Assalamoalaikum. Sometimes I get late in Fajr time and wake up just a few minutes before sunrise. At that time it was already bright outside and I get confused whether the prayer timings software is not very accurate and sun must have risen already.
For example, today sunrise according to the software was 7:15 am and I woke up 7:05 am. But since it was not dark, I wondered whether to offer prayers or not?
Kindly guide me as to what I should do in such cases.
It is possible that the prayer timings calculator has some inaccuracies. Therefore it maybe wise to add or subtract a few minutes to the suggested times of prayers. For instance, if suggested time for Maghrib prayers is 5:35 PM then you may add a about 5 minutes and offer Maghrib Salah after 5:40 PM. Likewise if the suggested end time for Fajr is 7:15 AM then you should have your prayer completed before 7:10 AM.
The brightness during the time of Fajr begins with the break of true dawn and thereafter it continuously increases. Sometimes it may appear that the Sun has already risen due to the widespread brightness on the horizon but the timings of sunrise and sunset calculated by observatories are quite reliable and most observatories such as US Naval Observatory make actual observations to record the timings of Sunrise and Sunset.
If the actual observation contradicts the suggested timings of sunrise and sunset then the actual observation should be relied upon and suggested calculated times should not be relied upon.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Ikram ul Haq
Fatwa Center of America