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Hastening to break one’s fast at Sunset

Published: 25/08/2011 11:10:00 AM GMT
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When is a person supposed to break the fast at night? Is he supposed to do so right after the Sun has set or should he wait for the call to prayer to finish?


Answered by

Sheikh Muhammad al-Qannâs

The Sunnah is for a fasting person to break the fast as soon as he knows the Sun has set.

`Umar relates that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “When the night comes from that direction and the daytime departs in that direction and the Sun sets, then the fasting person has broken his fast.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (1954) and Sahîh Muslim (1100)]

`Abd Allah b. `Abî Awfâ relates the following:

We were traveling on a journey with Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him). He was fasting. As soon as the Sun set, he said to one of those who were with him: “Go and mix our porridge for us.”

He said: “O Messenger of Allah! Would it not be best to wait for the night to advance?”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) repeated his request: “Dismount and mix our porridge for us.”

He said again: “O Messenger of Allah! Would it not be best to wait for the night to advance?”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Dismount and mix our porridge for us.”

The man replied: “Daylight is still upon us.”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Dismount and mix our porridge for us.”

So the man dismounted and prepared the porridge for them. The Prophet (peace be upon him) drank some of it, then said: “When you see the night coming from that direction, then the fasting person has broken his fast.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (1955) and Sahîh Muslim (1101)]

These two hadîth show us that it is preferable for the fasting person to hasten to break his fast as soon as the Sun sets. It is not required for him to keep fasting for any period of time at night. The moment the Sun has set, it is time to break the fast.

Indeed, al-Bukhârî anthologizes these two hadîth under the heading “The Time When a Fasting Person is Allowed to Break His Fast”. Al-Bukhârî also asserts that `Abû Sa`îd al-Khudrî used to break his fast as soon as the Sun’s disk disappeared over the horizon.

Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalânî makes the following observation in Fath al-Bârî (4/196) about al-Bukhârî’s heading:

Al-Bukhârî organized this chapter in this way in order to address the issue of whether a fasting person had to wait some time in the evening to make certain that the evening had truly arrived. He comes out in favor of the idea that it is not necessary to wait at all. This is especially clear from his mentioning Abû Sa`îd al-Khudrî’s practice along with the heading. At the same time, the situation being addresses is one where it is known that the Sun has indeed set.

And Allah knows best.

Source: Islam Today




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