A very important act related to Saum (Fasting) is Iftaar or to break the fast at its appropriate time. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) emphasised the importance and the virtues of correct observance of Iftaar. Correct observance of Iftaar means to observe it in the Sunnat way. Although Iftaar is ostensibly a mundane act of eating some food, it is an ibaadat of much thawaab (reward) as well. However, Iftaar will be bereft of its spirituality and ibaadat dimension if it is not observed in the Masnoon manner.
The Masnoon Manner
It should be well understood that Iftaar is not feasting. It is not an act to discharge gluttonously or with impatience. It is a spiritually pleasurable act or should be so. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said that the Saa-im (the fasting person) experiences two moments of happiness or pleasure. The one moment is when he makes Iftaar and the other moment will be the occasion when he meets his Rabb (in the Aakhirah).
This pleasurable exercise should not be contaminated and ruined with greed and impatience when it is time to end the fast. The Masnoon method of breaking the fast is to eat some dates or to drink some water. It should not be transformed in a veritable feast with heavy foods as has become the norm in most places. Instead of the light Iftaar which was the practice of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and his Sahaabah, people have developed the greedy and impatient habit of stuffing their bellies with food of a variety of kinds while the Athaan is in progress. They are consequently deprived of the thawaab of responding to the Athaan. They suffer the loss of the Sunnat acts of responding to the Athaan and of the Masnoon light Iftaar which is not only spiritually beneficial but which is physically beneficial as well. The sudden avalanche of food which descends into the stomach which has become contracted as a result of the day-long abstention from food and water, leads to disorders in the body. The repercussion of such disorders can be severe and very harmful for even the physical health.
The excessive feasting at the time of Iftaar leads to spiritual lethargy, indigestion and delay in beginning of the Maghrib Salaat. To gain the best rewards of Iftaar, spiritual and physical, it is necessary to break the fast with only some dates or water. The Maghrib Salaat should then commence almost immediately after the Athaan, perhaps three or four minutes after the Athaan, not 10, 15 and even 20 minutes after the Athaan as has been observed in some places where people feast like gluttons. In this way, they detract from the benefits of the Saum. The best results of ibaadat can be acquired only if the proper Masnoon method is adopted.