After a long day of fasting comes to an end, Muslims look forward to the sound of the Maghrib Athan, “Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar..” and are eager to break their fast. Fasting is an obligation upon Muslims, as ordained in Surah Baqarah,
شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ ٱلَّذِىٓ أُنزِلَ فِيهِ ٱلْقُرْءَانُ هُدًۭى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَـٰتٍۢ مِّنَ ٱلْهُدَىٰ وَٱلْفُرْقَانِ ۚ فَمَن شَهِدَ مِنكُمُ ٱلشَّهْرَ فَلْيَصُمْهُ ۖ وَمَن كَانَ مَرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍۢ فَعِدَّةٌۭ مِّنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ ۗ يُرِيدُ ٱللَّهُ بِكُمُ ٱلْيُسْرَ وَلَا يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ ٱلْعُسْرَ وَلِتُكْمِلُوا۟ ٱلْعِدَّةَ وَلِتُكَبِّرُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ عَلَىٰ مَا هَدَىٰكُمْ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ. ١٨٥
“The month of Ramadan is the one in which the Qur’ān was revealed as guidance for mankind, and as clear signs that show the right way and distinguish between right and wrong. So those of you who witness the month must fast in it.”Al Baqarah 2:185
For many this is a moment of both physical and spiritual celebration; a celebration because we have stayed away from food and drink for the entire day, knowing that we will be rewarded for it!
The way a Muslim begins and ends their fast is as crucial as the fast itself. When breaking the fast, it is important that a person is doing so correctly, whilst also following the etiquettes practiced by the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.
So how do we break our fast?
1. Breaking your fast at Sunset – Maghrib
The time for breaking the fast in Ramadan is at sunset, at the time of Maghrib prayer. You must not delay breaking your fast since Allah ﷻ has clearly stated in the Quran,
وَٱبْتَغُوا۟ مَا كَتَبَ ٱللَّهُ لَكُمْ ۚ وَكُلُوا۟ وَٱشْرَبُوا۟ حَتَّىٰ يَتَبَيَّنَ لَكُمُ ٱلْخَيْطُ ٱلْأَبْيَضُ مِنَ ٱلْخَيْطِ ٱلْأَسْوَدِ مِنَ ٱلْفَجْرِ ۖ ثُمَّ أَتِمُّوا۟ ٱلصِّيَامَ إِلَى ٱلَّيْلِ ۚ
“And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct to you from the black thread [of night]. Then complete the fast until night [i.e. sunset].”Al-Baqarah 2:187
This verse indicates that fasting starts from dawn and ends at sunset.
2. Breaking your fast with dates and water
The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ broke his fast with dates and water and so it is a Sunnah that Muslims follow.
This is based on a Hadith that states, “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ would break the fast with fresh dates before performing Salat. If there were no fresh dates then (he would break the fast) with dried dates, and if there were no dried dates then he would take a few sips of water” .At-Tirmidhi
This tradition is still followed by many Muslims today, in all places around the world. That’s why all the grocers get out their date baskets as soon as Ramadan begins!
3. Being grateful
Breaking the fast is a moment of great joy and relief for Muslims. It is an opportunity to express gratitude to Allah ﷻ for His blessings and to remember those who are less fortunate. It is also a moment for Muslims to be hopeful of the reward that Allah ﷻhas promised for the fasting person.
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Every good deed of the son of Adam will be multiplied manifold. A good deed will be multiplied ten times up to as many as seven hundred times, or as much as Allah wills. Allah ﷻ says: ‘Except for fasting, which is for Me and I shall reward for it. He gives up his desire and his food for My sake.’ The fasting person has two joys, one when he breaks his fast and another when he meets his Lord. The smell that comes from the mouth of a fasting person is better before Allah than the fragrance of musk.”Ibn-Majah
4. Reciting the Dua for breaking your fast
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ would recite the following Dua after breaking his fast as a way of expressing gratitude to Allah ﷻ.
“ ذَهَبَ الظَّمَأُ وَابْتَلَّتِ الْعُرُوقُ وَثَبَتَ الأَجْرُ إِنْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ ”
Dhahab at-dhama’ wa’b tallati al-’urooqu wa thabata al-ajr Inshallah.
“Thirst has gone, the arteries are moist, and the reward is sure, if Allah wills.”Sunan Abi-Dawud
You can stick this Dua on your fridge to remind you to read it everyday!
5. Breaking your fast with good company
Muslims are encouraged to break their fast in the company of others and to share their food with those who are less fortunate.
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Whoever provides the food for a fasting person to break his fast with, then for him is the same reward as his (the fasting person’s), without anything being diminished from the reward of the fasting person.”At-Tirmidhi
Many people practise this Sunnah by inviting family and friends for iftar, attending community Iftars at the local Masjid or sharing food around the neighbourhood. These community activities create an amazing and fulfilling atmosphere in Ramadan, filled with brotherhood and sisterhood.
Written by Aishah Navaid