Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuhu. Dear respected Shaykh, I have a question about fasting. My question is with regards to a hadith about feeding a fasting person and gaining the same reward (even if you are fasting yourself). Some brothers and I bring dates, I bring dates and they bring dates and some apples and bananas, and we eat together and break our fast together at the masjid. My question is: will we all get the reward of each other's fasting since we are all fasting, or does only the person whom the fasting person eats a date from first get the reward? May Allaah reward you.
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, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.
If the intention is that each one earns the reward mentioned in the hadeeth, “Whoever provides the food for a fasting person to break his fast with, then for him is the same reward as the reward of the fasting person, without anything being decreased from the reward of the fasting person,” then he earns the reward of the fasting person who ate from the food that he provided - whether dates or otherwise - before he consumed anything else, because the reward is earned by providing the fasting person with something to break his fast with, as clearly stated in the relevant ahaadeeth.
If he did not have an intention or if each is eating from the food of the others after having broken their fast with something else, then he does not earn the reward in reference; rather, it is sharing food with others. We hope that such sharing would be blessed, as the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said, “Gather around your food and mention the name of Allah and it will be blessed for you.” [Abu Dawood - Al-Albaani graded it hasan (good)]
The reward for offering food to a fasting person to break his fast with is not earned except when he actually breaks his fast with it along with the existence of the intention to earn this reward. The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said, “The reward of deeds depends upon the intention, and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended.” [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim] He also said, “There is no reward without Ihtisaab (expecting reward from Allah), and there is no deed (accepted) without intention.” [Ad-Daylami - Al-Albaani graded it saheeh (sound) by virtue of corroborating narrations]
Al-Munaawi commented, “It means that the person does not earn the reward for his good action unless he holds the intention to carry out that good deed to earn the reward from Allah. An action carried out without intention does not count.” [Faydh Al-Qadeer]
Allah knows best.
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