Rules of Fasting (Adab as-Siyam)

Sahuur
 

Rules of Fasting (Adab as-Siyam)

In Islam, for any act of worship to be valid and acceptable, it
must be observed in accordance with the instruction of Allah
(SWT) and the practice of the Messenger of Allah (saas). Ob-
viously, we did not know about the fasting until we were told
about it. It would be unwise to just decide to fast in the way
one wishes. That is why there are in Islamic Law (Shari’ah)
rules of fasting {Adah As-Siyam). Observation of these rules
helps the devotee maximize the physical as well as spiritual
benefits of fasting. They are:

Sahuur

This is a light meal taken shortly before the break of dawn.
There is consensus that this meal is a highly recommended
Sunnah.

In reports by Bukhari and Muslim, Anas (raa) related that the
Messenger of Allah said:

“Take your early morning meal for in that is a bless-
ing.”

In another report by Miqdam bin Ma’a Diyikarib (raa) the Mes-
senger of Allah (saas) said:

“Take this early morning meal for it is a blessed meal.”

In both ahadiths the statement underscores the importance of
sahuur, and to caution anyone from thinking they can just stay
without a meal all night and continue with fasting. This may
explain why the statement came as a command. Although it is
not mandatory to eat sahuur, it is highly encouraged so that
anyone intending to fast will make an effort to take sahuur.

The crux of the matter is not to show how strong you are, but
how obedient you are. Sahuur, above all, ensures that the devo-
tee has the energy he or she will need during the course of the
day, and it makes the fast easier.

What Constitutes Sahuur?

Sahuur can be achieved by a large meal, a small meal, or even
by a sip of water or soup. In a report by Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri
(raa) the Messenger of Allah (saas) said,

“Sahuur is a blessed meal, do not neglect it even if it is a
mouthful of drink. For Allah and the Angels bless those
who observe it.” (Ahmed)

You see, what reaches Allah is the intent that you have made a
genuine effort to obey Allah in fasting. This is why it is rec-
ommended to make intention with the sahuur, to emulate the
Prophet, and to eat the food to gain strength and energy during
fasting, so as to get the reward from Allah. The hadith also
contains the information that during the course of this meal the
faster receives a special blessing that cannot be found else-
where: that Allah (SWT) blesses your meal and that the angels
seek on your behalf forgiveness for you during sahuur. Thus,
with sahuur you receive both physical and spiritual blessings.

Time of Sahuur

The time for sahuur begins from midnight until the break of
dawn. It is recommended, however, to delay it till shortly be-
fore the time of Subh (morning) prayer.

In a hadith by Zaid bin Thabit (raa) he related that:

“We ate sahuur with the Messenger of Allah (saas) then
we went to pray Subh. I asked the Messenger ‘What was
the time period between sahur and prayer?’ He re-
sponded ‘The time period between them is the equiva-
lent of the time it takes to recite fifty verses in Al-
Qur’an.’ ” (Bukhari and Muslim)

This citation is instructive in that it settles the question of
whether one should stop eating before morning prayer
(Subh/Fajr), or before sunrise, as we see in certain prayer times
tables showing the so-called shuruq (the sunrise, which some
think is the time to stop eating). The hadith is explicit. The rec-
ommendation to delay Sahuur is only to the hour or so before
{Subh). The mentioning of the period of recitation of fifty

verses (ayats) is a cushion or a grace period in which food or
drink should not be taken. All the reports that recommend de-
lay of Sahuur must be understood in this way.

During the time of the Messenger of Allah (saas), the tradition
of two adhans (or call to prayer) was established, and it has
continued up until now in some Muslim countries. The first
adhan is to indicate the beginning of sahuur. the adhan of Ab-
dullah Ibn Umm Maktum (raa). The second is the adhan of Bi-
lal Ibn Rabah (raa): the adhan of Salaah, a morning prayer.

However, if you hear the second adhan while you are eating or
drinking, you should immediately stop eating in preparation for
fasting.

Essentials of Ramadan The Month of Fasting