Ramadhan
Typography

Allah, the Most High, says:

" ... Eat and drink until the white thread becomes distinct to you from the black thread of the dawn. Then resume the fast till nightfall ... " [Al-Qur'an 2:187]

It was narrated that Adi ibn Hatim, may Allah be pleased with him, said when the following verses were revealed:

" ... until the white thread becomes distinct to you from the black thread," that he took two strands of hair, one black and the other white, and kept them under his pillow and went on looking at them throughout the night but could not make anything out of it. So, the next morning he went to Allah's Messenger, peace be upon him, and told him the whole story. He explained, "that verse means the darkness of night and the whiteness of dawn." [Recorded by al-Bukhari]

It was also narrated by Sahl ibn Saud, may Allah be pleased with him, that when the following verse was revealed:

" ... Eat and drink until the white thread becomes distinct to you from the black thread ... " and "of the dawn" was not revealed, some people who intended to fast, tied black and white threads to their legs and went on eating till they differentiated between the two. Allah then revealed the words, "of the dawn", and it became clear that meant night and day. [Recorded by al-Bukhari]

What is the Interval Between the End of the Suhur and the Dawn Prayer?

Zayd ibn Thabit, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "We took the suhur with the Prophet, peace be upon him. Then he stood for the prayer. I asked: What is the interval between the suhur and the call to prayer? He replied:

'The interval is sufficient to recite fifty verses of the Qur'an.' " [Recorded by al-Bukhari]

The Suhur is a Blessing but it is not Compulsory

For the Prophet, peace be upon him, and his Companions observed fasting continuously for more than one day and (of course) no suhur was taken (during that prolonged fast).

'Abdullah, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, observed fasting for days continuously and the people also did the same but it was difficult for them. So, the Prophet forbade them from doing this. They said, "But you observe fast without break (no food was taken in the evening or in the morning)." The Prophet, peace be upon him, replied:

"I am not like you, for I am provided with food and drink (by Allah)." [Recorded by al-Bukhari]

The Prophet, peace be upon him, also said:

"Take suhur as there is a blessing in it." [Recorded by al-Bukhari]


The Suhur is a Distinctive Mark with which Allah has Blessed the Muslim Ummah

The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said:

"The difference between our observance of fasting and that of the people of the Scriptures is the suhur." [Sahih Muslim]

There are Blessings in the Suhur

The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said:

"Indeed Allah placed blessing in the suhur and in the weighing of grain." [This statement is graded hasan as recorded in al-Jami' as-Saghir]

He, peace be upon him, also said:

"Eat suhur, for there are blessings in it." [Recorded by al-Bukhari and Muslim]

The Prophet, peace be upon him, also said:

"There is blessing in three: The jama'ah [the congregation of the Muslims], the tharid [a broth of crumbled bread and meat] and the suhur." [Recorded by at-Tabarani and Abu Nu'aym]

A Companion reported that he entered upon the Prophet, peace be upon him, whilst he was taking the suhur and he said:

"It is a blessing which Allah has given to you, so do not leave it." [Ahmad and an-Nisa'i]

The Prophet, peace be upon him, further said:

"Come to the blessed morning meal." [Ahmad, an-Nisa'i and Abu Dawud]

Perhaps the greatest blessing of this meal is that Allah, the Most High, covers the people eating it with His forgiveness and sends His Mercy upon them. The angels ask for forgiveness for them and supplicate to Allah to pardon them, so that they may be granted freedom from the Fire by the Most Merciful in the month of the Qur'an.

Allah and His Angels Send Blessings for those who take the Suhur

Allah's Messenger, peace be upon him, said:

"Taking the pre-dawn meal in Ramadhan is a blessing, so do not leave it, even by drinking a mouthful of water. For Allah, the Noble and the Mighty, and His angels send blessing over those who have taken the pre-dawn meal." [Ahmad]

Taking the Suhur Hurriedly

It was narrated that Sahl ibn Saud, may Allah be pleased with him, used to take suhur meals with his family and then hurry to present himself at the dawn prayer with Allah's Messenger, peace be upon him. [Recorded by al-Bukhari]

The Call to Prayer Should not Stop You from taking Suhur

'A'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, reported that Bilal used to pronounce the call to prayer at night, so Allah's Messenger, peace be upon him, said:

"Carry on taking your meals till Ibn Umm Maktum prnounces the call to prayer, for he does not pronounce it till it is dawn." [Recorded by al-Bukhari]

Ibn 'Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, had two mu'adhdhin: Bilal and Ibn Umm Maktum. The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said:

"Bilal proclaims the call to prayer at the end of the night, so eat and drink till Ibn Umm Maktum pronounces it.''

Ibn 'Umar added:

"And the gap between their calls to prayer was not more than the time spent in one's getting down and the other's climbing (the minaret)." [Recorded by al-Bukhari and Muslim]

We learn from this tradition that in the days of the Prophet, peace be upon him, there used to be two call to prayers in the morning. The first was meant to warn the people who were taking the suhur meals that the time for the suhur was about to finish and they should make preparation for fajr prayer. Soon after that there was a second by another, which signified that the time for food was finished and people should attend to the prayer.

So far, the question of time between the two calls is concerned, the scholars have stated that after announcing the call, Bilal used to be engaged in prayer, etc., and waited for the daybreak. When the time for the daybreak drew near, he would then come down and inform Ibn Umm Maktum who would then make ablutions, and proceed the call at the beginning of the daybreak.

When Any of You Hears the Summons to Prayer While He has a Vessel in His Hand

The Prophet, peace be upon him, said:

"When any of you hears the summons to prayer while he has a vessel in his hand, he should not lay it down till he fulfils his need." [Reported in the Sunan of Abu Dawud]

Shaykh Muhammad Nasir ud-Din al-Albani explained:

Indeed there is an authentic statement reported from the Prophet, peace be upon him, which shows the ease afforded by Islam, to be counted as one of the principles of Islam, which the Muslims are proud of, especially with regard to the matter of fasting, since Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, concluded the verses concerning fasting with His Saying:

"Allah desires ease for you, and He does not desire to make things difficult for you."

So from this ease is the Prophet's saying:

"If one of you hears the call to prayer and the vessel is in the hand of one of you, then let him not put it down until he fulfils his need from it."

The vessel containing food, whether it be milk, some drink, water, anything which a person may take as suhur, and he hears the call to prayer, then he should not say that the food is forbidden due to the call being heard. The person who has had enough, it is not allowed for him to then have anymore, whether it be a drink, or some fruit, when he has had his fill of whatever he was eating.

But as for the one who hears the call and he has not yet taken what he needs from the food and the drink, then the Messenger, peace be upon him, made that lawful for him. So he clearly said, in the clear and eloquent Arabic language:

"If one of you hears the call to prayer and the vessel is in the hand of one of you, then let him not put it down until he fulfils his need from it."

And what is meant here by the call is the second call. It is not the first, which they wrongly call that of imsak (i.e. withholding). We must know that there is no basis for calling the first call, the call for withholding (imsak).

The second call is when we are to withhold, and this is clearly stated in the Qur'an, since Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, says:

"And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes clear to you from the black thread of the night."

So eating becomes forbidden at the start of the time of the fajr prayer. There is no separation between these two things. There is no withholding from food and drink for a quarter of an hour, or less than that, or more than that, before the start of the time for the fajr prayer. Not at all because the prayer becomes due when the true dawn appears, and food becomes forbidden for the fasting person when the true dawn appears. So there is no separation between these two matters at all.

So therefore there occurs in the tradition agreed upon by al-Bukhari and Muslim, from the statement of Ibn 'Umar, that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said:

"Let not the call of Bilal deceive you because he gives it in order to awaken the person who is sleeping, and so that the person who wishes to eat the pre-dawn meal can do so. So eat and drink until Ibn Umm Maktun gives his call."

Ibn Umm Maktun, whose name was 'Amr, was a blind man, and he was the one about whom the saying of Allah, the Exalted and Most High, came down:

"He frowned and turned away, that a blind man had come to him ... "

So he used to give the second call, the call which means that eating becomes prohibited and that it is now time for the fajr prayer.

How did he used to give the call to prayer when he was blind? This is a question, which naturally occurs to some people. He used to climb on the roof of the mosque, but he could not see the dawn, so he would wait until someone passing by saw the dawn. So when someone saw that the dawn had appeared and spread across the horizon, they would say to him, It is morning. It is morning. Then he would give the call.

So you will notice here that the call to prayer of 'Amr was after the fajr had appeared, and had been seen by the people whilst they were walking in the streets. So when it was said to him, "It is morning. It is morning," he would give the call.

So therefore there is latitude in the affair, since the one who calls to prayer would be delayed in giving the call until he heard the people telling him, "It is morning, it is morning." And then Allah's Messenger, peace be upon him, said:

"If one of you hears the call to prayer and the vessel is in the hand of one of you, then let him not put it down until he fulfils his need from it."

So Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, spoke truly when He said at the end of those verses related to fasting:

"Allah desires ease for you, and He does not desire to make things difficult for you."

And:

" ... that you should complete the number of days, and that you should glorify Allah by mentioning takbir for His having guided you, and that you should be thankful."

So therefore from the fiqh that is to be criticised, and which runs contrary to this sunnah, is that a person says, "If someone hears the call to prayer and has some food in his mouth, then he must spit it out." So this is over strictness, and exceeding the limits in the religion (ghulu), and the Lord of all of the creation admonished us, and reminded us in His Book and in the Sunnah of His Prophet, peace be upon him, that we should not exceed the due limits in our religion. So He said, in the Noble Qur'an:

"O People of the Book! Do not exceed the limits in your religion, and do not say anything about Allah except the truth."

And our Messenger said to us:

"Beware of exceeding the limits in the religion because those who came before you were destroyed by their exceeding the limits in their religion."

So Allah's Messenger, peace be upon him, has made it clear to us that there is latitude and a margin of ease in the matter of a person's taking suhur, to the extent that he said:

"If one of you hears the call to prayer and the vessel is in the hand of one of you, then let him not put it down until he fulfils his need from it."

And Allah knows best.

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Be Mindful O Mankind!

Whoever has self respect does not give any value to the worldly life (dunya).
Muhammad ibn Al-Hanifiyyah (d. 81H), may Allah have mercy upon him