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Salman b. Amir (may Allah be pleased with him) relates that the Messenger of Allah (peaces and blessings be upon him) has told them as follows:

When one of you breaks his fast, he should break it with dates. For there is abundance in date. If he cannot find dates, he should break his fast with water since water cleans. (Ibn Maja, Siyam: 24; Abu Dawud, Sawm: 21)

As it is expressed in the hadith, the Prophet (peaces and blessings be upon him) used to break his fast with dates. If there were not any dates, he used to drink water.

As what we learn from another relation, the Prophet (peaces and blessings be upon him) used to break his fast with fresh dates before performing his prayer; if there were not any dates, he used to break his fast by drinking a few drops of water.

There is much wisdom in breaking fast with dates or water. Dates can be eaten with bread and they are also fruit.

Therefore, the stomach that has dates first gets rid of its need of nourishment for some time. A date also plays a role in activating the intestines.

Water provides physical and spiritual purifying. It quenches thirst, relieves and relaxes the stomach.

Those are not the entire benefits of dates and water. They have much more benefits and wisdom we do not know yet.

Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) tells the Prophet’s personal practice in a different narration as follows:

The Messenger of Allah (peaces and blessings be upon him) used to break his fast with a few fresh dates before performing the evening prayer. If there were not any fresh dates, he used to break it with dry dates. If he could not find any dry dates, he used to drink a few drops of water. (Abu Dawud, Sawm: 22, (2556); Tirmidhi, Sawm: 10)

There may not be any dates everywhere every time, and perhaps there may not be any water, either. There may be people fasting all around the world and every country and region has particular conditions. Therefore, breaking the fast in another way also takes place in sunnah (practice of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)).

The Prophet explains that issue as follows:

The Prophet (peaces and blessings be upon him) used to like breaking his fast with three dates or with something that fire did not touch. (At-Targhib wat-Tarhib 2:142)