I understand the Islamic day begins at sunset/maghrib (e.g. If the date changes with sunset, why is 'Asr called the middle prayer?).

However, it is less clear whether the daily 24 hour clock also begins (i.e. 00:00 (0 hours and 0 minutes)) at this time, as practised by countries or major international organisations which adopt the Islamic calendar.

I would be grateful if members here could inform as to the whether it does? And if not (e.g. it starts at the (Gregorian calendar) midnight), why this is the case? That is, the justifications (especially theological/fiqh (vs practical/logistical) for the discrepancy between the accepted theological basis of the start of the day, and the actual practice?.

Thank you.

  • 1
    I don't know of any Muslim country that uses the Islamic calendar in the described manner it is only used for the purpose of defining the actual Islamic month. And a day like you described will hardly be of 24h!
    – Medi1Saif
    May 26, 2018 at 2:05
  • A day has to begin at some point. In Islam it is recognised that this is at Maghrib. Maghrib to Maghrib the next day makes up 24 hours. The issue is I suspect that countries and organisations that use the islamic calendar, made up of these 'Maghrib to Maghrib' days as prescribed in the Hadeeth tradition, do not actually start their days at Maghrib. Hence this question seeking information on when the day starts (00:00) in these countries and organisations, and if not at Maghrib, why not? May 26, 2018 at 8:56

2 Answers 2


I am not aware of any country that syncs clocks with the time for maghrib.

Apart from the immense confusion that such a practice would create, it would also require specialized clocks or periodic resetting since the time from one Maghrib to the next Maghrib is not 24 hours, but usually something like 23 hours 58 minutes or 24 hours 2 minutes, it constantly shifts throughout the year, going backwards in winter or forwards in summer.

A 'theological justification' for doing so is not needed as there is no obligation of keeping time in hours nor is there any religious matter in Islam that is dependent on a measure of time in hours.

  • 2
    In regions around the equator such thing is theoretically possible ;) as the closer you are the less the day time would change around the year.
    – Medi1Saif
    May 28, 2018 at 9:30
  • Though I totally accept that a maghrib-to-maghrib time is not exactly equivalent to 24 hour clock time based on the gregorian calendar, it still does not address the question of why there does not seem, to my limited knowledge, an attempt to consider the time that begins from when a day starts in Islam, i.e. at Maghrib. That is, whether via an adjustment (+/- certain gregorian clock minutes), a definition of a 'new' clock time based on the lunar calendar, or any other innovations etc etc. May 29, 2018 at 8:27
  • Considering how important falaq science is, I am just wondering whether it is a glaring omission that we bother about a hijri calendar and the days that make the end and beginning of its months, but NOT the time that marks the beginning and end of its days. May 29, 2018 at 8:27
  • Also, for those of us thinking of its 'impracticality', which is of course a major issue, this does not explain the lack of an effort: i.e. just because it is difficult does not mean one should not do something. Impracticality alone is rarely a satisfactory explaination for a lack of an innovation. May 29, 2018 at 8:30
  • One final thought, all clock times are social constructs. Even the one based on the gregorian calendar. There is nothing intrinsically 'natural' in the gregorian calendar. Remember, even the clock time based on the gregorian calendar (in short a 'gregorian time') is only an approximation of true solar time (some introductions to this: timeanddate.com/time/earth-rotation.html; en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_time). May 29, 2018 at 8:36

This is not yet a comprehensive answer to the question.

But I have come across an example where the Islamic 'clock-time' begins at maghrib time: see 3:35 at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nil14BfjDdM&t=219s

So this informs that at the very least such practice exists.

What is still unanswered is the extent it exists, including in national or larger organisations, or in countries.

Also, the basis in hadith or Qur'an on how to form 'Islamic' time or calendar.

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