Is It Permissible to Delay Breaking the Fast?
Question: How late can we delay iftar (breaking the fast in the evening) in case of an excuse?
If it is known for certain that the sun has set, first the fast is broken with such things as a date or water and then the evening namaz is performed. It is also permissible to eat the meal quickly and then to perform the namaz. However, because there are assorted foods on the table for iftar meal, there is a danger that the evening namaz may be delayed and may be left until the time at which it is makruh to perform it. Therefore, it is more appropriate to perform the namaz first and to eat the meal leisurely. If it is not known for certain that the sun has set, then it is necessary to perform the namaz first because if it is understood later that the time did not come, it is possible to repeat thenamaz. But if the fast is broken before the time has come, it becomes null and void and it is not possible to make up for it. If it is known for certain that the time has come, one should break the fast first and eat the meal after performing the namaz.
A hadith-i sharif says, “Hasten to break the fast” (Hakim). What to do in order to be considered to have made haste? If the fast is broken before stars are seen, one is considered to have made haste. This is about half an hour after the sun has set. It was stated in a hadith-i sharif, “He who breaks his fast before stars are seen is considered to have acted upon my sunnah” (Ibn Hibban).
When it is well understood that the sun has set, first (the prayers termed) A’udhu and Basmala are said and immediately thereafter the following prayer is said: “Allahumma yâ wâsi’al maghfirah ighfirlî wa li-walidayya wa li-ustaziyya wa li-l-mu’minîna wa-l-mu’minât yawma yaqûm-ul-hisâb.” It means: “O my Allah, whose forgiveness is immense. On the Day of Judgment when the Reckoning will take place, forgive me, my parents, my teacher, and all Believers, men and women alike.”
Next, a few morsels are eaten to break the fast. Then the following prayer is said: “Dhahabazzama’ wabtallatil-urûq wa thaba-t-al-ajr inshâ Allahu ta’âlâ.” And one can start eating the meal. The meaning of this prayer of breaking the fast is as follows: “Time of hunger is over. It is time our veins attained water. Insha Allah, thawab has ensued.”
Besides, the following prayer can be said during Ramadan:
“O my Lord! Make us attain the intercession of Ramadan! Include us as well among Your servants whom You forgive and grant freedom from Hell in holy Ramadan.”
Do not delay the evening namaz
Question: When we attend an important invitation for iftar meal, is it permissible to perform the evening namaz or its sunnat after the meal?
If it is known for certain that the sun has set, you should break your fast first and then perform the namaz and eat the meal. You should not leave the namaz until the time at which it is makruh to perform it. You should not put off the evening namaz until stars are visible [until about half an hour after sunset]. In a namaz that have a final sunnat, it is makruh not to perform the final sunnat immediately after the fard. It is not permissible without a valid excuse to omit the sunnat namaz of the evening namaz on a plea of iftar meal.