VIRTUES OF SEHRI or SUHUR & ITS RULINGS
1. NIYAT (Intention) FOR SUHUR (SEHRI) :
The niyat (intention) for every action is a must but people have started practising a bid’ah (innovation) in this regard, i.e to speak the niyat out loud for fasting or before praying and etc. this is a cursed bid’ah. the Prophet (s.a.w) never spoke out his intention verbally (either slowly or loudly) for fasting and neither did his companions (sahaba) may allah be pleased with them spoke out their niyat verbally either for salah or fasting. They travelled to great distances, different countries for jihad and to teach different people, yet they (sahabas) never taught any Muslim to speak his niyat verbally for salah or fasting.
Every new action in Islam which is not in accordance to what rasool (s.a.w) taught is rejected and cursed (Bukhari, Muslim and etc – Agreed Upon)
2. THERE IS NO FAST FOR A PERSON WHO DID NOT INTEND TO FAST BEFORE FAJR
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There is no fast for the person who did not intend to fast from the night before.”
[Ref: Reported by Abu Dawood, no. 2454. A number of the scholars, such as al-Bukhaari, al-Nisaa’i (2334), al-Tirmidhi and others thought it was likely to be mawqoof. See Talkhees al-Hubayr, 2/188]
The intention may be made at any point during the night, even if it is just a moment before Fajr because of the evidence :
It is essential to make the intention to fast the month of Ramadan at night, before Fajr. It is not sufficient to start fasting it that day without the intention. Whoever finds out at the time of Duha that today it is Ramadan and makes the intention of fasting has to refrain from eating until sunset, and he also has to make up that day, because it was :
Narrated by Ibn ‘Umar from Hafsah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever does not have the intention of fasting before Fajr, there is no fast for him.”
[Ref: Narrated by Imam Ahmad, the authors of al-Sunan, Ibn Khuzaymah and Ibn Hibbaan; they classed it as saheeh and marfoo’]
This is with regard to obligatory fasts. With regard to naafil fasts it is permissible to make the intention to fast on the day, if you have not eaten or drunk or had intercourse after Fajr, because it was proven in the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) entered upon her one day at duha time and said, “Do you have anything (any food)?” She said, “No.” He said, “Then I am fasting.” Narrated by Muslim in his Saheeh.
And Allaah is the Source of strength. May Allaah send blessings and peace upon our Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions.
[Source: Standing Committee for Research and Issuing Fatwas. 10 / 244]
3. DUA BEFORE SUHOOR OR BEFORE STARTING TO FAST
There is no sahih hadeeth which shows us that rasool (s.a.w) prescribed any specific dua for us to begin our fast or suhoor with. One may say whatever he wishes “pre-conditioned” he is aware that so and so method or dua is not a condition or sunnah for eating suhoor. One may simply say Bismillah or Bismillahir rehmanir raheem and eat his suhoor.
4. GETTING UP IN A STATE OF JANAABAH (SEXUAL DEFILEMENT)
As long as a person has intended to fast from the previous night he can fast. what one is supposed to do under this condition is as mentioned below :
Narrated Aaishah and Umm Salamah (may Allaah be pleased with them both): “At times Allaahs Apostle (peace be upon him) used to get up in the morning in the state of Janaabah after having sexual relations with his wives. He would then take a bath and fast.”
[Ref: Saheeh Bukhaari, Volume 3, Book 31, Number 148; Saheeh Muslim, Book 006, Number 2452]
Some people feel guilty if they wake up in janabah (defilement due to sleeping with one’s spouse). To those we say there should be no guilt, complete your fast. The Prophet used to be in janabah when dawn came and he would take a bath and fast.
Shaykh Abdul-‘Azeez Ibn Baaz was asked if a fasting person has a wet dream on a Ramadhaan morning, does it ruin the fast and does that person have to take a bath? He replied that wet dreams do not ruin the fast because it is not a voluntary act and that a bath is necessary if semen is secreted. It’s okay to delay the washing until Thuhr prayer if the wet dream occurred after fajr salah. The same goes for janabah, you can take a bath after dawn if it occurred at night because it was proven that the Prophet used to wake up in janabah then wash and fast. It is better to wash from janabah before Fajr prayer in order to be able to make prayer in congregation.
5. ITS WISDOM – A DIFFERENTIATION BETWEEN MUSLIMS & NON MUSLIMS
‘Amr Ibn al-Aas reported that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “The distinguishing feature between our fast and the fast of the People of the Book (christians and jews) is in the eating at the time just before dawn (i.e suhoor).”
[Ref: Muslim Book 6 Hadith 2413; Sunan Al Nasaee, Vol 3 Book 2 Hadith 2168]
Why should we distinguish ourselves from them?
Allaah has forbidden the Muslims to imitate the disbelievers, and the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him) spoke very sternly concerning that, as he said: “Whoever imitates a people (Kuffar) is one of them.”
[Ref: Narrated by Abu Dawood (4031) and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Sunan Abi Dawood]
Note : The imitation here is in regards to those actions which are exclusively done by the kuffars because it is a part of their religion or culture. it may be clothes (christian nuns) or may be a festival (Christmas, Holi etc) or may be their beard (jewish or sikh beard) or etc. The imitation here includes any and every action or behavior found similar with the non Muslims in such regards that if a Muslim copies that, he may or could be liable of being understood or perceived as a Non muslim and then this would become haraam.
In the case of “electricity, housing, shoes and etc” it does not come under imitation because these things are not related to the religious practices and rulings of the kuffar, rather these are merely basic necessities or scientific explorations and the likes of it. To know this ruling in details click on the below link :
6. ITS EXCELLENCE (THE SUHOOR IS BLESSED)
Sayyidunah Ibn Umar (radiallah anhu) narrated:
إن الله وملائكته يصلون على المتسحرين
“Certainly Allaah and his Angels send blessings upon those who eat Suhoor”
[Authenticated by Shaykh Albaani in Silsilah al-Ahaadeeth as-Saheehah (3409)]
Abdullah Ibn Haarith said that one of the Sahabah (companion) said: ‘I entered the house of the Messenger (SAW) whilst he was taking the Suhoor (pre-dawn meal), and he (SAW) said: “Indeed it (the Suhoor) is blessing that Allah has given to you so do not leave it out, even if one of you just takes a (gulp) of water, since Allah sends mercy and His angels seek forgiveness for those who take the suhoor”
Anas ibn Maalik (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Eat suhoor for in suhoor there is blessing.”
[Ref: Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1923; Muslim, 1059]
[Ref: Sunan Al Nasaee , Vol 3, Book 2 , Hadith 2152]
It was narrated that AL-‘Irbad bin Sariyah said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah inviting people to have Sahur in Ramadan. He said: ‘Come to the blessed breakfast.” (Hasan)
[Ref: Sunan Al Nasaee Vol 3 book 2 hadith 2165 and another narration in 2167]
7. RASOOL (S.A.W)’S FAVIORATE FOOD IN SUHOOR
The Messenger (SAW) said: “The best Suhoor for the believer is dates.”
[Abu Dawood, Al-Baihaqee and Ibn Hibbaan, Reported by Abu Dawood, no. 2345; Saheeh al-Targheeb, 1/448)]
Note: This does not mean that we cannot or should not eat anyting else !
9. WHEN SHOULD WE STOP EATING? OR TILL WHEN CAN WE DO SUHOOR?
“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 the nightfall”
It was narrated that Abu ‘Atiyyah said: “I said to ‘Aishah:’ Among us there are two men, one of whom hastens Iftar (i.e is quick in opening his fast) and delays Sahur (eats suhur until dawn or fajr adhan), and the other (person) delays Iftar (i.e breaks his fast late) and hastens Sahur (stops eating suhoor early) . ‘ She said; ‘Which of them is the one who hastens Iftar and delays Sahur?’ I said: “Abdullah bin Masud. ‘ She said; ‘This is what the Messenger of Allah used to do. “‘
[Ref: Sunan Al Nasaee, Vol. 3 Book 2 , hadith 2161, 2160 and etc]
Narrated from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that Bilaal used to give the adhaan at night, and the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘Eat and drink until Ibn Umm Maktoom gives the adhaan, for he does not give the adhaan until the dawn comes.”
[Ref: Al-Bukhaari (1919) and Muslim (1092)]
Ibn Mas’ud (Allah be pleased with him) reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying The Adhan of Bilal should not restrain anyone among you from eating Sahur (last meal before daybreak during the month of Ramadan) for he announces Adhan (or he calls) at (the fag end of) the night to make him turn who stands for prayer among you, and to awaken those who are sleeping among you. And he said: The dawn is not like it, as one says (and he lifted his hand) till he (dispersed his fingers) and said: It is like this.
[Ref: Sahih Muslim, Book 6, Hadith 2404]
View of Muhaditheen and Islamic Jurists on this topic:
Imam Nawaawi (r.h) says :
We have stated that if dawn breaks and a person has food in his mouth, he should spit it out and complete his fast. If he swallows it after knowing that dawn has come, his fast is invalidated. There is no difference of scholarly opinion on this point. The evidence for that is the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Umar and ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with them both), according to which that Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Bilaal gives the call to prayer at night, so eat and drink until Ibn Umm Maktoom gives the call to prayer.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim. There are many ahaadeeth in al-Saheeh with similar meanings.
[Ref: al-Majmoo’ 6/333]
Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) stated :
The majority are of the view that sahoor should stop when dawn breaks. This is the view of the four imams, and the majority of fuqaha’ of the regions, and was also narrated from ‘Umar and Ibn ‘Abbaas.
[Ref: Tahdheeb al-Sunan]
Shaikh Saleh Al Munajjid says :
So it is permissible to have intercourse, eat and drink during the nights of Ramadaan from the beginning of the night (i.e when we break our fast) until dawn (or fajr adhan) has approached. in other words , one can eat as long as the muaddhin gives the fajr adhan or if one cannot hear the adhan then he can eat as long as the dawn hasn’t approached. But if one does not know how to recognize or when is the exact time of stopping then he must rely on the adhan or timings of the adhan to stay safe sided because prophet (s.a.w) said “whoever leaves the doubtfull matters has saved his honor and eeman but whosoever has fallen into doubtful matters has sinned” (Sahih Muslim)
Also when one is chewing or drinking a sip and hears the adhan then he should complete that particular sip or chew that which is already in his mouth or he may spit it out – as he wills but he should not continue eating or drinking the remaining portion of the food or drink (i.e he should leave it)
[Author’s note: It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “If one of you hears the call (to prayer) and the vessel is still in his hand, let him not put it down until he finished with it.”
(Ref: Narrated by Ahmad, 10251; Abu Dawood. 2350; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood)]
Those who insists on eating till the white light of dawn appears then they should be very careful because the ruling of adhan varies according to countries. if the Muadhin gives the Adhan before the the Dawn breaks (the white streak appearing in the sky) we can continue eating till we are sure the Dawn break and if the Muadhin gives the Adhan on Dawn Break then we should even spit what is in our mouths. .
[Ref: Combined details from Fataawa Ramadaan, compiled by Ashraf ‘Abd al-Maqsood, p. 201, Also similar to the fatwa of shaikh uthaymeen on pg. 204, Stated by Abu Bakr al-Jassaas in Ahkaam al-Qur’aan, 1/265 and by others elsewhere]
Note : the modern time calenders and fajr adhan time tables are not accurate. they may be wrong and may be right, hence one must stop eating when he hears the fajr adhan in order to stay at the safe side
IS SUHOOR OBLIGATORY OR MUSTAHHAB? – AN ANSWER FROM THE SHAF`I MADHAB
The correct ruling irrespective of any Madhabi inclination is that suhoor is not fardh but mustahhab (recommended) and the fast is valid even without the suhoor. However i’ll enlist the view of the shaf`i jurists as well for knowledge base.
Anas (radhi Allah ‘anhu) relates that the Prophet (salla Allah ’alaihe wa sallam) said, “Take the pre-dawn meal for in it there is blessing” (‘Umdat al-Ahkam, Hadith 182).
Siraj al-Din Ibn al-Mulaqqin explains in his commentary that the word al-sahur in the hadith refers to the meal one takes when there is a fathah on the -s. In this way, sahur is similar to al-barud: what one uses to cool down, al-sanun: what one uses to clean one’s teeth, and al-raqu: what one uses to stop the flowing of blood. However, al-Suhur, with a dammah on the -s, refers to the act of eating the pre-dawn meal. This is the most-popular view according to Ibn Daqiq al-’Eid. But Ibn al-Mulaqqin states that some prefer the view that the word al-suhur is a verbal noun named after the time in which the act takes place. In this instance, al-suhur occurs shortly before dawn and its time begins halfway through the night. This is mentioned by al-Nawawi in Kitab al-Siyam in Sharh al-Muhadhdhab, and at the end of Kitab al-Iman in al-Rafi’s Fath al-’Aziz.
Thereafter, Ibn al-Mulaqqin elucidates the meaning of blessing in the aforementioned hadith. Literally meaning growth or increase, blessing (ar: baraka) which is a result of the pre-dawn meal can refer to blessings in the hereafter. The blessing in the hereafter being attained through following the sunna which brings about reward. Taking the pre-dawn meal can also be the means by which one remembers Allah, engages in supplication, performs the ablution, performs prayers, and seeks Allah’s forgiveness at a blessed time wherein Allah’s mercy descends and prayers are answered up until dawn. All of these actions are a means for an increase in reward. It is equally possible that the blessings from the pre-dawn meal are earthly, for one’s body is nourished and strengthened by the pre-dawn mean, thus resulting in greater zeal to fast more often since the difficulty of the fast has been lightened through the pre-dawn meal. Ibn Daqiq al-’Eid mentions that the blessings mentioned in the hadith can apply to the act of taking the pre-dawn meal and the actual meal itself. Finally, the blessings from the pre-dawn meal can be attained in this world and the next. In summary, the blessing from al-suhur is attained in different ways, among them:
2. Differing from the people of the book who would eat more when breaking their fast.
3. Gaining strength, energy, and zeal to fast, especially for youngsters.
4. Giving charity to those who ask for food at pre-dawn.
5. Remembrance, supplication, and a means of seeking mercy at a time when prayers are answered.
6. Showing better character. For it is likely that if one neglects the pre-dawn meal one may show bad character simply out of hunger
7. Renewing one’s intention, thereby avoiding differences of opinion among the scholars who say that one must renew the intention after having risen from sleep.
Concluding, Ibn al-Mulaqqin states that the scholars agree that the pre-dawn meal is wholly recommended and not obligatory, and the imperative nature of the hadith’s wording is merely for instruction and advice. The pre-dawn meal is among the many distinguishing features of this ummah; for the Prophet (salla Allah ‘alaihe wa sallam) said, “the difference between our fast and the fast of the people of the book is the pre-dawn meal” (Muslim). During the early days of Islam, whenever one slept after breaking fast, it became unlawful to resume eating and drinking. Thereafter, the ruling was lightened and food and drink became permissible until dawn (al-’Ilam bi-Fawa’id ‘Umdat al-Ahkam 3/76-77).
Reference: Ibn al-Mulaqqin, Siraj al-Din. Al-’Ilam bi-Fawa’id ’Umdat al-Ahkam. Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-’Ilmiyyah, 2007. Print.