Serving Iftar meal to any fasting Muslim is a means of earning reward. The blessed Ahadees describe a number of virtues of this noble act.
Excellence of serving Iftar meal
The Beloved Rasool صَلَّى اللهُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم has stated: Whoever serves Iftar meal to any fasting person with Halal [lawful] sustenance (food or water), angels do Istighfar for him during the times of month of Ramadan, and Jibra`eel-e-Ameen عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام does Istighfar for him on Shab-e-Qadr [night of Qadr]. (Al-Mu’jam-ul-Kabeer, vol. 6, pp. 261, Hadees 6162)
Reward equal to a fasting person
The Beloved Rasool صَلَّى اللهُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم has stated: Whoever serves Iftar meal to a fasting person in the blessed month of Ramadan, it will become a means of forgiveness for his sins and his neck [i.e. he] will be freed from the fire (of Hell). Moreover, he will be given reward equal to that fasting person and there will not be any reduction in the reward of the fasting person too. (Sahih Ibn Khuzaymah, vol. 3, pp. 192, Hadees 1887)
Will one receive this reward only after feeding one to his full stomach?
Dear Islamic brothers! It is not necessary to feed the fasting person to his full stomach, rather, there is a glad tiding of reward and favours for the person who offers even a glass of water to any fasting person. The Beloved Rasool صَلَّى اللهُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم has stated: Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ will give this reward (of serving Iftar meal) to that person too who will serve the fasting person with even a single date, a mouthful of water or a mouthful of milk for Iftar, and whoever feeds the fasting person to his stomach full, Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ will make him drink from my Hawd (pond) [and] since then he will never become thirsty and will enter Jannah. (Sahih Ibn Khuzaymah, vol. 3, pp. 192, Hadees 1887)
Hakeem-ul-Ummat, Mufti Ahmed Yar Khan Na’eemi رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه has stated: There are three benefits for the one who serves the Iftar meal: (1) Forgiveness for sins (2) Deliverance from Hell (3) Reward of [that] Sawm.
He رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه has further stated: Remember! By serving the Iftar meal, one indeed earns the reward of that Sawm but it is not considered to be performed by him. Therefore, no rich person can liberate himself from the act of observing Siyam by serving Iftar meals to the fasting people, he will have to keep Siyam. (Mirat-ul-Manajih, vol. 3, pp. 140)
Those who take part in serving collective Iftar meals, pay attention
In the blessed month of Ramadan, some people arrange for collective Iftar meals for public and travellers at different places. This is a good practice but they should ensure that there is no element of disrespect or ingratitude of food involved, as well as it should not cause trouble for the passers-by, and nor should it block the way of the people.
Two safety precautions during the Iftar meal
1 Some people deeply engage themselves in eating and drinking during the Iftar time to such extent that they miss their Maghrib Jama’at (congregational Salah) and perform it at home, despite the fact missing (daily) five times congregational Salahs in the Masjid without any valid Shar’i reason is a sin.
2 After spending a long part of the day with empty stomach, filling it with various kinds of food items is harmful to health. It is better to perform Iftar with one or two dates and water, and after rinsing the mouth properly, join the Jama’at Salah in Masjid.