I work at a national company with about 50 other employers. I normally am working at the time of Dhuhr and Asr. The problem is that the employers agreed to set a fixed times for Dhuhr at 12.45 and Asr at 3.40 in both summer and winter. As they think it is better this way for all employers to be gathered. Thus, as you know, the gap between the Adhaan and the Iqaamah can be more than an hour. My question is: is setting fixed time for the Iqaamah while delaying the prayer itself to the end of the permitted time permissible? Knowing that there is no excuse apart from gathering the employers. Also, is it permissible for me to pray alone on time and wait not for the congregation? Or pray with one or two brothers on time and not delay?.
There is nothing wrong with delaying Zuhr and ‘Asr prayers for about an hour after the adhaan.
The reason for that is that the time for Zuhr prayer lasts from when the sun passes the meridian until the time for ‘Asr begins, so all of this time is the time for Zuhr prayer, and it is not makrooh to do the prayer at any point within this time.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The time for Zuhr is so long as ‘Asr has not come.” Narrated by Muslim (612). There are two times for ‘Asr: the preferred time, which is until the sun turns yellow, and the time of necessity, which is until sunset. That is because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The time for ‘Asr is so long as the sun has not turned yellow.” Narrated by Muslim (612). This is the preferred time. As for the time of necessity, that is because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever catches up with a rak’ah of ‘Asr before the sun sets has caught up with ‘Asr.” Narrated by Muslim (608).
What is meant by the preferred time is that it is permissible to do the prayer at any point within that time, and it is not makrooh.
Delaying the prayer for about an hour after the adhaan does not mean that it is delayed beyond the preferred time.
There is nothing wrong with you praying at the beginning of the time, so long as there is a congregation (jamaa’ah). But if you are going to pray alone, it is better to wait until you can pray in congregation.
It is better to bring the prayer forward to the beginning of its time, but if delaying it enables the employees to gather and pray together, there is nothing wrong with that.
And Allaah knows best.