In the Musnad of Imam Ahmad and the Sunans of At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa'i and Ibn Majah it is recorded that Abu Hurayrah narrated that Allah's Messenger said:
(Three persons will not have their supplication rejected: the just ruler, the fasting person until breaking the fast, and the supplication of the oppressed person, for Allah raises it above the clouds on the Day of Resurrection, and the doors of heaven will be opened for it, and Allah says, `By My grace! I will certainly grant it for you, even if after a while.')
(187. It is made lawful for you to have sexual relations with your wives on the night of As-Siyam (fasting). They are Libas (i.e., body-cover, or screen) for you and you are Libas for them. 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 and seek that which Allah has ordained for you (offspring), 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. And do not have sexual relations with them (your wives) while you are in I`tikaf in the Masjids. These are the limits (set) by Allah, so approach them not. Thus does Allah make clear His Ayat to mankind that they may acquire Taqwa.)
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 intercourse 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,)
(...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:
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.)
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 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. We have mentioned the chains of narrations for their statements in our (Ibn Kathir's) book about Siyam (Fasting), and all praise is due to Allah.
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.
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.
Muslim recorded that `A'ishah said that a man asked:
"O Messenger of Allah! The (Dawn) prayer time starts while I am Junub, should I fast'' Allah's Messenger replied, (And I. The prayer time starts while I am Junub and I fast.)
He said, "You are not like us, O Messenger of Allah! Allah has forgiven your previous and latter sins.'' Allah's Messenger said:
(By Allah! I hope that I have the most fear from Allah among you and the best knowledge of what Taqwa is.)
(...then complete your fast till the nightfall.)
This Ayah orders breaking the fast at sunset. It is recorded in the Two Sahihs that `Umar bin Al-Khattab said that Allah's Messenger said:
(If the night comes from this direction (the east), and the day departs from that direction (the west), then the fasting person breaks his fast.)
It is reported that Sahl bin Sa`d As-Sa`idi narrated that Allah's Messenger said:
(The people will retain goodness as long as they hasten in breaking the fast.)
Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet said:
(Allah the Exalted said, `The dearest among My servants to Me are those who hasten in breaking the fast the most.')
At-Tirmidhi recorded this Hadith and said that this Hadith is Hasan Gharib.
There are several authentic Hadiths that prohibit Al-Wisal, which means continuing the fast through the night to the next night, without eating. Imam Ahmad recorded Abu Hurayrah saying that Allah's Messenger said:
(Do not practice Al-Wisal in fasting.) So, they said to him, "But you practice Al-Wisal, O Allah's Messenger!'' The Prophet replied, "(I am not like you, I am given food and drink during my sleep by my Lord.) ,So, when the people refused to stop Al-Wisal, the Prophet fasted two days and two nights (along with those who practiced Wisal) and then they saw the crescent moon (of the month of Shawwal). The Prophet said to them (angrily):
(If the crescent had not appeared, I would have made you fast for a longer period.)
That was as a punishment for them (when they refused to stop practicing Al-Wisal). This Hadith is also recorded in the Sahihayn.
The prohibition of Al-Wisal was also mentioned in a number of other narrations. It is a fact that practicing Al-Wisal was one of the special qualities of the Prophet, for he was capable and assisted in his practice of it. It is obvious that the food and drink that the Prophet used to get while practicing Al-Wisal was spiritual and not material, otherwise he would not be practicing Al-Wisal. We should mention that it is allowed to refrain from breaking the fast from sunset until before dawn (Suhur). A Hadith narrated by Abu Sa`id Khudri states that Allah's Messenger said:
(Do not practice Al-Wisal, but whoever wishes is allowed to practice it until the Suhur.)
They said, "You practice Al-Wisal, O Messenger of Allah!'' He said:
(I am not similar to you, for I have One Who makes me eat and drink during the night.) This Hadith is also collected in the Two Sahihs.
(And do not have sexual relations with them (your wives) while you are in I`tikaf in the Masjids.)
`Ali bin Abu Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said, "This Ayah is about the man who stays in I`tikaf at the mosque during Ramadan or other months, Allah prohibited him from touching (having sexual intercourse with) women, during the night or day, until he finishes his I`tikaf.'' Ad-Dahhak said, "Formerly, the man who practiced I`tikaf would go out of the mosque and, if he wished, would have sexual intercourse (with his wife). Allah then said:
(And do not have sexual relations with them (your wives) while you are in I`tikaf in the Masjids.) meaning, `Do not touch your wives as long as you are in I`tikaf, whether you were in the mosque or outside of it'.'' It is also the opinion of Mujahid, Qatadah and several other scholars, that the Muslims used to have sexual intercourse with the wife while in I`tikaf if they departed the mosque until the Ayah was revealed. Ibn Abu Hatim commented, "It was reported that Ibn Mas`ud, Muhammad bin Ka`b, Mujahid, `Ata' Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak, As-Suddi, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas and Muqatil said that the Ayah means, `Do not touch the wife while in I`tikaf.'''
What Ibn Abu Hatim reported from these people is the agreed upon practice among the scholars. Those who are in I`tikaf are not allowed to have sexual intercourse as long as they are still in I`tikaf in the mosque. If one has to leave the mosque to attend to a need, such as to relieve the call of nature or to eat, he is not allowed to kiss or embrace his wife or to busy himself with other than his I`tikaf. He is not even allowed to visit ailing persons, but he can merely ask about their condition while passing by. I`tikaf has several other rulings that are explained in the books (of Fiqh), and we have mentioned several of these rulings at the end of our book on Siyam (Fasting), all praise is due to Allah. Furthermore, the scholars of Fiqh used to follow their explanation of the rules for fasting with the explanation of the rules for I`tikaf, as this is the way these acts of worship were mentioned in the Qur'an.
By mentioning I`tikaf after fasting, Allah draws attention to practicing I`tikaf during the month of the fast, especially the last part of the month. The Sunnah of Allah's Messenger is that he used to perform I`tikaf during the last ten nights of the month of Ramadan until he died. Afterwards, the Prophet's wives used to perform I`tikaf as the Two Sahihs recorded from `A'ishah the Mother of the believers. It is reported in the Two Sahihs that Safiyyah, the daughter of Huyai, went to Allah's Messenger to visit him in the mosque while he was in I`tikaf. She had a talk with him for a while, then she got up in order to return home. The Prophet accompanied her back home, as it was night. Her house was at Usamah bin Zayd's house on the edge of Al-Madinah. While they were walking, two Ansari men met them and passed by them in a hurry, for they were shy to bother the Prophet while he was walking with his wife. He told them:
(Do not run away! She is (my wife) Safiyyah bint Huyai.) Both of them said, "All praise is due to Allah, (How dare we think of any evil) O Allah's Messenger!'' The Prophet said (to them):
(Shaytan reaches everywhere in the human body, that the blood reaches. I was afraid lest Shaytan might suggest an evil thought in your minds.)
Imam Ash-Shafi`i commented, "Allah's Messenger sought to teach his Ummah to instantly eliminate any evil thought, so that they do not fall into the prohibited. They (the two Ansari men) had more fear of Allah than to think evil of the Prophet. Allah knows best.''
The Ayah (2:187) prohibits sexual intercourse and anything like kissing or embracing that might lead to it during I`tikaf. As for having the wife helping the husband, it is allowed. It is reported in the Two Sahihs that `A'ishah said, "Allah's Messenger would bring his head near me (in her room) and I would comb his hair, while I was on my menses. He would enter the room only to attend to what a man needs.''
(These are the limits (set) by Allah) means, `This is what We have explained, ordained, specified, allowed and prohibited for fasting. We also mentioned the fast's objectives, what is permitted during it, and what is required of it. These are the set limits that Allah has legislated and explained, so do not come near them or transgress them.' `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said, "(Allah's set limits mentioned in the Ayah) mean these four limits (and he then recited):
(It is made lawful for you to have sexual relations with your wives on the night of As-Siyam (fasting).) and he recited up to:
(then complete your Sawm (fast) till the nightfall.) My father and other's used to say similarly and recite the same Ayah to us.''
(Thus does Allah make clear His Ayat to mankind) meaning, `Just as He explains the fast and its rulings, He also explains the other rulings by the words of His servant and Messenger, Muhammad.' Allah continues:
(to mankind that they may attain Taqwa.) meaning, `So that they know how to acquire the true guidance and how to worship (Allah).' Similarly, Allah said:
(It is He Who sends down manifest Ayat to His servant (Muhammad) that He may bring you out from (types of) darkness into the light. And verily, Allah is to you full of kindness, Most Merciful.) (57:9)
(188. And eat up not one another's property unjustly (in any illegal way, e.g., stealing, robbing, deceiving), nor give bribery to the rulers (judges before presenting your cases) that you may knowingly eat up a part of the property of others sinfully.)
`Ali bin Abu Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said, "This (Ayah 2:188) is about the indebted person when there is no evidence of the loan. So he denies taking the loan and the case goes to the authorities, even though he knows that it is not his money and that he is a sinner, consuming what is not allowed for him.'' This opinion was also reported from Mujahid, Sa`id bin Jubayr, `Ikrimah, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, As-Suddi, Muqatil bin Hayan and `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam. They all stated, "Do not dispute when you know that you are being unjust.''
It is reported in the Two Sahihs that Umm Salamah narrated that Allah's Messenger said:
(I am only human! You people present your cases to me, and as some of you may be more eloquent and persuasive in presenting his argument, I might issue a judgment in his benefit. So, if I give a Muslim's right to another, I am really giving him a piece of fire; so he should not take it.)
The Ayah and the Hadith prove that the judgment of the authorities in any case does not change the reality of the truth. Hence, the ruling does not allow what is in fact prohibited or prohibit what is in fact allowed. It is only applicable in that case. So if the ruling agrees with the truth, then there is no harm in this case. Otherwise, the judge will acquire his reward, while the cheater will acquire the evil burden.
This is why Allah said:
(And eat up not one another's property unjustly, nor give bribery to the rulers (judges before presenting your cases) that you may knowingly eat up a part of the property of others sinfully.) meaning, `While you know the falsehood of what you claim. 'Qatadah said, "O son of Adam! Know that the judge's ruling does not allow you what is prohibited or prohibit you from what is allowed. The judge only rules according to his best judgment and according to the testimony of the witnesses. The judge is only human and is bound to make mistakes. Know that if the judge erroneously rules in some one's favor, then that person will still encounter the dispute when the disputing parties meet Allah on the Day of Resurrection. Then, the unjust person will be judged swiftly and precisely with that which will surpass whatever he acquired by the erroneous judgment he received in the life of this world.''
(189. They ask you (O Muhammad) about the crescents. Say: "These are signs to mark fixed periods of time for mankind and for the pilgrimage.'' It is not Al-Birr (piety, righteousness, etc.) that you enter the houses from the back, but Al-Birr is from Taqwa. So enter houses through their proper doors, and have Taqwa of Allah that you may be successful.)
Al-`Awfi related that Ibn `Abbas said, "The people asked Allah's Messenger about the crescent moons. Thereafter, this Ayah was revealed:
(They ask you (O Muhammad) about the crescents. Say, "These are signs to mark fixed periods of time for mankind...) so that they mark their acts of worship, the `Iddah (the period of time a divorced woman or a widow is required to wait before remarrying) of their women and the time of their Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah).'' `Abdur-Razzaq reported that Ibn `Umar narrated that Allah's Messenger said:
(Allah has made the crescents signs to mark fixed periods of time for mankind. Hence, fast on seeing it (the crescent for Ramadan) and break the fast on seeing it (the crescent for Shawwal). If it (the crescent) was obscure to you then count thirty days (mark that month as thirty days).) This Hadith was also collected by Al-Hakim in his Mustadrak, and he said, "The chain is Sahih, and they (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) did not recorded it."
(It is not Al-Birr (piety, righteousness, etc.) that you enter the houses from the back, but Al-Birr is from Taqwa. So enter houses through their proper doors.)
Al-Bukhari recorded that Al-Bara' said, "During the time of Jahiliyyah, they used to enter the house from the back upon assuming the Ihram. Thereafter, Allah revealed (the following Ayah):
(It is not Al-Birr (piety, righteousness, etc.) that you enter the houses from the back but Al-Birr is from Taqwa. So enter houses through their proper doors.)
Abu Dawud At-Tayalisi recorded the same Hadith from Al-Bara' but with the wording; "The Ansar used to enter their houses from the back when returning from a journey. Thereafter, this Ayah (2:189 above) was revealed...''
Al-Hasan said, "When some people during the time of Jahiliyyah would leave home to travel, and then decide not to travel, they would not enter the house from its door. Rather, they would climb over the back wall. Allah the Exalted said:
(It is not Al-Birr (piety, righteousness) that you enter the houses from the back,).''
(...and have Taqwa of Allah that you may be successful.) Have Taqwa of Allah, means to do what He has commanded you and refrain from what He has forbidden for you,
(that you may be successful.) tomorrow when you stand before Him and He thus rewards you perfectly.
(190. And fight in the way of Allah those who fight you, but transgress not the limits. Truly, Allah likes not the transgressors.) (191. And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah is worse than killing. And fight not with them at Al-Masjid Al-Haram (the sanctuary at Makkah), unless they (first) fight you there. But if they attack you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers. ) (192. But if they cease, then Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.) (193. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah) and the religion (all and every kind of worship) is for Allah (Alone). But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimin (the polytheists and wrongdoers).)