Praise be to Allah.
There are times when it is forbidden to pray. They are as follows:
- From dawn until sunrise
- From sunrise until the sun has risen to the height of a spear above the horizon; nowadays this is regarded as equivalent to twelve minutes after sunrise, but to be on the safe side one should make it a quarter of an hour.
- When the sun is overhead at noon, until it has passed its zenith
- From ‘Asr prayer until sunset
- When the sun starts to set until it is completely set
These times may be summed up more briefly as follows:
- From dawn until the sun has risen to the height of a spear
- When it is directly overhead at noon until it has passed its zenith
- From ‘Asr prayer until the sun has set completely.
When we say from dawn, we mean that one should not offer voluntary prayers after the adhan of Fajr except the Sunnah of Fajr . This is the view of the Hanbalis. The Shafi’is are of the view that the prohibition has to do with Fajr prayer itself, so it is not forbidden to offer voluntary prayers between the adhan and iqamah , rather it is forbidden to offer voluntary prayers after offering the obligatory prayer of Fajr.
This is the more correct view, but one should not offer any voluntary prayer after dawn apart from the two Sunnah rak’ahs of Fajr. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) only prayed two brief rak’ahs after dawn had broken. (See al-Sharh al-Mumti’ by Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymin, 4/160)
This is indicated by the report narrated by al-Bukhari (547) and Muslim (1367) from Ibn ‘Abbas, who said: Some trustworthy men bore witness in my presence, the most trustworthy of whom in my view was ‘Umar, that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) forbade praying after Fajr until the sun had risen and after ‘Asr until the sun had set.”
Al-Bukhari (548) and Muslim (1371) narrated that Ibn ‘Umar said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “When the top edge of the sun has risen, then delay praying until it has risen above the horizon, and when the lower part of the sun has set, delay praying until it is fully set.”
Al-Bukhari (551) narrated that Abu Sa’id al-Khudri said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) say: “There is no prayer after Fajr until the sun has risen fully, and no prayer after ‘Asr until the sun has set.”
Muslim (1373) narrated that ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Amir al-Juhani said: “There are three times at which the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) forbade us to pray or to bury our dead: when the sun has clearly started to rise until it is fully risen, when it is directly overhead at midday until it has passed its zenith, and when the sun starts to set until it has fully set.”
And Allah knows best.