Until what time can one eat for 'sahoor' (or sehri)

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Ruhi_Rose:
 BismEm


 salamem  everyone.  Hope you're all fine  :)

There seems to be some confusion, if not contradiction, concerning the timing of sahoor (sehri) - the term given to the early morning breakfast during Ramadan.  In the lectures of our so-called "scholars," some say one must stop eating 30 minutes before the timing of Fajr prayer, some say 20 minutes before it, some say at least 10 to 15 minutes before and so on.  I was under the impression that one can eat till Fajr time exact.  In fact that's what my family and I do.  The Noble Quran also says the same that one can eat till the 'white thread' of dawn is visible.   It's so simple and clear.  So why this confusion even for the sahoor timing?

Zeynab:
Quote from: Mountain_Rose on September 21, 2007, 05:40:19 pm

BismEm


 salamem  everyone.  Hope you're all fine  :)

There seems to be some confusion, if not contradiction, concerning the timing of sahoor (sehri) - the term given to the early morning breakfast during Ramadan.  In the lectures of our so-called "scholars," some say one must stop eating 30 minutes before the timing of Fajr prayer, some say 20 minutes before it, some say at least 10 to 15 minutes before and so on.  I was under the impression that one can eat till Fajr time exact.  In fact that's what my family and I do.  The Noble Quran also says the same that one can eat till the 'white thread' of dawn is visible.   It's so simple and clear.  So why this confusion even for the sahoor timing?


Walaikum salaam dear ruhi.  Alhamdulilah I'm fine, I pray the same for you. 

Concerning your query, you and your family are right.  You can easily eat uptil Fajr time.  In reality, if you concentrate on the words of the Glorious Quraan, it says (as you've rightly quoted) that one can eat till the white light of the morning is visible.  This white light or white thread of dawn means the first ray of the early morning light.  Thus, if we follow the Quraan meticulously (which we should), in that case  sahoor should be beyond the Fajr time that's observed today.  Nowadays, in both Muslim and non-Muslim countries, the azan for the Fajr prayer or the Fajr prayer timing is observed at least 30 minutes before this white thread of morning is visible.  At that time it's absolutely dark.  On a clear night, even the stars are visible in sky during the Fajr time marked in my prayer calendar.  Sunrise takes places approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes after the timing marked for the Fajr prayer.  The white thread of morning or the very first dim light of morning (which is what the Quraan refers to) is more than 30 minutes after the time of Fajr prayer marked in the prayer calendar.  It's the same in Muslim countries.  The Fajr azan (call for dawn prayers) takes place about 30 to 40 minutes before the first appearance of dim light in the morning.  So, even if we stop eating at the Fajr time as marked in the calendar or at the time when the Fajr azan sounds, we would still be finishing sahoor well before the required time as explained in the Quraan. 

Similarly, we also offer our Fajr prayers before the required time as specified in the Quraan.  The Quraan refers to the Fajr time as dawn.  The term 'dawn' according to the dicitonary means the first appearance of light in the morning that shows the approaching sunrise, but is before sunrise. 

For example, tomorrow, September 22nd 2007 - the Fajr time in the prayer calendar is 5.45 morning and sunrise is at 7.04.  So, just look at the difference.  At 5.45 it's pitch dark, almost night.  If you look out of the window, you'll see it as night not dawn.  The first slight light of morning will start appearing by 6.15 at the earliest.  It will then keep getting a little brighter and brighter and finally the first rays of the sun will be seen after 7 in the morning.  Thus, dawn or Fajr in the true sense of the term as mentioned in the Quraan, should be from 6.15 to about 6.45 approximately. Or to make sure one doesn't get late, one can keep it till 6.40 a.m. 

But nowadays according to the clergy, Fajr starts at least 30 minutes before the actual appearance of dawn and ends at the actual beginning of dawn. 

However, even in keeping with the system introduced by the clergy, sahoor an easily be taken till Fajr time.  All this nonsense about finishing sahoor 30 minutes or 20 minutes before Fajr comes from Hadith.  I have read a few Hadiths that say things to this affect.  That's where they borrowed the idea from.  So, just ignore it and eat till Fajr .. and according to the Quraan, it's even longer. 

The following verse of the Quraan clearly indicates the appearance of dawn, which is referred to as the "setting time of the stars."


" .. and hymn the praise of thy Lord when thou uprisest,
And in the night-time also hymn His praise, and at the setting of the stars."
(52:48-49) At-Tur

In verse 49, "night-time" refers to either Isha or Tahajjud, and "at the setting of the stars" refers to Fajr.  Thus it is clearly stated that Fajr time takes place when the stars begin to set which is soon followed by the first light of the morning. 

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