Prayers: A time-related duty

Q467 :If a person does not offer Asr prayer until Maghrib has fallen due, should he offer Asr prayer after he has finished Maghrib as qadha? Some people say it is not necessary, because its time is over. Please explain.

A467 : God describes prayer in the Qur'an as a "time-related obligation". In other words, each prayer has a range of time in which it must be offered. If it is not offered in that period of time, and there is no valid reason for such a lack of performance, then it cannot be offered after its time had lapsed. A sin has been committed and there is no way to mend it. If we were to say that prayer could be offered after its time had gone, then how can we explain that prayer is a time-related duty? What would we mean by its being time-related? The only meaning is that it is a duty which must be fulfilled within a specified time. If the time is gone, how can it be fulfilled? The word qadha means "compensatory". But there is simply no compensation involved here. There is a sin that has been committed. I realize that many scholars speak of this compensation as the way out. Weighing up the evidence in support of their argument, I feel I cannot subscribe to it. I find that there is still stronger evidence in support of the view I have explained. When a prayer is missed without a valid reason, then it cannot be compensated for. The only way to deal with that situation is to repent, resolve not to miss a single prayer again and seek God's forgiveness for that sin. Perhaps it is useful to add that there are certain relaxations with regard to the timings of prayers. For example, when we travel we may combine Dhuhr with Asr at any time from the beginning of the period of Dhuhr to the end of Asr prayer. We can also combine Maghrib with Isha at any time during the range for both prayers. Also, when there is a good reason which prevents a person from offering prayer, he may combine Dhuhr with Asr and Maghrib with Isha even in his hometown. What he should guard against is making that a habit. I must make it very clear that this is a concession under exceptional circumstances. Other than this, the only justification for offering a prayer after its time has elapsed is if a person sleeps through the time of a prayer or loses consciousness, or if he forgets it altogether. In any of these cases, he can offer that prayer when he is fully aware of it. In this we rely on a Hadith which states: "He who sleeps through a prayer or forgets it should offer it when he is aware of it, because that is its time." Therefore, if you wake up in the morning after the sun has arisen, you proceed immediately to prepare yourself for prayer and offer it straight-away. That is its time. You should not busy yourself with anything else, like shaving or dressing up, etc. Proceed to offer it straight-away [after preparing yourself for the prayer only.]

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )