I have a concern with the prayer timings. In my neighberhood one mosque is saying that fajr starts at ~3:00 and the other mosque says that the prayer starts at ~2:30. If I am not wrong, this is an issue which relates to the 15 degrees and 18 degrees. I live in Montreal, Canada and I would like to know what opinion should I follow? If it helps, I follow the hanafi madhab.
Assalam u Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah
Dear brother Mansoor Shah Said,
This issue of prayer time calculation has indeed caused much confusion in the minds of ordinary people. The true method of determining Fajr or Imsaak is by observing true dawn (Subh-e Sadiq). Unfortunately most of us live in the cities and observing the true dawn is not possible for most people due to light pollution and inexperience. Therefore, the method of degree calculation was introduced which was originally based on actual observations. If the degree method is based on actual observation for a vicinity then it is reliable with precision but if it is not based on actual observations then it should be considered reliable with caution.
In our case here, it would be safer for you to stop eating in order to begin Fasting at 18 degrees and offer Fajr Salah at 15 degrees. In this way your Fast will undoubtedly be valid and your Fajr Salah will be too.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Ikram ul Haq
Fatwa Center of America