-known
that the Umm al-Quraa timetable is very accurate and highly credible. Shaykh
‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn ‘Abdillah Aal ash-Shaykh, the Grand Mufti of the Kingdom,
President of the Council of Senior Scholars and President of the Standing
Committee for Academic Research and Issuing Fatwas affirmed – in a Friday
khutbah – that the Umm al-Quraa timetable is precise, in accordance with
shar‘i rules, and authenticated, and it cannot be doubted.

And he said:

The scholars of
this ummah have deemed this timetable to be trustworthy. It has been tested,
applied and proven that it is in accordance with the timings prescribed in
sharee‘ah. Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn ‘Abdullah ibn Baaz (may Allah have
mercy on him) issued a statement in 1418 AH in which he confirmed that the
Umm al-Quraa timetable is trustworthy. End quote.

Shaykh Ibn
‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) also stated that there is only a
slight difference, five minutes, with regard to Fajr.

See the answer
to question no. 66202.

 Thirdly:

With regard to
the city of al-Qunfudhah, it is located on the coast of the Red Sea, halfway
between Makkah and Jeddah to the north and Jazan to the south. It is 380 km
south of Makkah and Jeddah, and is located at the intersection of the line
of longitude 41.5 degrees east, and the line of latitude 19.8 degrees north.

With regard to
Mecca, it is located at the line of latitude 21.27 degrees north and the
line of longitude 39.49 east.

By studying the
times of the prayers according to the Umm al-Quraa timetable, we see a
difference in the times, that is in accordance with the distance between
Makkah and al-Qunfudhah. Therefore it is not valid for the people of al-Qunfudhah
to rely on the timetable and adhaan of Makkah.

On this day – 30
Rajab 1426 AH – for example, the times of the prayers are as follows:

City                
Fajr     
Shurooq    Zuhr   
‘Asr      Maghrib   
‘Ishaa’

Makkah          
4.44      6.04        
12.19     3.44     6.34          
8.04

Al-Qunfudhah  4.34      6.01       
12.15      3.37     6.28          
7.58

It becomes clear
that what the brothers in the cooperative office have distributed to you, of
a timetable that is specific to your region, is valid, and the differences
that you mention are in fact correct. So you must pay attention to this. We
ask Allah to help you and guide you to do that which pleases Him.

And Allah knows
best.