What the fast should be broken with
The fast should be broken with fresh dates, or slightly older, drier, dates, or water. It is reported that he (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would break his fast with, “fresh dates before praying; and if not then with older, drier, dates; and if not with dates then with some mouthfuls of water.” [Abu Dawud with a hasan isnad]
He (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said,
“If one of you is fasting then let him break his fast with dates, if he does not find any then with water for it is pure and purifying.” [Reported by Abu Dawud with a sahih isnad]
Hastening the iftar (breaking of fast) and [the 6th] delaying the suhur (pre-dawn meal) The Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said,
“Take the meal of suhur for indeed in the suhur lies blessings.” [Reported by Bukhari and Muslim]
“The people will not cease to be upon good so long as they hasten in breaking the fast.” [Reported by Bukhari and Muslim]
“Allah, Mighty and Magnificent, says, ‘the most beloved of My servants are those who are quickest in breaking fast.’” [Reported by Ahmad with a weak isnad but it has witnesses that strengthen in, Jami' al-Usul]
“This religion will remain good and pure so long as the people hasten in breaking the fast for the Jews and Christians would delay it.” [Reported by Abu Dawud with a sahih isnad]
‘Amr bin Maymun said, ‘the Companions of the Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would be the quickest of people in breaking the fast and the slowest of them in taking the pre-dawn meal.’ [Reported by al-Bayhaqi]
The suhur is delayed so as to strengthen one more while he is fasting so that he can perform more actions of obedience, the gap between the Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) taking the suhur and his prayer would be an interval allowing fifty verses of the Qur’an to be recited. [Reported by Bukhari and Muslim]
The iftar was hastened because it is possible that some physical harm arise from hunger and thirst, hence there is no need to put the soul through such difficulty in a time [after the time of breaking fast] in which hunger and thirst is no longer an action that would draw one closer to Allah. One of the wealthier people amongst the Salaf was seen eating in the market place and when asked why he replied [by quoting the hadith],
‘The delay of the rich is oppression.’ [Reported by Bukhari and Muslim]
What Should be Avoided While Fasting
- Continuous fasting
Abu Hurayrah said,
‘The Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) prohibited continuous fasting whereupon one of the Muslims asked him, “but you do it O Messenger of Allah!” He replied, “Who amongst you is like me? I spend the night with my Lord, He giving me food and drink.” But when the people persisted in fasting continuously, he fasted continuously with them for a day, followed by another until they saw the new moon upon which he said, “If the moon had delayed in appearing I would have made you fast more.” This was a punishment for them because they refused to stop continuously fasting.’ [Reported by Bukhari and Muslim]
Continuous fasting was prohibited because it weakens the person and emaciates his body by reason of something other than worship. As for the Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) then if it is literally true that his food and drink was with his Lord, he cannot be said to have fasted continuously; but if ‘food and drink’ is a phrase used to denote the strength of his closeness and communion (uns) with his Lord and the joy he felt at this closeness, then this takes the place of food and drink in revitalizing his strength, indeed this uns is better than food and drink in this respect,
Indeed I fasted from worldly pleasures my entire life
And the Day that I meet you will be its breaking
For surely I find the delight of fasting for You within my soul
And not in the satisfaction of eating or drinking
‘A‘ishah (radiyAllahu ‘anha) said,
‘The Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would kiss and embrace while fasting but he was more able than you in restraining his desires.’ [Reported by Bukhari and Muslim]
Therefore whoever is old, able to control his desires and hence not ruin his fast, there is no harm in his kissing. If one is young and not sure that he can control his desires, it is disliked for him to kiss due to his subjecting his action of worship to the danger of something that could break it.
It is authentically reported that the Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was cupped while fasting. [Bukhari] Anas was asked,
‘did you consider cupping to be disliked for the one fasting?’ He replied, ‘no, [we only considered it disliked] if it caused weakness.’ [Reported by Bukhari]
Hence whoever is physically weakened by cupping, it is disliked for him to do so, because in his weakened state he is more likely to break fast or find the action of fasting extremely difficult for him and hence become averse to it.
- Applying Kohl
Anas would apply Kohl while fasting.
[Abu Dawud and ibn Hajr said the isnad had no fault.]
al-A’mash said, ‘I never saw any of our companions disliking the application of Kohl for the one fasting.’ Ibrahim [an-Nakha'i] would allow the one fasting to apply aloes to his eyes. [Reported by Abu Dawud]
Having said this, it is safer not to apply it so as to steer clear of the difference that the scholars have concerning this issue.
- Snuffing the nose during ablution
The Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said to Laqit bin Sabrah,
“Perform the ablution well, wipe between the fingers and exert yourself in snuffing the nose, unless you are fasting.” [Reported by Abu Dawud]
So he prohibited from exertion when snuffing the nose while fasting, the reason for this is that through exertion one puts his fast to risk [because the water could reach the back of the throat].
Allah knows best.
[Actions which nullify the fast are eating and drinking deliberately; making oneself vomit; menstruation and post-natal bleeding and sexual intercourse.]
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