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Concerning Fasting
  The Rulings of Ramadaan
Author: Islamic Society of the University of Essex
Article ID : IBD090003  [31693]  
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Abdullaah ibn Abi Awf said: " We were with the Messenger (S) on a journey and he (S) was fasting (because it was in Ramadaan). When the sun set he said to some people (and in another narration he said: "O Bilaal"): "Get down and prepare the meal of parched barley for us". He said "O Messenger of Allaah, If you can wait until it becomes evening (a little darker)." He (S) said "Get down and prepare the meal of parched barley for us" Bilaal (R) said: "You are still in daytime". He (S) said after that "Get down and prepare the meal of parched barley for us" So he got down and prepared the meal for them and the Messenger (S) drank. Then he indicated with his hand (and in another narration in Bukhaaree: he pointed with his finger towards the east) and then he (S) said: "If you see the night is approaching from this direction it is time for the fasting person to break his fast" [Bukhaaree , Muslim and Ahmad]

It is also established that the Companions of the Messenger (S) implemented this command of the Messenger (S). It is narrated that Abu Sa'eed al Khudree broke his fast as soon as the disk of the sun disappears. [Bukhaaree and Ibn Abi Shaybah]

So the fasting person should know that the beginning and the end of the fast is established at stated times and so they must not wait for the Aadhaan (call to prayer) to start or break the fast unless it is establilshed as soon as the time comes in. If it is established that the Aadhaan is delayed for the prayer then it is imperative that the person does not wait for it but starts and breaks his fast at the stated times. And Allaah knows best.

It is also a common practise among some communities that they wait until the Aadhaan is completed before they break the fast. There is no basis for this in the Sharee'ah and it must not be done.

5. AS-SAHOOR (The Pre-dawn meal of Ramadhaan)

The Wisdom of Sahoor
Allah (T) made fasting obligatory upon us as He (T) had made it obligatory on the people ot the Book before us. He (T) said , (which means):

{O you who believe Fasting is prescribed upon you as it was prescribed upon those before you so that perhaps you may attain Taqwaa.} [Al-Baqarah 2 : 183]

In the first period of Islam, the duration and regulations of fasting were in accordance with what was legislated by Allah upon the People of the Book. They were not allowed to eat, drink or engage in sexual intercourse after they slept. That is once one sleeps, he could not eat nor do any of the above until the night of the following day, this implied that they took no Sahoor (Pre-dawn meal).

However, when the above ruling was abrogated, the Messenger (S) commanded the Muslims to take the Sahoor (Pre-dawn meal) as a means of being different in our fasting from the fasting of the People of the Book. 'Amr Ibn al-Aas reported that the Messenger of Allah (S) said: "The distinguishing feature between our fast and the fast of the People of the Book is in the eating at the time just before dawn." [Muslim]

The Sahoor is Barakah (blessed)
Salmaan (R) said that the Messenger of Allah (S) said: Blessings are found in three things, the Group (Al-Jama'ah), Ath-thareed (a type of food) and As-Sahoor (the Pre-dawn meal)." [At-Tabaraanee, Abu Na'eem]

Abu Hurairah (R) said that the Messenger (S) of Allah (T) said: "Verily Allah placed Barakah (blessing) in the Sahoor (pre-dawn meal) and in perfect measurement (weighing)."[Ash-Shairazee]

'Abdullah Ibn Haarith said that one of the Sahabah (companion) said: 'I entered the house of the Messenger (S) whilst he was taking the Sahoor (pre-dawn meal), and he (S) said: "Indeed it (the Sahoor) is blessing that Allah has given to you so do not leave it out." [An-Nasaaee and Ahmad]

The reality that there are great blessings in the Sahoor (Pre-dawn meal) is very apparent because there is in it:

(a) the following of the Sunnah,
(b) it makes the fast easier upon the person who is fasting,
(c) it increases the desire in the person to want to continue to fast because of the ease upon the fasting person and
(d) there is also in it the principle of being different from the People of the Book because they are prohibited from taking the Sahoor (pre-dawn meal).

For this reason the Messenger of Allah (S) called it the blessed meal.

Allah (T) and the Angels send Salaah upon the people who take the Sahoor (pre-dawn meal)
The greatest blessing of the Sahoor (pre-dawn meal) may be that Allah (T) engulfs those who partake in it with His Forgiveness, showers His Mercy on them, while His angels ask of Him to forgive and pardon them.

Abu Sa'eed al-Khudree said that the Messenger (S) said: "Eating the Sahoor is blessed. Do not neglect it even if you take a gulp of water, because Allah and His angels invoke blessings upon those who partake in the pre-dawn meal." [Ahmad]

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