In relation to the breaking of fast the following Ahaadeeth have been reported:
1) On the authority of Abdullah ibn Abi Awfi (ra) who said: “We were travelling with the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم in the month of Ramadhaan and when the sun disappeared he said: Ya Fulaan (i.e. you there) get down and prepare a drink for us: He replied: Ya Rasoolullah there is still part of the day left. He صلى الله عليه وسلم said: get down and prepare the drink (a mix of water or milk and barley/wheat or something like it). So he got down (from his mount) and prepared it. He gave to him صلى الله عليه وسلم and the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم drank and then he said: If the sun disappears from here (indicating with his hand) and the night comes from here, then the Saa’im breaks his fast”.
Muslim (2559), Al-Bukhaari, Abu Daawud, An-Nasaa’i and Ahmad.
2) Umar ibn Al-Kattaab (ra) said that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: ”When the night approaches from here and the day goes away from here and the sun has descended in the west, then the Saa’im breaks his fast”.
Al-Bukhaari (1954), Abu Daawud, An-Nasaa’i, Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi and Ad-Daarami.
Muslim (2558) narrated it slightly differently: “When the night comes, the day goes and the sun disappears the Saa’im breaks his fast”.
3) On the authority of Sahl bin Sa’d (ra) that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “The people will remain on the right path as long as they continue to hasten the breaking of fast”.
Al-Bukhaari (1957), Muslim, An-Nasaa’i, At-Tirmidhi, Ibn Maajah, Ad-Daarami and Ash-Shaafi’.
4) Abu Hurairah (ra) said that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “The deen will remain dominant/manifest as long as the people hasten to break their fast, the Jews and Christians use to delay”.
Ahmad (9809), Abu Daawud, An-Nasaa’i, Ibn Maajah and Ibn Hibbaan with a Hasan Sanad (chain). Al-Haakim and Adh-Dhahabi verified the correctness of the chain.
5) Sahl bin Sa’d (ra) said that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “My Ummah will remain on my Sunnah as long as they do not wait to break their fast with the stars”.
Ibn Hibbaan (3510), Ahmad, Ibn Khuzaimah, Ad-Daarami and Al-Haakim with a Saheeh Sanad (chain).
6) Ibn Abbaas (ra) said: I heard the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم saying: “Verily we the Prophets have been ordered to make haste with our Iftaar and to delay our Suhoor and to make our Imaan a characteristic of our Salaah”.
At-Tabaraani in Al-Mu’jam al-Awsat (1905), Ibn Hibbaan< Abu Daawud and At-Tayaalissy. Al-Haithami said: Its people are of the people of Saheeh i.e. its narrators. At-Tabaraani (3053) also narrated it from Ibn Umar (ra).
7) Abu Hurairah said that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “Verily one part of the seventy parts of prophet hood is the delaying of Suhoor and the early taking of Iftaar”.
Abd-ur-Razzaaq in his Musannif (7610).
8) ‘Amru ibn Maymoon al-Azadi said: ”The companions of the Prophet were the quickest at breaking their fast and the slowest in stopping their Suhoor.”
Al-Bayhaqi (238/4), At-Tabaraani, Ibn Abi Shaybah and Abd-ur-Razzaq (7591).
9) Abu Hurairah (ra) said that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “Allah Azza wa Jalla says: Verily the most beloved of my servants are those who make haste with the Iftaar”.
Ahmad (7240), Ibn Hibbaan, Ibn Khuzaimah and Al-Bayhaqi. At-Tirmidhi also narrated it and classified it as Hasan Ghareeb.
The first and second Hadeeth although from different narrators came with one lafzh (meaning): That the coming of night from the east and the passing of the day from the west and the descent of the sun (also in the west) marks the time of Iftaar. This means that the mere going down of the sun in the west is sufficient for making Iftaar so there is no need to delay and no justification to wait more time in order for the Saa’im to break his fast like one group has said.
It might be that the fifth hadeeth is even clearer than the first three: ‘That my Ummah will remain on my Sunnah as long as they do not make Iftaar waiting for the stars (to appear)’, and waiting for the stars means until the sky has become black and the stars are apparent and shining (in the darkness). This means delaying the Iftaar after the ghuroob (descending) of the sun by a minimum of fifteen minutes. So it was mentioned in the hadeeth that this delaying opposed the Sunnah of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم but agreed with the ways of the Yahood and Nasaara (Jews and Christians) like the fourth hadeeth mentioned.
Therefore it is not allowed to delay the Iftaar for any excuse or pretext. This is how the Sahaabah of the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم understood it and so they were the hastiest of people in breaking their fasts as was mentioned in the eighth reference.
Also if making Iftaar early is what the Prophets (as) were ordered with, and it represents one part of the seventy parts of Prophet hood and that those who make haste are the most beloved of Allah’s سبحانه وتعالى servants, then all of this acts as a very strong prophetic guidance emphasising the early taking of Iftaar and not making delay in it.
I would like to make a point here: It has become normal in our current time to make Iftaar upon hearing the Adhaan of Salaat-ul-Maghrib and it has also become normal to delay the adhaan of Maghrib a little after the going down of the sun. This has led to those who are fasting to delay the Iftaar from its time and this delay is in opposition to the Sunnah of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. It is therefore the responsibility of the fasting person to know the length of delay of the adhaan so as to correct the situation and if this means that he breaks his fast before the Adhaan then the Sunnah of the prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم is more worthy to be followed than what the people have become accustomed to follow in today’s age.
Source: Sh. Abu Iyaas