In Focus

Murmansk Muslims end fast in broad daylight

Russian city of Murmansk sees 24-hours of sunlight during Ramadan

  • By Noor Al Khatib, Social Media Editor
  • Published: 19:53 August 9, 2012

  • Image Credit: EPA
  • London, UK 17 hours Fajr 4.09am Maghrib 8.51pm

Dubai: For the first time in years, Ramadan coincides with one of the toughest summer months. Muslims in the UAE are fasting for about 15 hours during, probably, the hottest time of the year.

While a 15-hour fasting period sounds daunting, elsewhere in the world, Muslims are fasting for up to 20 hours. In the northwestern Russian port city of Murmansk, Muslims will be starting and ending their fast in broad daylight. During this time of year, Murmansk has 24 hours of sunlight, meaning there is no clear time for Muslims to start and end their fast.

And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct to you from the black thread. Then complete the fast until the sunset

Verse 2:188 in the Quran

According to Dr Ali Mashael, the Grand Mufti in Dubai at Dar Al Iftaa, Muslims in that region must observe the fasting times of the closest neighbouring country that has a clear distinction between day and night.

He clarified that people in this situation are to follow the Imsak (time for suhoor), Fajr and Maghrib (sunset) timings of the closest country that they can use as a reference.

The other parts of the world, see Muslims fasting for 20 hours a day, especially those living in Reykjavik, Iceland. Similarly, the Danish capital of Copenhagen, in which Muslims are the largest minority, people fast for over 19 hours.

In the neighbouring Scandinavian city of Helsinki, Finland, the duration of fasting is for almost 19 hours, while in Holland and London it is 18 and 17 hours respectively.

Although fasting for 17 to 20 hours may be overwhelming, Dr Mashael said that there is no other option but for Muslims to follow the sunrise and set timings of the place.

He said that this is explained according to the verse 2:188 in the Quran: “And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct to you from the black thread. Then complete the fast until the sunset.”

For countries or cities where days or nights last 24 hours, Dr Mashael says there are two schools of thought. The first is as explained earlier. The second is to fast according to the timings of Makkah or Madinah.

At the other end of the spectrum, people in Buenos Aires, Sydney, and Cape Town will experience the shortest fasting period this year of about 12 hours. Muslims in Comodoro Rivadavia in Argentina will fast for a little over 11 hours.

Fasting cities

Cities with the maximum hours of fasting
Reykjavik, Iceland - 20 hours (Fajr 2.39am - Maghrib 10.37pm)
Copenhagen, Denmark - 19 hours 30 minutes (Fajr 2.46am - Maghrib 9.19pm)
Helsinki, Finland - 19 hours (Fajr 3am - Maghrib 10pm)
Holland province, The Netherlands - 18 hours (Fajr 3.23am – Maghrib 9.35pm)
London, UK - 17 hours (Fajr 4.09am - Maghrib 8.51pm)

Cities with the least hours of fasting
Tokyo, Japan - 16 hours (Fajr 3.01am - Maghrib 6.49pm)
Los Angeles, USA – about 15 hours (Fajr 4.47am - Maghrib 7.55pm)
Sydney, Australia –12 hours (Fajr 5.23am - Maghrib 5.15pm)
Buenos Aires, Argentina – 12 hours (Fajr 6.23am - Maghrib 6.13pm)
Cape Town, South Africa – 12 hours (Fajr 6.14am - Maghrib 6.06pm)
Comodoro Rivadavia, Argentina – 11hrs 30mins (Fajr 7.07am - Maghrib 6.23pm)


Comments (4)

  1. Added 17:51 August 10, 2012

    My Brother from Ausralia, Islam is not only for Arabs but for Ajams as well wherever they live. Norway may have long days in summer but short days in winter. So this is balanced by Allah to give you short time in winter. Do you ever think about those who fast more than 15 hours in more 50 C in Arab countries. Never complain just be happy and follow the guidance through Sunna and Qur'an.

    Kamran, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 15:26 August 10, 2012

    As muslims, we are obligated to follow the directive from Allah Subhaanahu Wataaalaa. (ie the Quran) Allah has been very specifiic as to the time for starting of the fast and its ending. (reference to the ayaah above) The Ulima of UAE has provided the correct answer to our Muslim brothers and sisters who are experiencing 24 hours sunlight. If other parts of the world ghas a difinitive Dawn and Sunset, then the Quranic injunction applies. And Allah knows best.

    Shabir Haniff, Toronto, Canada

  3. Added 14:25 August 10, 2012

    While reading the article, there is no way to think Islam is for the Muslims of Arabia only. What about our brothers/sisters in Argentina, South Africa, and Australia where they are fasting for around 12 hours or less; the countries which are even far from Arabia. And yes we are human and we shall stay human; And doing fasting for Allah Subhanaho is one of the liveliest way to keep us human, while feeling hungers of other poor people in this planet. Alhamdulillah, Islam is a perfect religion and there is always a well-defined option for whatever issue we might face. Bless you.

    SFUH, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 12:45 August 10, 2012

    Reading some comments in this article, it seems Islam was made for Arabia only. Muslims need to think and fast as per the number of hours rather than waiting for the sun to go down. I was in Norway and fasted for only 14 hours (whereas sunset was still 4 hours away). We are humans and need to stay humans.

    Rashed Chughtai, Melbourne, Australia

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