Is it permissible to continue eating and drinking while adhan is called at suhoor and until adhan ends?

The Details of the Question

Can we eat and drink till to the end of adhan at Sahur (meal eaten before starting fast)?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Both fasting and the time of Fajr prayer begin with Imsak (the time when the day's fast begins). So, it does not make any difference whether the adhan (call to prayer) is announced earlier or later.

In the Hanafi school of jurisprudence, since it is more virtuous to perform the Fajr (morning) prayer a little later, in the other months than Ramadan, they start performing the morning prayer after reciting the adhan after the imsak time. However, in the month of Ramadan, it is recited earlier to announce that the time for fasting has started.

If the adhan is recited at the same time with imsak, one must quit eating and drinking as soon as s/he hears the adhan. Otherwise, the fasting may be invalidated. The best way is to quit eating and drinking before the adhan.

The one who eats or drinks while the adhan is being recited by thinking s/he could do so must fast one day as qada after Ramadan.

The time of “imsak” shown in the calendars is the time of fajr sadiq, that is, the time for starting fasting. Time of imsak is also the time when the night ends, the time for the night prayer (isha) ends and the time for the morning prayer starts.  In the month of Ramadan, the adhan for the morning prayer (fajr) is called at the time of imsak in some countries. Therefore, it is necessary to stop eating and drinking when adhan starts.

If the food items that remain in the mouth after the time of imsak starts are smaller than a chickpea, fasting is not invalidated; if they are bigger than a chickpea, fasting is invalidated; it becomes necessary to perform it again as qada. Fasting is not invalidated if a person swallows something very small like a sesame seed or wheat kernel remaining between the teeth. However, if something like that is put in the mouth and swallowed, fasting is invalidated. (Ömer Nasuhi Bilmen, Büyük İslam İlmihali, s. 302)

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