The Ruling on breaking the fast before the Athaan of Maghrib

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  • Publish date:12/06/2017
  • Section:FATWA FOR ALL
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Some brothers in our Masjid break their fast ten minutes before the Athaan of Maghrib in Ramadan and in any other month. Is this an act of Sunnah? Is it supported by an authentic Hadeeth?
All perfect praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) is His Slave and Messenger.
Breaking the fast is contingent on the sunset and not the announcing of the Athan. So, if the sun sets, it becomes permissible for the Muslim to break his fast. Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct to you from the black thread [of night]. Then complete the fast until the sunset.} [Quran 2:187]
The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: "When the night falls from here and the day elapses from there, and the sun sets, the Muslim can break his fasting." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
If the Mu'aththin announces the Athan ten minutes after the sunset, it will be permissible for those people to break their fast when they do after being sure of the sunset. This is even recommended because the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: "People will always retain goodness as long as they hasten to break the fast and delay the Suhoor." [Al-Bukhari]
But if the Mu'aththin announces the Athan at its usual due time, then the breaking of the fasts of those people before the Athan and the sunset will invalidate their fast. If they are observing an obligatory fast this will be a grave major sin. They must repent to Allah The Almighty sincerely and make up for the days they broke their fast on before sunset.
The Sunnah severely warns the Muslim who breaks his fast before sunset. It was narrated on the authority of Abu Umamah Al-Bahili  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: "Two men came to me, held my upper arm and we went to a rugged mountain. They asked me to climb it, but I told them I could not. They told me that they would make it easy for me. When I climbed the mountain and reached its middle, I heard loud voices. I asked, ‘What are these voices?’ They said, ‘This is the howling of the people of Hell.’ Then I was taken [to another place], and I saw people hanging from their hamstrings, with the corners of their mouths torn and dripping with blood. I asked, ‘Who are these?’ They said, ‘The people who broke their fast before the proper time of breaking the fast.'" [An-Nasa’i: Al-Kubra] [Al-Hakim said "Saheeh according to the conditions stipulated by Muslim" and Ath-Thahabi agreed with him]
Allah Knows best.
Fatwa answered by: The Fatwa Center at Islamweb


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