What is Imsak? Along With The Meaning And Explanation About Imsak

What is Imsak? – Every Muslim will certainly know the name of the imsakiyah schedule during the fasting month. Where the imsakiyah schedule contains information on the five daily prayers, the start time of fasting, and the hours of breaking the fast during Ramadan. The schedule is published both online and offline, so it will be easy for anyone to get it.

For Muslim communities in Indonesia, the imsakiyah schedule is a very important requirement. Because, this schedule makes it very easy for us to fast in the month of Ramadan. However, sometimes the imsakiyah schedule spread throughout Indonesia has a slight difference in time, from one region to another.

This sometimes makes people feel confused about which schedule to follow. So, in the midst of the dispute at that time, most Muslims probably did not understand what imsak was. To find out more deeply, in the following we will discuss the meaning and history of the imsak itself.

A. Definition of Imsak

Imsak is the time which is considered as one of the markers that fasting time has begun. Imsak itself is only in the month of Ramadan. Therefore, imsak is used as a reminder that the meal time has ended. If you quote from hadiths or other Islamic teachings, in fact there are still many people who misunderstand imsak. Because, imsak is considered as a marker of the start of fasting time.

In fact, imsak is not in Islamic teachings. So it is just a term used to help us remember that one can still eat for a few more minutes before Fajr arrives. So, most of the imsakiyah schedules scattered throughout Indonesia contain a difference between the time of imsak and dawn of about 5 to 10 minutes. This is very reasonable because it depends on the region and also the clergy.

As for the provisions stating that Muslims are still allowed to eat or drink the meal at the time of imsak, there are several arguments. One of the arguments that discuss this is:

“If one of you hears the call to prayer, while he is still holding the plate (food), then he should not put it down until he has finished eating it,” HR. Imam Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Hakim and has been authenticated by Adz Dzahabi.

Apart from that, Imam Al-Mawardi also stated in his Iqna’ book, namely:

وزمان الصّيام من طُلُوع الْفجْر الثَّانِي إِلَى غرُوب الشَّمْس لَكِن عَلَيْهِ تَقْدِيم الامساك يَسِيرا قبل طُلُوع الْفجْر وَتَأْخِير (الْفطر) يَسِيرا بعد غرُوب الشَّمْس ليصير مُسْتَوْفيا لامساكمَا بَينهمَا

“The time of fasting is from the rising of the second dawn to the setting of the sun. But (it would be better if) the fasting person makes imsak (abstaining from eating and drinking) a little earlier before dawn and delays breaking his fast for a while after the sun sets so that he completes imsak (refraining from breaking the fast) between the two.” (See Ali bin Muhammad Al-Mawardi, Al-Iqnaa’ [Tehran: Dar Ihsan, 1420 H] p. 74).

In this way, it is clear that people who are having sahur are still allowed to eat and drink sahur when the time for imsak arrives until dawn and also the morning call to prayer. However, it would be better if we ended eating or drinking at the time of imsak. This is intended so that our eating and drinking are not done in a hurry and immediately carry out the morning prayer service in peace.

B. History of Imsak

The term imsak comes from Arabic which according to Wassim Afifi means fasting. The term imsak was first introduced in Egypt in the month of Ramadan in 1262 H. Whereas in the Christian calendar it occurred in September 1846 AD. This started from the art of writing and also modern publishing in Egypt. Before entering 1798 AD, Egypt did not really realize that scientific developments until the French population became an early advance in knowledge of modern writing. Although Al-Azhar was attacked during the French occupation, these residents also formed the Center for Science in Egypt. Then France started printing the first which contained the imsakiyah schedule.

The imsakiyah schedule was printed for the first time in a media called Bulaq and known as Imsakiyah Wali Al-Nu’man. Where the schedule is printed on yellow paper measuring 27 cm 17 cm. At that time, the imsakiyah schedule contained the first day of Ramadan which fell on Monday and the Sabii month could be observed very clearly in the South for 35 minutes. The printed media also included Muhammad Ali Pasha, a historical figure of the Ottoman Empire. The Imsakiyah schedule also contains the hours of prayer and fasting every day according to the Arabic calendar. Then, the schedule is distributed to all government offices and disseminates it widely to every employee in the company.

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During 1920 to 1940, the imsakiyah schedule for the month of Ramadan was then printed or published for several purposes. Initially, the imsakiyah schedule was used as an advertising medium to be distributed by the printers of the Egyptian Renaissance Statue which at that time still belonged to Mahmoud Khalil Ibrahim, in the month of Ramadan 1347 H or around February 1929 AD Even in that year, the imsakiyah was also printed as an official announcement in the form of a very neat book. Then, a Jewish businessman named Daoud Adas uses the imsak schedule as a decoration material in his shops during the month of Ramadan.

At that time, print media containing imsakiyah schedules were valued quite expensive because these schedules included various kinds of information related to fasting, Islam, virtues, and to advertise a commercial product. The imsakiyah schedule printed by Daoud Ada is an inspiration regarding various kinds of Ramadan information, but still easy to understand.

Then in 1356 H or around 1937 AD, the imsakiyah schedule also contained fasting information, verses from the Koran, prayers, morning and evening readings, daily fasting schedule, and information about zakat fitrah. The distribution of the imsakiyah schedule was distributed to people who were passing and passing by. Since then, the imsakiyah schedule has always experienced a status development and has become a very important requirement when the month of Ramadan arrives, including in Indonesia. Currently, the imsakiyah schedule is used so that Muslims are even more careful when they want to eat food when dawn approaches dawn.

C. Imsak Age of the Prophet Muhammad SAW

According to Ustadz Abdul Somad, at the time of the Prophet the term imsak did not yet exist. Imsak just appeared during the Shafi’i school. At that time, imsak was a yellow light that was used as a sign that one should be prepared to stop eating sahur. However, if someone just wakes up at the time of imsak, then they can still eat and drink sahur until the sound of the dawn call to prayer. When the dawn call to prayer is sounded, eating and drinking activities must also be stopped and the mouth must be cleaned as soon as possible. This is to ensure that there are no more food residue left in the mouth and can break the fast.

Meanwhile, according to Nabawi’s guidance, the concept of imsak itself is considered to have existed since the time of the Prophet, even though it was not mentioned directly or used a special term.

Al-Bukhari, Muslim, al-Tirmidhi, Nasa’i, Ibn Majah and Ahmad narrated through Anas bin Malik from Zaid bin Thabit:

عن زيد بن ثابت رضي الله عنه قال : تَسَحَّرْنَا مَعَ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ثُمَّ قَامَ إِلَى الصَّلَاةِ قُلْتُ كَمْ كَانَ بَيْنَ الأَذَانِ وَالسُّحُوْرِ ؟ قَالَ قَدْرُ خَمْسِيْنَ آيَةً

Zaid bin Thabit’s friend ra narrated, “we used to have breakfast with the Prophet, then for a while he prayed at dawn”.

Anas bin Malik asked, “how much time is there between the call to prayer and sahur?”

“About the span of reading 50 verses,” replied Zaid bin Thabit.

The time lag, which is almost the same as the reading of 50 verses, between the pre-dawn meal and the dawn call to prayer is one of the proofs that the imsak already exists but is more practically understood, namely about the separation of the distance from the start of fasting, namely at dawn and the pre-dawn meal. Meanwhile, this is in line with the explanation given by Ustadz Abdul Somad that the imsak does not act as a red light, which means you are not allowed to eat or drink at all.

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Ustadz Abdul Somad also said that in Middle Eastern countries, like Morocco, there is no term imsak. So that Moroccan Muslims will stop eating and drinking the meal right when the dawn call to prayer is sounded. However, the imsak time is indeed recommended to be carried out for the good of Muslims themselves.

D. Imsak in Indonesia

In Indonesia itself, the time for imsak is usually marked by the sound of sirens or the recitation of holy verses from the Koran and certain sounds coming from mosques. Where it will be done before dawn arrives. In fact, we cannot find this phenomenon in any other country, apart from Indonesia.

Indonesian clerics themselves stipulate that the time of imsak is used as a reminder that the dawn call to prayer is near. It would be better for Muslims to immediately use this time to clean their mouths, brush their teeth, take a shower, and prepare to immediately perform the morning prayers.

The imsak time that we often read in the imsakiyah schedule is the time made by the ulama in Indonesia by adjusting the applicable rules. That is what is considered as a creativity of Indonesian scholars. Where it becomes a form of attention from the scholars.

Because of the affection of the Ulama for Muslims in Indonesia, they set the time of imsak to serve as a benchmark in facilitating the time of fasting in the month of Ramadan. In this situation a Muslim who performs the imsak schedule earlier, for example 10 to 15 minutes before the dawn call to prayer is sounded is a form of prevention.

However, because it is not obligatory, anyone is allowed to follow the imsak schedule or have their own choice in carrying out Ramadan fasting. However, surely whatever we do must be in accordance with the rules of fasting which have been explained in the Al-Quran and hadith.

As for the provisions of fasting which is one of the main references for starting fasting, namely in the letter Al-Baqarah verse 187, the following is the meaning:

“Eat and drink until it becomes clear to you the difference between the white thread and the black thread, namely dawn” (Al-Baqarah: 187)

The word “dawn” in the letter above is actually still confusing or ambiguous and vague. But, through a hadith from HR. Ahmad & al-Hakim from Abdullah bin Abbas, revealed that dawn can be interpreted into two, namely false dawn and genuine dawn. What is meant by false dawn is that it is still permissible to eat and drink and it is not permissible to pray at dawn. That’s what we know as imsak. As for the original dawn, it is no longer allowed to eat or drink and it is permissible to perform the dawn prayer.

Therefore, ending eating and also drinking at dawn until it’s really before dawn is one of the things we should do. Because after all, it takes time to prepare to perform the morning prayer service. Usually, the imsak time in Indonesia has a time difference of around 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, on other continents, it is possible that the imsak schedule is not stated explicitly. But generally they will share prayer schedules during the month of Ramadan with different time differences. This is based on data sources from certain astronomy which are intended to be used as a reference or guide for Muslims in carrying out fasting at the time deemed appropriate.

That way, the imsak schedule is very useful to minimize the confusion that arises when someone is enjoying a meal, but doesn’t know when dawn will arrive. Therefore, imsak will make our fasting worship safer and more orderly. That way, we will be better prepared physically and mentally in fasting.