Alhamdullilah, by the grace of Allah SWT, we are now in Ramadan observing fast for the seventh day. For several weeks had we been praying to be given a chance to be in this year’s Ramadan and Allah SWT showed His mercy towards us by accepting our prayers. In my last khutbah, I had spoken about the Quran and its significance as the last revealed book, and this was in preparation of Ramadan to encourage reading it and trying to create a habit of having it around in general. Today, now that we’re in the first Ashrah (the first ten days) of Ramadan, I thought why not discuss few Sunnahs that are related to fasting. I have a total of 4 Sunnahs today that are easy to perform... There are more but let's reflect on the ones listed here and see how much room we have for improvement
1 – It is Sunnah if someone insults you to respond in a better manner and say, “I am fasting,” This is because of the report narrated in al-Bukhari (Al-Bukhari, no. 1894) and Muslim 1151 from Abu Hurairah RA, that the Messenger of Allah SWT said: “Fasting is a shield or protection so there should be no obscene or offensive talk or behavior. If a person fights him or insults him, let him say, ‘I am fasting,’ twice. By the One in Whose hand is my soul, the smell coming from the mouth of the fasting person is better before Allah SWT than the fragrance of musk.” This is consistent with the later part of the hadith where prophet ( صلى الله عليه وسلم (further state that [Allah SWTsays:]
‘He gives up his food, drink and desire for My sake. Fasting is for Me and I will reward for it, and a good deed receives the reward of ten like it.’”
2 – As narrated by al-Bukhari, 1923 & Muslim, 1059, it is Sunnah for the fasting person to eat suhoor. It was proven in al-Sahee Hayn that Anas ibn Maalik RA said: The Prophet ( صلى الله عليه وسلم (said: “Eat suhoor for in suhoor there is blessing.” One thing while researching this topic that I stumbled upon was that there is confusion related to when the time of suhoor end. Several people have quoted a hadith by Zaid bin Sabit RA who, according to Riyad as-Salihin 1230 and Al-Bukhari 1921, said: “We took Suhur (predawn meal) with the Messenger of Allah ( صلى الله عليه وسلم (and then we stood up for (Fajr) Salat (prayer). It was asked: "How long was the gap between the two?" He replied: "The time required for the recitation of fifty Ayat." Based on general understanding that it would take roughly 5 to 10 min to perform 50 ayahs from the
Quran, several suggest that we’re to stop eating and drinking 5 to 10 min prior to dawn when the time begins for Fajr but this hadith, according to Shaikh Saleh-al-Munajjad, is contrary to what Allah SWT says in Surah Baqarah [2:187]: “...and eat and drink until the white thread (light) of dawn appears to you distinct from the black thread (darkness of night), then complete your sawm (fast) till nightfall.”
Shaikh Salel-Al-Munajjad argues that it is wrong to suggest that we’re to stop 5 to 10 min earlier than when the dawn breaks because it’s in direct contradiction to what Allah SWT says in the surah. He said that the hadith quoted before about fajr time being 50 Ayat away should be taken in context and that it’s simply saying when the Sahabas had their suhoor with prophet (,)صلى الله عليه وسلم so it should not be used to interpret the end time of suhoor and that if anyone suggests such, they are suggesting a Bidah. I personally lean towards this ruling since Quran is higher in authenticity and significance than a hadith and Allah SWT knows best.
3 – It is Sunnah to hasten to break the fast because, as narrated by al-Bukhari, 1957; Muslim, 1098, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم (said:
“The people will continue to be fine so long as they hasten to break the fast.” There is no virtue in delaying breaking the fast and it's also medically harmful, as indicated by what prophet ( صلى الله عليه وسلم (said, to put our health in jeopardy like that. Hence, as soon as we know the sun is set, we are to break our fast and inshallah, we’ll be fine.
4 – There are Sunnahs to instruct us how prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم (used to break his fast. According to al-Sunan al-Kubrá lil-Bayhaqī, hadith # 6392 (classified as Hasan), Anas ibn Malik RA reported: “The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم (said, “The supplications of three are not turned back: the supplication of a parent, the supplication of a fasting person, and the supplication of a traveler.” A similar hadith is narrated in Sahih al-Targhib (chapter 1, hadith 491, classified as Sahih), where it Abu Umamah RA stated in a marfoo’ report: “Every time the fast is broken, Allah SWT has people whom He ransoms.” Based on these two hadith, we should be in the habit of making duas before breaking our fast
because the chances that it’ll be accepted are very high when we’re still in a fasting state. Also, Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم (used to break his fast with fresh dates; and if none are available then with dry dates and if that is also not available then with water. This is based on the hadeeth narrated by al- tirmidhi, hadith 696, classified as Hasan, where Anas RA said: “The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم (used to break his fast with fresh dates before praying; if there were no (fresh dates) then with dry dates, and if there were no (dried dates) then he would take a few sips of water.”
Dear Brothers and sisters, To recap, based on the sunnah and hadith from prophet (,)صلى الله عليه وسلم it is indicated for us to stay on our best
behavior during fasting. We are to avoid verbal or physical conflicts, and we are to maintain dignity of ourselves and others by excusing ourselves from the situation saying “we’re fasting”. Similarly, it is Sunnah to observe Suhoor before the beginning of a fast (aka Roza/sawm) and it is Sunnah to show haste and be quick about breaking the fast once the sun sets. This is because of various reasons, including our health. And lastly, it is sunnah to make plenty of duas during the fast and even before breaking the fast because Allah SWT has indicated that fasting is for him, therefore he’ll reward us plenty and that the chances of accepting duas from a parent, from a person in the state of fasting and from a traveler are high. There are plenty more sunnahs out there but if we can start with these, we can benefit a lot from observing them. Of course, Allah SWT knows best about our intentions and our actions.