THE VIRTUES OF SEHRI
Ibn 'Umar relates Rasulullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said:
"Verily Allaah and His Malaa'ikah (angels) send Mercy upon those who eat sehri (suhoor)."
How great is Allaah's favour upon us that even the partaking of food in the morning before dawn earns so great a reward. There are so many Ahadith (sayings) in which the virtues of Sehri are expounded and rewards mentioned. Allaama 'Ainy - the Commentator on Bukhari - gathered so many of these as filled seventeen pages of his book. All 'ulama are agreed on its being mustahab. But many are deprived of this great reward because of laziness. Some when they finish Taraweeh, eat something (what is supposed to be sehri) and get into bed. What great blessings do they lose! Sehri actually means partaking of food shortly before Fajr (dawn). Some authorities say that the time for sehri commences after half of the night has passed. (Mirquat). The author of Kash-shaaf (Zamakh-shari) divided the night into six portions stating that the last of them was the time of Sehri. So that when the night (from sunset till dawn) extends over twelve hours, the last two hours would be the right time for sehri. Then it must also be remembered that to eat at the last possible time is better and greater in reward than eating earlier, on condition that there is no doubt as to the right time of sehri.
"The difference between our fasting and that of the Ahl-ul-Kitaab (the Jews and the Christians) lies in partaking of food at sehri time."
The latter do not take sehri. He said -
"Eat sehri because in it lies great blessing."
"In three things there are great blessings:
In jama'ah (company), in eating sareed and in sehri."
In this Hadith the use of the word Jamaa'ah is general, whereupon we deduce, salaat with jamaa'ah and all those righteous deeds done together. Allaah's help comes to them who are in a company. (Sareed is a delicious type of food, in which dry baked bread is mixed with gravy containing meat). The third thing mentioned in the Hadith is sehri. When Rasulullah used to invite any of the companions to eat sehri with him, he used to say:
"Come and partake of the blessed food with me."
One Hadith says:
"Eat sehri and strengthen your fast. And sleep in the afternoon (siesta) so as to make it easy to wake up in the latter portion of the night (for 'ibaadah)." Abdullah bin Haarith reports that one of the sahaaba (companions - Razi Allahu Anhum) said: such a time while he was busy in partaking sehri. Rasulullah then said:
"This is a thing full of blessings which Allaah has granted you. Never leave it."
Rasulullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) in urging upon taking sehri said:
"Even though there be no food, even then one date should be eaten or a drink of water taken."
Thus, when there definitely lies great blessings and reward in sehri, Muslims should endeavour to benefit themselves thereby as much as possible. However, in all things moderation is important, going beyond the bounds of moderation is harmful. Neither should so little be eaten that one feels weak throughout the period of fasting, nor so much as may cause discomfort. Many a time we have been warned against filling the stomach too much.
In his commentary on Sahih Bukhari, Ibn Hajar has mentioned various reasons for the blessedness of sehri:
- Because it enables us to follow the Sunnah.
- Through sehri we keep aloof from the ways of the Ahlul-Kitaab, which we are at all times called upon to do.
- Sehri provides strength and sincerity for 'ibaadah.
- Sehri helps in elimination of bad temper which normally comes as a result of fasting.
- Sehri is the time when Du'aa is granted.
- At Sehri time one gets the opportunity to remember Allaah, make zikr and lift up his heart and hands to Him in Du'aa.
These are a few of the major reasons. There are others as well.
Sahl Bin Sa'd (Rah-matullah alaih) reported that Rasulullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said:
"The people will remain prosperous as long as they hasten with Iftaar (break the fast immediately after the time for Iftaar enters)."
It is Sunnat to make Iftaar (to break one's fast) immediately after sunset. One should not delay Iftaar until the stars begin to appear as is the common practice of the Ahle Kitaab.
(Courtesy: Yaqeen International)