Sunnas When Fasting

Bismi Llahir Rahmanir Rahim

by Naielah Ackbarali

There are specific actions that the Prophet ﷺ did while fasting, and there are actions that he  ﷺ encouraged others to do when fasting. His advice often relates to:

  • the pre-dawn meal (suḥūr),
  • the behavior of a fasting person,
  • or the breaking of the fast (ifṭār).

Unfortunately, in our times, several of these sunna actions have been left. The Prophet ﷺ warned us of fasts bereft of blessing when he ﷺ said, “There are people who fast and get nothing from their fast except hunger.” [ibn Majah]

The sunna is guidance for a spiritually hungry soul and it is what brings life to our worship. InshaAllah the person who acts upon the sunna will have more meaning in their fast and more reward with Allah Most High.

PRE-DAWN MEAL (SUḤŪR)

One of the most important sunna actions is eating the pre-dawn meal (suḥūr) because the Prophet ﷺ explicitly commanded it and stated that there is blessing (baraka) in it. [Bukhari] In fact, there are so many narrations by the Prophet ﷺ exhorting believers to partake in the pre-dawn meal that it causes one to wonder about its secret.

Some people sleep through suḥūr time and miss out on its blessing and reward. Eating a nutritious (suḥūr) can facilitate an easier fast. However, according to what is related from the Prophet ﷺ, one can merely eat a date or drink water and still gain the reward of suḥūr.

Other sunnas at this time include delaying the pre-dawn meal until a time closer to Fajr entering and to not eat earlier. Additionally, it is a sunna to stop eating before Fajr enters for the extent that it would take to recite fifty medium-sized verses. [Bukhari] This can be estimated to be about 10 to 15 minutes beforehand.

One may engage in tahajjud during this time or make du’a. The time before Fajr enters is a blessed time in which supplications are answered. The hope is that through waking up for the pre-dawn meal one will form a habit of engaging in worship at this time and continue with it after Ramadan is over.

Moreover, by waking up for the pre-dawn meal, one is almost guaranteed to pray Fajr inshaAllah.

DURING THE FASTING TIME

While one is fasting, it is from the sunna to be mindful of one’s outward character and treatment of others. The fasting person does not commit sins, complain about their fast, argue or use foul speech.

The Prophet ﷺ said that Allah Most High is not in need of a person’s fast if he commits false speech and acts upon it. [Bukhari] During the fast, one must avoid lying, backbiting, and all sins of the tongue.

If one feels provoked by another to react rudely, the Prophetic medicine is to restrain oneself and to simply tell the person, “I am fasting.” [Bukhari]

The Prophet ﷺ advised the Companions (Allah be pleased with them) to nap (qaylūla) during the fasting day so that it would provide energy for standing in prayer during the night. [ibn Majah]

He ﷺ also used the miswak while fasting. [Bukhari] The miswak is a wooden tooth stick that one uses to brush the teeth. A toothbrush (without toothpaste) can be used, but the pure sunna is to use the miswak.

BREAKING THE FAST (IFṬĀR)

The Prophet ﷺ emphasized that Muslims should hasten to break their fast when Maghrib enters and to not fast longer. [Bukhari] Previous nations ruined themselves through excessiveness in their religious practice. AlhamduliLlah, Islam is the middle way.

At the time of breaking the fast, he ﷺ would break it with fresh dates, and if there were none, then with dried dates, and if there were none, then with water alone. [Tirmidhi]

He would say specific supplications at this time and then hasten to pray the Maghrib prayer. [Muslim]

Some narrated supplications are:

اللَّهُمَّ لَك صُمْتُ وَبِكَ آمَنْتُ وَعَلَيْكَ تَوَكَّلْتُ وَعَلَى رِزْقِكَ أَفْطَرْتُ وَصَوْمَ الْغَدِ مِنْ شَهْرِ رَمَضَانَ نَوَيْتُ فَاغْفِرْ لِي مَا قَدَّمْتُ وَمَا أَخَّرْتُ

Allahumma laka ṣumtu wa bika aamantu wa ʿalayka tawakkaltu wa ʿalā rizqika afṭartu wa ṣawm al-ghadi min shahri Ramadan nawaytu faghfir lī mā qaddamtu wa mā akh-khartu

“Oh Allah, for You I fasted, and in You I believe, and on You I place my reliance, and on Your provision I break my fast. And I intend the fasting of tomorrow for the month of Ramadan. Forgive me for what I have done before and what I do after.”

 ذَهَبَ الظَمَأ وَابْتَلَتْ العُروقُ وَثَبَتَ الأَجْرُ إنْ شَاءَ الله

Dhahaba al-ẓamāʾ wa abtalat al-ʿurūq wa thabata al-ajr inshaAllaah

“Thirst is gone, the veins are moistened, and the reward is certain if Allah wills.”

اللهُمّ لَكَ صُمْتُ وعَلى رِزْقِكَ أفْطرْتُ

Allahumma laka ṣumtu wa ʿalā rizqika afṭartu

“Oh Allah for You I fasted and upon Your provision I break my fast.”

The Prophet ﷺ also encouraged the Companions (Allah be pleased with them) to feed other fasting people. He ﷺ said that the host would share in the reward of the fasting person’s fast, without diminishing anything from their reward for fasting. [Tirmidhi]

CLOSING THOUGHTS

The following is a basic summary of the sunnas:

May Allah Most High grant us the tawfiq to live up to all of these sunna actions during this Ramadan.

Check out our FREE Fasting For Women course for more details related to the rulings of fasting.


References included in article.

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