Assalamu‘alaikum SS Dato’ Mufti, I always wonder as to who will receive the rewards of providing for people breaking fast. Is it for those who provide the dates or the food, because people will break their fast by eating the dates first?
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the many countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
In the month of Ramadhan, we are encouraged to increase our good deeds. Among the good deeds that is encouraged for us is to provide for people who are breaking their fast. This is in accordance with the hadith from Zaid bin Khalid al-Juhani RA, where the Prophet PBUH said:
مَنْ فَطَّرَ صَائِمًا كَانَ لَهُ مِثْلُ أَجْرِهِ غَيْرَ أَنَّهُ لاَ يَنْقُصُ مِنْ أَجْرِ الصَّائِمِ شَيْئًا
“Whoever provides the food for a fasting person to break his fast with, then for him is the same reward as his (the fasting person's), without anything being diminished from the reward of the fasting person.”
Sunan al-Tirmizi (807)
Furthermore, Imam Izzudin Al-Izz bin Abd al-Salam explains the advantages for those who provide for people who are fasting: “Whoever provide for 36 people who are fasting throughout the year, then he will receive the rewards as if he has fasted for a whole year.” Refer Maqasid al-Saum, Izz Abd al-Salam (pg. 18).
The reason is, every good deed is multiplied by ten as stated by Allah SWT:
مَن جَاءَ بِالْحَسَنَةِ فَلَهُ عَشْرُ أَمْثَالِهَا
“Whoever comes [on the Day of Judgement] with a good deed will have ten times the like thereof [to his credit],”
Surah al-An’aam (160)
Hence, if someone provide for 36 people who are fasting, then he will be rewarded for 36 times. Then the rewards will be multiplied by ten of his deed, which will give a total of 360 which is also the total number if days for a year (360), according to the Hijrah calendar.
Getting back to the question asked, we include the different opinions presented by scholars regarding what is the amount considered as providing for people who are breaking fast? Is it considered as providing food for people who are breaking fast is enough with just one date or a glass of water or provide any type of food that will remove the hunger?
Imam Ibn Muflih commented on the above hadith regarding providing food for the people who are breaking fast: “According to the literal meaning of the hadith, it is any type of food. Whereas, the rewards are greater if the food remove hunger for those who are breaking fast.” Refer Al-Furu’, Ibn Muflih (3/73).
Thus, if someone provide food for those who are breaking their fast, may it be just one date, a glass of water or even food that remove hunger, then, he already gained the rewards of providing for people who are breaking their fast, as stated literally in the hadith.
This is clear according to the hadith from Salman al-Farisi RA, where the Prophet PBUH said:
مَنْ فَطَّرَ صَائِمًا كَانَ لَهُ عِتْقُ رَقَبَةٍ وَمَغْفِرَةٌ لِذُنُوبِهِ قِيلَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ لَيْسَ كُلُّنَا يَجِدُ مَا يُفَطِّرُ الصَّائِمَ قَالَ يُعْطِي اللَّهُ هَذَا الثَّوَابَ مَنْ فَطَّرَ صَائِمًا عَلَى مَذْقَةِ لَبَنٍ أَوْ تَمْرَةٍ أَوْ شَرْبَةِ مَاءٍ
“Whoever provide food for people who are breaking fast will be free from hellfire and receive forgiveness for all his sins. Then, the Prophet PBUH was asked: “O Rasullullah, not all of us are capable to provide something for the people who are breaking the fast.” Thus, the Prophet PBUH answered: “Allah rewards whoever provides for people who are breaking their fast with milk mixed with dates, one date or a drink.”
Sunan Ibn Khuzaimah (1878)
On the other hand, the second opinion states that it will only be considered as providing food for the people who are breaking their fast, is only for someone who provide ample food until the people who are breaking their fast are full. The reason is, only until hunger is removed from the people who are breaking fast, that the purpose which is to provide and replenish the energy for the people who are breaking their fast for the night is fulfilled. This is the opinion of Syeikhul Islam Ibn Taimiyyah.
As a conclusion, we would like to state that the accurate opinion is that whoever provide food for those who are breaking their fast will be rewarded, regardless of whether it is just a date, porridge, a glass of water or a whole meal.
However, providing food that is filling such as a whole meal is prioritized and will have a greater reward. This is in accordance with the hadith of the Prophet PBUH, where he said:
وَمَنْ أَشْبَعَ صَائِمًا كَانَ لَهُ مَغْفِرَةٌ لِذُنُوبِهِ وَسَقَاهُ اللَّهُ مِنْ حَوْضِي شَرْبَةً لَا يَظْمَأُ حَتَّى يَدْخُلَ الْجَنَّةَ
“And whoever fulfils people who are fasting, then he will receive the forgiveness for his sins, and Allah will provide him with a drink from My Haudh (well), which will quench his thirst forever until he enters Paradise.”
Sunan Ibn Khuzaimah (1878)
At the same time, there are also rewards for those who provide food for those who are breaking their fast, regardless if it is eaten first or later, as long as it is during the time of breaking the fast.
Lastly, may Allah SWT give us the correct understanding in practising our religion. Ameen.