Praise be to Allah, and may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah, his family and his companions.
Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.
As to what follows:
With regards to your question on the possibility of delaying Isha and Dhuhr swalah, I would like to inform you that there is no difference of opinion among the scholars in that the obligatory prayers are correct as long as they are performed within their prescribed times, whether they are performed at the beginning of their time, middle or at the end of their time basing on the verse:
“The prayer is enjoined on the believers at fixed hours.” [al-Nisa’ 4:103]
However the best is to perform obligatory prayers immediately when their times become due (beginning of their time), basing on the hadith reported by Ibn Mas’ud (may Allah be pleased with him) that:
“I asked the Prophet (peace be upon him): Which deed is loved most by Allah? He replied: To offer prayers at their early (very first) stated times.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
This can be attained by performing prayers at their earliest times, and this is a comprehensive principle for every swalah, except that scholars differed on the best time for performing Isha swalah.
The majority of Hanafite and Hanbalite scholars and others are of the opinion that it is desirable to delay the performance of Isha swalah till a third of the night has passed basing on the hadith of Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) who said that:
“The Prophet (peace be on him) delayed the prayer one night until most of the night had passed and the people in the Masjid had gone home to sleep, then he went out and prayed, and said: this is indeed its (prayer) time, were it not that I would impose too much difficulty on my Ummah.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
A similar hadith narrated by Bukhari and Muslim which is reported by Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) says:
“Once Allah's Messenger (peace be on him) delayed the Isha prayer to such an extent that the people slept, the Prophet (peace be on him) came out and said: Hadn't I thought it hard for my followers I would have ordered them to pray at this time.”
According to this view, it is best to perform Isha swalah after the 1st third of the night has passed provided it will not cause hardship on people.
With regards to delaying Dhuhr swalah and performing it just before Asr Swalah, the majority of scholars are of the opinion that the best is to perform it at its earliest time except in circumstances of severe heat where it is desirable to delay it until it cools down. That is delaying it untill just before Asr. This is supported by a hadith narrated by Abu Dhar that:
“The Muadhin (the announcer of the hour of prayer) of the Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) called for the noon prayer. Upon this the Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) said: Let it cool down, let it cool down or he said: Wait, wait for the intensity of heat is from the exhalation of Hell. When the heat is intense, delay the prayer till it becomes cooler. [Bukhari and Muslim]
A similar haith was also narrated br Abu Saeed al-Khudri and Abu Hurayra (may Allah be pleased with them)
What should be known is that the competent authority responsible for determining prayer times is the Ministry for Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Dawa and Guidance. It is the authority responsible for that as well as taking into consideration what satisfies the sunnah and also suitable for people be it at the beginning of the prayer time or at the end of the prayer time as long as it is within the time limit.
This is evidenced by the hadith narrated by Jabir (may Allah be pleased with him) that:
“The Prophet (peace be on him) used to pray the Dhuhr at midday, and the Asr at a time when the sun was still bright, the Maghrib after sunset (at its stated time) and the Isha at a variable time. Whenever he saw the people assembled (for Isha prayer) he would pray earlier and if the people delayed, he would delay the prayer.”
This hadith is regarded as the basis of considering what best suits people, and removing hardship from them.
May Allah grant success and goodness to all.
Member of Iftaa department in Qassim Region.
Dr. Khalid al-Muslih