Sunni time of Iftar : Shia misconceptions eliminated


Sunni time of Iftar(breaking fast) : Shia misconceptions eliminated.

In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful.

The Ahlus-Sunnah(People upon Sunnah) or Sunni Muslims, differ with the Shi’ites in regards to time of breaking the fast. After fasting through the day, Sunni Muslims break their fast as soon as the Sun sets and is no longer visible on the horizon (although the sky is often still quite light). Shias wait longer, believing that their fast cannot be broken until the redness of the East is no longer visible, which occurs around ten to fifteen minutes after the actual sun disappears (and perhaps even longer depending on the region). There is a common misconception among the Shia Masses that Sunnis are breaking the fast or praying the Maghrib prayers “before” the time that has been stipulated by the Shari’ah, hence, their fasts are invalid. Therefore, in this article we would be presenting the evidences before the readers which would establish that the practice of Sunni Muslims regarding “iftar” is based on the teaching and Sunnah of the Prophet(SAWS), his family(RA) and his companions(RA), so that Shia misconceptions are eliminated and they take it as an invitation to follow the actual Sunnah/practice of Prophet Muhammad(S).

We have divided this article in the following sections:

(I). Meaning of “nightfall(al-layl)” in the Quranic verse.
(II). Sunni consensus upon breaking the fast after Sun-set.
(III). Shia Scholars who are in agreement with Sunni view.
(IV). Traditions from both Sunni and Shia books in support of Sunni view.
(V). Admission of Shia Scholars that the time of Maghrib starts with disappearance of Sun, but they delay it as a precaution.
(VI). Breaking fast on appearance of Stars was prohibited by Prophet Muhammad(S).
(VII). Sunnis are following Prophetic Sunnah in hastening to break the fast after Sun-set.
(VIII). Prophetic Sunnah is to break the fast before offering Maghrib prayer.

 

(I). Meaning of “nightfall(al-layl)” in the Quranic verse.

Allah(SWT) says in Quran: (ثُمَّ أَتِمُّوا الصِّيَامَ إِلَى اللَّيْلِ) “then complete your Sawm (fast) till the nightfall [al-layl]”. [al-Baqarah 2:187].

Al-layl(translated here as nightfall) in the language of the Arabs starts when the Sun sets.

(a). We read in the renowned classical Arabic dictionary, al-Qamoos al-Muheet: al-Layl(nightfall) : from the setting of the Sun until the break of the true dawn or sunrise. [al-Qamoos al-Muheet, vol 3, page 523].

(b). We read in another famous and one of the most comprehensive dictionaries of the Arabic language – Lisaan al-Arab: al-Layl(nightfall) : comes straight after the end of al-Nahaar(day), and starts when the sun sets. [Lisan al-Arab, vol 11, page 723].

(c). Imam Ibn Katheer(RAH) said in his commentary on this verse(2:187) :

The words of Allah “then complete your Sawm (fast) till the nightfall” imply that breaking the fast at the moment of sunset is a shar’i rule. [Tafseer al-Quran al-Azeem, vol 1, page 517].

In fact some commentators have pointed out that the use of the preposition “ila” (till) in this verse also implies hastening, because that preposition indicates reaching the end and achieving the goal.

(d). Allamah al-Tahir ibn Ashoor(RAH) said:

Ila al-layl (till the nightfall) means until one achieves that goal and reaches the night, and the preposition “ila” is chosen to indicate that one should hasten to break the fast when the sun sets, because the preposition “ila” means that the purpose is achieved then, unlike the preposition hatta (until). What is meant here is to indicate that the fast is completed when the night begins. [al-Tahreer wa’l-Tanweer, vol 2, page 184].

 

(II). Sunni consensus upon breaking the fast after Sun-set.

There is a consensus amongst Sunnis about breaking fast immediately after sun-set.

(a). Hafidh Ibn Hajar(RAH) stated:

The scholars are unanimously agreed that the time for that(breaking fast) is when it is established that the sun has set, by seeing it with one’s own eyes or by being informed of that by two witnesses of good character, or of one according to the correct opinion. [Fath al-Baari, vol 4, page 199].

(b). Imam an-Nawawi(RAH) said:

Maghrib comes immediately after the sun has set, and this is something on which there is consensus. Something concerning this was narrated from the Shi’ah to which no attention should be paid and which has no basis. [Sharh Muslim, by an-Nawawi, page 457].

(c). Similar was mentioned by Imam Tajuddin Umar bin Ali al-fakhihany(RAH) in [Riyaḍ al-afham fi sharḥ Umdat al-aḥkam, vol 3, page 450].

(d). And also by Imam Ibn alMulaqqin(RAH) in [al-I’lam bi-fawa’id Umdat al-aḥkam, vol 5, page 310].

Shia Argument:

Shiawebsite[Shiapen] stated:

We will end the dicussion on the words of Imam Ghazali stated in Ahya ul-Uloom, volume 1, page 335 (Dar ul Isha’at, Lahore):

“…the time for Maghrib prayer is when the sun is concealed from one’s vision. This concealment is meant to be in terms of going below the surface of the earth. In this case, one should wait till the darkness prevails over the horizon/sky”. {Screenshot}.

Response:

Shiawebsite “Shiapen” as it is infamous for it’s deceit and dishonesty, misquoted Imam al-Ghazali. Let us present what Imam al-Ghazali actually stated.

Imam al-Ghazali(Rah) stated:

“…the time for Maghrib starts when the Sun disappears from one’s vision. But this disappearance is to be relied when its plain land. If Sun is hidden behind mountains then this hiding won’t be relied upon, in this case one should wait till the darkness prevails over the horizon”. [Ihya Uloom al-Deen, vol 1, page 355 (Dar ul Isha’at, Karachi)] ; [Ihya Uloom al-Deen, vol 1, page 195 (Arabic)].

Therefore, as we can see Shiapen deceitfully chopped off an important portion from the quote of Imam al-Ghazali inorder to twist his statement in their favour, while in reality Imam al-Ghazali, mentioned the proper Sunni stance, that Maghrib starts when the Sun disappears from one’s vision when it’s plain land, and this is in contrast with the Shia stance. As for waiting till darkness prevails, this is in the case when Sun is hidden behind mountains, not in the general case where there is plain land.

 

(III). Shia Scholars who are in agreement with Sunni view.

Shia Scholars who are in agreement with Sunni view that Maghrib time starts with Sun-set(i.e disappearance of Sun’s disk from the horizon.

(a). Esteemed Shia Scholar al-Shareef al-Murtadha stated:
(وعندنا أن أول وقت المغرب مغيب الشمس) And for us, the initial time for Maghrib is the fall of the sun. [Masail al-Nasiriyyat, article 73, page 193].

(b). Esteemed Shia Scholar Baqir al-Majlisi stated:

The first time of praying Maghrib is after the sun has set as agreed upon by all, but they have differed on how to ascertain and confirm that the sun has set.

So the Shaykh(al-Tusi) in his Mabsut and Istibsar and Shaykh Ibn Babawayh in his Ilal and Shaykh Ibn al-Junayd and Sayyid (Shareef al-Murtadha) in some of his Masails have ruled that this (setting of the sun) can only be known and determined by looking out for the disappearance of the sun’s disk from the horizon. [Miraat al-Uqool, vol 15, page 37].

(c). Grand Shia Ayatollah Hussain al-Tabatabai Al-Barojardi narrated from the author of al-Da’a’im that he said: We narrated from Ahl al-Bayt — may the blessings of Allah be upon them all — that there was consensus concerning that which we learned from the reports from them, that the onset of night which makes it permissible for the fasting person to break the fast is the disappearance of the sun beneath the western horizon without any barrier which would prevent seeing it such as a mountain or wall and the like. When the disk disappears beneath the horizon, then the night has begun and it is permissible to break the fast. [Jaami’ Ahadeeth al-Shi’ah, vol 10, page 353].

Comment: So we find that some high ranking Shias(Alam al-Huda Shareef al-Murtadha, Ibn al-Junayd, etc) were in agreement with the Sunni position in regards to the timing of breaking fast. Infact, there was a consensus about this view from Ahl al-bayt.

 

(IV). Traditions from both Sunni and Shia books in support of Sunni view.

Traditions from both Sunni and Shia books which prove that the time of Maghrib starts with the Sun-set, when its disk disappears from the horizon.

Sunni Books:

(a). Narrated Abdullah bin Abi Aufa(RA) : We were in the company of the Prophet (SAWS) on a journey and he was fasting, and when the sun set, he addressed somebody, “O so-and-so, get up and mix Sawiq with water for us.” He replied, “O Allah’s Apostle! (Will you wait) till it is evening?” The Prophet (SAWS) said, “Get down and mix Sawiq with water for us.” He replied, “O Allah’s Messenger (SAWS)! (If you wait) till it is evening.” The Prophet (SAWS) said again, “Get down and mix Sawiq with water for us.” He replied, “It is still daytime.“(1) The Prophet (SAWS) said again, “Get down and mix Sawiq with water for us.” He got down and mixed Sawiq for them. The Prophet (SAWS) drank it and then said, “When you see night falling from this side, the fasting person should break his fast.” [Sahih al-Bukhari vol 3, page 111-112, #1955] ; [Sahih Muslim, vol 3, page 163-164, #1101].

Comment: The hadith clearly shows that, when Prophet(S) commanded his companion to prepare the meal, and there was still light of the day, the companion thought that the Sun had not set but still hidden behind a hill or it was cloudy and thus was not sure of the setting of the Sun. But what needs to paid attention is that, there was still light of the day light, after the Sun-set.

Imam Ibn Hajar(RAH) commented: 

This hadeeth indicates that it is mustahabb to hasten to break the fast and that it is not permissible to refrain from eating and drinking for any part of the night at all; rather as soon as it is established that the sun has set, it is permissible to break the fast. [Fath al-Baari, vol 4, page 197].

(b). Salama bin al-Akwa(RA) reported that the Messenger of Allah(SAWS) used to pray the Maghrib prayer when the sun had set and disappeared (behind the horizon). [Sahih al-Bukhari, vol 1, page 336, #561] ; [Sahih Muslim #636]

(c). Narrated Rafi bin Khadij(RA) : We used to offer the Maghrib prayer with the Prophet (SAWS) and after finishing the prayer one of us may go away and could still see as Par as the spots where one’s arrow might reach when shot by a bow. [Sahih al-Bukhari vol 1, page 335, #559] ; [Sahih Muslim #637].

(d). Anas bin Malik(RA) said: We used to offer the Maghrib prayer with the Prophet(SAWS) and then shoot arrows, one of us could see the place where arrow would fall. [Sunan Abu Dawood, vol 1, page 258, #416 : Sahih as per Zubair Ali Za’ee] ; [Sunan Abu Dawood, page 79, #416 : Sahih as per al-Albani].

(e). Abu’l-Darda(RA) said: “Three things are from characteristics of the Prophets: hastening to break the fast, delaying suhoor and placing the right hand on the left in prayer.”.  [Musannaf ibn Abi Shayba, vol 5, page 484-485, #9203: Sahih ; Also Sahih as per al-Albani in Sahih Jam’ee al-Sagheer, page 583, #3038].

(f). Narrated Umar bin Al-Khattab(RA) : Allah’s Messenger (SAWS) said, “When night falls from this side and the day vanishes from this side and the sun sets, then the fasting person should break his fast.” [Sahih al-Bukhari, vol 3, page 111, #1954] ; [Sahih Muslim, #1100].

Imam Ibn Hajar(RAH) commented on this report stating:

The phrase “When night falls from this side” means from the east, and what is meant is when darkness becomes discernible. In this hadeeth he mentioned three things, because even though they are interconnected in fact, they may appear not to be connected, and it may be thought that night is coming from the east when it has not yet come, because something is covering the light of the sun; the same is also true of the departure of day. Hence it is clarified by the words “and the sun sets”, as an indication that it is essential to confirm that night has come and day has gone, and that these events occur because of the setting of the sun and not for any other reason. [Fath al-Baari, vol 4, page 196].

Imam an-Nawawi(RAH) commented on this report stating:

The scholars said: each of these three things implies the other two and is interconnected with them. Rather he mentioned them together because a person may be in a valley and the like in such a way that he cannot see the setting of the sun, so he relies on the coming of darkness and the disappearing of daylight. [Sharh Muslim, by an-Nawawi, page 689].

(g). Narrated Abu Jamra Ad-Dabi: I have broken fast with Ibn Abbas(RA) in Ramadhan, so when Sunset would be nearing he would send a girl on the roof of the house. When the Sun would disappear(Sunset), she would inform, and upon that he(Ibn Abbas) would break his fast and we would do the same, when we would finish eating, prayer would be established, he would lead and we would pray with him. [Musannaf ibn Abi Shayba, vol 5, page 481, #9189: Sahih] ; Similar report is present in [Musannaf Abdur Razzaq, vol 4, page 58, #7731]

(h). Narrated Musa bin Anas: Anas(RA) used to send the female-servant on the terrace of his house and would tell her, if you find the horizon leveled(after sunsets) inform me.[Musannaf ibn Abi Shayba, vol 5, page 484, #9202 : Sahih].

(i). Narrated Ayman: I went to Abu Sa’eed Khudri(RA), when he broke his fast, I felt that the Sunset didn’t occur yet(due to the light after Sunset). [Musannaf ibn Abi Shayba, vol 5, page 483, #9195 : Sahih].

Abu Sa’eed Khudri(RA) broke his fast as soon as the Sun’s disk disappeared. [Sahih al-Bukhari, vol 3, page 111].

(j). Narrated Sa’eed bin Musayyib: Umar(RA) used to write letters to his governors stating that, don’t be from those who would delay breaking their fast and don’t delay the (Maghrib) prayer till the appearance of stars.[Musannaf ibn Abi Shayba, vol 5, page 482, #9192: Sahih ; Also Chain is Hasan(good) as per Zubair Ali Za’ee, See Muwatta Malik, page 484]. Similar report is present in [Musannaf Abdur Razzaq, vol 4, page 57, #7723].

(k). Narrated Qais: When the Sun set, Umar(RA) gave a cup to the man who was sitting beside him, and said: Drink it, then he said, May be you are from those who delay breaking the fast, who say, after sometime, after sometime? [Musannaf ibn Abi Shayba, vol 5, page 485, #9204 : Sahih] and [Also Chain is Sahih as per Zubair Ali Za’ee, See Muwatta Malik, page 484].

(l). Narrated Mujahid: I went to Ibn Umar(RA) with a glass at time of breaking fast. I was trying to hide it from the people, even though it wasn’t something to be shy. The reason for it was that, Ibn Umar(RA) used to breakfast swiftly(after Sunset). [Musannaf Abdur Razzaq, vol 4, page 57, #7727] ; Similar report is present in [Musannaf ibn Abi Shayba, vol 5, page 483, #9196: Sahih].

(m). Amr ibn Maymoon al-Awdi(RAH) said: The companions of Muhammad(SAWS) were the swiftest of people to break their fast and the latest in eating suhoor. [Musannaf Abdur Razzaq, vol 4, page 57. Ibn Hajar said its isnad is sahih. [Fath al-Bari, vol 4, page 199].

Shia Books:

(a). Reported to us my father, saying: Narrated to us Sa’d bin Abdullah, from Abu Ja’far Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Isa & Musa bin Ja’far bin Abi Ja’far al-Baghdadi, from Abu talib Abdullah bin As-salt al-Qummi, from al-Hasan bin Ali bin Faddaal from Dawood bin Abi Yazeed from al-Sadiq Ja’far bin Muhammad(AS) saying: When the sun sets, the time of Maghrib has entered. [al-Amaali by al-Sadooq, page 68, Ch #18, H #11]

(b). Ali bin Ibrahim from his father from Hamad bin Isa from Hariz from Zurara: Abu Ja’far(AS) said : The time for Maghrib is when the sun’s disk disappears so if you see it after a time and you had already prayed then repeat your prayer and continue your fast and stop eating if you had taken anything of food. [al-Kafi, vol 3, page 279] ; [Miraat al-Uqool, vol 15, page 39 : Hasan].

(c). A group of our companions from Ahmad bin Muhammad from Husayn bin Said from Nadhr bin Suwayd from Abdillah bin Sinan from Abu Abdillah(AS) : I heard Him(AS) say: The time for Maghrib is when the sun disappears and so disappears its disk(from the horizon). [al-Kafi, vol 3, page 280] ; [Miraat al-Uqool, vol 15, page 40 : Sahih].

(d). Abu Abdullah(AS) was asked about delaying Maghrib(prayer) until the appearance of stars? He(AS) said: (this is the belief of the) Khataabiyyah, Verily Jibra’eel revealed onto the Messenger of Allah(SAWS) (i.e. the start time of Maghrib is) when the disk (of the sun) has disappeared. [Tahdheeb al-Ahkaam, vol. 2, ch.13, page 258, hadeeth # 64 ;  al-Majlisi declared it as Muwaththaq(Reliable)Milaadh Al-Akhyaar, vol. 4, page 319].

(e). Reported to us, Muhammad bin al-Hasan bin Ahmad bin al-Waleed, from Muhammad bin al-Hasan al-Saffaar from al-Abbas bin Ma’roof from Ali bin Mehziyar from al-Hasan bin Sa’eed from Ali bin al-Nu’man from Dawood bin Farqad saying: I heard my father asking Abu Abdullah al-Sadiq(AS) about the time Maghrib begins. He said: when its rim disappears. He asked: What is its rim? he said: its disk. (My father) Said: How do we know the disk disappeared? he said: if you looked and did not see it. [al-Amaali by al-Sadooq, page 68, Ch #18, H #10].

(f). al-Jarud said: Abu Abdullah(AS) said, “I now pray it (Maghrib) when sun’s disc has fallen.”[Tahdhib Al-Ahkam, vol 2, page 277, #1032].

(g). Abu Ja’far(AS) said, “Maghrib is when the (Sun’s)disc disappears.”[Man La Yahduruhu al-Faqih, vol 1, page 218, #655].

(h). al-Sadiq(AS) said, “If the sun disappears, then it is time to break the fast and prayer becomes obligatory.”[Man La Yahduruhu al-Faqih, vol 1, page 221, #663].

(i). Jabir(Al-Ju’fi) narrated from Abu Ja’far(AS) that he said, “The Prophet(SAWS) said: If the disc disappears, he who fasts, eats, and the time of prayer has begun.”[Wasail al-Shia, vol 4, page 179, #4846].

(j). Isma’eel bin al-Fadhl al-Hashimi narrated from Ja’far al-Sadiq(AS), who said, “The Prophet(SAWS) prayed Maghrib when the sun sets, when the edge disappears.”[Tahdhib Al-Ahkam, vol 2, page 275, #1025].

(k). Abu Baseer said that Ja’far al-Sadiq(AS) said, “The time of Maghrib is when the sun disappears.”[Tahdhib Al-Ahkam, vol 2, page 275, #1026].

(l). Amr bin Abi Nasr said that he heard Ja’far al-Sadiq(AS) say about Maghrib, “When the disc disappears, it is time for prayer, and (time to) eat.”[Tahdhib Al-Ahkam, vol 2, page 29, #77].

(m). Reported to us my father and Muhammad bin al-Hasan and Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Yahya al-Attaar (they all) Said: Narrated to us Sa’d bin Abdullah from Muhammad bin al-Hussain bin Abu al-Khattab from Musa bin al-Attar from al-Mas’oudi from Abdullah bin al-Zubair from Aban bin Taghlib and al-Rabie bin Sulaiman and Aban bin Arqam and others. (They all) said: When we were at Valley Al-Ajfar on our way back from Makkah, we saw a man praying while the sun’s ray is up. This caused us unease feeling. However, He kept praying and we kept praying against him, saying this youth is from al-Madinah. When we approached nearer, behold he was Abu Abdullah Ja’far bin Muhammad(AS). We dismounted and prayed with him, missing one Rak’ah, and when we’ve done, we came to him saying: May we be your ransom, do you pray at this hour? He(AS) said: When the sun sets, the time of Maghrib has entered. [al-Amaali by al-Sadooq, page 69, Ch #18, H #16].

This is the reason, Grand Shia Ayatollah Hussain al-Tabatabai Al-Barojardi narrated from the author of al-Da’a’im that he said:

We narrated from Ahl al-Bayt — may the blessings of Allah be upon them all — that there was consensus concerning that which we learned from the reports from them, that the onset of night which makes it permissible for the fasting person to break the fast is the disappearance of the sun beneath the western horizon without any barrier which would prevent seeing it such as a mountain or wall and the like. When the disk disappears beneath the horizon, then the night has begun and it is permissible to break the fast. [Jaami’ Ahadeeth al-Shi’ah, vol 10, page 353].

 

(V). Admission of Shia Scholars that the time of Maghrib starts with disappearance of Sun, but they delay it as a precaution.

Several Shia Scholars admit that the time for Maghrib prayer starts with Sunset, i.e the disappearance of the Sun’s disc. However, they prefer to delay it as “precaution”, till redness in the East after Sunset disappears.

(a). Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Hussain Fadhlallah stated:

“31. The time for maghrib prayer starts with sunset, i.e. the disappearance of the sun disc beyond the horizon. However, the disappearance of the sun to the naked eye shall not be complete unless the bronze glow in the East disappears. When the latter vanishes, the actual time for maghrib starts. That said, there is no harm, from an ihtiyat perspective, to wait for the disappearance of that glow from the East, but it is not essential.” [Screen-shot] {Onlinelink}. 

(b). Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi stated:

Issue No.675Maghrib is the time when the sun disappears in the horizon. As a measure of precaution, one should wait till the redness that appears in the east after sunset passes over head towards west. The time for Maghrib and Isha prayers arrives at sunset and continues till midnight. [Screen-shot] {Onlinelink}. 

(c). Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani stated:

Ruling 722. If a person doubts (i.e. has a shakk) whether the sun has set or not and deems it probable that it is hidden behind mountains, buildings, or trees, he must not perform the maghrib prayer before the redness of the sky in the east – which appears after sunset – has passed overhead. Even if one does not have such a doubt, he must, based on obligatory precaution, wait until the aforementioned time. [Screen-shot] {Onlinelink}. 

(d). Grand Ayatollah Abul-Qassim al-khoei stated:

The obligatory precaution is that so long as the redness in the east, which appears after sunset, does not pass away from over our head we should not offer dusk (Maghrib) prayers. [Islamic Laws #743] {Onlinelink}. 

(e). Esteemed Shia Scholar Baqir al-Majlisi stated:

The first time of praying Maghrib is after the sun has set as agreed upon by all, but they have differed on how to ascertain and confirm that the sun has set.

So the Shaykh (al-Tusi) in his Mabsut and Istibsar and Shaykh Ibn Babawayh in his Ilal and Shaykh Ibn al-Junayd and Sayyid (Shareef al-Murtadha) in some of his Masails have ruled that this (setting of the sun) can only be known and determined by looking out for the disappearance of the sun’s disk from the horizon.

But the majority of scholars including the Shaykh (al-Tusi) again, in his Tahdhib and Nihaya have ruled that (the setting of the sun) can only be known by the disappearance of the evening-twilight (reddish glow) from the eastern horizon.

So the precaution is considering that Sun has set, by the disappearance of the reddish glow from the east even though the first opinion (that of determining the setting of the sun by the disappearance of the Sun’s disk from the horizon) doesn’t lack strength. [Miraat al-Uqool, vol 15, page 37].

Comment: So we find that Shia Scholar Baqir al-Majlisi admits that the opinion of determining the Sunset by the disappearance of Sun’s disk from horizon doesn’t lack strength, which implies it is NOT weak, hence the Sunni view shouldn’t be deemed weak by the ignorant Shias.

The opinion of Sunni Scholars regarding the delay for Maghrib as a “precaution”.

Imam ibn Hajar(RAH) stated: 

Note: One of the reprehensible innovations that have appeared in our times is giving the second adhaan approximately twenty minutes before Fajr in Ramadaan, and extinguishing the lamps which indicate that it is haraam to eat and drink for those who want to fast. Those who do this claim that they are erring on the side of caution with regard to an act of worship, but no one knows of this practice except a few. As a result of that, they have started not to give the adhan until a while after sunset, so as to be certain of the time, as they claim. So they delay breaking the fast and they hasten to eat suhoor, thus going against the Sunnah. Hence they do little good and do a great deal of evil. And Allaah is the One Whose help we seek.  [Fath al-Baari, vol 4, page 199].

Shaykh Zubair Ali Za’ee(RAH) stated:

The time for Iftar begins immediately upon setting of the sun. Waiting after sunset or delaying iftar as precautionary measure has no meaning. [Sunan Abu Dawood, vol 3, page 128-129, #2352]

He also stated: Self-made precaution against the order of Prophet(SAWS) has no value, infact it’s a whispering of Shaitan, from which one must try to abstain. [Muwatta Malik, page 484].

 

(VI). Breaking fast on appearance of Stars was prohibited by Prophet Muhammad(S).

As we have seen that there are differences among Shias themselves in regards to the time of breaking of fast, there are some Shias who even delay the breaking of their fast till the appearance of stars. They have based their view on the below report.

Narrated Ahmad bin Muhammad from al-Husayn bin Sa`id from Faddala from Aban from Zurara. He said: I asked Abu Ja`far(AS) about the time of the breaking fast(Iftar) for a fasting person. He said: When three stars appear. [Wasail al-Shia, vol 10, page 124].

Esteemed Shia Scholar Hurr al-Amili narrates this same hadeeth, and then comments:

“This is taken to be for him who cannot see the east and so doesn’t know of the disappearance of the redness except by the appearance of the stars, as mentioned already under the Times of Prayer, or (is taken to be) that it is mustahab to offer prayers before Iftar, and at that time (after completing prayers) three stars appear; this has been mentioned by some muta’akhireen(latter scholars).” [Wasail al-Shia, vol 10, page 125].

Esteemed Shia Shaykh al-Saduq quotes from the risalat his father wrote to him:

And my father – may Allah be pleased with him – said in his epistle to me: When three stars appear, breaking of fast(Iftar) is allowed for you, and they rise with the setting of the sun. And it is the narration of Aban from Zurara from Abu Ja`far. [Man La Yahduruhu al-Faqih, vol 2, page 85] ; [Man La Yahduruhu al-Faqih, vol 2, page 92(Urdu)].

Prophet Muhammad(SAWS) prohibited delaying Maghrib until appearance of stars.

It was narrated that Abbas bin Abdul-Muttalib(RA) said: “The Messenger of Allah(SAWS) said: ‘My Ummah will continue to adhere to the Fitrah so long as they do not delay the Maghrib until the stars have come out.”.'[Sunan ibn Majah, vol 1, page 452-453, #689 : Hasan(good) as per Zubair Ali Zaee] ; [Sahih as per al-Albani in Sunan ibn Majah, page 132, #689].

Imam Ibn Daqiq al-‘Id(RAH) stated: In this hadeeth there is refutation of those Shia who delay their breaking of fast until the appearance of stars. [Fath al-Baari, vol 4, page 199].

Imam Tajuddin Umar bin Ali al-fakhihany(RAH) stated: In this there is refutation of those Shia who delay their breaking of fast until the appearance of stars. [Riyaḍ al-afham fi sharḥ Umdat al-aḥkam, vol 3, page 450].

Imam Ibn alMulaqqin(RAH) stated: In this there is refutation of those Shia who delay their breaking of fast until the appearance of stars. [al-I’lam bi-fawa’id Umdat al-aḥkam, vol 5, page 310].

Infact, we read in a reliable Shia report that, Imam Ja’far(RAH) himself refuted the view of delaying Maghrib until appearance of stars by stating the Sunni view in regards to the start time of Maghrib, i.e. when disk of the Sun disappears from the horizon.

Abu Abdullah(AS) was asked about delaying Maghrib(prayer) until the appearance of stars? He(AS) said: (this is the belief of the) Khataabiyyah, Verily Jibra’eel revealed onto the Messenger of Allah(SAWS) (i.e. the start time of Maghrib is) when the disk (of the sun) has disappeared. [Tahdheeb al-Ahkaam, vol. 2, ch.13, page 258, hadeeth # 64 ;  al-Majlisi declared it as Muwaththaq (Reliable)Milaadh al-Akhyaar, vol. 4, page 319].

 

(VII). Sunnis are following Prophetic Sunnah in hastening to break the fast after Sun-set.

(a). Narrated Sahl bin Sa’d(RA) : Allah’s Messenger(SAWS) said, “The people will remain on the right path as long as they hasten the breaking of the fast.” [Sahih al-Bukhari, vol 3, page 112-113, #1957] ; [Sahih Muslim #1098].

Imam an-Nawawi(RAH) said: 

This hadeeth means that we are encouraged to hasten to break the fast after ascertaining that the sun has indeed set. What this means is that the ummah’s affairs will continue to be in order and they will be fine so long as they adhere to this Sunnah. But if they delay breaking the fast, that will be an indication of some misguidance that they are following. [Sharh Muslim, by an-Nawawi, page 688].

(b). Narrated Abu Hurayrah(RAH) : The Prophet(SAWS) said: Religion will continue to prevail as long as people hasten to break the fast, because the Jews and the Christians delay doing so.  [Sunan Abu Dawood, vol 3, page 129, #2353: Hasan(good) as Zubair Ali Za’ee] ; [Hasan as per al-Albani in Sunan Abu Dawood, page 413, #2353].

(c). Abu Atiyya reported: I and Masruq went to ‘A’isha(AS) and said to her: Mother of the Believers, there are two persons among the Companions of Muhammad(SAWS) one among whom hastens in breaking the fast and in observing prayer, and the other delays breaking the fast and delays observing prayer. She said: Who among the two hastens in breaking fast and observing prayers? We said, It is ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud(RA), whereupon she said: This is how the Messenger of Allah (SAWS) did. Abu Kuraib added: The second one was Abu Musa(RA). [Sahih Muslim, vol 3, page 162-163, #1099].

(d). It was narrated that Anas ibn Malik(RA) said: “The Prophet(SAWS) used to break his fast before praying by eating fresh dates, and if there were no fresh dates he would eat dried dates; if there were no dried dates, he would have a few sips of water.” [Sunan Abi Dawood, page 413, #2356 : Hasan Sahih as per al-Albani] ; [Sunan Abu Dawood, vol 3, page 130, #2356 : Hasan as per Zubair Ali Zaee].

Allama al-Mubarakpuri(RAH) said in his commentary on the hadeeth: “This indicates the lengths to which the Prophet(SAWS) went in order to hasten to break his fast.” [Tuhfat al-Ahwadhi, vol 3, page 259].

 

(VIII). Prophetic Sunnah is to break the fast before offering Maghrib prayer.

It was narrated that Anas ibn Malik(RA) said: “The Prophet(SAWS) used to break his fast before praying by eating fresh dates, and if there were no fresh dates he would eat dried dates; if there were no dried dates, he would have a few sips of water.” [Sunan Abi Dawood, page 413, #2356 : Hasan Sahih as per al-Albani] ; [Sunan Abu Dawood, vol 3, page 130, #2356 : Hasan as per Zubair Ali Za’ee].

Similarly, Narrated Anas(RA) : I never saw the Prophet(SAWS) praying Maghrib until he broke his fast, even if it was from a drink of water.  [Sahih al-Targheeb wal Tarheeb, vol 1, page 622, #1076].

Imam al-Ghazali(Rah) stated:

Sunnah of fast are six: (1) To eat Sehri latter, (2) to break fast before Magrib prayer with dates or water, (3) not to cleanse teeth after mid-day (4) to give charity…[Ihya Uloom al-Deen, vol 1, page 433 (Dar ul Isha’at, Karachi)] ; [Ihya Uloom al-Deen, vol 1, page 234 (Arabic)].

Even Ibn Abbas(RA) used to offer prayer after breaking his fast.

Narrated Abu Jamra ad-Dabi: I have broken fast with Ibn Abbas(RA) in Ramadhan, so when Sunset would be nearing he would send a girl on the roof of the house. When the Sun would disappear(Sunset), she would inform, and upon that he would break his fast and we would do the same, when we would finish eating, prayer would be established, he would lead and we would pray with him. [Musannaf ibn Abi Shayba, vol 5, page 481, #9189: Sahih] ; Similar report is present in [Musannaf Abdur Razzaq, vol 4, page 58, #7731].

Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah(Taba’ee) stated:  It used to be ordered that a person must break his fast before praying, even if it was with a sip of water. [Musannaf Abdur Razzaq, vol 4, page 58, #7730].

Moreover, it is advised to eat the food if it’s served before praying Maghrib prayer. We read:

Narrated Anas bin Malik(RA) : Allah’s Messenger(SAWS) said, “If the supper is served start having it before praying the Maghrib prayer and do not be hasty in finishing it.” [Sahih al-Bukhari vol 1, page 383, #672].

Also, we read in Shia Book: Ali(RA) stated: Say the Maghrib prayer when he who is fasting ends the fast and the pilgrim rushes (from Arafat) to Mina. [Nahjul Balagha, Letter 52, page 564-565].

Shia Argument:

Let us now read the practice of Umar and Uthman in this regard. We read in Muwatta Malik, the narration of Muhammad bin al-Hassan , Volume 2 page 185:

Yahya related to me from Malik from Ibn Shihab from Humayd ibn Abd ar-Rahman that Umar ibn al-Khattab and Uthman ibn Affan would pray maghrib when they saw the night darkening, before they broke their fast, and that was during Ramadan.

Answer:

This report is disconnected, hence weak and unreliable.

Shaykh Saleem al-Hilali declared it as Da’eef(Weak). [Da’eef al-Muwatta Malik , page 45].

Imam Ibn Hajar stated: Humayd ibn Abd ar-Rahman never heard from Umar(R) nor Uthman(R) and his report from them is absolutely disconnected. [Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, vol 2, page 227, #1836].

The same thing was mentioned by the Muhaqqiq of [Sunan al-Kubra of al-Bayhaqi, vol 1, page 448].

Moreover, the weak report goes against what is narrated from the actions of Umar(RA), as he(RA) would hasten and encourage others to hasten breaking their fast after Sunset, as we find in the below reports.

(a). Narrated Sa’eed bin Musayyib: Umar(RA) used to write letters to his governors stating that, don’t be from those who would delay breaking their fast and don’t delay the (Maghrib) prayer till the appearance of stars.[Musannaf ibn Abi Shayba, vol 5, page 482, #9192: Sahih] ; [Chain is Hasan(good) as per Zubair Ali Za’ee in Muwatta Malik, page 484]. Similar report is present in [Musannaf Abdur Razzaq, vol 4, page 57, #7723].

(b). Narrated Qais: When the Sun set, Umar(RA) gave a cup to the man who was sitting beside him, and said: Drink it, then he said, May be you are from those who delay breaking the fast, who say, after sometime, after sometime? [Musannaf ibn Abi Shayba, vol 5, page 485, #9204 : Sahih] ; [Chain is Sahih as per Zubair Ali Za’ee in Muwatta Malik, page 484].

 

The Messenger of God is certainly a good example for those of you who have hope in God and in the Day of Judgment and who remember God very often. {Quran 33:21}

It is only Allah(swt) who gives success, and blessings and peace be on the Seal of the Prophets, his Pure Progeny and his Noble Companions.

Article by Ibn Ahmed al-Hindi.

2 thoughts on “Sunni time of Iftar : Shia misconceptions eliminated

  1. Assalamu Alaikum, Jazaak Allaahu khayran for your work, its very important to me cause my brother is shia & i need these answers to refute him in shaa Allaah.

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