As-Sunnah Vol. 2 Issue No. 7


Duration of fasting

The fast has to be observed from the appearance of Fajr until daytime ends and night begins, i.e. from dawn (sunrise) to dusk (sunset). Allah says in the Qur'aan, “And eat and drink until the white thread (i.e., light, whiteness of dawn) appears to you distinct from the black thread (i.e., darkness of night)." [ (2): 187]

The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) explained, “The Fajr is two Fajrs; as for the first Fajr, it does not make food forbidden, nor does it make the prayer lawful. As for the second, it makes food forbidden and the prayer lawful." [Reported by Ibn Khuzaimah (3/210), al-Hakim (1/191- 495), ad-Daaraqutnee (2/165) and al-Baihaqee (4/261) by way of Sufyan, from Ibn Juraij, from Ataa, from Ibn Abbas and its isnaad is saheeh. It has a supporting witness from Jabir reported by al-Hakim (1/191), al-Baihaqee (4/ 215) and ad-Daaraqutnee (2/165) and they differ about its being mawsool or mursal, and it has a third witnessing narration from Thawbaan reported by Ibn Abee Shaibah (3/27)]

1. The False (the first) Fajr is the rising vertical column of whiteness that appear looking like the tail of a fox.
2. The True (the second) Fajr is the horizontally spreading reddishness, which can be seen above the mountain passes and tops, which spread its light throughout the roads, streets and houses.
Talq Ibn Alee (radhi allahu anahu) related that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said, “Eat and drink and do not let the tall vertical brightness deceive you, but eat and drink until the reddish one spreads horizontally for you." [(Saheeh) at-Tirmidhee (3/76)]

If there is a Cup of Water in Your Hand, then drink it at ease, even if you hear the nidaa (call for prayer), since it is an allowance from Allah, the Most Merciful, for His fasting servants. The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said, “If one of you hears the nidaa (call) and the drinking vessel is in his hand, then let him not put it down until he has satisfied his need from it." [(saheeh) Musnad Ahmad (2/510)]
    An-Nidaa here means the second adhaan given for the appearance of the true dawn. This meaning is attested by the narration of Aisha (radhi allahu anha), who said, “Bilal used to pronounce the Adhan at night, so the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said, 'Carry on taking your meals (eat and drink) till Ibn Umm Maktum pronounces the Adhan, for he does not pronounce it till it is dawn.'" [Saheeh al-Bukharee]

Withholding from food before the appearance of the true fajr due to claims of taking precaution is a bidah (innovation). Al-Hafidh Ibn Hajr (rahimahullah) says in al-Fath (4/199), “One of the reprehensible innovations which have appeared in this time is to make the secondary adhaan about a third of an hour before Fajr in Ramadaan, and the extinguishing of lights, which is used as a sign indicating the forbiddance of eating and drinking for the one, intending to fast, claiming that what he has innovated is a precautionary measure to protect his worship...This has lead them to the stage, where they do not give adhaan until four minutes or so after the actual sunset, to make sure of the time as they claim. So, they delay breaking the fast and take suhoor early and act in contradiction to the Sunnah. Therefore, there is little good found in them and much evil and Allah's Aid is sought.”

Taken from As-Sunnah Newsletter -


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