My Lord! Increase me in knowledge

Time for Pre-Dawn Meal (Suhoor)

Posted on: August 18, 2011


What the Quran says

“…and eat and drink until the white thread (light) of dawn appears to you distinct from the black thread (darkness of night)”  [Quran, 2:187]

 The white and black thread?

In a Hadeeth (narration) on the authority of ‘Adiyy ibn Haatim he said, “When the verse in which Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): {And eat and drink until the white thread becomes distinct to you from the black thread at dawn.} [Quran 2:187] was revealed, I took two strings, one black and the other white, and kept them under my pillow and went on looking at them throughout the night but could not make anything out of it. So, the next morning I went to the Messenger of Allaah (peace be upon him) and told him the whole story. He said: ‘That verse means the darkness of the night and the whiteness of the dawn.’” [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

The following images are taken from here

In the image above, its too soon to stop eating. “Al fajr al kazib” as the image is captioned, means “the fake dawn”.

 

The red line has now spread horizontally and that marks the end of eating time for a person who fasts and beginning of fajr prayer time.  “Al fajr as sadiq” means “the true dawn”


The call for prayer (adhan) does not necessarily mean the end of pre-dawn meal (suhoor)

Narrated ‘Aisha: Bilal used to pronounce the Adhan at night, so Allah’s Apostle? said, “Carry on taking your meals (eat and drink) till Ibn Um Maktum pronounces the Adhan, for he does not pronounce it till it is dawn.” (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 31, Number 142)

 

 Narrated Talq ibn Ali al-Yamami: The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) said: Eat and drink; let not the white and ascending light prevent you from (eating and drinking); so eat and drink until the red light spreads horizontally. (Abu Dawood, Book 13, Number 2341)

If one of you hears the call [to prayer] while the vessel is still in his hand, let him not put it down until he has taken his need of it.” [Abu Daawood, Al-Haakim, Saheeh]

 

Why do people stop eating suhoor early then?

People who stop eating well in advance and go to extremes to forbid others from eating until dawn are going against the quran and hadith mentioned above. It is due to misunderstanding of hadith. From a hadith, we learn that prophet once stopped eating and there was an interval enough to recite 50 verses. It is estimated to be 10 – 15mins. The Prophet (peace be upon him) simply ate it that time, he didn’t order anyone to stop eating. Infact, he encouraged people to delay suhoor as seen in the hadith mentioned above.                                                                         

Narrated Anas:

Zaid bin Thabit said, “We took the Suhur with the Prophet. Then he stood for the prayer.” I asked, “What was the interval between the Suhur and the Adhan?” He replied, “The interval was sufficient to recite fifty verses of the Quran.” (Sahih Muslim, Volume 3, Book 31, Number 144)

Below is a Scholar’s has answered to this

Taken from IslamQA – http://www.islam-qa.com/en/ref/38068

This hadeeth indicates that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to eat suhoor this amount of time before the adhaan, not that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) started to fast and stopped eating and drinking this amount of time before Fajr. There is a difference between the time of suhoor and the time of stopping eating and drinking. This is clear, praise be to Allaah. It is like saying, “I ate suhoor two hours before Fajr.” This does not mean that you started fasting from that time, rather you are simply stating what time you ate suhoor. 

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1 Response to "Time for Pre-Dawn Meal (Suhoor)"

What may be understood from the hadeeth of Zayd ibn Thaabit (may Allaah be pleased with him) is that it is mustahabb to delay suhoor and it is not mustahabb to stop eating and drinking a while before Fajr.

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