A reminder for the month of Ramadan, every year.
To all our brothers and sisters in Faith who will be fasting during the coming month of Ramadan which is only a few days away, remember to break your fast at the right time as highlighted in the Glorious Quran. Please continue reading carefully.
The right time to break our fast is approximately 30 minutes after Maghrib or sunset when darkness has taken place completely. Check the following Quranic verses for evidence and information.
وَكُلُوا وَاشْرَبُوا حَتَّى يَتَبَيَّنَ لَكُمُ الْخَيْطُ الأَبْيَضُ مِنَ الْخَيْطِ الأَسْوَدِ مِنَ الْفَجْرِ ثُمَّ أَتِمُّوا الصِّيَامَ إِلَى اللَّيْل
2:187 - Al-Baqrah
Wa Kulū Wa Ashrabū Ĥattá Yatabayyana Lakumu Al-Khayţu Al-'Abyađu Mina Al-Khayţi Al-'Aswadi Mina Al-Fajri ۖ Thumma 'Atimmū Aş-Şiyāma 'Ilá Al-Layli (2:187)
"eat and drink until the white thread becometh distinct to you from the black thread of the dawn. Then strictly observe the fast till nightfall" (2:187) Surah Al-Baqrah
The above verse makes it clear that fasting begins from sunrise and ends when darkness of the night has taken place which is 30 to 40 minutes after we offer our Maghrib prayers. The Arabic term used for describing the time to end the fast is ليل or "leyl." This term refers to the darkness of the night and NOT sunset.
Sunset (Maghrib or setting of the sun) and darkness of the night are NOT the same. Sunset has been explicitly differentiated from nightfall in the Glorious Quran. A very good example to elucidate this difference is Verse 17:78 of Surah Bani Israel (also known as Surah Al-Isra) which mentions the specific timing for the Maghrib or sunset prayer and the importance of reciting the Quran at dawn.
أَقِمِ الصَّلاةَ لِدُلُوكِ الشَّمْسِ إِلَى غَسَقِ اللَّيْلِ وَقُرْآنَ الْفَجْرِ إِنَّ قُرْآنَ الْفَجْرِ كَانَ مَشْهُودًا
17:78 - Surah Al-Isra
'Aqimi Aş-Şalāata Lidulūki Ash-Shamsi 'Ilá Ghasaqi Al-Layli Wa Qur'āna Al-Fajri ۖ 'Inna Qur'āna Al-Fajri Kāna Mash/hūdāan (17:78)
"Establish worship at the going down of the sun until the dark of night, and (the recital of) the Qur'an at dawn. Lo! (the recital of) the Qur'an at dawn is ever witnessed." (17:78) Surah Al-Isra
The above verse is self-explanatory asserting that the time for Maghrib prayer begins when the sun goes down, that is, at sunset. The verse also clarifies that Maghrib prayer can be offered from the time the sun goes down until it gets dark which takes about 30 minutes, in certain parts of the globe it might take a bit longer, around 40 minutes. In this verse 17:78 the Arabic term mentioned for sunset or going down of the sun is دلوك الشمس (dulook al-shams), and the Arabic term for "dark of night" is leyl or ليل
"Leyl" or night is by no means the same as as sunset of dulook al-shams. That's absolutely clear and obvious.
Also, another expression is used in the Quran for the setting of the sun which is مغرب الشمس or maghrib al-shams. This expression has been used in Verse 18:86 of Surah Al-Kahf.
حَتَّى إِذَا بَلَغَ مَغْرِبَ الشَّمْسِ وَجَدَهَا تَغْرُبُ فِي عَيْنٍ حَمِئَةٍ وَوَجَدَ عِنْدَهَا قَوْمًا قُلْنَا يَا ذَا الْقَرْنَيْنِ إِمَّا أَنْ تُعَذِّبَ وَإِمَّا أَنْ تَتَّخِذَ فِيهِمْ حُسْنًا
18:86 - Surah Al-Kahf
Ĥattá 'Idhā Balagha Maghriba Ash-Shamsi Wajadahā Taghrubu Fī `Aynin Ĥami'atin Wa Wajada `Indahā Qawmāan ۗ Qulnā Yā Dhā Al-Qarnayni 'Immā 'An Tu`adhdhiba Wa 'Immā 'An Tattakhidha Fīhim Ĥusnāan (18:86)
"Till, when he reached the setting-place of the sun, he found it setting in a muddy spring, and found a people thereabout. We said: O Dhu'l-Qarneyn! Either punish or show them kindness." (18:86) Surah Al-Kahf.
The Noble Quran makes it crystal clear that fasting must commence from the time when the early light of dawn begins to appear upto the darkness of the night. And darkness of the night comes after sunset.
It's very unfortunate that so many folks who fast regularly waste their entire day's effort by breaking their fasts 30 to 40 minutes prior to the prescribed time in the Glorious Quran.
Sunset and night .. the clear difference. Ramadan, the month of fasting, is the Month of the Quran. Yet so many of us violate the Quran by disobeying even the simple timings of fasting confirmed in the Glorious Quran.
And please, for the sake of Allah Almighty, do not make the mistake for searching the Hadith tales for the right time to break the fast. The only information you will get there will be the grossly incorrect ones. The idea of breaking the fast dot at sunset arises from the various Hadith narrations of Bukhari etc. Because of such sources it's now become a standard practice to break the fast as soon as the Maghrib adhan is heard. By doing this you invalidate your fast by purposely breaking it 30 to 40 minutes earlier, flouting the Divine dictate in preference to man-made traditions.
For evidence, check the following haphazard and discrepant Hadith apparently scribbled in a haste either by the narrator or the compiler, indicating that neither of them had read the Quran nor knew anything about it. This is NOT from the Prophet (S).
"Once night comes from there and the day disappears from there, and the sun has set, the fasting person should break his fast." (Hadith - Bukhari)
Senseless and crazy!
There's one specific false Hadith that has crossed all bounds of transgression. This Hadith maliciously slanders our beloved Prophet (S) by gossiping that the Prophet (S) would break his fast even before sunset. Read below.
Narrated Ibn Abi Aufa:
We were in the company of Allah's Apostle on a journey. He said to a man, "Get down and mix Sawiq (powdered barley) with water for me." The man said, "The sun (has not set yet), O Allah's Apostle." The Prophet again said to him, "Get down and mix Sawiq with water for me." The man again said, "O Allah's Apostle! The sun!" The Prophet said to him (for the third time) "Get down and mix Sawiq with water for me." The man dismounted and mixed Sawiq with water for him. The Prophet drank it and then beckoned with his hand (towards the East) and said, "When you see the night falling from this side, then a fasting person should break his fast." (Sahih Bukhari 3:31:162)
I don't know if this lie has been penned by Bukhari or the narrator or some other person who may have double-crossed them later by infiltrating into the Bukhari collection. Whatever might have happened, this is a sick joke and a rude lie. These people are trying to propagate (to suit their own selfish purposes) that the Prophet (S) found nothing wrong breaking his fast before sunset when the Quran explicitly confirms and commands not to break the fast until dark (or until 'leil'). And yet, no one in this Ummah seems to complain over such nasty gossips by idlers against the Prophet (S).
For further references check the following posts:
What's the right time for taking Iftar?
Uptil what time can we eat sahoor?
Fasting in the Glorious Quran