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Ramadan decorations at Mall of the Emirates in Dubai. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Islam mandates that worshippers begin their fast during Ramadan at the start of the time for the Fajr prayer, namely, at the break of dawn, and continue until the sun sets, signalling the start of time for the Maghrib prayer.

Given that length of a day differs based on location, worshippers could be fasting this year from between 11 hours a day to up to 20 hours a day, depending upon which part of world they live in.

So what is the longest time that worshippers will be fasting for this year, and what is the shortest?

Shortest fast

According to reports, Johannesburg in South Africa is set to see the shortest fasting day this Ramadan with just 11 hours of fasting at the start of the month. Other cities with short fasting days, between 11 and 12 hours, include Buenos Aires, Cape town and Christchurch.

Longest fast

Worshippers in Reykjavik, Iceland, on the other hand, could fast the longest, with the time between daybreak and sunset expected to be as long as 16 hours 50 minutes. Other cities with fasting days between 15 to 16 hours include Lisbon, Paris, Warsaw and London.

UAE timings

In the UAE, the fasting day will be between 13 and 15 hours long. In fact, the length will be greater at the end of Ramadan — 1433 Hijri Year — as a result of the longer summer days.

This year, the country is likely to see 30 days of fasting, with the next Islamic month of Shawwal, which coincides with Eid Al Fitr, expected to fall on Thursday, May 2.

UAE-wide timing differences

The country’s westernmost spot — Al Sila and Al Ghuwaifat in Abu Dhabi emirate’s Al Dhafra region — will see the shortest fasting day. At the start of Ramadan, the fasting day will be for 13 hours and 43 minutes there, extending up to 14 hours and 26 minutes by the end of Ramadan, based on timings issued by the General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowments — Awqaf.

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On the other hand, the UAE’s easternmost spot — Shark Island near Sharkah emirate’s Khor Fakkan Port — will see the longest fasting days this Ramadan. At the start of the month, the fasting day there will be 13 hours and 47 minutes long, extending up to 14 hours and 41 minutes at the end of the month.

Ibrahim Al Jarwan, chairman of the of Emirates Astronomical Society board of directors, explained that the fasting day for UAE residents will therefore differ, based on their location, by up to 20 minutes, with Khor Fakkan being ahead of Ghuwaifat by about 20 minutes.