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Delaying Iftar

Q: What is the ruling on a person who delays Iftar (breaking the Fast) until after Tarawih (special supererogatory night Prayer in Ramadan)? It is noteworthy that the person concerned is well-aware of the rulings pertaining to breaking Sawm (Fast). Also, when observing voluntary Sawm, he is in the habit of breaking Sawm after `Isha' (Night) Prayer. What is the ruling on the validity of Sawm as such? I appreciate giving me advice in this regard.

A: Sawm ends at sunset. This is based on the Ayah (Qur'anic verse) in which Allah (Exalted be He) says: ...then complete your Saum (fast) till the nightfall This is also based on the Hadith in which the Prophet (peace be upon him) is reported to have said: When night comes from this direction (east) and the day departs from this direction (west) and the sun has set, it is time for the fasting person to break Sawm. The Prophet (peace be upon him) is also reported to have said: People will remain on the right path (i.e., acting upon the Sunnah) as long as they hasten to break Sawm (immediately at sunset). Only Mubtadi`s (those who introduce innovations in religion) who contradict the Sunnah (action following the teachings of the Prophet) consider delaying breaking the Sawm until after sunset as an act of `Ibadah (worship). Anyone who does so should repent to Allah of it. However, it is permissible for a Muslim to continue Sawm until the time of Sahar (pre-dawn time), although it is better not to do so. The Prophet (peace be upon him) forbade fasting for consecutive days without breaking Sawm, saying: (Part No. 9; Page No. 25)  Do not fast continuously day and night; anyone who wishes to continue Sawm may only do so until the time of Sahar. May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.