Eating, Drinking and Sexual Intercourse are allowed during the Nights of Ramadan
These Ayat contain a relief from Allah for the Muslims by ending the practice that was observed in the early years of Islam. At that time, Muslims were allowed to eat, drink and have sexual intercourse only until the `Isha' (Night) prayer, unless one sleeps before the `Isha' prayer.
Those who slept before `Isha' or offered the `Isha' prayer, were not allowed to drink, eat or sexual intervourse sex until the next night. The Muslims found that to be difficult for them.
The Ayat used the word `Rafath' to indicate sexual intercourse, according to Ibn `Abbas, `Ata' and Mujahid. Similar Tafsir was offered by Sa`id bin Jubayr, Tawus, Salim bin `Abdullah, `Amr bin Dinar, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Az-Zuhri, Ad-Dahhak, Ibrahim An-Nakha`i, As-Suddi, `Ata' Al-Khurasani and Muqatil bin Hayyan.
(They are Libas i.e., body-cover, or screen for you and you are Libas for them.).
Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, As-Suddi and Muqatil bin Hayyan said that this Ayah means, "Your wives are a resort for you and you for them.'' Ar-Rabi` bin Anas said, "They are your cover and you are their cover.'' In short, the wife and the husband are intimate and have sexual intercourse with each other, and this is why they were permitted to have sexual activity during the nights of Ramadan, so that matters are made easier for them.
Abu Ishaq reported that Al-Bara' bin `Azib said, "When the Companions of Allah's Messenger observed fast but would sleep before breaking their fast, they would continue fasting until the following night. Qays bin Sirmah Al-Ansari was fasting one day and was working in his land.
When the time to break the fast came, he went to his wife and said, `Do you have food' She said, `No. But I could try to get you some.' His eyes then were overcome by sleep and when his wife came back, she found him asleep. She said, `Woe unto you! Did you sleep' In the middle of the next day, he lost consciousness and mentioned what had happened to the Prophet. Then, this Ayah was revealed:
(It is made lawful for you to have sexual relations with your wives on the night of As-Siyam (fasting)) until...
(and eat and drink until the white thread (light) of dawn appears to you distinct from the black thread (darkness of night), then complete your fast till the nightfall. ) Consequently, they were very delighted.'' Al-Bukhari reported this Hadith by Abu Ishaq who related that he heard Al-Bara' say, "When fasting Ramadan was ordained, Muslims used to refrain from sleeping with their wives the entire month, but some men used to deceive themselves. Allah revealed:
(Allah knows that you used to deceive yourselves, so He turned to you (accepted your repentance) and forgave you.).
`Ali bin Abu Talhah narrated that Ibn `Abbas said, "During the month of Ramadan, after Muslims would pray `Isha', they would not touch their women and food until the next night.
Then some Muslims, including `Umar bin Al-Khattab, touched (had sex with) their wives and had some food during Ramadan after `Isha'. They complained to Allah's Messenger. Then Allah sent down:
(Allah knows that you used to deceive yourselves, so He turned to you (accepted your repentance) and forgave you. So now have sexual relations with them)'' This is the same narration that Al-`Awfi related from Ibn `Abbas.
(. ..and seek that which Allah has ordained for you (offspring),)
Abu Hurayrah, Ibn `Abbas, Anas, Shurayh Al-Qadi, Mujahid, `Ikrimah, Sa`id bin Jubayr, `Ata',
Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, As-Suddi, Zayd bin Aslam, Hakam bin `Utbah, Muqatil bin Hayyan, Al-Hasan
Al-Basri, Ad-Dahhak, Qatadah, and others said that this Ayah refers to having offspring.
Qatadah said that the Ayah means, "Seek the permission that Allah has allowed for you.'' Sa`id
narrated that Qatadah said,
(and seek that which Allah has ordained for you,)
Time for Suhur
(...and eat and drink until the white thread (light) of dawn appears to you distinct from the black thread (darkness of night), then complete your fast till the nightfall.)
Allah has allowed eating and drinking, along with having sexual intercourse, as we have stated, during any part of the night until the light of dawn is distinguished from the darkness of the night. Allah has described that time as `distinguishing the white thread from the black thread.
He then made it clearer when He said: (of dawn.)
As stated in a Hadith that Imam Abu `Abdullah Al-Bukhari recorded, Sahl bin Sa`d said, "When the following verse was revealed:
(Eat and drink until the white thread appears to you, distinct from the black thread) and (of dawn) was not revealed, some people who intended to fast, tied black and white threads to their legs and went on eating till they differentiated between the two. Allah then revealed the words, (of dawn), and it became clear to them that it meant (the darkness of) night and (the light of) day. ''
Al-Bukhari recorded that Ash-Sha`bi said that `Adi said, "I took two strings, one black and the other white and kept them under my pillow and went on looking at them throughout the night, but could not make any distinction between the two. So, the next morning I went to Allah's Messenger and told him the whole story. He said:
(Your pillow is very wide if the white and black threads are under it!) Some wordings for this Hadith read, (Your Qafa (back side of your neck) is wide!).
Some people said that these words meant that `Adi was not smart. This is a weak opinion. The narration that Al-Bukhari collected explains this part of the Hadith. Al-Bukhari recorded that `Adi bin Hatim narrated: I said, "O Messenger of Allah! What is the white thread from the black thread Are they actual threads'' He said:
(Your Qafa is wide if you see the two threads. Rather, they are the blackness of the night and the whiteness of the daylight.)
Suhur is recommended
Allah allowed eating and drinking until dawn, it represents proof that Suhur is encouraged, since it is a Rukhsah (concession or allowance) and Allah likes that the Rukhsah is accepted and implemented. The authentic Sunnah indicates that eating the Suhur is encouraged. It is reported in the Two Sahihs that Anas narrated that Allah's Messenger said:
(Eat the Suhur, for there is a blessing in Suhur.)
Muslim reported that `Amr bin Al-`As narrated that Allah's Messenger said:
(The distinction between our fast and the fast of the People of the Book is the meal of Suhur.)
Imam Ahmad reported that Abu Sa`id narrated that Allah's Messenger said:
(Suhur is a blessed meal. Hence, do not abandon it, even if one just takes a sip of water. Indeed, Allah and His angels send Salah (blessings) upon those who eat Suhur.).
There are several other Hadiths that encourage taking the Suhur, even if it only consists of a sip of water.
It is preferred that Suhur be delayed until the time of dawn. It is recorded in the Two Sahihs that Anas bin Malik narrated that Zayd bin Thabit said, "We had Suhur with Allah's Messenger and then went on to pray.'' Anas asked, "How much time was there between the Adhan (call to prayer) and the Suhur'' He said, "The time that fifty Ayat take (to recite).''
Imam Ahmad recorded Abu Dharr saying that Allah's Messenger said:
(My Ummah will always retain goodness as long as they hasten in breaking the fast and delay the Suhur.).
There are several Hadiths that narrate that the Prophet called Suhur "the blessed meal.''
There are narrations from several of the Salaf that they allowed the Suhur to be eaten later until close to Fajr. This is is reported from Abu Bakr, `Umar, `Ali, Ibn Mas`ud, Hudhayfah, Abu Hurayrah, Ibn `Umar, Ibn `Abbas and Zayd bin Thabit. It is also reported from many of the Tabi`in, such as Muhammad bin `Ali bin Husayn, Abu Mijlaz, Ibrahim An-Nakha`i, Abu Ad-Duha, Abu Wa'il and other companions of Ibn Mas`ud. This is also the opinion of `Ata', Al-Hasan, Hakam bin `Uyainah, Mujahid, `Urwah bin Az-Zubayr, Abu Sha`tha' Jabir bin Zayd, Al- A`mash and Ma`mar bin Rashid.
It is also recorded in the Two Sahihs that Al-Qasim said that `A'ishah narrated that Allah's Messenger said: (The Adhan pronounced by Bilal should not stop you from taking Suhur, for he pronounces the Adhan at night. Hence, eat and drink until you hear the Adhan by Ibn Umm Maktum, for he does not call the Adhan until dawn.)
This is the wording collected by Al-Bukhari.
Imam Ahmad reported that Qays bin Talq quoted from his father that Allah's Messenger said:
(Dawn is not the (ascending) glow of white light of the horizon. Rather, it is the red (radiating) light.)
Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi also recorded this Hadith, but their wording is:
(Eat and drink and do not be rushed by the ascending (white) light. Eat and drink until the redness (of the dawn) appears.)
Ibn Jarir (At-Tabari) recorded that Samurah bin Jundub narrated that Allah's Messenger said:
(Do not be stopped by Bilal's Adhan or the (ascending) whiteness, until it spreads.) Muslim also recorded this Hadith.
There is no Harm in beginning the Fast while Junub (a state of major ritual impurity)
Issue: Among the benefits of allowing sexual activity, eating and drinking until dawn for those who are fasting, is that it is allowed to start the fast while Junub (in the state of impurity after sexual discharge), and there is no harm in this case if one takes a bath any time in the morning after waking up, and completes the fast. This is the opinion of the Four Imams and the majority of the scholars. Al-Bukhari and Muslim recorded that `A'ishah and Umm Salamah said that Allah's Messenger used to wake up while Junub from sexual intercourse, not wet dreams, and he would take a bath and fast. Umm Salamah added that he would not break his fast or make up for that day.