What do fasting Muslims do in countries where the sun never sets?

Muslims are set to fast for the holy month of Ramadan but those living in perpetual daylight face an unusual dilemma.

The times and dates of Ramadan vary each year as they are determined by the lunar cycle, but affect around 22 per cent of world population – roughly 1.6 billion people. The countries with the shortest fasting times are Argentina, with 11 hours and 8 minutes, and New Zealand at 11 hours and 21 minutes. This year, Muslims in the UK face the longest fasting period in 33 years, as it coincides with the summer solstice.

The European Council for Fatwa and Research, an independent body details certain adjustments people can make so as they do not starve to do death. The fast is adjusted to the time that there was last properly dusk and dawn in the area. So in Kiruna for example, the fast is adjusted to late March, around the 20th of that month. For Muslims in Kiruna that would mean the fast time is the equivalent of those in Stockholm. That doesn’t mean it will be easy, however Muslims in Kiruna can fast as if they lived in mid-Sweden, around Stockholm or Örebro. It’s quite a long day in any case: the fast still lasts for around 18 hours. But one can cope. http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/685123/fasting-ramadan-muslim-sun-set

Other fatwas, a ruling on a point of Islamic law, instruct observant followers to adjust their times to the nearest Middle Eastern country.

But some Muslims choose to set their own times, following the time zone of Mecca, the holy place of the religion.

Others decide to observe the sun’s movements to the extreme – fasting for 23 hours a day.



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