Importance of the Pre-Dawn Meal

Importance of the Pre-Dawn Meal

by | Jul 12, 2014 | Fasting | 0 comments

In the Name of Allāh, all praise is due to Allāh, praise and security be upon the Messenger of Allāh.

Difference Between Saḥūr and Suḥūr[1]

Saḥūr refers to the food which is eaten as a pre-dawn meal in preparation for fasting.

Suḥūr on the other hand refers to the action of eating the pre-dawn meal in preparation for fasting.

The word saḥūr is derived from al-saḥar which is the time just before Fajr.

Ruling

Anas [may Allāh be pleased with him] reported from the Prophet [praise and security of Allāh be upon him]:

“Whoever wants to fast then let him have something as a pre-dawn meal.”[1]

The apparent meaning of the ḥadīth indicates that it is obligatory to eat the pre-dawn meal. However, this obligation is deflected to being a highly recommended act instead because of the Prophet [praise and security of Allāh be upon him] practising wiṣāl [continuous fasting without breaking it].

Furthermore, Ibn al-Mundhir reports that there is ijmāʿ [consensus] on the fact that eating the pre-dawn meal is highly recommended and not an obligation.

Virtues

This strong encouragement from the Prophet [praise and security of Allāh be upon him] to eat the pre-dawn meal is further bolstered by him mentioning a number of virtues connected with it.

A Blessing

Firstly, eating the pre-dawn meal is a blessing as the following aḥādīth state:

Abū Hurayrah [may Allāh be pleased with him] reported from the Prophet [praise and security of Allāh be upon him]:

“Indeed Allāh made blessing in the pre-dawn meal and the dry measure.”[1]

Al-Miqdām b. Maʿd Yakrib [may Allāh be pleased with him] from the Prophet [praise and security of Allāh be upon him] who said:

“Incumbent upon you is the pre-dawn meal for indeed it is a blessed meal.”[2]

Khālid b. Maʿdān [may Allāh be pleased with him] said the Messenger of Allāh [praise and security of Allāh be upon him] said:

“Come to a blessed meal!” i.e. the pre-dawn meal.[3]

Anas [may Allāh be pleased with him] reported that the Messenger of Allāh [praise and security of Allāh be upon him] said:

“Eat the pre-dawn meal for indeed in the pre-dawn meal there is blessing.”[4]

How is it a blessing though?

The scholars mention the following ways in which the pre-dawn meal is a blessing:

  1. Following the Sunnah
  2. Being different to the People of the Book

ʿAbd Allāh b. ʿAmr [may Allāh be pleased with him] said the Messenger of Allāh [praise and security of Allāh be upon him] said:

 “The distinguishing feature between our fast and the fast of the People of the Book is the eating of the pre-dawn meal.”[1]

The Lawgiver does not want there to be resemblance with the disbelievers neither in acts of worship nor in customary practices. If a Muslim imitates the disbelievers in their worship, it would lead him to shirk and kufr. If a Muslim imitates them in customary practices by considering their actions and customs to be good, this would lead him to resembling them in internal matters from which he will be destroyed. [2]

3.Strengthens one for ʿibādah and increases energy

This is in contrast to one who does not eat the pre-dawn meal at all thereby losing a greater amount of strength and energy which could have been used for ʿibādah.

4. Allows one to give charity to whoever asks at the time[3]

5. Allāh descends to the lowest heaven at this time thus the supplication is more accepted

The scholars surmise that because the person is already awake at this time there is a chance the person could make duʿāʾ which is more likely to be answered due to the special time of night.

6. Attendance of Fajr Congregation[4]

As the person is already awake, it makes it easier to attend the masjid for Fajr. This is why we find more attendees at the Fajr prayer during Ramaḍān than any other month.

Ṣalāh of Allāh and His Angels upon the Person

Ibn ʿUmar [may Allāh be pleased with them both] said the Messenger of Allāh [praise and security of Allāh be upon him] said:

“Indeed Allāh and His angels send ṣalāh upon those who have the pre-dawn meal.”[1]

What does it mean though when Allāh sends His ṣalāh upon us and the angels send their ṣalāh upon us?

Imām Ibn Bāz [may Allāh have mercy upon him] explains[2]:

The ṣalāh of Allāh upon us means:

Allāh praises the His slave in front of the heavenly inhabitants and mentions his beautiful characteristics to the angels. It also includes Allāh’s mercy upon His slave and being kind and generous towards him.

The ṣalāh of the angels upon us means:

The angels supplicate to Allāh for that person and for Allāh to have mercy upon them.

The Best Time to Have the Pre-Dawn Meal

The Prophet [praise and security of Allāh be upon him] encouraged his Ummah to delay the pre-dawn meal as much as possible when he said:

“Break the fast early and delay the pre-dawn meal.”[3]

The Best Food to Eat

Abū Hurayrah [may Allāh be pleased with him] reported from the Prophet [praise and security of Allāh be upon him]:

“How excellent are dates as a pre-dawn meal for the believer!”[4]

The Minimum You Should Have

Abū Saʿīd al-Khudrī [may Allāh be pleased with him] said the Messenger of Allāh [praise and security of Allāh be upon him] said:

“The eating of the pre-dawn meal is a blessing, so do not leave it even if one of you takes a gulp of water, for indeed Allāh the Mighty and Exalted and His angels send ṣalāh upon those who eat the pre-dawn meal.”[5]

In Conclusion

  1. The saḥūr is the items of food one eats for the pre-dawn meal whilst suḥūr is the act of eating that pre-dawn meal.
  2. The Prophet [praise and security of Allāh be upon him] ordered his Ummah to eat the pre-dawn meal but despite this order it is not obligatory although it is highly recommended according to the consensus of the Ummah.
  3.  This strong encouragement from the Prophet [praise and security of Allāh be upon him] is understandable especially knowing the virtues of the suḥūr which are the fact that it is a blessing in numerous ways and that Allāh and His angels send ṣalāh upon those who eat saḥūr.
  4. The best time to have the pre-dawn meal is as late as possible.
  5. The best food to eat is dates.
  6. The minimum one should have is a gulp of water

Such was the encouragement of the Prophet [praise and security of Allāh be upon him] he urged us to drink even just a gulp of water to attain the wonderful blessings associated with the pre-dawn meal.

And all praise is due to Allāh.

 


[1] Al-Ṣaḥīḥah, no. 3409

[3] Al-Ṣaḥīḥah, no. 1773

[4] Al-Ṣaḥīḥah, no. 562

[5] Aḥmad, no. 11086

 


[1] Muslim no. 1096

[2] Tawdīḥ al-Aḥkām, 3:477

[3] The first 4 are mentioned by al-Ṣanʿānī in his Subul al-Salām, 6:120 in al-Ḥallāq’s edition.

[4] Points 5 & 6 are mentioned in Tawdīḥ al-Aḥkām, 3:473-4.

 


[1] Al-Ṣaḥīḥah, no. 1291

[2] Al-Ṣaḥīḥah, no. 3408

[3] Al-Ṣaḥīḥah, no. 2983

[4] Bukhārī, no. 1923 and Muslim no. 1095

 


[1] Al-Ṣaḥīḥah, no. 2309



[1] Tawdīḥ al-Aḥkām, 3:473ff

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