How to Fast for Ramadan in the Arctic, Where the Sun Doesn’t Set

Epigraph:

It is made lawful for you to go in unto your wives on the night of the fast. … And eat and drink until the white thread becomes distinct to you from the black thread of the dawn. Then complete the fast till nightfall and do not go in unto them while you remain in the mosques for devotion. These are the limits fixed by Allah, so approach them not.  (Al Quran 2:187/188)

midnight-sun-in-lofoten-norway

Midnight sun in Lofoten, Norway

Source: The Atlantic

By Marya Hannun

One Norwegian Muslim community’s clever solution to an unusual geographic problem.

The sun shines low in the sky just after midnight over a frozen coastline near the Norwegian Arctic town of Longyearbyen on April 26, 2007. (Francois Lenoir/Reuters)
This week, with the start of Ramadan, Muslims from Indonesia to Michigan began fasting from sunrise to sunset in observance of one of the religions’ primary holidays. But what happens in places where the sun never sets because the country is too far north? For many, this particular dilemma is a relatively new one, only apparent over the last two years. Since the month of Ramadan is pegged to the lunar calendar, it rotates on a yearly basis. The last time the holiday fell this deep into the summer months was nearly three decades ago in the mid 1980s, a time when few Muslim communities could be found above the Arctic Circle. But with Muslims from Somalia, Iraq, and Pakistan — to name a few places — increasingly immigrating to countries like Sweden, Norway, and Finland, the ethical dilemma posed for them by the endless summer days has become very real.

For an answer to this question, I caught up with Muslim residents of Tromsø, a city located in the heart of Norway’s northernmost region — approximately 350 km (215 miles) north of the Arctic Circle. Between late May and the end of July, the island city, which is surrounded by dramatic snow-covered mountains and fjords, experiences the phenomenon of “midnight sun.” This year, for the first time in the growing Muslim community’s history, the sun will not cease shining for the majority of the Ramadan month.

In 1986, the last time Ramadan and the midnight sun overlapped so closely, the city of Tromsø barely had a Muslim population to speak of. The establishment of a refugee center that same year encouraged the first Muslims to begin arriving, primarily from Iran. Today, Tromsø’s Muslim population numbers roughly 1,000 and consists largely of refugees from Somalia, but it also includes immigrants from elsewhere around the globe and a handful of local converts.

Read further

Suggested Reading

Fasting and Prayers above the Arctic Circle, in Alaska, Russia, Norway and Sweden

Arctic Ramadan: fasting in land of midnight sun comes with a challenge

How Muslims Observe Ramadan in Areas Where the Sun Never Sets

Ramadan Fasting in Sweden, 23 hours a day

Cataloging 750 verses of the Holy Quran inspiring believers to study nature

Norway: Ramadhan in the Land of the Midnight Sun

Religious History of Fasting: How it Establishes the Truth of the Holy Quran

2 replies

  1. Allah, subhanahu wata’aala, is the creator of mankind and therefore knows his nature more intricately than mankind himself. Allah, subhanahu wata’aala, has therefore chosen for us a religion best suited to the nature of mankind and the nature of human environment. So, God chose a religion that goes neither to the extremes of hardship nor of laxity, but instead provides a middle path; in other words, a religion of ease. Allah, subhanahu wata’aala, said;

    “Allah intends for you ease, and does not want to make things difficult for you” [2:185]; and “Allah does not want to place you in difficulty” [5:6].

    The Quran was revealed in Mecca and Medina. So, all the instructions were suitable for Muslims living in that geographical location. Realiistically within reason and based on the verse above, hours of Fasting for Muslims is to be equal to the number of hours of fasting as in Mecca and Medina. Today in Mecca the sunrise is at 5:38 AM and Sunset is at 6:58 PM. The total hours of fasting is 11 hours and 20 minutes. So, where ever Muslim may be he must fast 11 hours and 20 minutes during the waking hours. This makes sense to me.

    • I agree with you 100 percent, very smart thought May Allah almighy bless you for the professional reason and makes sense. Islam is a religion of logical not dogma.

      Many Muslim around the world still implement the ancient Islamic teaching (law). and they say that the rule of Allah almighty can be changed forever and anywhere in this world.They follow extremist Clerics saying, Muslim have to fast from sunrise to sunset every where. as well praying time.

      READ MORE; Some other issue in Islam
      1. How to follow Islamic laws rightly in 21 st century.
      http://ilovemodrenislam.blogspot.com/2016/04/how-to-follow-islam-rightly-in-21st.html
      2 Tarweeh prayer is not Syariah, those who does it will fall into sinful Syirik
      3. Kissing Black stsote ” Kaaba and Asward is sinful Syirik.

      Give us your opinion,OK

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