Fiqh & Sunnah
Typography

Important

The reader should note that this article concerns an issue over which there is legitimate difference of opinion. For example, a counter-opinion can be found in Haitham al-Haddad's The Designated Times for the Isha' and Fajr Prayers in the UK and other similar Countries During the Summer Season.

If you are in doubt about any of these issues, you are encouraged to speak with those of knowledge who you trust.

With the name of Allah, The Compassionate, The Merciful.

Contents[Hide]

Introduction

All praise be to Allah, the one who made happiness in this life and in the Hereafter, specifically for those who follow His straight path, clinging to His book and the Sunnah of his honourable Prophet. May Allah send salutations upon him, his family, his companions and those who follow him. O Allah, Lord of the Worlds, make us among them as well!

To proceed:

The most desperate slave in need of the mercy of the Greatest and Ever High, Muhammad Taqi ud-Din, the son of 'Abdul-Qadir al-Hilali says:

I spent my youth and the time after, including some of my old age, in the East and when I returned to Morocco because of the trouble that took place in Iraq in the year 1379H (1958CE), I discovered after a lot of research, checking and repeated observations from those who have good eyesight (and I was with them at that time and able to see the dawn without hardship in those days) that the Moroccan timing for the Fajr Adhan did not agree with the correct Islamic timing. That is because the Mu'adhdhin calls to prayer before the true Islamic dawn. His call at that time does not make Fajr prayer permissible and also does not prohibit eating for the fasting person.

I began giving fatwa according to this and still act upon it to this day. In Ramadhan from this year 1394H (1974CE), some of our brothers fell into confusion. The reason for this was because a brother – who is a preacher – visited Morocco in Ramadhan. Some people from those who accompanied him claimed that he said the Islamic dawn was in agreement with the Moroccan dawn timing; but a trustworthy brother known to me told me that the preacher actually found that the difference between the Islamic dawn that can be seen with the eyes and the Moroccan time (observed outside the city, in an open field) was about 13 or 15 minutes (the doubt is from the brother I know).

So this narration is clearly contradictory. If what they said is correct – that the Islamic dawn and the Moroccan dawn are in agreement – then this is a mistake that can be identified by everyone who knows the Islamic dawn and he has eyes that he can see with (it is obvious that in countries where there are a lot of clouds and fog, that the people do not know the dawn, which also includes those who live in the desert but are not keen in such matters).

If one wants to know the Islamic dawn, then he must do two things:

  • Firstly he must study the Prophet's (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) statements which differentiate between the false dawn and the true dawn, and then the statements of his companions, the second generation and the great Imams.
  • Secondly, he has to be from those people who are used to seeing the dawn, such as a Mu'adhdhin or a person who travels a lot in the desert.

To explain the first part, I am writing this book and calling it the explanation of the true dawn and distinguishing it from the false dawn through evidences.

To begin, we must explain what Allah Almighty said in Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 187:

"Eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct from the black."

Ibn Kathir explained this ayah using different statements of the Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam):

The first hadith has been narrated in the two authentic books (Bukhari and Muslim) from the narration of Al-Qasim from 'A'ishah that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "Let the Adhan of Bilal not prevent you from your Suhur (pre-dawn meal) because he calls it in the night, so eat and drink until you hear the Adhan of ibn Umm Maktum because he doesn't call the Adhan until the Fajr starts." This is the narration of Bukhari.

We understand from this narration and other narrations with similar meanings that the Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) used to have two people giving the Adhan during Ramadhan: one of them who could see, which was Bilal, and the other was a blind man known as ibn Umm Maktum. The Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) had appointed the Mu'adhdhin who could see to alert the people that the dawn was close and it used to be done at night, i.e. before the start of the Fajr, whereas he appointed the blind Mu'adhdhin to call for Fajr after the Fajr began. So what was the intention of the Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam)?

If we think about this with deficient minds it would seem apparent to us that the Mu'adhdhin that can see (i.e. Bilal) should do the last Adhan. He has more right to do so than the blind Mu'adhdhin, because he can see the beginning of dawn with his eyes and call the Adhan on time in order that the people will stop eating and drinking from the beginning of Fajr. The blind Mu'adhdhin should be the one who calls the people during the night so that they will know simply when the dawn is close by.

But the Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) did the opposite; he appointed the blindman as the caller of the Adhan to prohibit food and drink and the start of the Salah. He therefore intended – without doubt – to make things easier for his nation and not harder. So whoever makes things restricted and difficult when Allah and His Messenger have made then easy and spacious, then he is in the wrong.

The statement of Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala: "Until it becomes distinct", is in agreement with the statement of the Prophet because He did not say until the dawn comes out, but He said until you people can see it clearly in a way that no one has doubt about it and the explanation of that will come shortly, insha'Allah.

In a narration by Bukhari and Muslim, it states: "' ... so eat and drink until ibn Umm Maktum calls the Adhan,' and he was blind, and would not call the Adhan until it was said to him 'It's morning! It's morning!'", so reflect upon this meaning if you are among those of understanding.

The second hadith: ibn Kathir said: Imam Ahmad said: and he mentioned the chain from Qays ibn Talq from his father that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "The dawn is not that which is vertical in the sky but it is that which is red and horizontal". This is also narrated by At-Tirmidhi. His narration states: "Eat and drink and don't worry about the clear vertical (dawn), but eat and drink until you see the red and horizontal (dawn/light)." Then ibn Kathir mentioned different narrations from ibn Jarir (the Imam of the scholars of Tafsir), for this hadith:

The first narration is from Samurah ibn Jundub that he said that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "Do not be deceived by the call of Bilal, wait until the dawn 'explodes'."

The second narration from him is that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "Do not be deceived by the call of Bilal and do not be deceived by the white column of dawn, until it spreads (across the horizon)."

The third narration is narrated by Muslim in the same way it was narrated by ibn Jarir.

The fourth narration which was also from ibn Jarir is from Muhammad ibn Thawban who said that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "The dawn is of two types – one that is like the tail of the Sirhan which does not prohibit anything, and then the one that spreads across and covers the horizon. This (latter) is the one which permits the prayer and prohibits food." This is a good Mursal hadith.

(Muhammad Taqi ud-Din said:) The tail of the Sirhan means the tail of a wolf because it lifts up and becomes vertical, similar to the false dawn.

Another narration from 'Abdur-Razzaq with his chain of narration mentions from ibn 'Abbas that he said: "There are two dawns. As for the one which is clear in the sky, that doesn't permit or prohibit anything. But the dawn that lights the top of the mountains is the one that prohibits drinking."

'Ata' said: "As for that dawn that is clear and its light goes vertically to the sky, it does not prohibit drinking for the person, and the Salah is not allowed based on it and the Hajj is not missed because of it. But if it is spread across the top of the mountains, then drinking is prohibited and the Hajj is missed." These are authentic chains to ibn 'Abbas and 'Ata', and are similar to other narrations from more than one of the Salaf, may Allah be merciful to them.

(Muhammad Taqi ud-Din said) The meaning of 'the Hajj being missed' is that the person who is doing Hajj but misses standing at 'Arafah during the 9th day of Dhu'l-Hijjah and he stands during the night before the true Fajr, then his Hajj is correct. But if he reaches 'Arafah after the true dawn then there is no Hajj for him in that year."

Some Ahadith from the Jami' of Imam At-Tirmidhi, with its explanation by our Shaykh 'Abdur-Rahman al-Mubarakpuri, rahimahullah

The first hadith: At-Tirmidhi said, with his chain from Zayd ibn Thabit who said: "We had our Suhur with the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) and then we stood up for Salah. I asked, 'How long was that?' He said, 'About 50 verses.' "

  • (Muhammad Taqi ud-Din al-Hilali said) The Salafi scholar Abu 'Ali al-Habib ibn 'Ali al-'Alawi said that he recited 50 verses in two minutes. According to this, the time between the Suhur of the Prophet and the Fajr prayer used to be two minutes, or could perhaps be five minutes, but those ignorant of the Sunnah consider eating five minutes before Salah time as invalidating the fast. This issue will soon increase in clarity, insha'Allah .
  • At-Tirmidhi then said: "There are other narrations in this subject from Hudhayfah."
  • Abu 'Isa (at-Tirmidhi) said: "The hadith of Zayd ibn Thabit is sound and authentic, and is acted upon by Ash-Shafi'i, Ahmad and Ishaq. They recommended the delaying of the Suhur."

The second hadith: At-Tirmidhi said with his chain to Talq ibn Ali, that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "Eat and drink and don't worry about the clear and vertical, but eat and drink until you see the red horizontal."

  • (Muhammad Taqi ud-Din said) We understand from this hadith that the false dawn that precedes the true dawn, is pure white and it is goes from the earth to the sky and that does not prohibit eating for a fasting person, nor does it permit the Fajr prayer. The true dawn, which is horizontal across the horizon, with redness, comes before the sunrise and this is the one which prohibits food and permits the prayer.
  • Our Shaykh explained fifty verses as being medium, not long and not short, and the recitation is also medium, not fast and not slow. He attributed that to Al-Hafidh (Ibn Hajar).

The third hadith: our Shaykh said the hadith of Hudhayfah is narrated by At-Tahawi, in his book Sharh Ma'ani al-Athar, from the narration of Zirr ibn Hubaysh who said: "I had my Suhur, and I rushed to the mosque; I passed by the house of Hudhayfah, and I entered it. He commanded that his she-camel be milked and a pan to be heated, and he told me, 'Eat.' I replied, 'I want to fast.' He said, 'And I also want to fast.' We ate, and then we drank and then we came to the mosque and offered the prayer that had just started. Hudhayfah said, 'That's how the Messenger of Allah did with me [or 'That's how I did with the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam)].' I asked, 'After the dawn?' He said, 'After dawn, but the sun hadn't risen yet.'" This is also narrated by An-Nasa'i and Ahmad.

  • (Muhammad Taqi'l-Din said) We say to the amateur and careless people, what do you say about the fasting of Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam)? Was it valid or invalid? If you say it was valid then it is now clear that what you previously said is wrong i.e. that it is compulsory to make up your fast if you eat after the Moroccan whistle, although it whistles at night, before the true and even the false Fajr!
  • Ma'mar, Sulayman al-A'mash, Abu Mijlaz, and Al-Hakam ibn 'Utaybah all said that it is permissible to have Suhur as long as the sun doesn't rise. Their evidence was the hadith of Hudhayfah as mentioned by Imam At-Tirmidhi.

It is narrated from Ibn Jurayj: I said to 'Ata', "Is it disliked to drink whilst I am at home and I don't know if the Fajr has started?" He said, "That isn't a problem, it is a doubt." Ibn Abi Shaybah said, "Abu Mu'awiyah told us from Al-A'mash from Muslim that he said, 'They did not used to consider the dawn as your dawn; they used to consider the dawn which filled the houses and roads.'"

Ma'mar used to delay his Suhur so much that the ignorant claimed his fast was invalid. Sa'id ibn Mansur, Ibn Abi Shaybah and Ibn Al-Mundhir narrated from Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, with numerous chains, that he ordered the door to be closed so that he did not see the dawn. Ibn Al-Mundhir narrated with an authentic chain from 'Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, that he prayed Fajr, then he said, "Now is the time when the black and white threads are distinguished."

This led Ibn Al-Mundhir to say: "Some of them said that the meaning of the whiteness and the blackness of the dawn is when the whiteness spreads in the roads, streets, and houses." He narrated with an authentic chain from Salim ibn 'Ubayd al-Ashja'i (one of the companions of the Prophet) that Abu Bakr said to him, "Go out and see if the dawn has begun." I looked and then came to him and told him, "It has become white and clear." Then he said, "Go out and see if the dawn has begun." I looked and replied, "It has become horizontal." Then Abu Bakr said, "Now give me my drink."

He narrated from Waki' from Al-A'mash, who said, "If I was not afraid that I would become famous, I would pray Fajr then have my Suhur." This is in (the books) 'Umdat ul-Qari and Fath al-Bari.

Ibn Hazm in Al-Muhalla said: It is not obligatory, neither in Ramadhan, nor at any other time except when the second dawn becomes clear, and as long as it doesn't become clear then eating and drinking and intercourse is permissible. This is all in the case of the one who is in doubt that the dawn hasn't begun, or if he is sure that it has not begun. Then he mentioned the verse of Surah Al-Baqarah that we mentioned earlier. He said after that, and I quote:

"Because Allah Almighty made it permissible to have intercourse, eat and drink until we see clearly the dawn, Allah Almighty didn't say until the Fajr begins, and he didn't say until you have doubts about the Fajr. So it is not permissible for anyone to say or obligate the fast unless it becomes clear to that person."

Then Abu Muhammad (Ibn Hazm) said:

"It is narrated with an authentic chain, that eating after the beginning of the dawn is permissible as long as the person who intends to fast has not clearly seen it."

Then he mentioned with a chain to Zirr ibn Hubaysh that he said to Hudhayfah, "What time did you have your Suhur with the Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam)?" He replied, "It was during the day but the sun had not come out yet."

He also narrated, with his chain to Abu Hurayrah that he said, "The Messenger of Allah peace be upon him said, 'If any of you hear the call to Salah and the cup in his hand, he should not put it down until he is full from it.'" Then Ibn Hazm narrated with his chain from Abu Bakr as-Siddiq that he said, "If two men look at the dawn and one of them has doubt, they should both eat until both of them clearly see it."

He also narrated with his chain, to Salim ibn 'Ubayd that he said, "Abu Bakr used to say to me, 'Stand up between me and the dawn until I have my Suhur.'"

  • Salim ibn 'Ubayd is Al-Ashja'i from the city of Al-Kufah and from the companions of the Messenger (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam), and this is one of the most authentic chains possible.

Then he (Ibn Hazm) narrated, with his chain from Abu Qilabah that Abu Bakr as-Siddiq used to say, "Close the door until we have our Suhur." Then he narrated from Hammad ibn Salamah from Abu Hurayrah, that he heard the call to the prayer whilst a cup was in his hand and he said, "I acquired it by the Lord of the Ka'bah."

He then narrated from Ibn Jarir, from Ibn 'Abbas, that he said, "Allah permits drinking as long as you have doubts." Then Ibn Hazm narrated from 'Ikrimah that Ibn 'Abbas said, "I have doubts by Allah, give me something to drink." And he drank. Then he narrated with his chain from Makhul al-Azdi, that he said, "Ibn 'Umar took a container of Zamzam and said to two men, 'Has the dawn begun?' One of them said, 'It has began,' and the other said, 'No it hasn't,' so Ibn 'Umar drank."

He narrated with his chain, from Habban ibn Al-Harith that he had his Suhur with 'Ali ibn Abi Talib and both of them intended to fast, and after he finished he told the Mu'adhdhin to do the Iqamah for the Salah.

He also narrated with his chain from Ibn Abi Shaybah from 'Amir ibn Matar that he said, "I came to 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud, in his house, and he took out for us his leftover Suhur. We had our Suhur with him and the Salah started. We came out and we prayed with him."

Also from Khubayb ibn 'Abdur-Rahman that he said, "I heard from my aunty that she accompanied the Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) and that he said, 'Ibn Umm Maktum used to call to the Salah at night, so eat and drink until Bilal calls it. And Bilal sometimes calls at night so eat and drink until ibn Umm Maktum calls it.' One of them used to come down and the other used to come up, and she said, 'We used to hold on to him asking him to wait until we had eaten our Suhur.'"

It is narrated from Muhammad ibn 'Ali ibn Al-Husayn: "Eat until the Fajr become clear to you."

It is narrated from Al-Hasan: "Continue to eat as long as you are in doubt."

It is narrated from Ibn Mijlaz: "The high (light in the sky) is the false dawn but the true one is clear and horizontal."

It is narrated from Ibrahim an-Nakha'i: "The horizontal and red (light) permits the prayer and forbids food."

It is narrated from Ibn Jurayj that he said to 'Ata', "Do you dislike it if I drink whilst I am at home and I am not sure if the Fajr has begun?" He said, "There is no problem with that. This is a matter of doubt."

On the authority of Ibn Abi Shayba who said, "Abu Mu'awiyah told us while we were with Al-A'mash, on the authority of Muslim, that he said, 'They were not considering the Fajr as your Fajr; they consider the Fajr when it fills the houses and streets.'"

It is narrated from Abu Wa'il, that he had his Suhur and he went to the mosque and the Salah has started.

It is narrated from Ma'mar, that he delayed the Suhur so much, that the ignorant would say that his fast was invalid.

'Ali (ibn Hazm) said, "We have mentioned in this subject those who had their Suhur thinking it is night but it was day and they did not believe that they had to make it up."

Abu Bakr, 'Umar, 'Ali, Ibn 'Umar, Ibn 'Abbas, Abu Hurayrah, Ibn Mas'ud, Hudhayfah, the Aunt of Khubayb, Zayd ibn Thabit and Sa'ad ibn Abi Waqqas are eleven Companions – it is not known from any other of the Companions that they differed with them on this, may Allah be pleased with all of them. The only thing we see is a weak narration on the authority of Makhul from Abu Sa'id al-Khudri but they never met one another (thus the narration is weak), and also on the authority of Yahya al-Jazari from Ibn Mas'ud but they also never met one another.

From the Tabi'in (the second successive generation after the Prophet) in support of the above: Muhammad ibn 'Ali, Abu Majliz, Ibrahim, Muslim, the students of Ibn Mas'ud, 'Ata', Al-Hasan al-Basri, Al-Hakam ibn 'Utaybah, Mujahid, 'Urwah ibn Az-Zubayr and Jabir ibn Zayd.

The Sunan of Abu Dawud and its Explanation

Abu Dawud reported, on the authority of 'Abdullah ibn Sawadah al-Qushayri, from his father who said that he heard Samurah ibn Jundub giving a speech saying, "The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said:

'Let the Adhan of Bilal not prevent you from your Suhur, nor the whiteness of the horizon which is like this i.e. vertical, until it spreads across everywhere (yastatir).' "

This was also narrated by Muslim and An-Nasa'i. Al-Khattabi said, "The meaning of yastatir is when the dawn covers the horizon and its light spreads there."

The poet said, "It was easy to the sons of Lu'ay … a mustatir (spread) flame in Al-Buwayrah."

Abu Dawud also narrated from 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud that he reported that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said:

"Let not the Adhan of Bilal prevent you from your Suhur because he calls the Adhan in order that those of you who are awake (and praying) can now rest and those who are asleep can wake up; and the dawn is not like this." Yahya al-Qattan put his hands together and he pointed with his two fingers. This is narrated by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

'Adiyy ibn Hatim narrated that when this ayah was revealed: "Eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct from the black," he said, "I took black and white threads, and I put them under my pillow, and I looked and I couldn't distinguish between them. I mentioned that to the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) and he laughed, and said, 'Your pillow must be so wide and long then! This is referring to the night and the day.'"

'Uthman ibn Abi Shaybah said, "It is the darkness of the night, and whiteness of the day." This is narrated by Al-Bukhari, Muslim, At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa'i.

Shaykh Shams ud-Din ibn Al-Qayyim rahimahullahsaid:

This hadith was criticised by Ibn Al-Qattan who he said that there is some doubt in the continuity of its chain. He said that because Ibn Dawud said that 'Abdul-A'la ibn Al-Hammal, said, I think, "On the authority of Hammad, from Muhammad ibn 'Amr from Abu Hurayrah and then he mentioned the hadith."

An-Nasa'i narrated from Zirr that he said: We said to Hudhayfah, "What time did you have your Suhur with the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam)?" He said, "It was daytime but the sun had not come out yet."

There are different opinions in this matter:

The first opinion has been articulated by Ishaq ibn Rahway who narrated from Waki' that he heard Al-A'mash say, "If I was not afraid of becoming famous, I would pray Fajr then have my Suhur." Then Ishaq mentioned from Abu Bakr as-Siddiq and Hudhayfah similar to that, and then he said, "They did not used to see any difference between the time for eating and the time for the obligatory prayer." This is the end of Ishaq's statement. This has also been narrated from Ibn Mas'ud. (So in summary, the first opinion is that one can eat and drink until just after Fajr has actually started, and not just that the time has "begun", but after the adhan and iqamah etc.)

The second opinion: most of the scholars are of the opinion that one is to stop the Suhur by the beginning of Fajr, and this is the opinion of the four Imams and most of the scholars of different countries and something of similar meaning has been narrated by 'Umar and Ibn 'Abbas.

The people with the first opinion have used the statement of the Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam), "And eat and drink until ibn Umm Maktum gives the Adhan." It is known that he was not giving the Adhan until Fajr had already begun. That is in Al-Bukhari and in some narrations it states: "He was a blind man and he was not giving the Adhan until it was said to him that, 'The Fajr has begun! The Fajr has begun!'"

These people say the day begins when the sun rises (meaning that one can eat into the Fajr time).

The majority on the other hand used the verse: "Eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct from the black." Also the statement of Muhammad (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam), "Eat and drink until Ibn Umm Maktum gives the Adhan," and his statement, "There are two Fajrs: the first one does not prohibit food and does not permit the prayer and the second prohibits food and permits the prayer." Narrated by Al-Bayhaqi in his Sunan.

They also said that the hadith of Hudhayfah is faulty and that the fault is that it is Mawquf (a statement of a Companion alone), and that is Zirr is the one who had his Suhur with Hudhayfah. This was mentioned by An-Nasa'i.

  • (Muhammad Taqi ud-Din said) I don't agree with that, because Hudhayfah said, "That's how I did it with the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam)," and this is Marfu' (a statement/event elevated to the Prophet).

Conclusion

Out of all these ahadith, we give Fatwa based on the middle opinion: that the true dawn which prohibits food on the fasting person and permits the prayer is as the Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: the red dawn, the one that whose whiteness is mixed with some redness and is horizontal in the horizon. It is the one which fills the houses and streets and the people do not differ between them about it, and all people can identify it. Any other dawn such as the one identified by the Moroccans is false, it doesn't prohibit food on the fasting person and doesn't permit the Fajr prayer.

We usually delay our Fajr prayer more than half an hour after the Moroccan time, until we can see the true dawn. This is what we worship Allah with and Allah says the truth and He guides us to the straight path. We ask Allah to show us the truth as truth and to help us to follow it and to show us the falsehood as falsehood and to help us to avoid it.

And all praise is due to the Lord of the Worlds.

I finished writing this before noon, Saturday the 4th of Shawwal 1394 (1974CE) after the migration of the Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam).

Translated by Kehlan Al-Jubury, Manchester, Monday 25 June 2012CE

Important

The reader should note that this article concerns an issue over which there is legitimate difference of opinion. For example, a counter-opinion can be found in Haitham al-Haddad's The Designated Times for the Isha' and Fajr Prayers in the UK and other similar Countries During the Summer Season.

If you are in doubt about any of these issues, you are encouraged to speak with those of knowledge who you trust.

With the name of Allah, The Compassionate, The Merciful.

Contents[Hide]

Introduction

All praise be to Allah, the one who made happiness in this life and in the Hereafter, specifically for those who follow His straight path, clinging to His book and the Sunnah of his honourable Prophet. May Allah send salutations upon him, his family, his companions and those who follow him. O Allah, Lord of the Worlds, make us among them as well!

To proceed:

The most desperate slave in need of the mercy of the Greatest and Ever High, Muhammad Taqi ud-Din, the son of 'Abdul-Qadir al-Hilali says:

I spent my youth and the time after, including some of my old age, in the East and when I returned to Morocco because of the trouble that took place in Iraq in the year 1379H (1958CE), I discovered after a lot of research, checking and repeated observations from those who have good eyesight (and I was with them at that time and able to see the dawn without hardship in those days) that the Moroccan timing for the Fajr Adhan did not agree with the correct Islamic timing. That is because the Mu'adhdhin calls to prayer before the true Islamic dawn. His call at that time does not make Fajr prayer permissible and also does not prohibit eating for the fasting person.

I began giving fatwa according to this and still act upon it to this day. In Ramadhan from this year 1394H (1974CE), some of our brothers fell into confusion. The reason for this was because a brother – who is a preacher – visited Morocco in Ramadhan. Some people from those who accompanied him claimed that he said the Islamic dawn was in agreement with the Moroccan dawn timing; but a trustworthy brother known to me told me that the preacher actually found that the difference between the Islamic dawn that can be seen with the eyes and the Moroccan time (observed outside the city, in an open field) was about 13 or 15 minutes (the doubt is from the brother I know).

So this narration is clearly contradictory. If what they said is correct – that the Islamic dawn and the Moroccan dawn are in agreement – then this is a mistake that can be identified by everyone who knows the Islamic dawn and he has eyes that he can see with (it is obvious that in countries where there are a lot of clouds and fog, that the people do not know the dawn, which also includes those who live in the desert but are not keen in such matters).

If one wants to know the Islamic dawn, then he must do two things:

  • Firstly he must study the Prophet's (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) statements which differentiate between the false dawn and the true dawn, and then the statements of his companions, the second generation and the great Imams.
  • Secondly, he has to be from those people who are used to seeing the dawn, such as a Mu'adhdhin or a person who travels a lot in the desert.

To explain the first part, I am writing this book and calling it the explanation of the true dawn and distinguishing it from the false dawn through evidences.

To begin, we must explain what Allah Almighty said in Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 187:

"Eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct from the black."

Ibn Kathir explained this ayah using different statements of the Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam):

The first hadith has been narrated in the two authentic books (Bukhari and Muslim) from the narration of Al-Qasim from 'A'ishah that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "Let the Adhan of Bilal not prevent you from your Suhur (pre-dawn meal) because he calls it in the night, so eat and drink until you hear the Adhan of ibn Umm Maktum because he doesn't call the Adhan until the Fajr starts." This is the narration of Bukhari.

We understand from this narration and other narrations with similar meanings that the Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) used to have two people giving the Adhan during Ramadhan: one of them who could see, which was Bilal, and the other was a blind man known as ibn Umm Maktum. The Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) had appointed the Mu'adhdhin who could see to alert the people that the dawn was close and it used to be done at night, i.e. before the start of the Fajr, whereas he appointed the blind Mu'adhdhin to call for Fajr after the Fajr began. So what was the intention of the Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam)?

If we think about this with deficient minds it would seem apparent to us that the Mu'adhdhin that can see (i.e. Bilal) should do the last Adhan. He has more right to do so than the blind Mu'adhdhin, because he can see the beginning of dawn with his eyes and call the Adhan on time in order that the people will stop eating and drinking from the beginning of Fajr. The blind Mu'adhdhin should be the one who calls the people during the night so that they will know simply when the dawn is close by.

But the Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) did the opposite; he appointed the blindman as the caller of the Adhan to prohibit food and drink and the start of the Salah. He therefore intended – without doubt – to make things easier for his nation and not harder. So whoever makes things restricted and difficult when Allah and His Messenger have made then easy and spacious, then he is in the wrong.

The statement of Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala: "Until it becomes distinct", is in agreement with the statement of the Prophet because He did not say until the dawn comes out, but He said until you people can see it clearly in a way that no one has doubt about it and the explanation of that will come shortly, insha'Allah.

In a narration by Bukhari and Muslim, it states: "' ... so eat and drink until ibn Umm Maktum calls the Adhan,' and he was blind, and would not call the Adhan until it was said to him 'It's morning! It's morning!'", so reflect upon this meaning if you are among those of understanding.

The second hadith: ibn Kathir said: Imam Ahmad said: and he mentioned the chain from Qays ibn Talq from his father that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "The dawn is not that which is vertical in the sky but it is that which is red and horizontal". This is also narrated by At-Tirmidhi. His narration states: "Eat and drink and don't worry about the clear vertical (dawn), but eat and drink until you see the red and horizontal (dawn/light)." Then ibn Kathir mentioned different narrations from ibn Jarir (the Imam of the scholars of Tafsir), for this hadith:

The first narration is from Samurah ibn Jundub that he said that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "Do not be deceived by the call of Bilal, wait until the dawn 'explodes'."

The second narration from him is that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "Do not be deceived by the call of Bilal and do not be deceived by the white column of dawn, until it spreads (across the horizon)."

The third narration is narrated by Muslim in the same way it was narrated by ibn Jarir.

The fourth narration which was also from ibn Jarir is from Muhammad ibn Thawban who said that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "The dawn is of two types – one that is like the tail of the Sirhan which does not prohibit anything, and then the one that spreads across and covers the horizon. This (latter) is the one which permits the prayer and prohibits food." This is a good Mursal hadith.

(Muhammad Taqi ud-Din said:) The tail of the Sirhan means the tail of a wolf because it lifts up and becomes vertical, similar to the false dawn.

Another narration from 'Abdur-Razzaq with his chain of narration mentions from ibn 'Abbas that he said: "There are two dawns. As for the one which is clear in the sky, that doesn't permit or prohibit anything. But the dawn that lights the top of the mountains is the one that prohibits drinking."

'Ata' said: "As for that dawn that is clear and its light goes vertically to the sky, it does not prohibit drinking for the person, and the Salah is not allowed based on it and the Hajj is not missed because of it. But if it is spread across the top of the mountains, then drinking is prohibited and the Hajj is missed." These are authentic chains to ibn 'Abbas and 'Ata', and are similar to other narrations from more than one of the Salaf, may Allah be merciful to them.

(Muhammad Taqi ud-Din said) The meaning of 'the Hajj being missed' is that the person who is doing Hajj but misses standing at 'Arafah during the 9th day of Dhu'l-Hijjah and he stands during the night before the true Fajr, then his Hajj is correct. But if he reaches 'Arafah after the true dawn then there is no Hajj for him in that year."

Some Ahadith from the Jami' of Imam At-Tirmidhi, with its explanation by our Shaykh 'Abdur-Rahman al-Mubarakpuri, rahimahullah

The first hadith: At-Tirmidhi said, with his chain from Zayd ibn Thabit who said: "We had our Suhur with the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) and then we stood up for Salah. I asked, 'How long was that?' He said, 'About 50 verses.' "

  • (Muhammad Taqi ud-Din al-Hilali said) The Salafi scholar Abu 'Ali al-Habib ibn 'Ali al-'Alawi said that he recited 50 verses in two minutes. According to this, the time between the Suhur of the Prophet and the Fajr prayer used to be two minutes, or could perhaps be five minutes, but those ignorant of the Sunnah consider eating five minutes before Salah time as invalidating the fast. This issue will soon increase in clarity, insha'Allah .
  • At-Tirmidhi then said: "There are other narrations in this subject from Hudhayfah."
  • Abu 'Isa (at-Tirmidhi) said: "The hadith of Zayd ibn Thabit is sound and authentic, and is acted upon by Ash-Shafi'i, Ahmad and Ishaq. They recommended the delaying of the Suhur."

The second hadith: At-Tirmidhi said with his chain to Talq ibn Ali, that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "Eat and drink and don't worry about the clear and vertical, but eat and drink until you see the red horizontal."

  • (Muhammad Taqi ud-Din said) We understand from this hadith that the false dawn that precedes the true dawn, is pure white and it is goes from the earth to the sky and that does not prohibit eating for a fasting person, nor does it permit the Fajr prayer. The true dawn, which is horizontal across the horizon, with redness, comes before the sunrise and this is the one which prohibits food and permits the prayer.
  • Our Shaykh explained fifty verses as being medium, not long and not short, and the recitation is also medium, not fast and not slow. He attributed that to Al-Hafidh (Ibn Hajar).

The third hadith: our Shaykh said the hadith of Hudhayfah is narrated by At-Tahawi, in his book Sharh Ma'ani al-Athar, from the narration of Zirr ibn Hubaysh who said: "I had my Suhur, and I rushed to the mosque; I passed by the house of Hudhayfah, and I entered it. He commanded that his she-camel be milked and a pan to be heated, and he told me, 'Eat.' I replied, 'I want to fast.' He said, 'And I also want to fast.' We ate, and then we drank and then we came to the mosque and offered the prayer that had just started. Hudhayfah said, 'That's how the Messenger of Allah did with me [or 'That's how I did with the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam)].' I asked, 'After the dawn?' He said, 'After dawn, but the sun hadn't risen yet.'" This is also narrated by An-Nasa'i and Ahmad.

  • (Muhammad Taqi'l-Din said) We say to the amateur and careless people, what do you say about the fasting of Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam)? Was it valid or invalid? If you say it was valid then it is now clear that what you previously said is wrong i.e. that it is compulsory to make up your fast if you eat after the Moroccan whistle, although it whistles at night, before the true and even the false Fajr!
  • Ma'mar, Sulayman al-A'mash, Abu Mijlaz, and Al-Hakam ibn 'Utaybah all said that it is permissible to have Suhur as long as the sun doesn't rise. Their evidence was the hadith of Hudhayfah as mentioned by Imam At-Tirmidhi.

It is narrated from Ibn Jurayj: I said to 'Ata', "Is it disliked to drink whilst I am at home and I don't know if the Fajr has started?" He said, "That isn't a problem, it is a doubt." Ibn Abi Shaybah said, "Abu Mu'awiyah told us from Al-A'mash from Muslim that he said, 'They did not used to consider the dawn as your dawn; they used to consider the dawn which filled the houses and roads.'"

Ma'mar used to delay his Suhur so much that the ignorant claimed his fast was invalid. Sa'id ibn Mansur, Ibn Abi Shaybah and Ibn Al-Mundhir narrated from Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, with numerous chains, that he ordered the door to be closed so that he did not see the dawn. Ibn Al-Mundhir narrated with an authentic chain from 'Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, that he prayed Fajr, then he said, "Now is the time when the black and white threads are distinguished."

This led Ibn Al-Mundhir to say: "Some of them said that the meaning of the whiteness and the blackness of the dawn is when the whiteness spreads in the roads, streets, and houses." He narrated with an authentic chain from Salim ibn 'Ubayd al-Ashja'i (one of the companions of the Prophet) that Abu Bakr said to him, "Go out and see if the dawn has begun." I looked and then came to him and told him, "It has become white and clear." Then he said, "Go out and see if the dawn has begun." I looked and replied, "It has become horizontal." Then Abu Bakr said, "Now give me my drink."

He narrated from Waki' from Al-A'mash, who said, "If I was not afraid that I would become famous, I would pray Fajr then have my Suhur." This is in (the books) 'Umdat ul-Qari and Fath al-Bari.

Ibn Hazm in Al-Muhalla said: It is not obligatory, neither in Ramadhan, nor at any other time except when the second dawn becomes clear, and as long as it doesn't become clear then eating and drinking and intercourse is permissible. This is all in the case of the one who is in doubt that the dawn hasn't begun, or if he is sure that it has not begun. Then he mentioned the verse of Surah Al-Baqarah that we mentioned earlier. He said after that, and I quote:

"Because Allah Almighty made it permissible to have intercourse, eat and drink until we see clearly the dawn, Allah Almighty didn't say until the Fajr begins, and he didn't say until you have doubts about the Fajr. So it is not permissible for anyone to say or obligate the fast unless it becomes clear to that person."

Then Abu Muhammad (Ibn Hazm) said:

"It is narrated with an authentic chain, that eating after the beginning of the dawn is permissible as long as the person who intends to fast has not clearly seen it."

Then he mentioned with a chain to Zirr ibn Hubaysh that he said to Hudhayfah, "What time did you have your Suhur with the Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam)?" He replied, "It was during the day but the sun had not come out yet."

He also narrated, with his chain to Abu Hurayrah that he said, "The Messenger of Allah peace be upon him said, 'If any of you hear the call to Salah and the cup in his hand, he should not put it down until he is full from it.'" Then Ibn Hazm narrated with his chain from Abu Bakr as-Siddiq that he said, "If two men look at the dawn and one of them has doubt, they should both eat until both of them clearly see it."

He also narrated with his chain, to Salim ibn 'Ubayd that he said, "Abu Bakr used to say to me, 'Stand up between me and the dawn until I have my Suhur.'"

  • Salim ibn 'Ubayd is Al-Ashja'i from the city of Al-Kufah and from the companions of the Messenger (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam), and this is one of the most authentic chains possible.

Then he (Ibn Hazm) narrated, with his chain from Abu Qilabah that Abu Bakr as-Siddiq used to say, "Close the door until we have our Suhur." Then he narrated from Hammad ibn Salamah from Abu Hurayrah, that he heard the call to the prayer whilst a cup was in his hand and he said, "I acquired it by the Lord of the Ka'bah."

He then narrated from Ibn Jarir, from Ibn 'Abbas, that he said, "Allah permits drinking as long as you have doubts." Then Ibn Hazm narrated from 'Ikrimah that Ibn 'Abbas said, "I have doubts by Allah, give me something to drink." And he drank. Then he narrated with his chain from Makhul al-Azdi, that he said, "Ibn 'Umar took a container of Zamzam and said to two men, 'Has the dawn begun?' One of them said, 'It has began,' and the other said, 'No it hasn't,' so Ibn 'Umar drank."

He narrated with his chain, from Habban ibn Al-Harith that he had his Suhur with 'Ali ibn Abi Talib and both of them intended to fast, and after he finished he told the Mu'adhdhin to do the Iqamah for the Salah.

He also narrated with his chain from Ibn Abi Shaybah from 'Amir ibn Matar that he said, "I came to 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud, in his house, and he took out for us his leftover Suhur. We had our Suhur with him and the Salah started. We came out and we prayed with him."

Also from Khubayb ibn 'Abdur-Rahman that he said, "I heard from my aunty that she accompanied the Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) and that he said, 'Ibn Umm Maktum used to call to the Salah at night, so eat and drink until Bilal calls it. And Bilal sometimes calls at night so eat and drink until ibn Umm Maktum calls it.' One of them used to come down and the other used to come up, and she said, 'We used to hold on to him asking him to wait until we had eaten our Suhur.'"

It is narrated from Muhammad ibn 'Ali ibn Al-Husayn: "Eat until the Fajr become clear to you."

It is narrated from Al-Hasan: "Continue to eat as long as you are in doubt."

It is narrated from Ibn Mijlaz: "The high (light in the sky) is the false dawn but the true one is clear and horizontal."

It is narrated from Ibrahim an-Nakha'i: "The horizontal and red (light) permits the prayer and forbids food."

It is narrated from Ibn Jurayj that he said to 'Ata', "Do you dislike it if I drink whilst I am at home and I am not sure if the Fajr has begun?" He said, "There is no problem with that. This is a matter of doubt."

On the authority of Ibn Abi Shayba who said, "Abu Mu'awiyah told us while we were with Al-A'mash, on the authority of Muslim, that he said, 'They were not considering the Fajr as your Fajr; they consider the Fajr when it fills the houses and streets.'"

It is narrated from Abu Wa'il, that he had his Suhur and he went to the mosque and the Salah has started.

It is narrated from Ma'mar, that he delayed the Suhur so much, that the ignorant would say that his fast was invalid.

'Ali (ibn Hazm) said, "We have mentioned in this subject those who had their Suhur thinking it is night but it was day and they did not believe that they had to make it up."

Abu Bakr, 'Umar, 'Ali, Ibn 'Umar, Ibn 'Abbas, Abu Hurayrah, Ibn Mas'ud, Hudhayfah, the Aunt of Khubayb, Zayd ibn Thabit and Sa'ad ibn Abi Waqqas are eleven Companions – it is not known from any other of the Companions that they differed with them on this, may Allah be pleased with all of them. The only thing we see is a weak narration on the authority of Makhul from Abu Sa'id al-Khudri but they never met one another (thus the narration is weak), and also on the authority of Yahya al-Jazari from Ibn Mas'ud but they also never met one another.

From the Tabi'in (the second successive generation after the Prophet) in support of the above: Muhammad ibn 'Ali, Abu Majliz, Ibrahim, Muslim, the students of Ibn Mas'ud, 'Ata', Al-Hasan al-Basri, Al-Hakam ibn 'Utaybah, Mujahid, 'Urwah ibn Az-Zubayr and Jabir ibn Zayd.

The Sunan of Abu Dawud and its Explanation

Abu Dawud reported, on the authority of 'Abdullah ibn Sawadah al-Qushayri, from his father who said that he heard Samurah ibn Jundub giving a speech saying, "The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said:

'Let the Adhan of Bilal not prevent you from your Suhur, nor the whiteness of the horizon which is like this i.e. vertical, until it spreads across everywhere (yastatir).' "

This was also narrated by Muslim and An-Nasa'i. Al-Khattabi said, "The meaning of yastatir is when the dawn covers the horizon and its light spreads there."

The poet said, "It was easy to the sons of Lu'ay … a mustatir (spread) flame in Al-Buwayrah."

Abu Dawud also narrated from 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud that he reported that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said:

"Let not the Adhan of Bilal prevent you from your Suhur because he calls the Adhan in order that those of you who are awake (and praying) can now rest and those who are asleep can wake up; and the dawn is not like this." Yahya al-Qattan put his hands together and he pointed with his two fingers. This is narrated by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

'Adiyy ibn Hatim narrated that when this ayah was revealed: "Eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct from the black," he said, "I took black and white threads, and I put them under my pillow, and I looked and I couldn't distinguish between them. I mentioned that to the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) and he laughed, and said, 'Your pillow must be so wide and long then! This is referring to the night and the day.'"

'Uthman ibn Abi Shaybah said, "It is the darkness of the night, and whiteness of the day." This is narrated by Al-Bukhari, Muslim, At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa'i.

Shaykh Shams ud-Din ibn Al-Qayyim rahimahullahsaid:

This hadith was criticised by Ibn Al-Qattan who he said that there is some doubt in the continuity of its chain. He said that because Ibn Dawud said that 'Abdul-A'la ibn Al-Hammal, said, I think, "On the authority of Hammad, from Muhammad ibn 'Amr from Abu Hurayrah and then he mentioned the hadith."

An-Nasa'i narrated from Zirr that he said: We said to Hudhayfah, "What time did you have your Suhur with the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam)?" He said, "It was daytime but the sun had not come out yet."

There are different opinions in this matter:

The first opinion has been articulated by Ishaq ibn Rahway who narrated from Waki' that he heard Al-A'mash say, "If I was not afraid of becoming famous, I would pray Fajr then have my Suhur." Then Ishaq mentioned from Abu Bakr as-Siddiq and Hudhayfah similar to that, and then he said, "They did not used to see any difference between the time for eating and the time for the obligatory prayer." This is the end of Ishaq's statement. This has also been narrated from Ibn Mas'ud. (So in summary, the first opinion is that one can eat and drink until just after Fajr has actually started, and not just that the time has "begun", but after the adhan and iqamah etc.)

The second opinion: most of the scholars are of the opinion that one is to stop the Suhur by the beginning of Fajr, and this is the opinion of the four Imams and most of the scholars of different countries and something of similar meaning has been narrated by 'Umar and Ibn 'Abbas.

The people with the first opinion have used the statement of the Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam), "And eat and drink until ibn Umm Maktum gives the Adhan." It is known that he was not giving the Adhan until Fajr had already begun. That is in Al-Bukhari and in some narrations it states: "He was a blind man and he was not giving the Adhan until it was said to him that, 'The Fajr has begun! The Fajr has begun!'"

These people say the day begins when the sun rises (meaning that one can eat into the Fajr time).

The majority on the other hand used the verse: "Eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct from the black." Also the statement of Muhammad (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam), "Eat and drink until Ibn Umm Maktum gives the Adhan," and his statement, "There are two Fajrs: the first one does not prohibit food and does not permit the prayer and the second prohibits food and permits the prayer." Narrated by Al-Bayhaqi in his Sunan.

They also said that the hadith of Hudhayfah is faulty and that the fault is that it is Mawquf (a statement of a Companion alone), and that is Zirr is the one who had his Suhur with Hudhayfah. This was mentioned by An-Nasa'i.

  • (Muhammad Taqi ud-Din said) I don't agree with that, because Hudhayfah said, "That's how I did it with the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam)," and this is Marfu' (a statement/event elevated to the Prophet).

Conclusion

Out of all these ahadith, we give Fatwa based on the middle opinion: that the true dawn which prohibits food on the fasting person and permits the prayer is as the Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: the red dawn, the one that whose whiteness is mixed with some redness and is horizontal in the horizon. It is the one which fills the houses and streets and the people do not differ between them about it, and all people can identify it. Any other dawn such as the one identified by the Moroccans is false, it doesn't prohibit food on the fasting person and doesn't permit the Fajr prayer.

We usually delay our Fajr prayer more than half an hour after the Moroccan time, until we can see the true dawn. This is what we worship Allah with and Allah says the truth and He guides us to the straight path. We ask Allah to show us the truth as truth and to help us to follow it and to show us the falsehood as falsehood and to help us to avoid it.

And all praise is due to the Lord of the Worlds.

I finished writing this before noon, Saturday the 4th of Shawwal 1394 (1974CE) after the migration of the Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam).

Translated by Kehlan Al-Jubury, Manchester, Monday 25 June 2012CE

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