I recently read your response to the question concerning `Isha prayers…. I was wondering about two things:
How would it be possible to know when the day finishes since the 24 hour clock was not present during the time of the Prophet, let alone the timing mechanism we have now.
Could it be that the day for ancient Arabia was from one sunrise to the next?
The Arabs, like most of the other nations in the pre-clock age, used to assess time – quite accurately – by the sun during the day and by the stars during the night.
Prayer timings, like other everyday activities and chores, were followed and managed, based on the position of the sun (Zuhr, `Asr and Maghrib), the stars (tahajjud), and the amount of light on the horizon before sunrise (Fajr) and after sunset (`Ishaa).
As far as your second question is concerned, I apologize for not being able to fully understand its special significance with the Arabs, because the word “day”, not only in ancient Arabia but also everywhere else even in the contemporary world is, generally, used for the period between one sunrise and the next. The obvious exception to this connotation of the word “day” is when it is used with the word “night”. However, generally the word implies the 24-hour interval between one sunrise and the next.
25th August 1999