Guide To Obsserving Acceptable Fast (5)

Pre-dawn Meal (As-Sahur) Taking the pre-dawn meal is not compulsory but emphatically encouraged by the prophet (S.A.W). The prophet (S.A.W) was quoted to have said “there is blessing in the pre–dawn meal and should not be neglected.  Allah (SWT) and His angels salute those who take sahur. Besides, the pre – dawn meal is what differentiates our fasting and the fasting of the people of the book. Taking pre – dawn meal does not necessarily mean one must eat excess food. A date palm (Dabino) or even a sip of water is very okay. The pre-dawn meal should be taken shortly before dawn. The appearance of dawn is the appearance of white light that spreads across the horizon in the east and well before the actual sunrise. The ideal of taking precautionary measures by stopping eating and drinking at certain time before fajr is bid’ah. If one is in doubt whether or not fajr has started, he may continue to eat or drink until he/she is certain that it is fajr. In this case, one must know the signs of fajr. Also it is allowed to refer to a printed time table so long as one is absolutely sure that the calculation is correct. Period of Fasting The period of fasting is from dawn to sunset. Immediately the sun sets, fasting automatically terminates. This is irrespective of whether you eat/drink or not.  That being the case, it is better to eat or/and drink as soon as the sun sets, if the food/drink are available There is no reward for any overtime done. Muslims living in place where there is a distinct alternation of night and day in every twenty four hour period are obliged to fast no matter how long or short the day is, so long as that distinction between night and day is there. Muslims living in places where there is no distinction between night and day should fast according to the times in the nearest place possible with such distinction. Breaking of Fast It is sunnah to hasten iftaar immediately sun sets. The sun is said to have set when there are still red glow remaining on the horizon. The prophet (S.A.W) was quoted to have said “Once night comes from there and the day disappears from there, and the sun has set, the fasting person should break his fast”. It is not necessary to wait for the call to Maghrib prayer by the muazin before breaking the fast provided one is sure the sun has set. This is so because the muazin may choose to break his own fast before making the adhan (call to prayer). Hastening iftaar is one of the manners of the prophet of Allah. (S.A.W). Hastening iftaar must however not be an excuse to break the fast when it is actually not yet time to do so. To take iftaar, anything halal can be taken. However dates (dabino) are most recommended. It is preferred that the dates be taken in odd number. This is followed by water. Anas bn malik reported: “The messenger of Allah would break his fast with ripe dates before he would pray. If those were not available, he would drink some water.” It is very important to note that the period of fasting is a good time to supplicate to Allah. Abu Hurairah said the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W) said: “The supplications of three groups of people are not rejected; the du’a of the oppressed, the fasting and the pious Muslim. “It is therefore advisable for Muslims to use this opportunity when breaking the fast to ask Allah for those things that would make life easy in this world and the hereafter. To supplicate, any du’a can be said at any time and in any language. The prophet (S.A.W) used to make a specific one. It is good to learn this du’a and say it when breaking the fast; “ Dhahaba-z-Zama’u wabtallatil Uruq Wathabatal ajru insha allah.” Meaning: “Thirst is gone, veins are flowing again, and the reward is certain, insha Allah”.

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