Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen said, discussing the blessings of Sahoor:
“One of its blessings is that it supplies nourishment to the body throughout the day and helps one to be patient in refraining from food and drink, even during the long, hot days of summer, whereas when a person is not fasting you will find him drinking five or six times a day, and eating twice. But Allah has instilled blessing in sahoor, so it makes the body able to cope with fasting.”
[Liqa’ al-Baab al-Maftooh no. 223]
Question: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said,
“Take a meal (just) before dawn, for verily there is Barakah (a blessing) in the Sahoor (the pre-dawn meal).”
What is intended by there is Barakah (a blessing) in the Sahoor?
Answer by Imam Muhammad ibn Saalih ‘Uthaymeen (rahimahullaah):
What is intended by there is Barakah (a blessing) in the Sahoor is: Barakah Shar’i (legislated blessings) and Barakah Badaneeyah (Blessings in the Body). As for the Barakah Shar’i (Legislated Blessings) then that is being in compliance with what the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) has instructed and following him (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam). And as far as the Barakah Badaneeyah (Blessings in the Body), that is the nourishment of the body and giving it strength while fasting.
[Source: Fataawa Qayyimah li Imra'atul Muslimah pg. 335]
There is no doubt that Sahoor is a Sunnah and an act of worship, because the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) enjoined that. He said: “Eat Sahoor, for in Sahoor there is Barakah (blessing).” And he (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “The difference between our fasting and the fasting of the people of the Book is eating Sahoor.” The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) used to eat Sahoor, so Sahoor is Sunnah but it is not obligatory. The one who does not eat Sahoor is not sinning but he is forsaking a Sunnah.
So people should eat Sahoor even if it is only a little; it does not have to be a lot. So one should eat Sahoor using whatever is available, whether it is a few dates or some other kind of food, at the end of the night. If there is no food or he does not feel like eating, then he can drink a little milk or at least water, whatever he can, and he should not forgo Sahoor, because there is Barakah and a great deal of goodness in eating it; it will help the fasting person in whatever he does during the day. So the fasting person should not forgo Sahoor even if it is a little, because the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Eat Sahoor, for in Sahoor there is Barakah (blessing).” This is what the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said, and this kind of Barakah should not be ignored; rather the believer should be keen to attain it even if that is by eating a small amount of food or dates or milk, which will help him in both religious and worldly acts during the day.
[Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allah have mercy on him) - Fataawa Noor ‘ala al-Darb, 3/1222]
The Mannerisms of Suhoor and the One Eating the Sahoor
Shaykh Ahmad ibn Ahmad Shamlaan (may Allah preserve him) mentioned thirteen mannerisms that are to be observed for the one eating the Sahoor:
Sincerity of the intentions
Saying Bismillaah when one is about to eat, eating with the right hand and eating from that which is closer to you. Based upon the Hadeeth Umar ibn Abee Salamah.
Gathering together upon the food. Indeed in that there is a blessing.
Not being wasteful in the meal and praising Allah for it.
The the meal is from lawful wealth. Indeed it is stronger for the (carrying out) the act of worship. Indeed Allah is good and He only accepts that which is good.
Having concern for the (proper) time (regarding the Suhoor).
Seeking the forgiveness and making supplication in abundance during the time of as-Sahar (last part of the night shortly before the break of dawn). For indeed it is a blessed time (period).
Give Sadaqah during that time and being diligent to be one who aids the one who has the ability to fulfill the fasting by feeding him the sahoor.
Washing the mouth good along with the usage of the Siwaak. This is in order that the traces of the food do not remain in the mouth which will cause the one fasting doubt if it was to overwhelm him and enter down his throat.
Waiting after the eating of the Sahoor for the purpose of performance of the dawn prayer. How praise worthy it is if the person was to go to the Masjid and wait for the prayer. Indeed that is stronger for him upon that (matter of praying the Fajr prayer on time). This is the case especially when many from amongst the people stay awake during the nights of Ramadan up until the (time for) Sahoor. They eat the Sahoor then lay down. As a result of that, sleep overcomes and they miss the prayer. It’s possible that the person does not get up until after the sun rise and some mid-day.
Taking the food that is suitable for the condition of the one fasting. Like eating the dates along with drinking milk and that which is similar to it.
Getting the children accustomed to eating the Sahoor and fasting.
Giving precedence (to others over oneself).
[Taken from "Ad-Dururul-Manthoor fee Ahkaamil-Iftaar was-Suhoor" pg. 79-80 by Shaykh Ahmad ibn Ahmad Shamlaan (may Allah preserve him) - Translated by:Abu Yusuf Khaleefah (Abu Yusuf Khaleefah's Site)]
Suhoor Is Not a Condition for Fasting to be Valid
Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “Suhoor is not a condition for fasting to be valid, rather it is mustahabb (recommended), because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Have Suhoor, for in Suhoor there is blessing.” [Agreed upon]
[Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn Baaz, vol. 4, p. 259]
The Five Categories of People in Relation to the Suhoor and Time of the Fajr
Al-Imam Muhammad ibn Saalih al-’Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy upon him) stated:
“In this matter there are five categories:
The person is sure that Fajr has not appeared. As an example: The appearance of Fajr is at five o’clock and the person ate and drank at four thirty. His fast is sound.
The person is sure that Fajr has appeared. As an example the person ate at five thirty (although Fajr appeared at five). This person’s fast is invalid.
The person eats but he is not sure whether or not Fajr has appeared. However, it overwhelms his belief that Fajr has not appeared. His fast is sound.
He eats and drinks and it overwhelms his belief that Fajr has appeared. His fast is not sound.
He eats and drinks wavering back and forth (as to whether Fajr has appeared or not) and there is nothing overwhelming with him in this matter. His fast is sound.”
The Shaykh went on to say: “Even if it becomes clear to him that Fajr had appeared already, his fast is sound based upon (the principle in Islam of) being excused due to ignorance in this situation.”
[Taken from: "ad-Durur al-Manthoor fee Ahkaam al-Iftaar was-Suhoor" pg. 76 Quoting from Imaam al-'Uthaymeen's explanation of Zaad al-Mustaqnaa (6/408-409) - Translated by: Abu Yusuf Khaleefah]