When a person lawfully breaks his fast
“Then complete the fasting until the night “[Qur’an Baqarah 2:187]
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) 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
It is important to hasten breaking the fast as soon as the sun sets because this was the practice of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) 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 (may Allah be pleased with him) said that the Messenger (peace be upon him) of Allah the all-Mighty said: “The people will continue to be in good condition as long as they hasten to break the fast.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
• To hasten the breaking of the fast is the Sunnah of the Messenger (S.A.W)
If the Muslims hasten the breaking of the fast this would help them to keep on the Sunnah.
Sahl Ibn Sa’ad said that the Messenger (peace be upon him) of Allah the all-Mighty 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 differentiate the Muslims from the Christians and the Jews.
Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) said that the Messenger of Allah the all-Mighty 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 practicing 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 (Sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) that deal with the issue of being different from the disbelieving people and making the Deen uppermost.
Breaking the fast before the Maghrib Salaah
It is reported that “The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) used to break his fast before the Maghrib Salaat.” [Ahmad and Abu Dawood]
What is recommended to eat, to break the fast?
The Messenger (peace be upon him) of Allah the all-Mighty 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 (peace be upon him) 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 the all-Mighty listens to his supplication and answers it.
Abu Huraira said the Messenger (peace be upon him) 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.” [Tirmzi, Ibn Majah and Ibn Hibbaan]
So the fasting person should make use of the time when he is breaking his fast to ask Allah Taala 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 (peace be upon him) 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 (peace be upon him) when he broke his fast used to say:
ذَهَبَ الظَّمَأُ وَابْتَلَّتْ الْعُرُوقُ وَثَبَتَ الْأَجْرُ إِنْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ
“The thirst has gone and the veins have recovered and the blessing is established if Allah wills” [Ahmad, Al-Baihqee]
Feeding a fasting person
It is imperative for the believer to always try to do righteous deeds. From among these righteous deeds is the feeding of the fasting person because of the numerous rewards for this act.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever gives someone something to break the fast with, he would have 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 (peace be upon him).
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 (peace be upon him).
The Messenger (peace be upon him) used to make the following supplications:
أَفْطَرَ عِنْدَكُمْ الصَّائِمُونَ وَأَكَلَ طَعَامَكُمْ الْأَبْرَارُ وَصَلَّتْ عَلَيْكُمْ الْمَلَائِكَةُ
“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]
اللَّهُمَّ أَطْعِمْ مَنْ أَطْعَمَنِي وَاسْقِ مَنْ سَقَانِي
“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]