People having iftar on streets of Sarajevo, Bosnia Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: Muslims around the world fast from predawn to dusk during Ramadan, the ninth month of the lunar Islamic calendar, with the length of the fast depending on the season and latitude of the place.

Fasting hours have been longer on an average over the last three years, with Ramadan coinciding with the Middle Eastern and South Asian summer.


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This year, the fasting hours will range between 11 hours and 21 hours, however, the majority of Muslims are fasting for around 15 hours.

Countries hovering around the equator like the UAE, Saudi Arabia, India and Pakistan have fasting duration ranging from 15 hours to 16 hours, with the searing summer heat making it a tougher experience.

Moving away from the equator, countries in the northern hemisphere have the longest duration of fast going up to 21 hours, while those in the southern hemisphere have the shortest fast of around 11 hours.

Countries with the longest duration of fast this year are Greenland (21 hours 2 minutes), Iceland (21 hours), Finland (19 hours 56 minutes) and Norway (19 hours 48 minutes).

Apart from long hours of fast, these countries along with Northwest Territories of Canada, for instance, have perpetual daylight, with no demarcation between night and day, posing an additional challenge for those who fast.

For instance, in most Norwegian cities, there is no indication of the end of the day and the start of iftar time due to midnight sun, a natural phenomenon between mid-June and mid-July.

Muslims living in such places have been advised by Islamic scholars to either follow the fasting hours of Makkah or the nearest Middle Eastern country.

For the second year in a row, Argentina has the shortest fasting duration (11 hours, 32 minutes), while Sydney, Australia, has the fasting duration of 11 hours and 35 minutes.

In Europe, the fasting hours are more or less similar to last year, with the Muslims in the UK to get a one-minute relief, fasting 18 hours 34 minutes.