Beginning of Fajr Time

By Mufti Taqi Usmani
Posted: 26 Safar 1422, 20 May 2001

Q.) Living here in the Washington DC, USA I would like to know if we should perform Fajr and Isha at 15 degrees or 18 degrees? Below is an excerpt from Khalid Shaukat's website. He is an expert in Astronomy here in the USA and holds the opinion that we should use 15 degrees. I have also asked other Islamic Astronomers and they say that 18 degrees is the more safer of the two. Please spread some light in this issue.

The website is It contains the following statement: "Fajr & Isha are calculated for Sun being 15 degrees below horizon, a value adopted by ISNA, which is based on sound principles of Qur'an and Sunnah, as applied in the light of modern scientific calculations." [Adil Khan]

A.) After a good deal of research and continuing observation my father Mufti Muhammad Shafi as well as other 99% of the Ulema in Pakistan and India are unanimous on the point that the time of Isha and Fajr begins when the Sun is 18 degree below the horizon. This basis has been confirmed by scientific as well as religious research carried by a large number of scholars in both fields.

Answer #2

By Mufti Ebrahim Desai

Q.) What is the time of Fajr in North America? Is it when the sun is 15 degrees or 18 degrees below the horizon?

A.) A depression angle of the sun of 15 degrees for the start of Fajr should be used with extreme caution. It is much safer to stick to 18 degrees. It is only if local observations in a place have shown that the is no morning twilight visible in a particular place until the sun depression angle is 15 degrees or less (throughout the year) that 15 degrees may be used. If this is not the case, then 18 degrees should be used.