Virtues of Ramadan: Hadith 07 (Suhoor)

Abdullah ibn Umar RA relates that Rasulullah (SAW) said:"Verily Allah and His Malaa'ikah (Angels) send Mercy upon those who eat Suhoor."

COMMENTARY How great is Allah's favour upon us that even the partaking of food before dawn for fasting is so greatly rewarded. There are many hadiths in which the virtues of Suhoor are expounded and the rewards mentioned.

Allaamah Ain RA, a commentator of Sahih Bukhari has quoted the virtues of Suhoor from seventeen different Sahabah RA and all the Ulama of the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama'ah are agreed on it being Mustahab (desirable).

Many people are deprived of the great reward granted for partaking in Suhoor because of their own laziness. Suhoor actually means partaking of food shortly before dawn. Some Ulama say that the time for Suhoor commences only after half the night has passed (Mirquat). Certain Ulama have divided the night into six portions, stating that the last one of these is the time of Suhoor, so that, when the night (from sunset till dawn) extends over twelve hours, then only the last two hours would be the correct time for Suhoor.

Thus, it must be remembered that to eat at the latest possible time is better and greater in reward than eating earlier, subject to the condition that no doubt remains as to whether Suhoor had been eaten before the time of dawn. The Ahaadith are full of the virtues of Suhoor.

Rasulullah (SAW) said: "The difference between our fasting and that of the Ahl-ul-Kitaab (Jews and Christians) lies in our partaking of food at Suhoor which they do not."

The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) has also said: "Eat Suhoor, because in it lie great blessings."

Another narration attrbuted to the Prophet (SAW) affirms: "In three things, are the great blessings: (1) in Jama'ah (company), (2) in eating Thareed, and (3) in Suhoor."

In the above Hadith, the use of the word Jama'ah is general, wherefrom we deduce that it includes Solat with congregation and all those righteous deeds done in company, because Allah's help comes to them. As with regards to Thareed, this is a tasty preparation, in which baked bread is cooked with meat. The third thing mentioned in this Hadith is Suhoor. Whenever Rasulullah (SAW) used to invite any of his Companions RA to eat Suhoor with him, he (SAW) used to say: "Come and partake of blessed food with me."

One Hadith mentions that Rasulullah (SAW) says: "Eat Suhoor and strengthen yourself for the fast. And sleep in the afternoon (siesta), so as to gain assistance in waking up in the latter portion of the night (for Ibadah)."

Abdullah bin Haarith RA reports that one of the Sahabah RA said: "I once visited Rasulullah (SAW) at a time when he was busy in partaking of Suhoor.

Rasulullah (SAW) then said: "This is a thing full of blessings, which Allah has granted you. Do not give it up." 

Rasulullah (SAW) in urging us repeatedly for the partaking of Suhoor has said: "Even though there be no food, then one date should be eaten or a drink of water taken."

Thus, when there are definitely great advantages and reward in Suhoor, Muslims should endeavour to observe this practice as much as possible. As always - as in all things, moderation is important, and going beyond the bounds of moderation is harmful. Thus, neither should so little be eaten that one feels weak throughout the period of fasting, nor should so much be eaten that it causes discomfort. Repeatedly, we have been prohibited from filling the stomach excessively. Pious scholars have given us a grand advice with regards to the eating during Suhoor. Thus - the amount to be eaten varies according to different persons and their activities. Foe example, for those who take part in heavy physical activities should not eat too little food at Suhoor and Iftaar, as this will be harmful, and hence for them it is better not to have too little but just enough. On the other hand, other people who have no such hard work to do should eat little at Suhoor, to obtain the spiritual benefit of fasting.

Once Rasulullah (SAW) announced to those proceeding for Jihad: "There is no virtue in fasting while travelling."

To explain - this incident occurred during the month of Ramadan, when some of the Sahabah RA were fasting.

Allamah Sha'raani RA have explained with regards to this: "A covenant was made with us that we shall not fill our stomachs (completely) when eating, especially in the nights of Ramadan."

It is better that one should eat less in the nights of Ramadan than on other nights. After all, what is the use of fasting after having filled oneself at Suhoor and at Iftaar?

There are stories of people such as Sahl bin Abdullah Tastari RA, who used to eat only once every fifteen days, and while in Ramadan he ate only one morsel; but in order to follow the Sunnah, he used to have a drink of water daily for Sahur and Iftar and Shaykh Junayd RA always used to fast throughout the year. However, when his noble friends would visit him occasionally, he used to break his fast and eat with them, saying: "The virtue of breaking fast and eating with (such noble) friends is not less than that of "Nafl" fasting."

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