Assalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,
I found many wrongs which take place in South Africa at the time of Iftaar:
1) In many places people have really made the time of Iftaar a time to feast. People bring all types of savouries, milkshakes etc, and due to this Maghrib Salah is delayed.
2) The sanctity of the Masjid is transgressed. It is like one huge party taking place,
3) Particles of food is still in the persons mouth and he commences his Maghrib prayer.
4) Food is shared with the rich whereas only poor people (those who are eligible to accept zakaat) should be given something to break the fast.
Why isn’t the Jamiat addressing this urgent issue?
Wa’alaykum as Salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,
The Shari’ah has granted permission to delay the Maghrib prayer for a little while to facilitate the breaking of the fast. Most Masjids allow between 5 to 10 minutes, which is totally fine. This time is an occasion of happiness for a Muslim. So Muslims are permitted to make Iftaar staying within the limits of Shari’ah.
It is Sunnah to break the fast with dates and water, but that does not mean it is prohibited to eat anything else. Therefore we can not impose upon the people to suffice on only dates and water. In fact, in almost every Masjid dates and Zamzam is given, and everyone break their fasts with the dates and Zamzam and thereafter partake of other food.
The Hadith is general and mentions the reward for feeding any fasting person. It will be incorrect to confine this to only poor people who are eligible of Zakah. Yes, there is most definitely more necessity to feed the poor but the Hadith does not restrict us to only that. If a rich person is given something with which he can break his fast then too the reward will be gained. The types of optional Sadaqah can be given to anyone, rich and poor. In most Masjids, the food is served to everyone who is present; whether rich or poor.
In many places in South Africa, the entire community break their fast together in the courtyard of the Masjid, and not in the Masjid itself. Hence, the sanctity of the Masjid is not transgressed.
After eating a person should gargle his mouth before performing Salah. It is incorrect to start Salah without gargling the mouth due to the possibility of the remaining of food in the mouth.
In short, breaking one’s fast with food and savouries is allowed before Salah on condition that the limits are not transgressed. If the limits are transgressed (in whichever way) then the local Ulama (i.e. the Ulama of that particular locality) should address the issue. It is not the responsibility of the Jamiat ul Ulama to address every issue. Kindly discuss this matter with your local Ulama and request them to address it.
Ismail Moosa (Mufti)
Euro-Sunni & Islamic Research and Welfare Academy