Among Arabs, the afternoon was already considered part of the evening. Muslims often called this time “between prayers”, between noon and evening prayer. According to Dalman, evening prayer ocurred before sunset.But it also is a time when the heat of day slowly begins to lessen again, when the cooler West Winds begin to gather strength. It usually peaks late afternoon (at about 3pm in Dalman’s time). In summer, many people spend the heat of day inside and start work again later in the afternoon.
In the late afternoon, people spoke about the shadow starting to “lean”. The concept implies that the shadow was upright in the middle of the day and slowly begins to rest, until it fully lies on the ground. When there is only an ox-goad between the sun and the horizon, it was time for farmers to finish work in the fields and walk home, so that they would arrive before sunset. As the sun sank lower on the horizon, shepherds had to leave behind the pastures and lead the sheep towards the sheep pen, either in a village or an enclosure out in the fields.