Quora Answer: Why do Muslims Break Fast at Sunset When the Qur'an & Ahadits in Swahih al-Bukhari Contradicts It?

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The assumption here is that you are one of the few people who know the correct time to break the fast, and for a thousand four hundred years, the entire ummah, every school and every sect, and all their scholars got it wrong.  I heard this same nonsense from Neil Degrasse Tyson.  Every time he has spoken about something outside his field of study, he has come as across as opinionated but ignorant.

The ayat of the Qur’an is this:

سُوۡرَةُ البَقَرَة
فَٱلۡـَٔـٰنَ بَـٰشِرُوهُنَّ وَٱبۡتَغُواْ مَا ڪَتَبَ ٱللَّهُ لَكُمۡ‌ۚ وَكُلُواْ وَٱشۡرَبُواْ حَتَّىٰ يَتَبَيَّنَ لَكُمُ ٱلۡخَيۡطُ ٱلۡأَبۡيَضُ مِنَ ٱلۡخَيۡطِ ٱلۡأَسۡوَدِ مِنَ ٱلۡفَجۡرِ‌ۖ ثُمَّ أَتِمُّواْ ٱلصِّيَامَ إِلَى ٱلَّيۡلِ‌ۚ (١٨٧)

… so now associate with them, and seek what Allah hath Ordained for you and eat and drink, until the white thread of dawn appears, to you, distinct from its black thread; then complete your fast until the night appears ... (Surah al-Baqarah:187)

The word used in the Qur’an is “layl”, which means “night”.  The night begins when the Sun sets, and ends when the Sun rises.  When the Sun sets, it is maghrib, which is the time Muslims break their fast.  However, we do not begin the fast when the Sun rises, because the verse above refers to twilight, which it the period where the light of the Sun precedes its appearance on the horizon.

This has been the interpretation of this verse from the time of the Prophet (s.a.w.), and the practise of the Muslims ever since.  No one found it controversial, and no one had a problem until some celebrity “scientist” who is neither schooled in the religious sciences, nor Arabic literature, thought he was smarter than everybody else.


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