بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
(طه۱۳۰)وَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّکَ قَبْلَ طُلُوعِ الشَّمْسِ وَ قَبْلَ غُرُوبِها وَ مِنْ آناءِ اللَّیْلِ فَسَبِّحْ وَ أَطْرافَ النَّهارِ لَعَلَّکَ تَرْضى
and celebrate the praises of your Lord before the rising of the sun, and before its setting. And during the hours of the night glorify Him, and at the borders of the day, that you may be satisfied. (Taha 130)
Praying at the right time is one of the strict commands and important teachings of the religion of Islam, which is commanded in the verses and hadiths. Therefore, finding religious times is of special importance for Muslims around the world.
In Islamic countries, due to the fact that this demand is long-standing, many groups with many facilities find the right time to pray, and there is no particular problem in this regard. However, in non-Islamic countries where the presence of Muslims has increased in recent decades, it is natural that solving religious problems ( one of the most important of which is to determine the exact time of prayers) is associated with certain difficulties.
The islamic center of Hamburg, as the most pivoted and oldest religious and Islamic center in Germany and Europe, has been paying serious attention to this issue from the past to the present, and continuous research to obtain religious times has been one of the center’s permanent and serious programs. Therefore, from the past until now, this center has provided the most accurate tables to the general Muslim population by gaining various experiences, and each time it has had more accurate calculations than before. Of course, it should be noted that this has always been associated with many problems, including: jurisprudential differences between different religions of Muslims and different views of jurists, as well as scientific differences between astronomers and scientists regardless of their belief or disbelief in Islam, differences in geographical areas In different countries of the world, the high cost of astronomical research and other problems.
One of the areas where geographical disputes have caused great differences in the religious times of these regions with the religious times of the Islamic countries is the countries of the Northern European region, which are close to the pole. One of the differences between the horizon of these regions and the horizon of the temperate regions of the world is the phenomenon of white nights. To explain this, at certain times of the year, after sunset, the light is not completely lost, and therefore the sky is bright during the night, making it very difficult to determine the time of the morning adhan. According to the fatwas of most Shiite jurists, the time for the morning adhan in such cases is when the whiteness in the sky begins to increase, which in jurisprudential terms is called ” intensifies of light.” intensifies of light occurs when the light in the sky increases. The start time of this phenomenon and its quantity depends on the geographical location of the city.
On the other hand, the existence of such problems and differences has led to the presentation of several religious time tables in different Islamic centers and even in the Shiite centers of Germany, some of which are sometimes different from each other.
In order to reorganize the current situation, the Islamic center of Hamburg has invited various Shiite centers that offer religious time table in Germany to hold scientific and specialized meetings with the participation of their experts to achieve a single result for Muslim population in Europe. Although some centers did not have any expertise in this regard, other centers introduced their experts. After the establishment of the Scientific Committee on Religious Times, the members of this group held several meetings for 8 months, which had very good results. The scientific committee, which consisted of religious and astronomical experts, was also attended by some experts from German astronomical centers. Given the importance of the issue and the mission of the center, the Islamic Center of Hamburg was not satisfied with this amount of work (formation of a scientific committee) and invited experts from the Institute of Geophysics of University of Tehran – who determine the religious time – and the chief director of the Inquiry Department of the Supreme Leader’s Office and continued its investigation about religious times.
While conducting numerous trips to various parts of Germany, the experts conducted many practical researches as well as monitoring the horizons in Germany and other European countries. Some of the efforts made in this field, such as observing the horizon and taking photos at different moments of the horizon, have become a film that can be watched.
Thanks to Almighty God, these activities and efforts have been effective and have led to valuable research and valuable scientific results that are unprecedented in their kind. Obviously, no research is without its bugs, and the Islamic Center does not claim that this research is perfect. However, given the efforts made, the practice that is based on the results of this research, certainly has a religious justification. It is hoped that with God’s help, this scientific endeavor and other cultural activities of the Islamic Center of Hamburg will be taken into consideration by almighty God.
In order to provide more explanations and also to make it easier to understand the mentioned issues, a number of common questions and answers in this field have been prepared, which will be provided to those who are interested:
Questions and Answers:
1. Why has scientific research in Germany delayed and slowed down the determination of religious times? And why isn’t it easy to find German religious times same as in other countries, such as Iran, and it is always mixed with troubles?
Answer: Considering that this issue has been one of the general demands of the people and governments in Islamic countries for centuries, over time, various institutions have been established in different cities in these countries to carry out astronomical activities, including obtaining religious times. (Observatories such as Maragheh, Samarghand, Neishabour, Baghdad, Hamedan, etc.) and many experiences have been gained in this way and information and experiences of these institutions have been increased day by day. Also, due to the generality and necessity of these demands, its costs are easily provided by the people, scientists and government officials. But the opposite has been the case in non-Islamic countries. In many of these countries, the presence of muslims goes back to recent decades, and the history of the presence of muslims in these areas is not long enough. In Germany, for example, the history of the presence of muslim Turks or Iranian Muslim goes back to 60 years ago. In addition, Muslims have always been in the minority and have not been accompanied by scientific, and public and governmental support. It is natural that in such circumstances, resolving religious issues and meeting the needs of those who return to religious affairs (such as religious times, meat, and slaughtering halal, halal job, etc.) is difficult and not comparable to Islamic countries.
Also, considering Germany’s geographical location, certain natural phenomena, such as white nights, which occur in these areas, making it difficult to obtain religious time, which will be described below.
2. how is the general procedure of preparation of the annual table of religious times?
Answer: Four important things are needed to achieve religious times:
1. Sharia fatwa; 2. Scientific law; 3. Computer software; 4. Monitoring the horizon.
First of all, we should refer to religious experts and obtain the religious ruling on the times of prayer and fasting. For example, about the end of morning prayer period, we refer to the authority of imitation and obtain their fatwa, which says that the end of the morning prayer time is when the sun has risen. After knowing the principle of the Sharia, if it is difficult for people to discern the subject (it means the time of the rising of the sun) (as is the case in Germany and Northern Europe), we turn to the astronomy experts and ask them when the sun rises ? In response, for example, they say: “The time of sunrise is when the center of the sun’s disk is at an angle of five-sixths below the horizon of each region.” And then in the final step, we have to find the computing software and in its settings, we have to consider the geographical coordinates of the desired city as well as the desired degree, and then we can obtain the religious times of the year by observing the horizontal position.
3. Is there a difference between Muslims and also Shiites in the Shari’a ruling on times of prayer and fasting?
Answer: It should be said that there are differences between different Islamic branches in some religious rulings, such as praying times. For example, although there is no difference between the morning prayer, the sunrise, and the noon prayer in the religious times, there is some difference in the time of the evening prayer, the maghrib, and the isha prayer. These differences are due to the jurisprudential principles that are sometimes observed among Shiite jurists. In addition, sometimes despite the unity of opinion on the Shari’a ruling, there is a difference of opinion in determining the subject of that ruling (as in the recognition of the first and last of the holy month of Ramadan and also the determination of the time of sunrise in some areas.)
4. Is there a difference of opinion among astronomy experts on issues such as sunrise and sunset, true morning and other astronomical phenomena?
Answer: Obviously, in most specialized fields, there are different expert opinions, and astronomy is also one of this fields. For example, there is a difference of opinion among astronomical experts about the time of true morning, which the jurists have stated. Some say that this happens when the sun is at a negative angle of 18 degrees. And some say: minus 17.7 degrees and others say minus 19 degrees and….
5. Is there a difference between existing software that calculates religious time?
Answer: Yes, software’s also differ in the accuracy of the calculation and the number of errors. Some of these software’s are more reputable and have a lower error rate.
6. Is the horizon of northern European countries like Germany different from Islamic countries like Iran? why?
Answer: Yes, there is a big difference between countries that are close to the pole and other countries. One of these differences is the number of hours of day and night during the year that the general public is aware of the difference with countries like Iran. Sometimes the period of the night (from sunset to sunrise) in Germany or Sweden is up to 8 hours, while in Middle Eastern countries something like this will never happen. Another difference between the polar regions and the countries of the temperate regions of the world is the phenomenon of white nights. In these areas, in some days of the year, after sunset, because the sun is not low enough to reach the horizon, absolute darkness does not occur. For this reason, the sky is bright at night until sunrise, making it very difficult to tell when the morning call to prayer is. true morning is when, according to the Holy Quran, a white line appears on the blackness of the night. It is at this time that Muslims can do the morning prayer. And this is while on white nights, there is no full black night to show a white line on it. This is very clear in the movies and photos bellow.
7. What is the religious ruling about morning prayers on white nights?
Answer: According to the fatwas of most Shiite jurists, the time for the morning call to prayer on white nights is when the whiteness in the sky begins to increase, which in jurisprudential terms is called the ” intensifies of light.” Therefore, on white nights, the morning prayer can be offered as soon as the light in the sky intensifies.
8. What causes white nights?
Answer: As you know, the earth, in addition to moving around the sun, also is rotating or spinning around its axis. In the transitional motion, the earth rotates in a circular motion around the sun, but in the situational motion, the earth revolves around itself.
As you can see in the above picture, the rotation of the Earth around itself is done obliquely. In other words, the Earth’s axis is tilted in a rotation around itself. This oblique line connects the Earth’s north and south poles on both sides. The inclination of the Earth’s axis causes the angle of the sun’s rays to change from different points on the earth in proportion to the distance or proximity of the poles. These changes in the angle of the sun’s rays cause the intensity of the sun’s rays to change in different parts of the earth in cycles, and the temperature to increase and decrease, these changes bring us the different seasons. Secondly, it causes the time of the day and night to increase and decrease, so that in the polar regions and regions near to them, it sometimes becomes very long and sometimes very short; As far as in the North Pole we can see that in one year, half of the year is night and other half is day. This causes a unique phenomenon in areas close to the pole, such as the “white nights” phenomenon, in which the bright effects of the sun remain during the night due to the continued exposure to the sun.
9. When does the White Nights phenomenon begin and how long does it last?
Answer: The start of this phenomenon and its durability depends on the geographical location of the region and it is different from city to city. This happens in some cities during the months of May, June and July. In cities that are closer to the pole, this phenomenon is longer, and as we move south, it will be less, and more we go, we will get to a point where this phenomenon never happens.
10. How many types of religious times do German Shiite centers offer?
Answer: Different Shiite centers in Germany have presented about 5 religious time tabels that are different from each other.
11. How do Islamic centers in Europe make their religious time table? Do Islamic centers in Europe have experts in astronomy and religious timing?
Answer: Usually, Islamic centers, both Shiite and Sunni, do not have the expertise to do so, so they get the religious time they need from Islamic countries such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, or through Internet sites.
12. What efforts has the Islamic Center of Hamburg done to unite the Shiites in this regard? Have you established a scientific connection with other Islamic centers to find religious times?
Answer: In order to organize the current situation, Islamic Center of Hamburg invited various Shiite centers that were presenting religious time tabel in Germany to hold scientific and specialized meetings with presence of their experts to achieve a single result. Although some centers did not have any expertise in this regard, other centers introduced their experts. Following the formation of the Scientific Committee on Religious Times, the group held several meetings for eight months, which had excellent results.
13. Has the new research used the opinion of local German experts?
A: Yes, the scientific committee, which consisted of religious and astronomical experts, also included experts from German astronomical centers.
14. how was the procedure of the meetings and the work quality of this committee?
Answer: Due to the presence of religious and astronomical experts, first the religious experts obtained the rulings of the religious time based on the fatwas of the great authorities of imitation, and then the astronomical experts examined it scientifically and finally they did a conclution together.
15. What are the other activities and researches that Islamic Center of Hamburg has undertaken to obtain the exact religious times of European countries?
Answer: Given the importance of the issue and the mission of the center, the Islamic Center of Hamburg was not satisfied with this amount of work (formation of a scientific committee) and invited experts from the Institute of Geophysics of University of Tehran – who determine the religious time – and the chief director of the Inquiry Department of the Supreme Leader’s Office and continued its investigation about religious times.
While conducting numerous trips to various parts of Germany, the experts conducted many practical researches as well as monitoring the horizons in Germany and other European countries. Some of the efforts made in this field, such as observing the horizon and taking photos at different moments of the horizon, have become a film that can be watched. These films are actually hundreds of photos that have been put together and made into films. These films, which have been produced with great difficulty, help to get the exact time of the morning prayer on white nights.
16. despite short geographical distance between cities such as 200 km, why does religious timing vary greatly?
Answer: According to the explanations given, due to the nearness to the pole and the unusualness of the horizon of these areas, it is not correct to compare these matters with temprate countries and it is scientifically clear that the distance of 200 km in these areas will cause many differences in the horizon.
17. What are the circumferential conditions for monitoring and observation?
Answer: Many parameters are effective as a result of observation, including: temperature, humidity, moonlight, cloud level, height above free water level, area brightness, and so on.
18. Is it possible to observe the horizon from the roof of a house or apartment?
Answer: As explained in answer to question 17, one of the effective parameters in obseravtion is the brightness of the place. Now a days in cities and villages, due to the large number of lights, the observation is not accurate. In this context, there are software’s that show the brightness of different regions of the world at night. With these programs, you have to choose the darkest places and observe on nights that are not moonlit and also not cloudy and other conditions are available in them.
19. Why does the religious time table offered by the Islamic Center of Hamburg have a religious authority? Does the religious time offered by other centers or sites have a religious authority and can we say our prayers with those timings?
Answer: Considering the conclusion of what has been said above, it can be claimed with certainty that the scientific and accurate studies of the religious timing, which were carried out by the Islamic Center of Hamburg with the help of God Almighty, have not been done in any center so far. Therefore, the Islamic Center of Hamburg has reached a religious authority with all the specialized activities it has done in this field.
20. Why does the Islamic Center of Hamburg, despite being in Hamburg for sixty years, offers a new religious times at least once a year? And how do we know that this table, which has now been prepared, will not change in the coming years?
Answer: The Islamic Center of Hamburg has been improving for many years, considering the presence and increasing of Muslims in this country, and the more demands and attention that have been paid to this matter. in each period in accordance with its existing conditions and facilities, Islamic Centre of Hamburg has completed its religious time tabel. Therefore, the multiplicity of tables in different time periods shows the dynamism and vibrancy of scientific activities in this center. Of course, this current table is certainly not without error, and the center does not claim that scientific research and effort is no longer possible; Rather, we believe that, like all other fields of science, there is always the possibility of higher progress and accuracy. But the important thing is that the Islamic Center of Hamburg has always made the greatest effort to develop it, and we hope that its errors will decrease day by day.
21. What should we do if we have previously prayed or fasted according to the previous time table and now we have realized that the old one was not correct?
Answer: Considering that the acts of worship are performed on the basis of religious certainty and authority, if they are not 100% sure that they were performed before the time has elapsed, the validity of the previous acts of worship will be there and there is no need to repeat them.
22. Why is it so important to do it in this level of professionality? Was it really that hard during the time of the Prophet (PBUH)? And could only astronomers get the religious time?
Answer: At the time of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) due to the life of Muslims in the temperate regions of the earth, there were no such problems that the north regions of the earth are having now, and of course there were other difficulties that are not present for us now. Given that Islam is a comprehensive religion and for all times and places, it must provide a way to solve problems. For this reason, the method of Islam from the beginning has been that it expresses the principles and the law, and it is up to the people to find its cases and examples. Therefore, the general Islamic rules during the absence of Imam (AS) are stated by the comprehensive jurists and then the examples should be determined by those who are able to do so. In this way, the religious issues of Muslims have been solved for centuries. However, since there is difficulty in recognizing the subject in some social, natural, and other fields, some religious issues are also associated with problems. An example is white nights in the northern regions. On the other hand, due to the changes that human beings have made in the world, such as the lights that have been used during the night all over the earth, finding the right time of morning prayer has faced serious problems. Therefore, a human being who is so capable of illuminating the dark earth at night, must use the same specialized science and advanced tools and facilities of the modern world to understand the exact time of true morning (the morning call to prayer). This is where the need for specialized research becomes more important.