Prayer Times

Last Sunday, we turned the clocks back an hour for daylight savings. In Baltimore, that means the sun rises at 6:30 instead of 7:30.  The earlier sunrise brings light for morning runs (hypothetically, as I’m still not running yet since my maybe stress fracture).

Most of the clocks in my life changed automatically, except my un-smart watch. Occasionally, when I glance at it and see time an hour ahead, I feel a sense of urgency. Then my computer screen washes away the worry.  Momentarily. Quickly, the day progresses, and darkness comes an hour earlier. The single hour we changed feels like many.

However, regardless of what my watch says, I measure time in a different way: by prayer.

5prayers

I pray five times a day. The first prayer, Fajr, starts at the break of dawn, and ends at sunrise. The second prayer, Dhur, starts when the sun reaches the peak in the sky. The third prayer, Asr, marks the point at which the sun appears halfway between the zenith and sunset. The fourth prayer, Maghrib, falls right around the sunset. The fifth prayer, Isha, commences when darkness envelopes.

Here are the ranges for today’s prayer times in Baltimore:

Fajr  5:30 – 6:40 AM
Dhur  11:51 AM – 2:34 PM
Asr  2:34 PM – 4:56 PM
Magrhib  4:56 PM – 6:12 PM
Isha  6:12 PM – (midnight or Fajr depending on school of thought)

Prior to daylight savings, each of the ranges for prayer started an hour later, and I always got home before Maghrib. Now, in a 9-5 workday, I finish right after Maghrib. Praying 3 out of the 5 prayers on campus makes time fly faster than before and gives me a greater sense of urgency to get stuff done: school goals, work goals, running goals, and life goals. I am reminded by the shortest chapter in the Holy Qur’an, titled, “Al-Asr,” i.e. “The Time:”

By the declining day, Lo! man is in a state of loss, Except such as have Faith, and do righteous deeds, and join together in the mutual teaching of Truth, and of Patience and Constancy.”

Today is the 7th day of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic Calendar. As we begin a new year, it is a good time for reflection. I am grateful for the urgency I feel from darkness approaching an hour earlier, and I am working and praying to make 1435 the most productive year ever.

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