Eat a Predawn Meal, for Indeed in it There is Blessing
“Eat a predawn meal, for indeed in it there is blessing.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)
Although not obligatory, Muslims families throughout Ramadan rise early in the morning before the first traces of light and partake in a light meal in implementation of this Prophet teaching. Usually, the day of a Muslim starts with the dawn prayer performed when the first traces of light appear in the sky, but since it is the time when one starts the fast by withholding from food or drink, the Prophet, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, encouraged Muslims to arise before that time and partake in a meal.
From this it is clear that the point of fasting is not that one feels hunger throughout
the day, but rather that one changes their lifestyle in order for it to be more conducive to the worship of Allah, a fact which will become quite clear. One who often misses the dawn prayer, the hardest of the five prayers to perform due to its stated time, in this blessed month arises early in order to partake in a meal. Thus this person becomes accustomed to awakening at an early hour, ultimately helping him to perform the dawn prayer for the rest of the year.
The most beloved of the voluntary prayers is one called “Qiyaam -ul-Layl”, or the Night Prayer. This prayer is performed before the dawn prayer in solitude. It is so beloved that it is usually nicknamed “the Prayer of the Pious”, a prayer performed by the devout when the majority of people are still sleeping in their beds. God described this prayer in the Quran, saying: “Their sides forsake from (their) beds, calling upon their Lord in
fear and in hope….” (Quran 32:16)
Waking in the early hours before dawn to eat a meal also encourage the believers to perform this blessed prayer, one which otherwise seem like an arduous task for some.
This predawn meal is to be eaten close to the time of dawn, and thus people continue to eat until they hear the mu’ezzin, or caller of prayer, call out the azaan from the local mosque, signaling that the first traces of light have appeared. Thus, Muslims end their meal and prepare themselves to attend the congregational prayer at their local mosque, held five times a day throughout the year.