26 Mar, 2023 | Sunday 4-Ramadan-1444

The Lawgiver highly recommended the rule that the fast be broken as soon as the sun sets is certain. Although newspapers, in their daily almanac, mention the time of sunset and sunrise, one should be strongly advised to look through the window to make sure the sun has set. For example, you might hear that "Today's sunrise is at 6:50 a.m. and sunset at 4:58 p.m.," and when you look outside, you find that there is still light outside. By sunset, it is meant the disappearance of the sun from the western horizon.

In the books of Bukhari and Muslim, the Messenger of Allah (saas) said: "The people will always remain in a good state of mind and body (during fast) so far as they hurry in the breaking of the fast and delay the sehri."

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 the fasting, and whenever food is available you should eat.

In a report by Anas (raa), he said: "The Prophet (saas) used to break the fasting 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 the 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 phenomena have evolved in the different masjids and Islamic Centers in the United States of America and elsewhere, where arrangements are made by the believers to break the fasting in em>jama'ah in the masjid. These gatherings are excellent and are encouraged as they lead to Taraweeh prayer in Jamaa`ah in the masjid.