The Prophet (Pbuh) used to have suhoor. At times, some of his companions joined him for his suhoor meal. Zaid ibn Thabit, a young companion of the Prophet, reports: “We had suhoor with the Prophet before he stood up to pray.” Anas who transmitted this report asked Zaid: “How much time was there between the call to prayer and your suhoor?” He answered: “About 50 verses of the Quran.” This means that the Prophet started his suhoor something like 15 or 20 minutes before it was time for Fajr. The recitation of 50 medium verses of the Quran in a mode which is neither fast nor slow, does not take more than that.
Zaid who was to become one of the most renowned reciters of the Quran, estimated the time of suhoor by reciting 50 verses. The Arabs at that time used to estimate time by certain familiar actions. They used to say that a certain action is done over “the time it takes to milk a sheep.” Zaid, however chose a different sort of action, which is the recitation of the Quran. This serves as an indication that particular time should be devoted to worship. Moreover, the Quran was the most important thing in the life of that Muslim community. Its recitation was the most familiar of actions to them. To give an accurate estimation of time, Zaid suggested that their suhoor took place earlier than Fajr by the short time which it takes to recite 50 verses.
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