Rulings for Al-Iftaar (Breaking the fast after sunset)
Allah(T) said: “Then complete the fasting until the night” [Baqarah 2:187]
The Messenger of Allah (S) explained this to mean the coming of the night and the going away of the day and when the disk of the sun disappears.
Hastening the breaking of the fast
People of Eemaan! It is important to hasten breaking the fast as soon as the sun sets because this was the practice of the Messenger of Allah (T) and his companions.
‘Amrun Ibn Maimoon Al-Awdee said: “The companions of the Messenger were the fastest people to break the fast (at Maghrib) and the last to eat the Sahoor (i.e. they used to try to take it at the last possible moment).” [Abdur Razaak in the Mussanaf]
Hastening to break the fast also has other benefits that can be included under this heading.
Hastening to break the fast earns good
Sahl Ibn Sa’d (R) said that the Messenger (S) of Allah (T) said: “The people will continue to be in good condition as long as they hasten to break the fast.” [Bukhaaree and Muslim]
To hasten the breaking of the fast is the Sunnah of the Messenger (S)
If the Muslims hasten the breaking of the fast this would help them to keep on the Sunnah and they would be following the Salaf (Pious Predecessors) who followed it. It is known that the person who holds unto the Sunnah will never go astray.
Sahl Ibn Sa’ad said that the Messenger (S) of Allah (T) said: “My nation would continue to be on my Sunnah as long as they do not wait for the stars to come out before breaking the fast.” [Ibn Hibbaan]
Hastening the breaking of the fast is a way to he different from the Astray (the Christians) and those whom Allah is angry with (the Jews)
If people will remain on what is good because they hold on to the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (T), then if they leave this way and follow the Christians and the Jews they would definitely lose the good benefits. This is established in the following Hadeeth. Abu Huraira (R) said that the Messenger of Allah (T) said: “The Deen will be uppermost/manifest as long as the people hasten to break their fast because the Jews and the Christians delay (it).” [Abu Dawood and Ibn Hibbaan]
From the above Hadeeth we must not think that our practising this hadeeth alone would be responsible for the Deen to be manifest. This hadeeth must be understood along with all those verses from the Quraan and the Hadeeth of the Messenger (S) that deal with the issue of being different from the disbelieving people.
Breaking the fast before the Maghrib Salaat
It is reported that “The Messenger of Allah (T) used to break his fast before the Maghrib Salaat.” [Ahmad and Abu Dawood]
Abu Dardaa said: “There are three signs of prophethood, hastening the breaking of the fast, delaying the Sahoor and placing the right hand on the Ieft hand in the Salaat.” [Tabaraanee]
What is recommended to eat to break the fast?
The Messenger (S) of Allah (T) used to incite the breaking of the fast with dates and if he did not find any, he would then break it with water.
Anas Ibn Maalik said: “The prophet (S) used to break his fast with fresh dates before he prayed. If he did not find fresh dates then he would use dried dates. If he did not find that also he drank a few sips of water. [Ahmad and Abu Dawood]
What should be said at the time of breaking the fast?
The fasting person should know that Allah (T) listens to his supplication and answers it.
Abu Huraira said the Messenger (S) of Allah (T) said: “The supplications of three groups of people’s are not rejected; the du’aa (Supplication) of the fasting person when he is breaking his fast, the du’aa of the just Imam and the du’aa of the oppressed.” [Tirmidhee, Ibn Majah and Ibn Hibbaan]
So the fasting person should make use of the time when he is breaking his fast to ask Allah (T) for all those things that would make his life easy in this world and the next. However, although any Du’aa can be made at that time the Messenger (S) also used to make a specific one which we should make sure we supplicate with, along with whatever other supplication we desire.
The Messenger of Allah (S) when he broke his fast. used to say: “The thirst has gone and the veins have recovered and the blessing is established if Allah wills” (dhahaba dhamaa’a wabtallat al-urooq wa thabatal ajr inshaa’allaah) [Ahmad, Al-Baihaaqee]
Feeding a fasting person
It is imperative for the believer to always try to do righteous deeds. From among these rightous deeds is the feeding of the fasting person because of the numerous rewards for this act.
The Prophet (S) said: “Whoever gives someone something to break the fast with, he would hove The same blessings as the fasting person and this would not reduce the blessings of the fasting person in any way ” [Ahmad and Tirmidhee]
If someone is invited to break his fast then he should respond to the invitation. If he refuses then he has disobeyed the Messenger (S).
It is also recommended for the person invited to supplicate for his host after finishing eating his food as was the practice of the Messenger (S).
The Messenger (S) used to make the following supplications:
“May the righteous eat your food may the angels send salaat unto you and may the fasting person break their fast with you.” [Ahmad, An-Nasaaee]
“O Allah! Feed the one who fed me and give drink to him who gave me to drink” [Muslim]
“O Allah! Forgive them and have Mercy on them and bless whatever you provide for then” [Muslim]