Exact Answer: Up to 15 minutes before the next azan
Azan is an Arabic word that connotes the Muslim call to prayer. According to the doctrines of Islam, followers of the faith have to mandatorily offer 5 prayers or Salahs throughout the course of a day. Thus, the day of a Muslim is sub-divided into prayer times.
At each prayer time, the azan is heard from the mosque. It is called out by a Muezzin and serves as a reminder to Muslims that it is now time to stop work and offer their prayers to Allah. There are strict restrictions about maintaining punctuality vis-à-vis the call to prayer. No Muslim can overlook this aspect of offering his or her daily Salahs.
How Long After Azan Can You Pray?
Prayer timings vis-à-vis azan calls are a contentious issue of debate for many schools within the Muslim community. Different sections of Muslims hold differing opinions about the correct time to pray after hearing the azan. However, it is possible to devise a more or less overarching framework for prayer timings.
Generally, it is believed that every Muslim hearing the azan or the call to prayer must offer Salah as soon as possible. However, many also believe that it is possible to do so afterward. Beginning from the azan, the prayer timing for Muslims extends to up to 15 minutes before the next azan is heard.
This thumb rule is further relaxed for those under extraneous circumstances. Muslims in such situations may offer their prayers at a later point in time. Those who have forgotten to offer Salah at a particular prayer time -that has already bypassed them- may offer a Sunnah Sulat. This prayer is devoted to an expression of grief at having missed the stipulated prayer times.
However, there is another exception to the 15-minute rule. This exception is dedicated to the Fajr prayer time. In the case of the Fajr azan that is called at dawn, each Muslim must offer prayers in the time in-between hearing the azan and sunrise.
Again, it is possible that the norms of the correctly calculated prayer times may differ from one geographic location to the next because of the different time zones. Moreover, they may differ also because of the more prevalent school of thought that may be more predominant in certain regions of the world over the other approaches.
|Circumstances||Prayer Timing After Azan|
|Normal||Up to 15 minutes before the next azan|
|Extraneous Situation||Before day end|
|Fajr Azan||In between azan and sunrise|
Why Can You Pray This Long After Azan?
The usual time gap available to followers of Islam to offer their prayers is 15 minutes after an azan because it allows them some time to finish the work they are doing and prepare for the Salah. The azan serves as a reminder to them that they must quickly complete the task at hand to proceed to pray.
However, when a person is under extreme situations, for instance, he or she is sick, then there is leniency granted. This is mainly because the individual in question may not be well enough to pray as soon as he hears the azan.
Moreover, in certain situations, they may be outside or performing some important activity that cannot be abandoned. In these instances, they may offer the prayers any time before the end of the day. Alternatively, some schools believe that it is not plausible to do so as the actual prayer time has passed. They recommend offering the Sunnah Sulat which signifies the remorse of the individual for not being able to pray at the stipulated time.
The Fajr azan is different because it is considered to be the last prayer of the day. This has to be completed before sunrise. The rays of the sun would signify the beginning of a new day. Thus, the prayers dedicated to this time of the day must be prayed before the sun has risen. This statute is followed in accordance with the religious diktats specified in the Holy Book that state that glory must be accorded to Allah at dawn as the stars fade away.
Maintaining the particular time to offer Salah or prayers in the Muslim community is essential. The azan is a reminder for all Muslims that they should prepare themselves for prayers during the stipulated timeframes of the day.
Generally, the norm states that a Muslim must offer Salah 5 times daily. Since azan is the call to prayer, each Salah must be offered immediately after the azan is heard. However, if an individual is unable to do so, he or she has until 15 minutes before the next azan to offer his or her prayers. In extremely extraneous circumstances, a person may offer a special prayer if he or she has missed all the Salah timings.