When does the time for ‘Isha end?


‘Isha has two ending times:

  1. Ikhtiyaari (desired ending time)
  2. Idhtiraari (undesired ending time)

The desired ending time is after midnight. This is the stance of Ath-Thawri, Ibn Mubarak, Abu Thawr, Ahmed in one narration and some of his companions. As well as Shaykhul Islam ibn Taymiyah, Imaam Ash-Shawkaanee,
As-Sa’di and this is opinion of Shaykh Muhammad ibn Hizaam.

The proof for this is as follows:

Narrated ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr, the Prophet (ﷺ) said:
((إِذَا صَلَّيْتُمُ الْفَجْرَ فَإِنَّهُ وَقْتٌ إِلَى أَنْ يَطْلُعَ قَرْنُ الشَّمْسِ الأَوَّلُ ثُمَّ إِذَا صَلَّيْتُمُ الظُّهْرَ فَإِنَّهُ وَقْتٌ إِلَى أَنْ يَحْضُرَ الْعَصْرُ فَإِذَا صَلَّيْتُمُ الْعَصْرَ فَإِنَّهُ وَقْتٌ إِلَى أَنْ تَصْفَرَّ الشَّمْسُ فَإِذَا صَلَّيْتُمُ الْمَغْرِبَ فَإِنَّهُ وَقْتٌ إِلَى أَنْ يَسْقُطَ الشَّفَقُ فَإِذَا صَلَّيْتُمُ الْعِشَاءَ فَإِنَّهُ وَقْتٌ إِلَى نِصْفِ اللَّيْلِ))
“When you pray Fajr, its time is until the first part of the sun appears. When you pray Zuhr, its time is until ‘Asr comes. When you pray ‘Asr, its time is until the sun turns yellow. When you pray Maghrib, its time is until the twilight has disappeared. When you pray ‘Isha, its time is until half of the night has passed”
[Sahih Muslim, 612]

Narrated Anas: “The Prophet (ﷺ) delayed the `Isha’ prayer till midnight and then he offered the prayer and said, ‘The people prayed and slept but you have been in prayer as long as you have been waiting for it (the prayer).’ Anas added: “As if I am looking now at the glitter of the ring of the Prophet (ﷺ) on that night.”
[Sahih al-Bukhari]

Narrated Abu Sa’id al-Khudri:
“We observed the prayer after nightfall with the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), and he did not come out till about half the night had passed. He then said: ‘Take your places.’ We then took our places. Then he said: ‘The people have prayed and gone to bed, but you are still engaged in prayer as long as you wait for the prayer. Were it not for the weakness of the weak and for the sickness of the sick. I would delay this prayer till half the night had gone.”
[Sunan Abi Dawud 422; graded Sahih by Shaykh by Albani & Shaykh muqbil]

As for the latest possible time that ‘Isha can be offered, i.e. The undesirable ending time (idhtirari), then this is up until the time of the true fajr. This is the stance of the majority of scholars; and their evidence is as follows:

Abu Qatadah narrated that the prophet ﷺ said:
((أَمَا إِنَّهُ لَيْسَ فِي النَّوْمِ تَفْرِيطٌ إِنَّمَا التَّفْرِيطُ عَلَى مَنْ لَمْ يُصَلِّ الصَّلاَةَ حَتَّى يَجِيءَ وَقْتُ الصَّلاَةِ الأُخْرَى فَمَنْ فَعَلَ ذَلِكَ فَلْيُصَلِّهَا حِينَ يَنْتَبِهُ لَهَا فَإِذَا كَانَ الْغَدُ فَلْيُصَلِّهَا عِنْدَ وَقْتِهَا))
“One is not neglectful for sleeping, rather the neglectful one is he who delays a prayer till the time of the next prayer comes in. So he who does this (i.e. misses prayer due to sleep or forgetfulness) should pray when he becomes aware of it, and on the next day he should observe it at its prescribed time.
[Sahih Muslim]

Benefited From:
Shaykh Muhammad ibn Hizaam – may Allaah preserve him

Fat-hul ‘Allaam of Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Hizaam, first print, Vol. 1, Pg. 438-440

Translated by:
Abu Nu’aim Abduraheem ibn Ali As-Somali