Wa `alaykum as-salamu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
Isha could be delayed if it’s not difficult for people. However, a prayer shouldn’t be delayed until its time expires.
In his response to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:
The general rule with regard to observance of prayers is to do them as soon as the time arrives. The Prophet (peace be upon him) was asked by someone: “What is the best deed in the sight of Allah?’, he replied, “It is to pray at the appointed time.” (Agreed upon)
However, while this is a general rule, there are exceptions to it, for while it is recommended not to delay prayers, as far as Isha is concerned, it is preferable to delay it, unless it is hard on the people.
This is the case with those time zones where day hours are longer while night is shorter.
In such cases, we are not allowed to expose people to hardship by delaying the prayer in such case.
If, however, that is not the case, it is preferred to delay Isha until one-third of the night followed by Tarawih prayer.
Allah Almighty knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.
Source: Excerpted, with slight modifications, from www.askthescholar.com