Saudi Shura rejects call to change Eisha prayer time

October 16, 2012

A proposal to defer the Eisha prayers, or evening prayers, in Saudi Arabia was turned down by the Shura Council with 66 members opposing the move as compared to 54 who favoured it.

The Shura said that the proposal to allow for a bigger period of time between the Maghreb (sunset) prayers and Eisha prayers highlighted some issues but failed to take into account several other aspects that were just as significant.

Eisha prayers, the last of the five daily mandatory prayers for Muslims, are held one hour and a half after the Maghreb prayers.

Shura Council Member Fahd Al Enezi last week suggested that the interval between the two prayers should be increased. “The tight timing between the two prayers makes it difficult for people to take care of their daily needs or their social duties,” he said.

“Islam gives Muslims until midnight to perform the Eisha prayers, so this grace period should be used to put off the current timing,” Al Enezi said.

The Shura Council member alluded to the sight of women and children waiting on pavements and near shops in commercial malls waiting for them to open.

All commercial activities in Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, are suspended during the group prayers, held regularly at dawn, noon, early afternoon, sunset and early evening. Any move to change prayer timings would have a direct bearing on the everyday social routine of most people including their outings, shopping habits and leisure activities.

Taking a stand on the issue on Monday, the Shura however held the view that the deference of Eisha prayers would negatively impact the old and infirm who would find it physically difficult to stay up for late prayers, local Arabic news site Sabq reported.

The Shura also rejected a recommendation to devote greater attention to studies and research on issues reflecting the new realities and aspirations of young men and women. Council member Khalid Al Awad argued in his proposal that some religious figures were not familiar with issues related to young men and women and were unable to respond to their questions and concerns. “People who do not have sufficient knowledge about young people’s issues and concerns should not be allowed to make fatwas,” he said.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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