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
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.
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)