Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Etiquettes of Fasting

Taking Sahur (The Pre-Dawn Meal).

It is recommended to have a pre-dawn meal and there is no sin upon one who does not do so.

Anas RA reported that the Messenger of Allah SAW said: "Have a pre-dawn meal, for there are blessings in it." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

The reason is that it strengthens the fasting person, makes him more energetic, and makes fasting easier for him.

Taking Minimum Amount In The Pre-Dawn Meal.

Having a small or large quantity of food or even by drinking just a sip of water suffices the person and he is considered to have adhered to the Prophetic recommendation.

Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri reported that the Prophet SAW said: "The pre-dawn meal is blessed, so do not neglect it even if you only take a sip of water. Verily, Allah and the angels pray for those who have the pre-dawn meals." [Ahmad]

The Time For The Pre-Dawn Meal.

The time for the pre-dawn meal is between the middle of the night and dawn. It is considered best to delay it (that is, as close to dawn as possible).

Zaid Ibn Thabit reported: "We have the pre-dawn meal with the Messenger of Allah SAW and then we got up for the prayer. He was asked: 'What was the amount of time between the two?' He responded: 'The time it would take to recite fifty verses.'" [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Doubt Concerning The Time Of Fajar (Dawn).

If one is in doubt whether or not the time of Fajar has begun, he may continue to eat and drink until he is certain that it is Fajar. He should not base his action on doubt or suspicion. Allah has made the signs for beginning the fast very clear and unambiguous.

Allah Says: "…Eat and drink until the white thread of the dawn becomes distinct from the black thread [of the night]..." [Quran 2:187]

A man said to Ibn ‘Abbas: "I eat until I suspect that its time (i.e. Sahur) has ended so I stop.” Ibn ‘Abbas observed: "Continue to eat until you are certain about the time."

Abu Dawud reported that Ahmad Ibn Hanbal said: "If you are not sure whether or not it is time for Fajar, then eat until you are sure dawn has come."

Prompt In Breaking The Fast.

It is preferred for the fasting person to be prompt in breaking the fast when the sun has set.

Sahal Ibn Sa’ad reported that the Prophet SAW said: "People will continue to be upon virtue so long as they hasten in breaking the fast." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

It is recommended to break the fast by eating an odd number of dates or, if that is not available, then by drinking some water.

Anas RA reported: "The Messenger of Allah SAW would break his fast with ripe dates before he would pray. If those were not available, he would eat dried dates. If those were not available, he would drink some water." [Abu Dawud, Al-Hakim and At-Tirmidzi]

Suleiman Ibn ‘Amr reported that the Prophet SAW said: "If one of you is fasting, let him break his fast with dates. If dates are not available, then with water, for water is purifying." [Ahmad and At-Tirmidzi]

The preceding narration also shows that it is preferred to break the fast in the above manner before praying. After the prayer, the person may continue to eat, but if the evening meal is ready, one may begin with that.

Anas RA reported that the Messenger of Allah SAW said: "If the food is already presented, eat before praying the sunset prayer and do not eat your meals in time." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Supplications While Breaking The Fast And While Fasting.

It is confirmed that the Prophet SAW would say upon breaking his fast: "The thirst has gone, the glands are wet and, Allah willing, the reward is confirmed." [Abu Dawud]

The Prophet SAW also said: "Three people will not have their supplications rejected: a fasting person until he breaks his fast, a just ruler, and an oppressed person." [At-Tirmidzi]

Refraining From Performing Any Actions That Do Not Befit Fasting.

Fasting is an act of worship that draws one closer to Allah. Allah has prescribed it to purify the soul and to train it in good deeds. The fasting person must be on guard against any act that may cause him to lose the benefits of his fast. Thus, his fast will increase his Allah-consciousness, as Allah Says :

"O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you that you may attain God-consciousness[taqwa]." [Quran 2:183]

This entails that fasting is not just refraining from eating and drinking, but it is also refraining from everything else that Allah has forbidden.

Abu Hurairah RA reported that the Prophet SAW said: "Fasting is not abstaining from eating and drinking only, but also from vain speech and foul language. If one of you is being cursed or annoyed, he should say: "I am fasting, I am fasting." [Ibn Khuzaimah, Ibn Hibban and Al-Hakim]

To stress the importance of having one’s fast reflecting on his actions, the Prophet SAW said:

"Allah does not need the fast of one who does not abandon false speech or acting according to his false speech." [Al-Bukhari]

Abu Hurairah RA narrated that the Prophet SAW said: "Perhaps a fasting person will get nothing from his fast save hunger, and perhaps the one who stands to pray at night will get nothing from his standing except sleeplessness." [An-Nasa’i, Ibn Majah, and Al-Hakim]

Using Miswak (A Tooth Stick) Or A Brush.

It is preferred for the fasting person to use a tooth stick or a brush. There is no difference if he uses it at the beginning or the ending of the day. It is confirmed that the Prophet SAW used tooth stick [Miswak] while fasting.

Being Generous And Studying The Quran.

Being generous and studying the Quran is recommended during any time, but it is especially stressed during the month of Ramadhan.

Ibn ‘Abbas RA said: "The Prophet SAW was the most generous of people, but he would be most generous during Ramadhan when he would meet with Jibril [the angel Gabriel]. He would meet with him every night and recite the Quran. When Jibril met him, he would be faster in spending charity than a fast wind."[Al-Bukhari]

Striving To Perform As Many Acts Of Worship As Possible During The Last Ten Days Of Ramadhan.

'Aishah Ra said that during the last ten days of Ramadhan, the Messenger of Allah SAW would awaken his wives during the night and then remain apart from them (refrain from sexual relations with his wives and concentrate on worship). [Al-Bukhari]

"The Prophet SAW would strive [to do acts of worship] during the last ten days of Ramadhan more than he would at any other time." [Muslim]


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