In addition to what has already been discussed of the behaviours that are desirable for a fasting person, there are also several etiquettes that are desirable for the fasting person to observe.
Suhoor is the early morning meal eaten before dawn comes. It is desirable to have this meal, even if it is just some water, or a few dates, though the person may eat whatever they wish. Suhoor should be delayed until later in the night, until near dawn as it helps to give a person strength for the day’s fast ahead.
The Prophet (PBUH) said: “Take (the meal of) suhoor because there is blessing in it.” (Hadith – Buhkari & Muslim)
“Suhoor is blessed food, aand it involves being different from the People of the Book (Christians and Jews). What a good suhoor for the believer is dates.” (Hadith – Abu Dawood)
Breaking the fast as soon as the sun sets
It is desirable to break the fast as soon as a person thinks that the sun has set. The name of the meal that is eaten at this time is called Iftaar.
The Prophet (PBUH) said: “The people will be fine so long as they do not delay iftaar.”(Hadith – Bukhari)
The Prophet (PBUH) said: “Once night comes from there and the day disappears from there, and the sun has set, the fasting person should break his fast.” (Hadith – Bukhari)
The Prophet (pbuh) would not pray maghrib (sunset) prayer until he had broken his fast, even if it was with just a sip of water.
Breaking the fast with dates
It is desirable to follow the practice of the Prophet, by breaking the fast with a few sips of water and some dates (preferably an odd number), or something similar if dates are not available.
Anas said: “The Prophet (PBUH) used to break his fast with fresh dates before praying; if fresh dates were not available, he would eat (dried) dates; if dried dates were not available, he would have a few sips of water.” (Hadith – al-Tirmidhi)
Reciting the du’aa’ after breaking the fast
Once the fasting person has broken the fast, they should recite the du’aa’ (supplication) for breaking fast:
Ibn ‘Umar stated that when the Prophet (PBUH) broke his fast, would say: “Dhahaba al-zama’u, wa’btallat al-’urooqu, wa thabat al-ajru, insha Allah” (Thirst is gone, veins are flowing again, and the reward is certain, if Allah wills).” (Hadith – Abu Dawood)
Note: there are other du’aa’ that some Muslims recite just before breaking the fast, or just after, however, the above du’aa’ is the only one that has been authenticated and the others have not been proven to be attributed to the Prophet (PBUH) and should therefore be avoided.
Not eating too much
The fasting person should avoid being a glutton during the night, and eat and drink only enough to satisfy the hunger and thirst.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The son of Adam fills no worse vessel than his stomach.” (Hadith – al-Tirmidhi)
A person should eat to live not live to eat. Food should be enjoyed in moderation, during Ramadaan and at other times. Overeating causes laziness and may make the Muslim lethargic so that they do not pray Taraaweeh prayers and undertake other kinds of beneficial worship during the night in Ramadaan.
Feeding a fasting person
There is great blessing in providing a fasting person with food with which to break their fast. This is one of the reasons why Muslims go to extra lengths to invite other families to share dinner with them during Ramadaan and to give food to the poor Muslims.
The Prophet (PBUH) said: “Whoever gives food to a fasting person with which to break his fast, will have a reward equal to his, without it detracting in the slightest from the reward of the fasting person.” (Hadith – al-Tirmidhi)