Is the hadeeth regarding the fasting person being from the three people whom there is no accountability upon him regarding what they eat authentic?
Shaikh al-Albani rahimahullah wrote:
“Perhaps from the bad effects of this [fabricated] Hadith is what the Muslims today are upon. For verily they sit in Ramadan for Iftar and it is not known anyone gets up from the food except close to Isha due to large amount of [things] that distract them from the various types of food, drink, fruits, and sweets! How is this not when the [supposed] Hadith says that [the fasting person] is from the three people whom there is no accountability upon him regarding what they eat! So they combine between extravagance which is prohibited in the Book and Sunnah and between delaying the maghrib prayer which is prohibited in his statement:
لا تزال أمتي بخير أو على الفطرة ما لم يؤخروا المغرب إلى أن تشتبك النجوم
My community will remain well, or he said: will remain on its natural condition, so long as it would not delay the evening prayer until the stars shine brightly just like a network.
[It was] authenticated by Haakim and Dhahabi agreed and it is as they said. For verily it has routes and corroborating reports which I indicated to in Saheeh Sunan Abi Dawood (no. 444).
Yes, there comes many Ahaadith more specific on hastening the Iftar. From them is his (ﷺ) statement:
لا يزال الناس بخير ما عجلوا الفطر
The people will remain on the right path as long as they hasten the breaking of the fast.
So it is obligatory to act upon these two Ahaadith in a form where one [Hadith] does not contradict another. And that is by hastening to the iftar with morsels of food that will subside his hungry. Then he stands for prayer. Then he returns to the food until he fulfills his need from it. And something has come regarding this practical Sunnah.
Anas radiallahu anahu said:
كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يفطر قبل أن يصلي على رطبات، فإن لم تكن رطبات فتمرات، فإن لم تكن تمرات حسا حسوات من ماء
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) would break the fast with fresh dates before performing Salat. If there were no fresh dates then (he would break the fast) with dried dates, and if there were no dried dates then he would take a few sips of water.
[Reported by Abu Dawood, Tirmidhi, and he graded it Hasan. It is in Saheeh Abi Dawood no. 2040. What preceded it from is agreed upon and its routes have been mentioned in Irwaa no. 899″]
[Silsilah ad-Da’ifa no. 631]
So it should be done with just dates and then go for prayer. And if there are no dates, then with water inshallah.
And Allah Knows Best
Faisal Ibn Abdul Qaadir Ibn Hassan