: Sahoor (Pre-dawn) Meal

28-08-2010, 02:13 AM
What is Suhoor ?

Suhoor (Arabic: lit. of the dawn), also called Sehri, Sahari and Sahur in other languages, is an Islamic term referring to the meal consumed early in the morning by Muslims before fasting, sawm, in daylight hours during the Islamic month of Ramadan. The meal is eaten before the sun rises, and before the fajr or dawn prayer. Suhoor as the morning meal is matched by Iftar as the evening meal, during Ramadan, replacing the traditional three meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner), although in some places dinner is also consumed after Iftar later during the night. Being the only meal eaten by Muslims from dawn to sunset during the month of Ramadan, Suhoor typically tends to be heavy and is highly regarded by Islamic traditions to avoid crankiness or weakness caused by the fast. People have said not to not go right back to sleep after suhoor. Pray the morning prayer fajr

The Sahoor is Barakah (blessed)

Salmaan (R) said that the Messenger of Allah (S) said: Blessings are found in three things, the Group (Al-Jama'ah), Ath-thareed (a type of food) and As-Sahoor (the Pre-dawn meal)." [At-Tabaraanee, Abu Na'eem]

Abu Hurairah (R) said that the Messenger (S) of Allah (T) said: "Verily Allah placed Barakah (blessing) in the Sahoor (pre-dawn meal) and in perfect measurement (weighing)."[Ash-Shairazee]

'Abdullah Ibn Haarith said that one of the Sahabah (companion) said: 'I entered the house of the Messenger (S) whilst he was taking the Sahoor (pre-dawn meal), and he (S) said: "Indeed it (the Sahoor) is blessing that Allah has given to you so do not leave it out." [An-Nasaaee and Ahmad]

The reality that there are great blessings in the Sahoor (Pre-dawn meal) is very apparent because there is in it:

(a) the following of the Sunnah,
(b) it makes the fast easier upon the person who is fasting,
(c) it increases the desire in the person to want to continue to fast because of the ease upon the fasting person and
(d) there is also in it the principle of being different from the People of the Book because they are prohibited from taking the Sahoor (pre-dawn meal).

For this reason the Messenger of Allah (S) called it the blessed meal.

Allah (T) and the Angels send Salaah upon the people who take the Sahoor (pre-dawn meal)
The greatest blessing of the Sahoor (pre-dawn meal) may be that Allah (T) engulfs those who partake in it with His Forgiveness, showers His Mercy on them, while His angels ask of Him to forgive and pardon them.

Abu Sa'eed al-Khudree said that the Messenger (S) said: "Eating the Sahoor is blessed. Do not neglect it even if you take a gulp of water, because Allah and His angels invoke blessings upon those who partake in the pre-dawn meal." [Ahmad]

It is very important that the Muslim does not allow this great blessing from his Merciful Lord to escape him.

What is the best thing the Muslim can eat for Sahoor
The Messenger (S) said: "The best Sahoor for the believer is dates." [Abu Dawood, Al-Baihaqee and Ibn Hibbaan]

Note: If one does not find food to eat then a gulp of water would suffice as is substantiated in the hadeeth.

Delaying the Sahoor
It is recommended to delay the Sahoor (pre-dawn meal) till just before dawn. Zaid ibn Thaabit said: "We ate the Sahoor with the Messenger (S), then we got up to offer the Salaah (prayer - in this case the Fajr prayer). I asked "What was the time between the Adhaan (call to prayer) and the Sahoor?" He said: "(The time it would take) to recite fifty verses." [Bukhaaree and Muslim]

We note here that Zayd, who was to become one of the most renowned reciters of the Quran and the person to be entrusted with compiling its complete and standard version at the time of Abu Bakr, estimated the time of suhoor by reciting 50 verses. The Arabs at the time used to estimate time by certain familiar actions. They used to say that a certain action is done over the time it takes to milk a sheep, or to slaughter a camel, etc. Zayd, however, chose a different sort of action, which is the recitation of the Quran. This serves as an indication that that particular time should be devoted for worship. Moroever, the Quran was the most important thing in the life of that Muslim community. Its recitation was the most familiar of actions to them. To give an accurate estimation of time, Zayd suggested that their suhoor took place earlier than Fajr by the short time which it took to recite 50 verses.

We note that the Prophet chose the course which he knew was easiest for his companions. He realized that if he had his meal long before Fajr, his companions would have done likewise. Since that is not required by our faith, he left his meal to the latest time possible. His companions realized that and followed his guidance. Sahl ibn Saad, a companion of the Prophet, reports: I used to have suhoor with my family before going speedily to join Fajr prayer. My speed would be such that I managed to catch up with Gods Messenger when he was in his prostration, i.e. sujood. Again, this Hadith indicates that the Prophets companions left their suhoor very late. There was no time left between finishing suhoor and Fajr time. Sahl needed to go very fast to the mosque after finishing his meal, because if he did not walk fast he might have missed Fajr prayer with the Prophet. What the Prophets companions did serves as a good example for us to follow. They understood the Prophets guidance better than anyone else. They had the easy resource of checking with him anything of which they were uncertain. By following their example, we also will be following the Prophets guidance.

It must be known that it is allowed to eat, drink and have sexual relationship with one's spouse as long as one doubts and is uncertain that the dawn has started. Allah (T) and His Messenger (S) have made clear the criterion for establishing the Fajr, and this is what one is required to go by.

The Ruling for Sahoor
The Messenger of Allah (S) commanded that whoever wants to fast must take the Sahoor (pre-dawn meal). He (S) said: "Whoever wishes to fast, then let him eat something for Sahoor." [Ibn Abi Shaibah, Ahmad and others]

And he (S) also said: "Take the Sahoor because in the Sahoor is Barakah (blessings)."[Bukhaaree and Muslim]

Some people find it difficult to wake up at that early time in order to have a meal. They say that they prefer to go without it rather than interrupt their sleep. Be that as it may, they lose a great deal of blessings by sleeping through that time. They will have to wake up shortly afterward anyway if they want to do their duty and offer the dawn prayer. If they wake up for suhoor they make sure of praying Fajr at the beginning of its time range, which is far preferable. Moreover, if they allow themselves half an hour extra, they can have a short stint of night worship which is always one of the best rewarded acts of worship. It is far more so in Ramadan, when every good action is rewarded much more amply by God. The best schedule any Muslim can have in the nights of Ramadan is to wake up, say, an hour before dawn, and have half an hour or 40 minutes of night worship before having his suhoor meal. He can then go on to pray Fajr and, perhaps, recite some passages of the Quran before going back to sleep, if he wishes to do so. That makes his day and night very blessed indeed.

Then he (S) also prohibited the Muslims from neglecting it. He (S) said: "What differentiates our fast from the fast of the People of the Book is the Sahoor meal." [Ibn Abi Shaibah, Ahmad]

The Prophet explains to us that it is this meal that distinguishes our fasting from that of the people who received earlier divine messages. It is, therefore, a concession given to us by God so that we are better able to undertake the task of fasting throughout the day. When the Prophet indicated that something has become a distinctive mark of the Muslim community, that indication enhances its significance and makes it highly important for everyone to act upon it .