The predawn meal (Suhoor) is one of the main meals during the blessed month of Ramadan. Doctors have confirmed that it is more important than the meal with which one breaks his fast (Iftaar), because it helps the person persevere through the difficulties of fasting. This is the reason why our Prophet advised us to eat it and encouraged us not to abandon it in many texts. For example, he said: “Eat Suhoor; Indeed, there is a blessing in Suhoor.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Part of the reason for the blessings that result from eating this meal is its strengthening the fasting person and giving him energy, thus making fasting easy for him. Additionally, by eating this meal one attains the reward of following the instructions of the Prophet .
This blessed meal has many health benefits for the fasting person, such as:
- It prevents fatigue and headaches during the daytime.
- It reduces extreme hunger and thirst.
- It prevents the fasting person from feeling lazy, sluggish or in need of sleep.
- It prevents the loss of body cells.
- It energizes and stimulates the digestive system.
- It helps the body maintain its sugar levels while fasting.
- It spiritually assists the believer to fulfill fasting as an act of worship.
- It is preferable that this meal include vegetables that contain a high level of fluids, such as lettuce and cucumber, because this helps the body maintain fluids for a long period of time which thus reduces the feeling of thirst and prevents dehydration. Additionally, these types of vegetables are a good source for vitamins and minerals.
- It is also recommended to have beans with olive oil, cheese and eggs as a part of this meal. This is because it takes the body 7-9 hours to digest these types of foods, and thus one’s hunger would be delayed. Also, these types supply the body with the required energy throughout the day.
- Do not consume large quantities of sugar or salt, because sugar triggers hunger, while salt triggers thirst.
- It is important to delay the Suhoor meal until as close to dawn as possible so as not to feel hungry or thirsty shortly after one starts to fast. Moreover, this was the advice of our Prophet . ‘Amr ibn Maymoon, said: “The Companions would break their fasts immediately at sunset (without any delay) and would delay eating Suhoor (until as close to Fajr as possible).” [Al-Bayhaqi]
Suhoor does not have to be a full meal. Rather, one can simply eat a date and would be considered as having had Suhoor. Abu Hurayrah, reported that the Prophet said: “The best Suhoor is (to eat) dates.” [Abu Daawood] If one cannot find dates, then water would be sufficient for one to attain the sought blessing promised by the Prophet .