What are the Rules of Fasting during Ramadan

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). Ob­viously, 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 (Adab As-Siyam). Observation of these rules helps the devotee maximize the physical as well as spiritual benefits of fasting.

They are:

Sahuur (Sehri)

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 bless­ing.”

In another report by Miqdam bin Ma'a Diyikarib (raa) the Mes­senger of Allah (saas) said:
“Take this early morning meal for it is a blessed meal.”

In both hadiths 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.

Iftar

It is recommended also to break the fast with fresh dates, rutub, and in odd numbers, or tamr, regular table or supermarket dates, or water. If dates are not available, any fruit will do. If there is no food or drink to break the fast with, intend in your heart to break fast, and whenever food is available you should eat.

In a report by Anas (raa), he said:
“The Prophet (saas) used to break fast with fresh, ripe dates rutub, before he offered his Maghrib prayer. If they were not available, he would break with regular dates, or drink water if there were no dates.” (Abu Dawud Tirmidhi)

In this report, there is an indication that with the Messenger of Allah (saas) breaking fast precedes evening prayer, Maghrib, as if to say the last meal before fast precedes the morning prayer. Likewise, the first meal at the time of iftaar, the fast breaking meal, precedes evening prayer, Maghrib. Hence, the procedure at Iftaar goes like this: break with a light meal, pref­erably dates, make Iqamah for Maghrib prayer, then take your regular meal.

The meal, may be taken with the family at home, or friends and relatives may be invited to the Iftaar as we shall see that chari­table works are highly recommended in the month of Ramadan. Over the years phenomenon have evolved in different masajid, and Islamic Centers in the United States of America and else­where, where arrangements are made by the believers to break fast in jama'ah in the masajid. These gatherings are excellent and are encouraged as they lead to Taraweeh prayer in Ja­maa`ah in the masjid.

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