Sahari, Suhur or Suhoor is the meal consumed early in the morning by Muslims before siam (fasting), before dawn during or outside the Islamic month of Ramadan. The meal is eaten before fajr prayer. Sahari is matched to iftar as the evening meal during Ramadan, replacing the traditional three meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner), although in some places dinner is also consumed after iftar later during the night.

Sahari meal

(1) The Prophet (ﷺ) said,

تَسَحَّرُوا فَإِنَّ فِى السَّحُورِ بَرَكَةً

– ‘You make Sahari. Because there is blessing in Sahari.’ (Bukhari 1923; Muslim 1095; Mishkat 1982) [Sahih]

(2) He said,

‏ فَصْلُ مَا بَيْنَ صِيَامِنَا وَصِيَامِ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ أَكْلَةُ السَّحَرِ ‏

– ‘The difference between our fasting and that of the people of the Book(i.e. Jews and Christians) is eating shortly before dawn.’ (Muslim 1096; Mishkat 1983) [Sahih]

(3) He said, ‘You make sahari even if it is with a sip of water’. (Sahih Ibn Hibban 3476; Sahih At-Targib 1071) [Hasan]

(4) Prophet (ﷺ) said,

نِعْمَ سَحُورُ الْمُؤْمِنِ التَّمْرُ

– ‘How good is the believers meal of dates shortly before dawn.’ (Abu Dawud 2345; Mishkat 1998) [Sahih]

Similarly, dates are also good for Iftar (Abu Dawud 2356) [Hasan]

Blessings of Sahari:

(1) As a result of following the Sunnah, more reward is gained.

(2) This is one of the characteristics of the Muslims as opposed to the Jewish-Nasara fasting tradition.

(3) It increases the strength of the body. Which gives encouragement in Siam (fasting) and creates more desire in Ibadah (devotion to Allah).

(4) It is a blessed meal. For example, Irbaaz bin Sariyah (R) said, one day during Sahari in Ramadan, the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) called me and said,

هَلُمَّ لَِلَى الْغَدَاءِ الْمُبَارَكِ

– Come to the blessed morning meal. (Abu Dawud 2344; Nasai 2165; Mishkat 1997) [Sahih]

(5) One of the greatest reward of taking Sahari is that Allah(S.W.T) showers grace on them, and the angels pray for them. As the Prophet (ﷺ) said,

إِنَّ اللَهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى الْمُتَسَحِّرِينَ

– ‘Surely Allah and His angels shower mercy on those who take Sahari ’. (Sahih Ibn Hibban 3467; Silsila Sahihah 1654)

(6) It reduces hunger and the hunger related problems in our body.

(7) The time of Sahari is a blessed time. Because at this time Allah Himself descends to the lower heavens and calls upon the servant to receive forgiveness, healing and sustenance. (Bukhari 1145; Muslim 758; Mishkat 1223) [Sahih]

(8) If one wakes to have Sahari, he could easily try to wake few hours earlier to pray tahajjud and gain it’s greater rewards.

(9) Due to the late Sahari, Siam(fasting) is blessed with the blessings of Fajr Jamaat. But if you go to bed early, there is a fear of missing Fajr.

(10) Overeating is never desirable in Sahari. Digestion will be disrupted and you will have to suffer discomfort throughout the day. As a result, Sahari’s blessings will be ruined.

Late Sahari:

(1) The Prophet (ﷺ) said,

عَجِّلُوا الْإِفْطَارَ وَأَخِّرُوا السُّحُورَ

– ‘You should hasten Iftar and make Sahari late’. (Tabarani Kabir 395; Sahihul Jame ‘ 3989)

(2) Qatada and Anas bin Malik(R) said, “The Prophet (ﷺ) and Zaid bin Thabit took the ‘Sahari’ together and after finishing the meal, the Prophet (ﷺ) stood up and prayed (Fajr prayer).” I asked Anas, “How long was the interval between finishing their ‘Sahari’ and starting the prayer?” He replied, “The interval between the two was just sufficient to recite fifty ‘Ayat.”  (Bukhari 576; Mishkat 599) [Sahih]

(3) Abu Huraira reported that the Prophet (ﷺ) said, When any of you hears the summons to prayer while he has a vessel in his hand, he should not lay it down till he fulfils his need. (Abu Dawud 2350; Mishkat 1988) [Hasan]

It is understood from the above two hadiths that the last common time of Sahari is the time left to recite fifty verses after eating Sahari. But the final time is until Fajr. Even after hearing the call of Fajr until the need is met.

Azan of Sahari:

From the time of Prophet (ﷺ) till today the Azan of Sahari and Tahajjud is given in the two holy harams of Makkah and Madinah.

In the time of Prophet (ﷺ) Belal (R) used to give Azan of Tahajjud and Sahari and Abdullah Ibn Umme Maktoum (R) used to give Azan of Fajr. Narrated from Abdullah Ibn Umar (R), the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “If Azan is called at night, you should eat and drink until Ibn Umme Maktoum gives the Azan of Fajr.” The narrator said that Ibn Umme Maktoum was a blind man. He would not call to prayer until he was told, أَصْبَحْتَ أَصْبَحْتَ ‘It is dawn, it is dawn’. (Bukhari 617; Muslim 1092; Mishkat 680) [Sahih]

Therefore, if there is a practice of tahajjud and nafl siam (optional fasting) in a locality throughout the year, then the call to prayer of tahajjud and sahari can be given there throughout the year. Such as the two harams in Mecca and Medina.

Some Hanafi scholars like Suruji have claimed that the azan of the time of Rasulullah (ﷺ) is a call to the people for Sahari and loud remembrance. Hafiz Ibn Hazar Askbalani, the last commentator on Sahih Bukhari, said that this claim is ‘Maudu’ or rejected. Because what people do nowadays in the name of waking up is completely ‘bidat’ which is a new creation in the name of religion. Everyone has understood the meaning of the Azan. If it were anything other than a call to prayer, there would be no question of people being deceived. And also the Prophet (ﷺ) did not need to warn.

Books: Siam and Qiyam

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