Usually people stay up until late night (until 2 am) then have their so-called sehri and sleep well through the day. This sort of routine has a lot of disadvantages medically. However, here I am not going to emphasize on its medical aspects. Taking of the Sehri is the Sunnah of Rasool Allah (s.a.w.w.). It is not obligatory but highly recommended.
The Prophet (s.a.w.w.) said: “Have suhoor, for in suhoor there is blessing.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
It is better to take Sehri and finish it ten to fifteen minutes before the Azan. At the call for prayer one should have the intention for the fast (in their hearts).
Anas from Zayd ibn Thaabit (r.a.) who said: ‘We ate suhoor with the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.w.), then he got up to pray. I said: “How much time was there between the Azan and suhoor?’ He said: ‘The time it takes to recite fifty verses.’ ” [Bukhaari]
Eating in Sehri is a Sunnah. If one is not hungry they should at least partake a morsel or two of some food or a date or at least drink water. The person will, insha’Allah, get the reward of Sehri.
If one missed the alarm he/she set for Sehri and got up later under the impression that it was still night and took Sehri but soon found out that it was after dawn, then the fast was not accomplished and it should be kept as a missed fast. Nevertheless, recompense for the fast is not due. Even then nothing should be eaten or drunk and one should behave like the fasting ones.
In the same way if fast is broken thinking that the Azan has been called mistakenly thinking that the sun has set but the sun appears after a while, then the fast is breached and should be kept as a postponed fast but no recompense is due. The person should not eat until the sun is fully set.
One should hasten to break the fast at the call of the Azan or as soon as the sun has fully set. It is Sunnah to hasten to break the fast because the Prophet (s.a.w.w.) said: “The people will continue to be fine so long as they hasten to break the fast.” [Bukhaari and Muslim]
There is a wrong belief that the fast should be broken with a bit of salt. That is not a Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.w.). The Sunnah is to break the fast with fresh dates; if none are available then with dry dates; if none are available then with water – according to a hadith narrated by Anas (r.a.).
It is Sunnah when breaking the fast to say Bismillaah. This is obligatory according to the correct view because the Prophet (s.a.w.w.) enjoined that.
Reciting a dua’a at this time has its virtue. “Allaahumma laka sumtu wa ‘ala rizqika aftartu, Allaahumma taqabbal minni, innaka antaal-samee’ al-‘aleem (O Allaah, for You I have fasted and with Your provision I have broken my fast, O Allaah accept (this fast) from me for You are the All-Hearing, All-Knowing)” is one a good dua’a that may be recited at the time of breaking the fast.
It was narrated from Anas (r.a.) that the Prophet (s.a.w.w.) said: “Three prayers are not rejected: the prayer of a father, the prayer of a fasting person, and the prayer of a traveler.” Narrated by al-Bayhaqi.
Also, it was narrated from Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri : “Allaah ransoms people every day and night – in Ramadan – and every day and night the Muslim has a prayer that is answered.” Saheeh Hadeeth.
Ramadan Kareem to all.