Sehri and Iftaar

1. It is sunnah to make sehri. If a person is not hungry, he should at least eat a few dates or anything else no matter how little it may be. If he does not want to have anything at all, he should at least drink some water.

2. A person did not make sehri. He merely woke up and ate some betel-leaves. He will still receive the reward of sehri.

3. As far as is possible, sehri should be delayed. However, it should not be delayed to the extent that the time of dawn commences and one begins to have a doubt in one’s fast.

4. A person made sehri very early but thereafter he continued having some betel-leaves, tobacco, tea, water, etc. until just before dawn. When there was a little time left, he gargled his mouth. He will still get the reward of delaying his sehri, and the same rule will apply as that which was mentioned with regard to delaying the sehri.

5. If one’e eyes did not open for sehri and all the members of the household fell asleep, they should fast despite not having made sehri. To leave out the fast on account of not making sehri is a sign of lack of dedication and also a major sin.

6. As long as it is not dawn and the time of fajr salaat does not commence, the explanation of which has passed in the chapter on the times of salaat, it is permissible to continue with the sehri. Once this time expires, sehri is not permissible.

7. A person woke up a bit late and thought that there is some time left. On this assumption, he made sehri. Later he learnt that he had actually made sehri after dawn. His fast will not be valid. He should make qada but kaffarah will not be wajib. However, he should still abstain from eating or drinking anything and remain like any normal fasting person.

In the same way, if a person thinks that the sun has set and opens his fast and thereafter the sun appears, his fast will break. He will have to make qada of this but there will be no kaffarah on him. After having learnt that the sun has not set as yet, he should abstain from consuming anything until sunset.

8. If a person gets delayed in waking up for sehri to such an extent that he is in doubt as to whether there is any time left or not, it will be makruh to consume anything. If he eats or drinks anything at such a time, he has committed an evil act and sinned. Later, if he learns that it was already the time of dawn, he will have to keep qada of that fast. But if he does not learn anything and remains in doubt, it will not be wajib to keep the qada fast. However, caution demands that he keep that qada fast.

9. When a person is sure that the sun has set, it is mustahab for him to open his fast immediately. It is makruh to delay in opening the fast.

10. One should delay in opening the fast on a cloudy day. When one is sure that the sun must have definitely set, then only should one open one’s fast and make iftaar. Do not depend on watches and clocks until and unless your heart is at ease because it is possible that the watch is incorrect. In fact, even if the adhaan is heard from somewhere and there is still a doubt as to whether the time is really up or not, even in such a case it is not permissible to open the fast.

11. It is preferable to open the fast with dates. If these are not available, any other sweet substance will suffice. And if even this is not available, open the fast with water. Some men and women open their fast with rough salt and regard this to be an act of reward. This is an incorrect belief.

12. As long as there is a doubt as to whether the sun has set or not, it is not permissible to make iftaar.

[Source: Bahishti Zewar]