روي أنه كان قدر صلاة رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم الظهر في الصيف ثلاثة أقدام إلى خمسة أقدام وفي الشتاء خمسة أقدام إلى سبعة أقدام.
It is narrated that the approximate time of the Prophet’s zuhr prayer was [when the shadows were] three to five feet long during summers and five to seven feet long during winters.1
Notes on the Text of the Narrative
This narrative or a part of it with some variations has been reported in Abū Dā’ūd (No. 400), Nasa’ī (No. 503), Nasa’ī’s Sunan Al-Kubraā (No. 1492), Bayhaqī (No. 1588) and Ibn Abī Shaybah (No. 3289). The preferred text is the one reported in Nasā’ī’s, No. 503.
The word الظهر (i.e., zuhr) has been omitted in Abū Dā’ūd’s No. 400.
In Ibn Abī Shaybah’s narrative no. 3289, the subject matter of the narrative has been presented differently and has not even been ascribed to the Prophet (sws). The referred to narrative reads as:
قال عبد الله: إن أول وقت الظهر أن تنظر إلى قدميك فتقيس ثلاثة أقدام إلى خمسة أقدام وإن أول وقت الآخر خمسة أقدام إلى سبعة أقدام. أظنه قال في الشتاء.
‘Abdullāh ibn Mas‘ūd said: “[For] the starting time of zuhr, look at your feet and estimate three to five feet [of shadow]. And the other starting time [ie., for the starting time in winter], is five to seven feet [of shadows]. [The narrator says:] I think he said: [The other starting time, related to prayers] in winters.”
1. Apparently, it would seem that the prayer was offered earlier during summers and later during winters. However, in view of other narratives, it is clear that Prophet (sws) would generally delay the zuhr prayer during summers and would offer it earlier during winters. It is generally held that this apparent contradiction is only due to the differences in the position of the sun in Madīnah during summers and winters, implying that in Madīnah, five to seven feet long shadows, in winters appeared before the time when three to five feet long shadows would appear during summers.
(This write-up is prepared by the Hadith Cell of Javed Ahmad Ghamidi)