Feeding the Fasting (Iftar As-Saa’im)

Feeding the fasting is an act of charity that is highly favored in the eyes of Allah, particularly in the month of fasting. It allows Muslims that are struggling to make ends meet, feel apart of the wider community and not left out as a result of being unable to break their fast.

The Prophet (pbuh) mentions the favour of those who feed the fasting in the following hadith, while speaking about the blessed month of Ramadan:

“He who performs an obligatory act of worship within it will be rewarded like he who performs seventy acts of worship at any time outside this month. It is the month of perseverance – and perseverance is rewarded with Jannah (Paradise). It is the month of compassion, in which the sustenance of a believer increases. He who feeds a fasting person within this month has his sins forgiven and he will be protected and released from the hellfire. He also gets the reward of that person’s fasting without decreasing the reward of the fasting person.”

Then the companions, may Allah be pleased with them, said, ‘O messenger of Allah! Not all of us can find the extra food needed to feed another fasting person’.

So the Prophet (pbuh) responded, “Allah will give you the reward of feeding a fasting person even if you were to give him just a sip of milk, a date, or a sip of water. He who feeds a fasting person until he is full, Allah will make him drink out of my river, a sip of which will never allow him to be thirsty until he enters Jannah.”

Then he continued, “…This is the month the beginning of which is mercy, the middle part is forgiveness and the last part of it is release from hellfire.” (Al-Bayhaqi).

Ibn Taymiyah mentions, ‘What is meant by giving him iftaar is giving him enough to satisfy him.’

The righteous predecessors (salaf) were keen to provide food for others and they thought that this was one of the best of righteous deeds.

Many of the salaf used to give up their iftaar for others, such as ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him), Dawood al-Taa’i, Maalik ibn Dinar and Ahmad ibn Hanbal. Ibn ‘Umar used to only break his fast with orphans, the poor and needy.

There were among the salaf those who used to offer food to their brothers whilst fasting, and they would sit and serve them, such as al-Hasan and Ibn al-Mubaarak.

Abu al-Siwaar al-‘Adawi said: Men from the tribe of Banu ‘Adiyy used to pray in this mosque and not one of them would break his fast on his own; if they found someone to join them they would eat with him, otherwise they would take their food out to the mosque and eat with the people, and the people would eat with them.

From the benefit of providing food for people stem many other acts of worship such as creating love and friendship towards those who are given the food, which is a means of entering Paradise, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “You will not enter Paradise until you truly believe, and you will not truly believe until you love one another.” Narrated by Muslim

The great companion Salman Al-Farisi (ra) narrates from the Prophet, the great reward associated with doing voluntary acts in the month of fasting:

‘He who performs any righteous voluntary act within it, will be rewarded like one who does an obligatory act at any time other than during Ramadan.’ There aren’t many acts much better than relieving the hunger of your fellow fasting brethren, so capitalise on the rewards in this blessed month and help feed a fellow fasting person around the world.