During Ramadan, Muslims living in the Arctic Circle are left pondering when they should begin and end each day of fasting. During summer months, this northern region sees days when the sun is up for nearly 24-hours.
New guidelines are being put into place to regulate the hours of fasting for Muslims living in areas of the Arctic Circle where the sun only sets for a few hours each day, leaving Muslims to fast for 19 or even 20 hours per day.
The European Council for Fatwa and Research is drafting new guidelines for Muslims living in this Nordic area to accommodate realistic fasting hours. The council is set to release guidelines ahead of Ramadan to ease the Ramadan requirements for Muslims in the northern-most cities in countries like Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Russia and Canada.
Muslims planning to fast in this area may have a difficult time determining the exact moment of sunrise and sunset in northern countries where daylight remains ubiquitous.
Since there is no definitive sunrise or sunset, Mohammed Kharraki, a spokesman for Sweden’s Islamic Association advised Muslims to “go by the last time the sun clearly set and rose,” according to a statement to AFP.
Muslims living in other parts of the world, where fasting is usually around 14 to 16 hours per day, may wonder how they would manage fasting during Ramadan in the Arctic Circle.