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Iftaar is not about Feasting

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Q. Please advise on making the iftaar in the Sunnah way.

 

A. Fasting is an act of Ibaadat which has rules which the Shariah explains in detail. Fasting is not mere abstention from food, water and sexual relations. In addition to the physical fasting, is the spiritual fasting which completes and perfects the Fast. The spiritual dimension of Fasting demands abstention from haraam, mushtabah (doubtful acts), futility anger, abuse, impatience, etc. Nonsensical acts (futility) are all such acts and statements which are devoid of any worldly and Aakhirah benefit. The ultimate consequence of indulgence in futility is indulgence in haraam.

 

Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Often for a fasting person there is nothing in his fast except hunger.” His fasting is like an animal which is restrained from eating and drinking. He does not abstain from sin, lies, nonsensical talk, etc. In this way he totally ruins this wonderful ibaadat of Saum (fasting). One of the Masnoon ( Sunnat Acts) of Fasting is to make Iftaar (break the fast) in the way Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) instructed us to observe Iftaar. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Whoever finds dates should break the fast with it, and whoever has no dates, should make iftaar with water.” In another Hadith it is mentioned: “Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) used to break the fast with three dates or with something which the fire did not touch (i.e. it was not prepared or it was an uncooked item).”

 

Feasting – eating pies, samoosas, drinking haleem and devouring plates of food at the time of Iftaar and inordinately delaying the Maghrib Salaat are in conflict with the Sunnah. The thawaab and benefits of the Fast – both spiritual and physical – are substantially reduced by violating the Sunnah method. The dates could be simply taken during the duration of the Athaan or while the Muath-thin is making Iftaar just prior to the Athaan. The Athaan is recited after sunset, that is when it is time to break the fast. So everyone may commence breaking their fast when the Muath-thin makes Iftaar just before entering the Minaret for Athaan. Iftaar time is a time when duas are readily accepted.

 

 

 

Q. What is the Sunnah way of breaking the fast in Ramadhan?

 

A very important act related to Saum (Fasting) is Iftaar or to break the fast at its appropriate time. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) emphasised the importance and the virtues of correct observance of Iftaar. Correct observance of Iftaar means to observe it in the Sunnat way. Although Iftaar is ostensibly a mundane act of eating some food, it is an ibaadat of much thawaab (reward) as well. However, Iftaar will be bereft of its spirituality and ibaadat dimension if it is not observed in the Masnoon manner.

 

It should be well understood that Iftaar is not feasting. It is not an act to discharge gluttonously or with impatience. It is a spiritually pleasurable act or should be so. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said that the Saa-im (the fasting person) experiences two moments of happiness or pleasure. The one moment is when he makes Iftaar and the other moment will be the occasion when he meets his Rabb (in the Aakhirah).

 

This pleasurable exercise should not be contaminated and ruined with greed and impatience when it is time to end the fast. The Masnoon method of breaking the fast is to eat some dates or to drink some water. It should not be transformed in a veritable feast with heavy foods as has become the norm in most places. Instead of the light Iftaar which was the practice of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and his Sahaabah, people have developed the greedy and impatient habit of stuffing their bellies with food of a variety of kinds while the Athaan is in progress. They are consequently deprived of the thawaab of responding to the Athaan. They suffer the loss of the Sunnat acts of responding to the Athaan and of the Masnoon light Iftaar which is not only spiritually beneficial but which is physically beneficial as well. The sudden avalanche of food which descends into the stomach which has become contracted as a result of the day-long abstention from food and water, leads to disorders in the body. The repercussion of such disorders can be severe and very harmful for even the physical health.

 

The excessive feasting at the time of Iftaar leads to spiritual lethargy, indigestion and delay in beginning of the Maghrib Salaat. To gain the best rewards of Iftaar, spiritual and physical, it is necessary to break the fast with only some dates or water. The Maghrib Salaat should then commence almost immediately after the Athaan, perhaps three or four minutes after the Athaan, not 10, 15 and even 20 minutes after the Athaan as has been observed in some places where people feast like gluttons. In this way, they detract from the benefits of the Saum. The best results of ibaadat can be acquired only if the proper Masnoon method is adopted.

Relaible fatwas.com

 

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