Why don’t the prayer times match my local masjid?

The prayer times displayed in Pray Watch are generated by plugging directly into the timetables and calculation methods provided by their respective authorities.

We do not control these times, as they are precise mathematical calculations; we only pull this information into the app and dynamically match it with your device’s location to provide you with the most accurate prayer times.

For a small time difference:

If there is a small difference between your local masjid times and the times shown in the app (+/- a few minutes) it’s because the Pray Watch app is using your precise GPS location, which will naturally be different from a static location such as the masjid (or even the regional authority that they’re basing their timetables on). 

So the times in the app will be the most accurate, because they’re based on your exact coordinates. 

For a large time difference:

If you’re noticing a large difference (5, 10, or even 20 mins), especially for Fajr and Isha times, it’s important to note that Fajr and Isha are times are not based on precise calculations like the other prayers since the sun’s location is out of sight and below the horizon.

Because of this, scholars have agreed that it makes more sense to reference a specific “twilight angle” (the number of degrees which represent the sun’s location below the horizon). These twilight angles can vary anywhere from 12 to 20 degrees, and can vary throughout the year depending on season, latitude, and other factors.

Sometimes masjids or regional councils may use a slightly different angle from the main calculation method that they would normally use, so as to account for these variables. This is done at the discretion of each individual masjid/council, and can lead to masjids in the same city displaying different prayer times.

For example, the official Fajr and Isha angles as provided by the Fiqh Council of North America (the religious affairs advisor of ISNA) are 15 degrees for both. But some masjids, especially in northern regions like Canada, make adjustments to this angle to account for their geographical location.

Furthermore, some masjids will automatically make the Fajr time 10-15 mins earlier than the official calculation so as to remain on the safe side when preparing to fast (usually referred to as imsak time).

So as you can see, it’s not as straightforward as we think.

Making adjustments to the prayer times:

Now that we understand why these differences can happen, let’s look at a couple of ways that you can make some manual adjustments to your prayer times in the app.

Minutes Adjustments

If the difference you’re noticing is small and consistent (ie: 1-2 minutes throughout the month/year) you make adjustments to the individual prayer times within the settings by following the steps mentioned in this help article

Angles Adjustments

For large differences, especially Fajr and Isha, you can can create a custom calculation method within the settings, by following the steps mentioned in this help article.