When to Stop Eating Suhoor
Fatwa No: 379369

Question

Assalamu alaikum, What is the exact time when we should stop eating Suhoor and start fasting in Doha?In many Ramadan Prayer Timing Table we note that a "Imsak" Timing (which is 10 minutes earlier than Fajr Timing) is mentioned; Is this precautionary timing to stop eating? If someone eats after "Imsak" and stops eating before Fajr Adhan time, will fasting that day will be considrted valid?

Answer

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  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

Islamically, what counts regarding when to stop eating and drinking is the crack of the actual dawn that is mentioned in the saying of Allah (which means): {And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct to you from the black thread [of night].} [Quran 2:187]

You can act according to the Athaan of a trustworthy person who knows when the time of dawn is. It is recommended for one to delay eating his Suhoor (pre-dawn meal) as close as possible to the crack of dawn. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar narrated that the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “Bilaal calls Athaan at night (before the crack of dawn), so keep on eating and drinking (Suhoor) till Ibn Umm Maktoom calls Athaan.” (Salim, who narrated this from Abdullah, added): ‘He (Abdullah ibn Umm Maktoom) was a blind man who would not call the Athaan unless he was told that the day had dawned.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

If one stops eating or drinking even one minute before the Athaan (that indicates dawn) is called, then his fast is valid.

Setting the time to stop eating and drinking to ten minutes before the Athaan is only for one to be on the safe side (and not mandatory).

Allah knows best.

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