Imam Al-Nawawi's Riyad-us-Saliheen
Chapter 222
The Superiority of Hastening to Break the Fast, and the supplication to say upon Breaking it

1233. Sahl bin Sa`d (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "People will continue to adhere to good as long as they hasten to break the Saum (fasting).''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary:  "Adhere to good'' here means welfare of the religion as well as that of this world. Breaking the Saum early does not mean that it is terminated before the prescribed time. What it really means is without any delay after the sunset. One should not delay it for the mere reason that the rigour one has gone through in the Saum should be enhanced further, as is done by some Sufi. There is no merit in such things because the real merit lies in following the Sunnah of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam). Welfare of the Muslims will, therefore, come in the share of the Muslims because of their following the Prophet's Sunnah of breaking the Saum in the early moments of the prescribed time.

1234. Abu Atiyyah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:   Masruq  and  I  visited `Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) and said: "O Mother of the Believers! There are two Companions of Muhammad (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) and neither of them holds back from doing good acts; but one of them hastens to break Saum (fasting) and hastens to perform the Maghrib prayer, while the other delays breaking Saum and delays performing Salat (prayer).'' She asked, "Who is the one who hastens to break Saum and perform the Maghrib prayer?'' Masruq said, "It is `Abdullah (meaning `Abdullah bin Mas`ud).'' She said, "The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) used to do so.''
[Muslim].

Commentary: This Hadith points out the practice of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) of breaking the Saum and performing the Maghrib prayer in the early moments of the prescribed time.

1235. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "Allah the Most High says: `From amongst my slaves, the quicker the one is in breaking the Saum (fasting), the dearer is he to me.'''
[At-Tirmidhi].

Commentary:  The person who breaks the Saum in its early time is best loved by Allah because he is a true follower of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam).

1236. `Umar bin Al-Khattab (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said: "When the night approaches from this side (i.e., the east) and the day retreats from that side (i.e., west) and the sun sets, then it is time for a person observing Saum (fasting) to break his fast.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary:  The words "break his fast'' can be interpreted in two ways. First, it is time to break the Saum . Second, the Saum has reached its end. Whether one eats or not the Saum is over because it comes to a close with sunset. Thus, the time for Saum has been determined that it begins with the daybreak and ends at sunset. Any increase in this time is exaggeration which is disliked by Allah.

1237. Abu Ibrahim `Abdullah bin Abu Aufa (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: We were with the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) on a journey and he was observing Saum (fasting). When the sun set, he (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said to a person, "Dismount and prepare the ground roasted barley drink for us.'' Upon this he replied, "O Messenger of Allah, there is daylight still.'' The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "Get down and prepare barley drink for us.'' He said, "But it is still daytime.'' The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) again said to him, "Get down and prepare barely drink for us.'' So he got down and prepared a barley liquid meal for him. The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) drank that and then said, "When you perceive the night approaching from that side, a person observing Saum (fasting) should break the fast.'' And he (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) pointed towards the east with his hand.
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary:  This Hadith stresses that Saum must be broken soon after sunset and without delay.

1238. Salman bin `Amir (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I heard the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) saying, "When one of you breaks his Saum (fasting), let him break it on dates; if he does not have any, break his fast with water for it is pure.''
[Abu Dawud].

1239. Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) used to break his Saum (fasting) before performing Maghrib prayer with three fresh date-fruits; if there were no fresh date-fruits, he will eat three dry dates; and if there were no dry date-fruits; he would take three draughts of water.
[At-Tirmidhi].

Commentary: It is well to keep the priorities of things mentioned in the Hadith as one gets the reward of following the Sunnah in breaking his Saum.