Asr time as Wusta?


Problem description:

In several hadiths of Prophet Muhammad PBUH, it is mentioned that Asr prayer as wusta prayer. What does it means? Is there any relation with the determination of Asr prayer time?


Analysis:

Let us first list the hadiths mentioning about Asr prayer as wusta prayer.


A hadith in Sunan Tirmidzi 166; sahih according to Al-Albani. Similar hadith can also be found in Musnad Ahmad 19270, 19296, and 19381.

Rasulullah SAW said:

صَلَاةُ الْوُسْطَى صَلَاةُ الْعَصْرِ

"Wustha prayer is Asr prayer."


A hadith in Sahih Muslim 995.

Ali RA mentioned that during the Battle of Ditch, Rasulullah SAW while sitting on the edge of the ditch said:

شَغَلُونَا عَنْ الصَّلَاةِ الْوُسْطَى حَتَّى غَرَبَتْ الشَّمْسُ مَلَأَ اللَّهُ قُبُورَهُمْ وَبُيُوتَهُمْ نَارً

"The enemy indeed occupy and hold us from Wusta prayer (i.e. Asr prayer) until the sunset. May Allah fill their graves and houses with the fire."

At the end of the similar hadith in Sahih Bukhari 5917, Imam Bukhari wrote:

وَهِيَ صَلَاةُ الْعَصْرِ

"Wustha prayer is Asr prayer."

And there are at least 22 other hadiths mentioned about this, e.g. Sahih Bukhari 2714, 4169; Sahih Muslim 996, 997; Sunan Nasa'i 469; Sunan Ibnu Majah 676, 678; Musnad Ahmad 557, 583, 867, 947, 985, etc.


Thus, it can be concluded that Wusta prayer is actually Asr prayer.