What is the explanation of the Hadith where it appears that the qiyam of the first two rak’ahs of ‘Asr were equal in length to the qiyam of the second two rak’ahs of Zuhr, whereas the first two rak’ahs of ‘Asr has a surah together with Surah Fatihah and the second two rak’ahs of Zuhr doesn’t have a surah?
Firstly, this is an estimate from the Sahabi (radiyallahu’anhu) and not an exact record. Such estimates are not to be used when establishing a standard practice, especially when there exists other narrations on the subject.
Secondly, a narration in Sahih Muslim (Hadith: 1709) states that sometimes Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) would prolong the recital of a surah to the extent that it would seem to be longer that other lengthy surahs.
Therefore, it is possible that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) at that particular time, prolonged the recital of the Surah Fatihah in the second two rak’ats of the Zuhr [till it seemed equal to the recital in the first two rak’ats of the ‘Asr]. Likewise, He (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) possibly hastened in reciting the qirat of the ‘Asr on that day which made it seem short.
(Refer: Al-Mufhim, Hadith: 356-357)
And Allah Ta’ala Knows best,
Answered by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar