6 Tips To Break Your Fast in Ramadan
All praises be to Allah.
One of the greatest joys for someone who fasts is when the time for buka puasa (breaking of fast) arrives. If you are wondering how we can reap the best of rewards when breaking the fast, here is an attempt to highlight some of the guidelines set by our beloved Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.
After about 14 hours of fasting without any food or drink, including the extra efforts we put in trying to be better, we will usually be keen in looking forward to breaking our fast when the call to the prayer or the Maghrib azan (call to prayer) commences. This feeling of joy was indeed acknowledged by Rasulullah s.a.w. along with other benefits in his guide on fasting:
The Prophet s.a.w. said:
“Allah the Exalted and Majestic said: Every act of the son of Adam is for himself, except for fasting. It is (exclusively) meant for Me and I (alone) will reward it. Fasting is a shield. When any one of you is fasting on a day, he should neither indulge in obscene language nor raise his voice; or if anyone reviles him or tries to quarrel with him, he should say: “I am fasting”.
By Him (Allah), in Whose Hand is the life of Muhammad, the breath of the fasting person is sweeter to Allah on the Day of judgment than the fragrance of musk. The one who fasts has two (occasions) of joy: one is when he breaks the fast, he is glad about the breaking of (the fast), and (the other) is when he meets his Lord he is glad about his fast.”
Here are 6 tips on what to eat and sunnah acts you can follow to reap the rewards available at the time of breaking the fast:
Yup, it is actually part of the sunnah to break your fast right after the azan of Maghrib. Rasulullah s.a.w. said:
لاَ يَزَالُ النَّاسُ بِخَيْرٍ مَا عَجَّلُوا الْفِطْرَ
“People will continue to prosper in goodness as long as they hasten to break their fast.”
Even if we are in a rush for any particular reason, it is better for us to have something to break our fast before performing the Maghrib prayer. We have fulfilled the obligation of fasting from dawn to dusk. Hence, it is now our responsibility to provide our body with its right to nutritious food and restore its energy. We will need our physical body and mind at its best for us to be able to perform high-quality worship on the blessed nights of Ramadan.
The temptations to savour the delicious and appetizing food on the table without much thinking can be very real. But hold on! There are many discussions by our religious scholars with regards to what is best for us to consume first when breaking our fast.
Instead of having those tasty meats and scrumptious meals first, it is always better to start lightly by eating dates or drinking plain water, following the steps set by Rasulullah s.a.w.
مَنْ وَجَدَ تَمْرًا فَلْيُفْطِرْ عَلَيْهِ وَمَنْ لاَ فَلْيُفْطِرْ عَلَى مَاءٍ فَإِنَّ الْمَاءَ طَهُورٌ
"Whoever has dried dates, then let him break the fast with that, and whoever does not, then let him break the fast with water, for indeed water is purifying."
كَانَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم يُفْطِرُ قَبْلَ أَنْ يُصَلِّيَ عَلَى رُطَبَاتٍ فَإِنْ لَمْ تَكُنْ رُطَبَاتٌ فَتُمَيْرَاتٍ فَإِنْ لَمْ تَكُنْ تُمَيْرَاتٌ حَسَا حَسَوَاتٍ مِنْ مَاءٍ
"The Messenger of Allah would break the fast with fresh dates before performing Solat. If there were no fresh dates then (he would break the fast) with dried dates, and if there were no dried dates then he would take a few sips of water."
Next, be aware of what you consume so that you will not overeat. After going on without food for more than half a day, some of us may want to grab as much food as possible. Rasulullah s.a.w. reminded us to eat in moderation. It may be challenging for some. However, this may actually be a good year to start practising healthy eating and avoid overindulging.
The Prophet s.a.w. said:
مَا مَلأَ آدَمِيٌّ وِعَاءً شَرًّا مِنْ بَطْنٍ حَسْبُ الآدَمِيِّ لُقَيْمَاتٌ يُقِمْنَ صُلْبَهُ فَإِنْ غَلَبَتِ الآدَمِيَّ نَفْسُهُ فَثُلُثٌ لِلطَّعَامِ وَثُلُثٌ لِلشَّرَابِ وَثُلُثٌ لِلنَّفَسِ
“No one fills a vessel worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for him to eat a few mouthfuls to keep his spine straight. But if he must (fill it), then one-third of food, one-third for drink and one-third for air.”
(Sunan Ibn Majah)
Take note of the portion, serving size and calorie count of the food and drinks you consume when breaking the fast. Learn some basic knowledge of food nutrition. Avoid consuming too much unhealthy food and drinks with too much sugar or are too high in carbohydrates. Always strive to have a balanced and healthy diet.
You can consider following the My Healthy Plate guidelines set by the Health Promotion Board and doing regular exercises. This is to ensure that we will continue to stay healthy and fit throughout for our family as well as to perform quality acts of worship. It will not be easy, but we should try our very best!
This includes reciting the basmalah (Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Raheem) before eating, eating with your right hand, taking the food that is closest to you first, and not eating too quickly as it may lead to several health problems. Rasulullah s.a.w. said:
يَا غُلاَمُ سَمِّ اللَّهَ، وَكُلْ بِيَمِينِكَ وَكُلْ مِمَّا يَلِيكَ
”O child! Mention the Name of Allah, eat with your right hand, and eat that which is nearer to you."
(Sahih Al-Bukhari & Muslim)
Anas bin Malik r.a. once mentioned:
أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم كَانَ إِذَا شَرِبَ تَنَفَّسَ ثَلاَثًا وَقَالَ: هُوَ أَهْنَأُ وَأَمْرَأُ وَأَبْرَأُ
When the Prophet s.a.w. drank, he used to breathe three times in the course of a drink and say: “It is more wholesome, thirst-quenching and healthier.”
(Sunan Abi Daud)
One of the best times to make dua is during the time for breaking the fast. Rasululllah s.a.w. mentioned:
“There are three whose supplication is not rejected: The fasting person when he breaks his fast, the just leader, and the supplication of the oppressed person; Allah raises it up above the clouds and opens the gates of heaven to it. And the Lord says: ‘By My might, I shall surely aid you, even if it should be after a while.’”
In another hadith, the Prophet s.a.w. said:
إِنَّ لِلصَّائِمِ عِنْدَ فِطْرِهِ لَدَعْوَةً مَا تُرَدُّ
“When the fasting person breaks his fast, his supplication is not turned back.”
(Sunan Ibn Majah)
Hence, make a dua for yourself and your loved ones. Ask from Allah s.w.t. anything that you wish for. Be hopeful that your patience and resilience while fasting the whole day will be accepted by Allah s.w.t.
Remember to make prayer for our loved ones that have passed on and for our own fare in the hereafter too as the Prophet s.a.w. said:
إِنَّ لِلَّهِ عِنْدَ كُلِّ فِطْرٍ عُتَقَاءَ وَذَلِكَ فِي كُلِّ لَيْلَةٍ
“At every breaking of the fast Allah has people whom He frees (from the Fire), and that happens every night”
(Sunan Ibn Majah)
Then you can recite this dua right before you start eating:
اللَّهُمَّ لَكَ صُمْتُ وَعَلَى رِزْقِكَ أَفْطَرْتُ
“Oh Allah I have fasted for Your sake and broken the fast upon Your provisions”
(Sunan Abi Daud)
And afterwards, you can continue to recite this prayer:
ذَهَبَ الظَّمَأُ وَابْتَلَّتِ الْعُرُوقُ وَثَبَتَ الأَجْرُ إِنْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ
“The thirst is gone, the veins are moistened, and the reward has been earned, if Allah wills”
(Sunan Abi Daud)
The Prophet s.a.w. also taught us to make a dua for whoever served us food for breaking the fast:
أَفْطَرَ عِنْدَكُمُ الصَّائِمُونَ وَأَكَلَ طَعَامَكُمُ الأَبْرَارُ وَصَلَّتْ عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَلاَئِكَةُ
“May the fasting (men) break their fast with you, and the pious eat your food, and the angels pray for blessings upon you”
(Sunan Abu Daud)
You may also read to them this dua:
اللَّهُمَّ أَطْعِمْ مَنْ أَطْعَمَنِي وَأَسْقِ مَنْ أَسْقَانِي
“Oh Allah, feed him/her who has fed me and give drink to him/her who has provided me drink.”
Here are 5 beautiful dua for you this Ramadan.
Do not miss the chance to gain everyone else’s rewards too by providing a good meal for them to break the fast with!
مَنْ فَطَّرَ صَائِمًا كَانَ لَهُ مِثْلُ أَجْرِهِ غَيْرَ أَنَّهُ لاَ يَنْقُصُ مِنْ أَجْرِ الصَّائِمِ شَيْئًا
"Whoever provides the food for a fasting person to break his fast with, then for him is the same reward as his (the fasting person's), without anything being diminished from the reward of the fasting person."
Lastly, why keep something good only for ourselves when there is a lot to share with others, while also having the chance to foster a wonderful relationship?
Let’s celebrate Ramadan with our neighbours and friends. Make this as an opportunity for us to get to know one another better. Spread the love, kindness, blessings and joy with good deeds!
Although we are not allowed to have gatherings because of the COVID-19 outbreak, we can use contactless delivery services to send food to our loved ones. You could also host a virtual break-fast party so that you still get to eat together during a video call!
So that’s it! Enjoy breaking your fast and while you are at it, do not forget to make a prayer for me and everyone else around you too! Bon Appetit, and may Allah accept our ibadah! :)
And Allah knows best.