The suhoor (pre-dawn meal), the abstaining (imsaak) and breaking the fast (iftaar)

Section Four – The sahoor (pre-dawn meal), the abstaining (imsaak) and breaking the fast (iftaar)

In this section read about:
1. Fasted without taking the sahoor (pre-dawn meal)
2. Preferred food items to break the fast with
3. The reward for breaking the fast wth dates
4. Nothing but water to break the fast
5. Is it permissible to eat after the Adhhaan for a supererogatory fast?
6. Fajr is approaching and I need to make ghusl, and haven’t had sahoor
7. Sun does not set until late, so when should we break our fast?
8. I had forgetfully eaten whilst fasting
9. Giving food and drink to the Fasting person

1. Fasted without taking the sahoor (pre-dawn meal)

Question: A person went to sleep before the sahoor in Ramadan whilst having the intention to take the sahoor. But, he slept through ’til the morning. Is his fast correct or not?

Response: His fast is correct because the sahoor is not a condition for the correctness of the fast. Rather it is preferable, for that which the Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) said ((Take the sahoor for certainly in it is blessing)). (This hadeeth has been) agreed upon by al-Bukhaaree and Muslim.

Shaykh Ibn Baaz / (Fataawa Ramadan, Volume 1/Page 185/Fatwa No.124) also, (al-Fataawa libni Baaz, Kitaab ad-Da’wah, Volume 2/Page 161)

2. Preferred food items to break the fast with

Question: Which food items are preferred for the fasting person to break his fast with?

Response: The most preferred to break the fast with are fresh dates and if they are unavailable, then dry dates and if they are (also) unavailable, then with water. And the evidence for this is the Hadeeth of ‘Aa.ishah who said: ((The Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) used to break his fast with fresh dates and if they were unavailable, then with dry dates. If they were unavailable then he used to take water)). However, if none of these are available to him, then it is permissible for him (to break his fast) with any permissible food items. And (still) if nothing is available to him then he should simply make the intention to break the fast.

Shaykh Ibn Jibreen / (Fataawa Ramadan, Volume 1/Page 187/Fatwa No.126), also (Fataawa as-Siyaam libni Jibreen, Page 15)

3. The reward for breaking the fast wth dates

Question: Is there any reward for (breaking the fast with) these preferable (food items)?

Response: One who does so in following the Prophet’s (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) example, then for him is the reward of following him. Even if it is in the (simply mundane) acceptable (mubaah) matters (i.e. where there is no reward nor any sin attached to the action), if he were to follow (him) in these, then he would be rewarded for that action. Because of this, the scholars say: ‘Certainly with good intention, good habits become acts of worship’.

Shaykh Ibn Jibreen / (Fataawa Ramadan, Volume 1/Page 187/Fatwa No.127), also (Fataawa as-Siyaam libni Jibreen, Page 15)

4. Nothing but water to break the fast

Question: If a person is fasting during Ramadan and is travelling to another country and he does not have anything except water, what does he do?

Response: If a person is fasting and the sun sets and he does not find anything to break his fast with except water, then he should break his fast with the water because breaking the fast with fresh or dried dates is preferable but not obligatory. And with Allaah (subhaanahu wa-ta’aala) is the success, and may Allaah send prayers and salutations upon our Prophet Muhammad and his family and his companions. The Permanent Committee for Islaamic Research and Fataawa, comprising – Head: Shaykh ‘Abdul-‘Azeez ibn ‘Abdullaah ibn Baaz; Deputy Head:

Shaykh ‘Abdur-Razzaaq ‘Afeefee; Member: Shaykh ‘Abdullaah ibn Ghudayyaan. (Fataawa Ramadan, Volume 1/Page 188/Fatwa No.128), also (Fataawa al-Lajnah ad-Daa.imah lil-Buhooth al-‘Ilmiyyah wal-Iftaa., Fatwa No. 11803)

5. Is it permissible to eat after the Adhhaan for a supererogatory fast?

Question: If I wanted to fast but was unable to wake up before the Adhhaan of the second Fajr, is it permissible for me to eat after the Adhhaan knowing that this is a supererogatory fast?

Response: If the situation is as you have stated, then do not eat or drink after the Adhhaan (of the second Fajr) so long as you wish to fast, even if your fast is a supererogatory one. If you were to eat after this Adhhaan, your fast would become nullified.

The Permanent Committee for Islaamic Research and Fataawa, comprising- Head: Shaykh ‘Abdul-‘Azeez ibn ‘Abdullaah ibn Baaz; Deputy Head: Shaykh ‘Abdur-Razzaaq ‘Afeefee; Member: Shaykh ‘Abdullaah ibn Qu’ood. (Fataawa Ramadan, Volume 1/Page 198/Fatwa No.139), also (Fataawa al-Lajnah ad-Daa.imah lil-Buhooth al-‘Ilmiyyah wal-Iftaa., Fatwa No.4310)

6. Fajr is approaching and I need to make ghusl, and haven’t had sahoor

Question: If the time for Fajr is approaching in Ramadan and I need to make ghusl but there is not enough time to perform it nor eat the sahoor, should I perform the ghusl and miss the sahoor or should I eat the sahoor and delay the ghusl until after Fajr?

Response: It is better to eat the sahoor because the Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) said: ((Eat the pre-dawn meal (sahoor) for in it is blessing)), and delay the ghusl because it’s time is plenty. So, if Fajr has arrived and you have not made ghusl, then make it and pray and your fast will not be affected. It has been confirmed on the authority of ‘Aa.ishah and Umm Salamah (radhi-yallaahu ‘anhumaa) that: “if the Messenger of Allaah (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) entered the time of Fajr whilst in a state of impurity (Junub) from having had relations with his wife, then he used to make ghusl and fast”. (The authenticity of this narration is) Agreed upon.

Shaykh Ibn Jibreen / (Fataawa Ramadan, Volume 1/Page 200/Fatwa No.141)

7. Sun does not set until late, so when should we break our fast?

Question: We live in a land in which the sun does not set until 21:30 (09:30pm) or 22:00 (10:00pm), so when should we break our fast?

Response: Break your fast when the sun has set. So long as you have a night and day in 24 hours, it is obligatory that you fast even if the day is long.

Shaykh Ibn al-‘Uthaymeen / (Fataawa Ramadan, Volume 1/Page 212/Fatwa No.155)

8. I had forgetfully eaten whilst fasting

Question: I fasted a day but I had forgotten during the morning and had eaten. Then, I continued with my fast. Is there any sin upon me?

Response: One who forgetfully eats or drinks whilst fasting should complete his fast for, certainly, it was Allaah who provided this food and drink for him as has been mentioned in the Hadeeth. Allaah has forgiven the mistake and forgetfulness and does not take anyone to account until they have done an act intentionally.

Shaykh Ibn Jibreen / (Fataawa Ramadan, Volume 1/Page 224/Fatwa No.169)

9. Giving food and drink to the Fasting person

Question: In Ramadan last year (1409H/1988), my husband returned home from work and when he entered the house he asked me to bring him a glass of water to drink so I didn’t remind him that he was fasting. I looked at him to confirm if he was fasting or not and it became clear that he had forgotten that he was (fasting). So, I proceeded to bring him the glass of water to drink. When he had drunk the water he remembered that he was fasting and admonished me for not reminding him of it. Then, I felt a fear of Allaah about this action of mine. Please inform me, and may Allaah reward you.

Response: You have committed a sin in bringing your husband, who was fasting, a glass of water to drink. It was befitting for you to remind him about the fast when he asked you for water. As for your husband’s fast that day, then it remains valid providing he drunk the water out of forgetfulness.

The Permanent Committee for Islaamic Research and Fataawa, comprising – Head: Shaykh ‘Abdul-‘Azeez ibn ‘Abdullaah ibn Baaz; Deputy Head: Shaykh ‘Abdur-Razzaaq ‘Afeefee; Member: Shaykh ‘Abdullaah ibn Ghudayyaan. (Fataawa Ramadan, Volume 1/Page 225/Fatwa No.171), also (Fataawa al-Lajnah ad-Daa.imah lil-Buhooth al-‘Ilmiyyah wal-Iftaa., Fatwa No.13561)