Alazhar Mosque Cairo, photo by Mika Elgendi

How to schedule your day around the Islamic prayers

Once you start building your "people network" in Cairo, life will certainly get busy. Egyptian people are very social and love gatherings or how they like to call it "outings".  Some go out every evening, after work or school, if possible. Always pleasant weather in Egypt is a big advantage here.  

The busiest day of all is definitely Friday, which many people call a "family day".  It is because weekend in Egypt is on Friday & Saturday. Some people work even 6 days a week and Friday is their only time off. It's also a day, when people go to mosque to pray together. This is when you most probably going to hear  for the first time" let's meet after Dhuhr" instead of " Let's meet at 1 pm ".

How do I know what time is it at "after Dhuhr"?

Unless you are a Muslim and know already some stuff about 5 daily prayers, this might be something new to you. The good news is, it's very simple and you will get used to it fast. There are 5 prayers every day. They are scheduled according the sun, therefore their time slightly changes throughout the year. The easiest way is to type "prayer time Cairo" into Google search and right the first website offers you prayer times not only for today but days and months in advance. Please don't write them down, it really doesn't vary that drastically. Another option is to pay attention to when Adhan, call for a prayer, is called from the mosque.

So back to our question. If I see, that Dhuhr is at 12:04 today, our meeting is certainly not 12:10 :) you need to keep in mind that this is just a call for prayer, there needs to be an actual prayer performed and then you can expect person to arrive. Add to it a commute time from his or her destination to your meeting point and that's when you can expect your meeting to begin. A person who suggests to meet after certain prayer time, most probably prays. Otherwise He or She would say "let's meet at 3pm" . Understood?

What time should I expect my visitors, if they are coming after "Maghrib"?

Most probably, you will have visitors one day as well. They might suggest they would come after Maghrib, which is 5:16 pm these days. Expect that means anytime between 5:30 and 6:40 which is time for the next prayer Isha. This uncertain timing might be an issue at the beginning. After while, one adjusts and understands that sometimes it's very difficult to arrive on time while in Cairo because of the unpredictable traffic jams. Look at the bright side. Nobody gets stressed over running late a little and nobody will criticize you for late arrival either :) Everybody happy.

Today's prayer times

FAJR @ 05:21 AM, prayer performed from dawn until just before sunrise

DHUHR @ 12:04 PM, prayer performed after the sun’s zenith until late afternoon

ASR @ 02:57 PM, prayer performed from late afternoon until just before sunset

MAGHRIB @ 05:16 PM, prayer performed from sunset until just before twilight (when the sky turns dark)

ISHA @ 06:38 PM, prayer performed, from twilight until dawn

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