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An example of a Jordanian suhoor table

Sahūr or sahoor (UK: /səˈhɜːr/;[1] Arabic: سحور‎, romanizedsaḥūr, lit. 'of the dawn', 'pre-dawn meal') is the meal consumed early in the morning by Muslims before fasting (sawm), before dawn during or outside the Islamic month of Ramadan. The meal is eaten before fajr prayer.[2] Suhur is matched to iftar as the evening meal, during Ramadan, replacing the traditional three meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner),[3] although in some places dinner is also consumed after iftar later during the night.

Being the last meal eaten by Muslims before fasting from dawn to sunset during the month of Ramadan, sahur is regarded by Islamic traditions as a benefit of the blessings in that it allows the person fasting to avoid the crankiness or the weakness caused by the fast. According to a hadith in Sahih al-Bukhari, Anas ibn Malik narrated, "The Prophet said, 'take suhoor as there is a blessing in it.'"[4]


The mesaharati[5] is a public waker for sahur and dawn prayer during Ramadan.[6][7][8] According to the history books, Bilal Ibn Rabah was the first mesaharati in Islamic history, as he used to roam the streets and roads throughout the night to wake people up.[9]

The occupation is summed up by Abu Rabah, a mesaharati in his neighbourhood in the old city of Damascus: "My duty during the holy month of Ramadhan is to wake people up in the old city of Damascus for prayers and Sahur meal."[10] According to Abbas Qatish, who is considered Sidon's best mesaharati, the attributes every mesaharati should possess are physical fitness and good health, "because he is required to walk long distances every day. He should also have a loud voice and good lungs, as well as an ability to read poems. A mesaharati should supplicate God throughout the night to wake the sleepers."[11]

The tradition is practised in countries such as Egypt, Syria, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan and Palestine. However, there has been a gradual disappearance of the mesaharati due to several factors, including: Muslims staying up later; using technology such as alarm clocks to awake for sahur; and louder and larger homes and cities that make the voice of the mesaharati harder to hear.[12] However the old tradition of singing qasidas can still be found in the streets of Old Dhaka in Bangladesh.[13]

Similarly, in Indonesia and nearby countries, a slit drum known as a kentongan is used to wake households up to eat the sahur meal.


  1. ^ "Suhur". Collins English Dictionary. HarperCollins. Retrieved May 15, 2019.
  2. ^ BBC - Schools - Religion - Islam, retrieved 11 April 2010
  3. ^ BBC - Schools - Religion - Islam, retrieved 11 April 2010
  4. ^ Bukhari: Book 3: Vol. 31: Hadith 146 (Fasting).
  5. ^ "Pictures: Celebrating Ramadan Around the World". National Geographic Society. July 19, 2014. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  6. ^ Linda Wong. Sentence essentials: a grammar guide. Houghton Mifflin, 2002. p. 100. ISBN 9780618154821.
  7. ^ Angelo Colorni. Israel for Beginners: A Field Guide for Encountering the Israelis in Their Natural Habitat. Gefen Publishing House Ltd, 2011. p. 84. ISBN 9789652294838.
  8. ^ Jamāl Ghīṭānī; Farouk Abdel Wahab (translator). The Zafarani Files. American Univ in Cairo Press, 2009. p. 333. ISBN 9789774161902.
  9. ^ Rima Al-Mukhtar (10 August 2011). "Ramadan Mesaharati". Arab News. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  10. ^ HUMMAM SHEIKH ALI (August 19, 2011). "Charm of Ramadhan in Damascus". Xinhua. Brunei Times Sdn Bhd. Archived from the original on 12 August 2014. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  11. ^ Vivian Haddad (23 Jul 2014). "The Mesaharati, Still Part of Sidon's Ramadan Tradition". Asharq Al Awsat. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  12. ^ Rima Al-Mukhtar (10 August 2011). "Ramadan Mesaharati". Arab News. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  13. ^ Sirajul Islam. "Qasida". Banglapedia: The National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, Dhaka. Retrieved 5 May 2018.

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