Sahur is an Arabic word meaning ‘awaking the night’. Its verb root is ‘Sahira’ which means to keep a night vigil. Connotatively, Sahur, as related to Ramadan, is, statutorily, an obligatory Sunnah (Sunnatul-Muakkadah) introduced by Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
It is one of the major components of Ramadan fasting which, unlike Tarawih, cannot and must not be treated as a matter of choice. The essence of Sahur during Ramadan is not just to wake up for eating and drinking but also, to observe Nawafil and recite the Qur’an for the purpose of Ibadah and thorough understanding. (Nawafil is the plural of Nafilah).
Sahur is an indication of the high level of discipline injected into true Muslims during the month of Ramadan. Within the period of Sahur, Muslims are allowed to engage in all legitimate activities including spiritual and social exercises that are generally permissible in Islam.
Sahur may commence from the midnight and end before Dawn (Fajr). During that period, eating and drinking legitimate edible substances are permissible in moderation.
Nawafil or supererogatory genuflexions may be observed severally according to the ability of the observer. Recitation of the Qur’an may also be done for as long as the concerned Muslims are able to do it.
Meanwhile, for effective utilization, the Sahur period may be divided into three segments whereby one segment may be dedicated to the observance of Nawafil and another to the recitation of the Qur’an, while the third may be dedicated to the essential consumption of food and drinks in moderation. Whichever of these segments engages a Muslim during the Sahur must come to an end with the arrival of salatus- subhi at dawn. The observance of salatus- subhi at its right time is such an obligation that must not be interrupted by any other activity.
Muslim women who may have no time for recitation of the Qur’an or observance of Nawafil because of their cooking activities during sahur will also have full reward for taking care of others in the family. In a Nutshell, Sahur is a compulsory component of Ramadan fasting which cannot be sacrificed for whatever reason.
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