Fatwa on fasting in Ramadan during the UK summer

UPDATE 1st Ramadan 1436 / 18 June 2015: Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim

1. There seems to be unnecessary fuss and controversy about this scholarly and practical discussion: disagreement is not disunity; a healthy discussion is not “fitnah.” A reminder: this is not a new fatwa – it was issued by Sheikh Muhammad Abduh 100 years ago, and re-iterated by Sheikh Mustafa al-Zarqa’, a leading 20th-century jurist.  The fatwa also applies to most of Europe – see below.

2. A senior Hanafi UK mufti informed me recently that medieval Hanafi jurists gave a similar fatwa, after Muslims travelled to Northern Europe including Rus (Russia).  Ibn Fadlan (Hollywood’s “Thirteenth Warrior”) famously travelled to Scandinavia, so Muslims were aware of these issues going back centuries.

3. A junior UK mufti has recently claimed that previous fatwas only applied to places where sunrise and sunset do not occur, i.e. “lands of the midnight sun.” This is simply not true: Sheikh Zarqa’ explicitly stated that the fatwa applies to lands with a latitude higher than 45 degrees (which includes most of Europe and all of Canada, Alaska and some Northern US states – as a quick glance at a map will show; it only excludes Spain, Portugal, Southern France (roughly, Bordeaux or further south), Italy etc.), whilst the “lands of the midnight sun” begin at 66.5 degrees (in the Arctic and Antarctic Circles, during their respective summers).  This is because of the earth’s tilt of 23.5 degrees, first measured by the Abbasid astronomers at the Bayt al-Hikma (House of Wisdom) in Baghdad, 11-12 centuries ago: 23.5 degrees away from the Equator gives us the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn; whilst 23.5 degrees away from the poles (90 – 23.5 = 66.5) gives us the Arctic and Antarctic Circles.

Have a happy and blessed Ramadan, with positive and pure thoughts, words and deeds!

ORIGINAL ARTICLE:

Bismillah.

1. A number of people have asked me since last year about the excessive length of fasting during UK summer months.

2. This has included those new to the practice of fasting, elderly and middle-aged people, who wish to fast but simply cannot manage the very long days. Since last year, I’ve heard reports of such people in hospital, as well as of children falling seriously ill, due to fasting more than 18 hours per day.

3. The day length in London during a midsummer Ramadan is almost 17 hours *sunrise-sunset*. Since there is no agreed beginning of dawn, the dawn-sunset timings vary from 19 to 20.5 hours.

4. The day length increases as we go further north, especially in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

a) E.g. I visited Dublin in June 2000: sunset prayers at the Dublin Islamic Centre (Clonskeagh Mosque) were held at 10.30pm, followed by night prayers at 12am and dawn prayers at 2am. Assuming dawn at 1am, this gives a 21.5-hour dawn-sunset fast.

b) On the other hand, I visited Stockholm in December 1999: sunrise was at 10.30am and sunset at 3.30pm. In winter there, the dawn-sunset fast is barely 6-7 hours, whereas it is 9-10 hours in the southern UK.

5. To reduce the fasting length, note that some of the Sahaba (Prophet’s Companions), including Hudhayfa bin al-Yaman, and Successors ate until sunrise or just before. Tabari and Ibn Kathir mention numerous narrations proving this under Qur’an 2:187, although both of them reject the practice based on a literalist reading of the verse (they lived in moderate climes). Ibn Hazm also approves the practice in his Al-Muhalla.

6. The jurists have discussed this matter for high latitudes (anything over 45 degrees, being halfway between the equator and poles, according to Mustafa Zarqa’.). As Sheikh Muhammad Abduh, Grand Mufti of Egypt, mentions in Tafsir al-Manar, classically they mentioned two possibilities to follow more moderate timings:

a) follow timings of the lands of revelation, viz. Mecca and Medina (Hijaz) – throughout the year, the dawn-sunset fast here is 12-15 hours

b) follow timings of the nearest “moderate land”

Abduh adds, “Both of these are valid, since it is a matter of judgment (ijtihad), and there is no unequivocal text (nass) about it.”

7. Note that following timings of the nearest “moderate land” is similar to following timings of the nearest “moderate time” in your own land, e.g. spring or autumn timings, when the days and nights are approximately of equal length.

8. Abduh is not alone in the above fatwa: he is quoting from centuries of earlier jurists. After him, his fatwa has been echoed by Muhammad Hamidullah, Mustafa Zarqa, Sayyid Tantawi, Jad al-Haqq, and Ali Gomaa amongst others. Texts and discussions of these fatwas may be found on the internet, e.g. see http://alrukn.com/long-fasts-fiqh/

9. The above fatwa implies partially decoupling fasting from dawn/sunset.

10. The spirit of fasting is clearly “from morning until evening” and to focus on its inner aspects, without hair-splitting about external matters.

11. The famous Qur’anic passage about fasting 2:183-7 begins and ends with taqwa (God-consciousness), and includes the memorable wisdom, “God wishes ease for you, not hardship … that you complete the course, magnify God for guiding you, and that you give thanks.”

This verse is in fact the basis of the numerous hadiths about making matters in religion relatively easy and not difficult, of the classical Hanafi principle of istihsan (attaining goodness, even if opposed to analogical reasoning) along with 39:17-18, cf. the first page of Kitab al-Istihsan in Al-Mabsut of al-Sarakhsi, and of contemporary jurists’ emphasis on taysir (easing matters), part of the Prophetic spirit and one of the principles of jurisprudence.

12. In exceptional circumstances, the Prophet (peace be upon him) understood that “morning” and “evening” were relative to people’s habits and culture.

Hadith: Safwan bin Mu’attal, who as a virgin was caught up with Aisha, Mother of the Believers, in the scandalous rumours that rocked Medina after the Mustaliq expedition, eventually got married. His wife once came to the Prophet and complained about her husband on three counts. (The Prophet defended and made excuses for him regarding all three matters.) One of these was that “he does not get up for the dawn prayer, and only offers it after sunrise when he rises.” When the Prophet asked him about this, he replied that his people or tribe customarily rose after sunrise, and not at the crack of dawn. The Prophet’s wise answer was, “In that case, pray when you wake up.” (Fa idha-stayqazta fa salli, a sound hadith in the Sunan, rated as authentic by Albani in his evaluation of the hadiths of Mishkat al-Masabih.)

Thus, for example, those who work night-shifts, working throughout the night and sleeping during the day, should fast during the night. This is because night has become day for them and vice-versa. The Qur’an that encourages fasting during the day also states that night is for sleep whilst the day is for work (e.g. 78:9-11).

13. An Azhari sheikh recently suggested to me that 12 hours’ fasting was sufficient, based on the average length of a day over a whole year: this is true of the sunrise-sunset day, for every place on earth. If we use dawn-sunset instead, we get 13-14 hours’ fasting. Note that this approach implies keeping a similar-length fast irrespective of the season in which Ramadan falls: in the winter, fasting would be much longer than the dawn-sunset timing, and some of us do follow that approach. This has an element of “continuous fasting” (sawm al-wisal, where fasting continues by night) about it: the Prophet practiced this regularly for several days at a time, but disallowed it for his followers, unless they were sure they could manage it.

14. I am reliably informed that Muslims in Norway use a 14-hour fasting timetable in the summer.

15. A case may be made for 16-hour fasts, based on Imam Ghazzali’s view that the maximum a person should sleep at night is a third of the day and night, i.e. 8 hours.

16. Insisting that those unable to complete long fasts should make them up at another time is practically equivalent to moving Ramadan out of the summer and into the seasons of autumn, winter or spring.

CONCLUSION / FATWA

All Praise belongs to God. Peace and Blessings be upon the Messengers of God.

1. Those who wish to follow dawn-sunset timings of 18-21 hour fasts and can do so safely, are free to do so.

2. Those who find this genuinely unbearable, or are convinced of the non-literalist approach of “morning to evening” rather than the literalist “dawn to sunset”, may wish to fast for 12 or preferably 14-16 hours, beginning from dawn, sunrise or even their usual morning meal (breakfast!). Such moderate timings are based on the fatwas of jurists over many centuries for high latitudes.

3. Whatever length a person fasts, they should not feel superior to others. The spirit of Ramadan and fasting includes God-consciousness, patience, perseverance, gratitude, prayer, worship, charity, generosity, humility, self-purification, self-development, helping others, mercy, compassion, forgiveness, lowering the gaze (of the eyes from lustful glances and of the heart from other than God)  and the remembrance and love of God.

May Allah, the One and Unique having Infinite Beautiful Names, bless all of humanity during this month, and shower upon us its internal and external grace.

Sheikh Dr. Usama Hasan (London, UK)

1st Ramadan 1435 / 29th June 2014 (updated: 4th Ramadan 1435/ 2nd July 2014; 11th June 2015)

Download a 2-page PDF of this fatwa here: Fasting in the UK summer

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64 Responses to “Fatwa on fasting in Ramadan during the UK summer”

  1. KA Says:

    Jazakallahukhair.

  2. IMRAN Says:

    Assalaam o allium

    please note : point of Dr usman is 100% correct. Please check website Alrukn.com

    Which is an example of higher intellectual thesis about this issue by HAFIZ NAVEED IDDREES.

    There are many presentations are available.
    Unfortunately traditional ulamaas specially based from Indian subcontinent are not in favour of this approach.

    Please do not miss this intellectual website.

    ALLAH HAFIZ

  3. MB Says:

    AoA,

    I tried following the method favoured by Sheikh Muhammad Abduh, the Grand Mufti of Egypt, as mentioned in his fatwa here (http://eng.dar-alifta.org/foreign/ViewFatwa.aspx?ID=2806) for the first 2 days of Ramadhan this year. However everyone I discussed this with was reluctant to follow it even they didn’t dispute with the general principles, logic and spirit of the fatwa. So on day 3 I gave up and went to the traditional dawn to sunset fast which in London is 18 hours 40 minutes long. I am suffering. Hope Allah Taalah will make it easy for me and everyone else. Ameen!

  4. Zehra Arshad Humayun Says:

    I really enjoyed reading your article. Thought provoking yet informative and moderate .

    Thank you.

  5. Poppy Says:

    Wonderful. Thank you and JAK!!! Emailed and tweeted this. So important.

  6. Sajid Manzoor Says:

    Assalam o alaikum,

    With due respect to Shaikh Dr. Usman, I being an ill informed Muslim, tend to disagree with the explanations and logic given in this Article. If Quran states that night is for sleep and days is for work, we should adjust our routine accordingly. And if we have to perform duty during night then we must fulfill our religious duties at the same time. If I accept Shaikh Usman’s logic then Tahajjud prayer will be offered during day time.

    Please don’t interpret Quran verses to satisfy our needs or actions. Yes, “Allah wishes ease for you, not hardship … that you complete the course, magnify God for guiding you, and that you give thanks.” But this does not mean that we start changing the rules and teaching according to our comfort.

    This basically is a reflection of a great dilemma faced by our brothers and sisters who live in European countries. Instead of having a strong religious body, which helps the community stick to real teachings of Islam, they start finding ways to accommodate or adjust Islamic teachings according to their lifestyle on daily routine.

    Once again, humble request to all, please make some effort to perform religious obligations and refrain from diverting from actual teaching of Islam. Allah Hafiz

    • Saad bin abdullah Says:

      JazaKAllah khair brother. It is a shame that ppl try to bend the hukum according to what suits them. Majority infact overwhelming majority including myself have no issue with the 19 hour fast and thise who genuinely cant due to medical reasons are exempt anyway. Just cuz one cannot bear the thirst/hunger for an extra few hours or find it out of his comfort zone to adjust his work practices is not a reason for such absurd fatwas.

    • Mohammad Arslan Khan Says:

      No this is wrong, you SHOULD change according to your comfort. do you know how many times you had to pray a day before mohammad saw changed it? 50 times a day. do you think it would be okay to pray 50 times a day? ofc not. so mohammad saw lowered it to 10 times a day, but it was still too much. he then asked for 1 time a day, but no, allah said that its too little and the concequence of that would be that people would forget about him in time, so he said 5 is the lowest he will go. 5 times a day would make sure u remember allah, that allah is always on ur mind. fasting for 23 hours just because u live in the north, does not make u a better muslim than others Sajid. people could still cheat, and move to greenland and never see a single sunrise. would that be what islam is? of course not. you have to adjust islam to fit the current time we live in, and that is OKAY its allowed. u arent changing what it says in the quran but you have to understand that everything in it was put in the way it was for it to make it EASY for us to understand and to deminish any confusion. the quran is truly perfect and has been for 1500 years, but there are things that humans have to adjust to, because the knowledge that comes with the book were set with extreme boundaries so that it would have this strong impact. if it wasnt so literal people would just interprate it the way they wished. it had to be square and simple, otherwise people would bend the words through all these years (like what happened with the bible). following this fatwah wont change anything. you can follow it if u want, it wont make u a better muslim just because u fast for a longer time than others. ramadan is not about starving. ramadan is about intention, if ur intention isnt in place u can fast for 30 days in a row and ur fast will still not be accepted. so its a personal preference either one is okay. u wanan fast for 19 hours? go ahead, but dont look down on someone who fasts for 14 only, theyre both acceptable.

  7. Adeem Says:

    Asslam o alaikum,

    Very informative piece. I live in Leeds and am aware of the Al-Rukn, have met brother Naveed on one occasion.

    The first (external link) article shared on the Al-Rukn webpage is by Dr Abdullah Rahim (www.exploring-Islam.com) in Glasgow who is also a learned man and his work on this topic is very interesting with plenty of scientific evidence.

    Regards.

  8. Agha Says:

    may as well change salat timings too. What kind of joke of a fast is one in which you pray only once or twice. No maghrib for hours after Aftar? Muslims need to learn how to eat and about nutrition. Fast if you want to, don’t if you don’t. No one is judging you. The Fatwa saying people shouldn’t judge others as good or bad followers based on whether they follow this fatwa or follow the literal interpretation is just bogus. Of course people will judge and why shouldn’t they?

    • Mohammad Arslan Khan Says:

      “Fast if you want to, don’t if you don’t. No one is judging you.”
      “Of course people will judge and why shouldn’t they?”

      contradicting yourself on so many levels.

      you cant follow the literal interpretation if you live in the north, its physically unhealthy and will make u sick. fasting is not a freedome of choice YOU SHOULD fast, but some people cant fast for 23 hours like you, so fasting for 14 and having ur heart at ease because u know allah accepts ur fast because of intention, thats better than not fasting at all.

      your mind is in the gutter, like majority of muslims thinking that ramadan is about starving.

  9. a k Says:

    hi, thats a very logical synopsis. Dr. Usama, plz clarify, if i want to follow makkah length of rosa, then i should start and end roza as per their time ? like if its 1 am in UK and 4 am in saudi arabia, and time starts for fasting, should i start ? similarly, if its 5:32 pm in UK and 8:32 in Saudi Arabia, and its time for iftar , can i do it at 5:32 ?

  10. Yasub Dogar Says:

    I understand the lunar calendar was basically a solar calendar as a month used to be added after every three years during the Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) time. The haj or ramadan would occur more or less at the same time every year.
    It was changed into a purely solar calendar originating from Al Hijra date during the caliphate of Hazrat Umar.
    Would it be possible for people living beyond arctic & antarctic circles to follow such a system?

  11. Nusrat Says:

    Fatawahs like these not only confuse the believers but also misguide them from the right path. Does Sheikh Dr Usama means to say that one can fast at his own convenience ? If not in daytime then may be at night? If he wants to fulfill his desires and worldy duties he can push the sehri or iftari times at his own will? That means if he can fluctuate or change, the timings of fasts he can also change salat timings? Moreover when Hajj (The sacred Pilgrimage) comes in extreme hot weather we can change the scheduled Dhulhijjah dates to some other more convenient dates ?
    May AllahSWT guide us all to the right path keeping us away from misguidance and put ease in our strive to attain HIS pleasure. Aameen YaRabb

  12. socialdevelopementpakistan Says:

    Surat Al-Baqarah (2), verse 185 -Ramadhan is the ( month )In which was sent down The Qur-an, as a guide To mankind, also clear (signs) For guidance and judgement (Between right and wrong).So everyone of you who is present ( at home ) During that month Should spent it in fasting. But if any of is ill, Or journey, The prescribed period ( should be made up ), By days later. Allah intends every facility for you: He does not want to put you in difficulties ( He wants you ) to complete the prescribed period, And to glorify Him. In that He has guided you, And perchance ye shall be grateful.

    Verse 186 ……..'”.And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn appear to you distinct. Then complete your fast till the night appears………….’

    In Islamabad, Pakistan Iftar (to-day 5.7.14)is at 0722 pm and Sahar was 03.20 am. (approximately 14+ hrs.) The temperature expected to-day is 34 degrees (Max). In the Punjab and Sind, the temperature is much higher during summers. Yet people fast (without the air conditioning facilities) Pakistanis can endure high temperature (sometimes going upto 50 C) and fast. Why cannot Muslims fast in European Countries, where the temperature generally is not very high.There is an alternative for elderly and the ill (mentioned in the verse quoted above). Medical fact is that a healthy person can live without water for 3 days and more I have yet to hear a person dying fasting. Winters in European countries, particularly (North), like Scandinavian, Iceland etc., are very short.So, if as per Fatwa quoted in your article, would one fast for 12 hours or from dawn to night or 12 hours in winters.

    Surat: Al-Baqarah (2) verse (2) This is The Book: In it is the guidance sure, without doubt,
    To those who fear Allah.

    In Islam there is no concept of Priest hood. We should have faith in what Allah has ordained. Read the Qur-an with understanding and follow the revelations in The Qur-an.

  13. Lt Col Muhammad Naseem Akhtar, TI(M), Retd Says:

    These kind of Fatwas have divided Muslim Umah into “Fir’kas”. irrespective of the fact which part of the world you are living,The fast starts with Azan-e-Fajar and ends with Azan-e-Maghrib. All those who are unable to fast due to sickness, being musafir or for being old should pay ‘fidya’ (for not fasting). This surely is permitted by Allah (s.w.t)………because He is Rehman-o-Raheem.
    To me there No other way of calculating fast timings.

  14. Ahmed Says:

    Assalamu Alaykum

    Did Hudhayfa R/A and other companions who continued to eat until sunrise, did they pray their Fajr first and then eat until sunrise?

    Jzk

  15. Ali Says:

    Salam, Is there any fatwa given by Shia Alims?

  16. Ahmed Says:

    Jzk Sheikh Usama for this post. It really has been enlightening.

    My 2 questions are as follows:

    1) If we follow the Saudi timetable, we currently break the fast at 7:15pm. Are we allowed to pray our Maghrib at that time as well? Which leads onto the next question:

    2) Is there an argument that prayer times in the UK throughout the year could be based on more moderate times e.g. Mecca or Medina?

    I say this because in the UK, the length of day varies wildly through out the year – it is extreme and not normal. I really am beginning to believe that the situation in the UK due to the high latitude is simply too much of a fitna for the masses. May Allah (SWT) bless those who are able to fast and pray the long hour in the summer. I however firmly believe that we should not as a country be in this situation as it clearly abnormal.

    I cannot speak for others but I have to get to work at 6:30 in the morning (I wake up before 5am). When the days start to become longer, it becomes increasingly difficult to almost impossible. I find that whilst driving to work, I have to keep shaking myself awake and keep the window down. Once at work, I feel horrible and frankly depressed at my lack of concentration. This may be hard to believe but there are times that I can hardly walk straight (night before I have combined my Maghrib and Isha close to 10pm and then pray Fajr at 3am). It may take an hour or so after that to finally fall asleep to eventually be abruptly awoken at 5am. My friends may Allah (SWT) bless them can pray Magrib and Isha at the appointed times and still wake up for Fajr. I simply cannot do this and it has really affected my health.

    Equally, Winter time are just as extreme. I remember one of my teachers saying that it isn’t good that we pray Isha at such early times and then not have contact will Allah (SWT) for long periods of the remaining day. I am someone who regularly fasts Mondays and Thursdays throughout the year and therefore I intend to fast up to Maghrib of Mecca. This is only fair – I cannot take the advantage of reduced and fasting/prayer times during the winter by sticking to British timings.

    Would it not be best for the sake of the masses if we took a moderate view on this? I frankly am upset why this hasn’t been tackled by our scholars yet. I feel alone on this matter and cannot talk to my friends as they simply cannot understand my viewpoint (for example one suggestion was to change work shifts – how realistic is that?). Our scholars increasing tell us that during Ramadan we should try to live as normal lives as possible (work normally, do what you normally do but to increase our worship). How on earth can we have normal lives when the situation is so extreme! What must new Muslim think about this? I have heard of new Muslims leaving the religion (plus I know Muslims who have simply given up on fasting and praying because it is so extreme). Would this be the case if there was moderation through the year just as in other countries such as Arabia? I don’t think so. In fact, I think there would be hope and encouragement for people. Other countries/people don’t have to go through this.

    The start of the longer days have really been a major difficulty and fitna for me. So much so that for the first time in years I have abandoned congregational Tarawi prayers because I have to work in the morning in a fit state. How can my Lord say he doesn’t want hardship for me yet it is expected (due to the silence of scholars) in this country to pray, work and fast for absurd amounts of time whilst sleep deprived?

    I now am opening my fast based on timing from Mecca (but extend the consumption of food until Sunrise therefore approx. 5:30am). I then close using the times of Mecca with Maghrib being at approx. 7:15pm. I now also follow the prayer times of Mecca (it is refreshing to pray and fast the moderate times of our Arab brothers and sisters and not the insanity which is what we/I am having to endure in Britain).

    Naturally, the one obvious downside to this is until there is agreement or a consensus made, praying in congregation in the UK will be a problem (maybe I will have to pray those prayers as nawafil).

    Your thoughts and advice please.

    Jzk

  17. Marghoob Syed Says:

    there is no way or its possible or allowed. stop confusing Muslims and what’s wrong with Indian subcontinent ? Fast is based on SUN timing like or not same as salat , those who lives in other area must follow the local sunset and sunrise , and for any reason t6hey can’t then are not require to fast as the primary conditions are not there , or they can move to different environment, but don’t play with the meaning of Ayahs, you cant follow Saudi Arabia timing from any where , it wont be fast if you did …..

  18. Rashida Butt Says:

    Allah is rehman and Raheem, he always makes life easy and comfortable.

  19. Hassan Says:

    May Allah give all of us the right guidance. We can not change the principals of Islam just to suit our needs. Just because one can not bear with hunger and thirst for 18 hours does not allow one to shorten the length of the fast for his convenience. The principals of Islam have been derived from Quran and Sunnah and the above debate has considered neither of these. No reference has been provided from Quran and Sunnah rather names of different muftis or different people have been mentioned again and again i.e. they are of the opinion. It is pertinent to say that a man’s opinion can not be above the words Quran and Sunnah. Opinion of a person or a Mufti does not matter in this case.
    I would also like to highlight that some of the reasoning provided to support this new doctrine of convenience, allowing reducing the length of fast, are totally impractical and illogical for instance there is a suggestion that based on the average length of the day 12 hours fasting is enough (see point 13). In another point (see 15) 16 hours is suggested to be enough based on the fact that out of 24 hours 8 hours are for sleep so the remaining 16 are for fasting. The most shocking part was at the end of point number 12 where it says that those who work nightshifts and sleep during the day should fast at night.
    I would suggest that one should only consult and follow the Quran and Sunnah in every matter of life including fast or eid or any everyday matter in life.

  20. socialdevelopementpakistan Says:

    Qur-an is the only book that can guide us in all matters of life. Surat Al-Baqarah (2), Verse (2) _ Qur-an sure is for your guidance, who fear Allah. Detail of fasting read verses 184 -187 Surat (2). Christian’s fast is 24 hours.

    M K Sufi,
    Pakistan

  21. Ned Says:

    There is a saying that ‘the proof is in the eating’ so I wonder if Shikh Usama will eat his own pudding here or maybe not?

  22. Fatima Says:

    So relieved. Lots of peopel here in the Netherlands find it too hard, and therefore abstain from fasting. This will certainly help us all. All praise id due to Allah

  23. muhammad Says:

    http://islamqa.info/en/106527
    Detailed fatwa of Saudi scholars.
    QUESTION: What should those people do whose day is twenty-one hours long? Should they work out the time to fast? Similarly, what should those whose day is very short do? And those whose day lasts for six months and their night lasts for six months?
    How should they pray, and how should they fast?.

  24. marghoob syed Says:

    come on , if you cant keep dont keep it but dont joke with Quranic Hukum; if you cant keep for reason as above it should class a mazoor ! no joke with the timing for your ……… its Quranic order and no one can change that, , long hours cover in the subject in Sura Baqra ……. and its for all schools of thoughts

    • Izzi Says:

      So people who live in Antartica, would it be 1 full month of fast as sun doesn’t set in summers and likewise in Chile it will be hardly 6-7 hours.

      Both are extreme situations….those who are advocating dawn to dusk concept please provide your input as well.

      It will be much appreciated.

      • marghoob syed Says:

        yes , they don’t meet the conditions so they should not keep the Ramadan , no one can change the conditions read Sura Baqara , you don’t need the fatwa ……… its quite clear !!!

    • rizki Says:

      So you’re saying that if you’re in Antartica now you wouldn’t fast at all ?

  25. Shehzad Says:

    Salamis,

    Astagfirullah, this is a big shame that there is even a discussion on this matter. The whole point in fasting is for the sake of Allah and yet we cannot struggle for only one month. This sacrifice will only be realised on the day of judgement. There is no Hadith that ever mentions about changing the timing of fasting. We are required to fast from dusk till dawn and that’s it. It is a major sin to make your owns judgement as you are partnering with Allah. I advise all who read this article to ignore as it spreads false rumours and is unacceptable.
    Salams all.

  26. mishagk Says:

    Reblogged this on nameplaceanimalthang.

  27. Harun Razzak Says:

    Islam is a simple yet beautiful way of life, once someone starts changing Islam to benefit their own desires you know they have gone astray. Our Lord is The Creator (Al-Khaliq), The Absolute Ruler (Al-Malik). If it was the will of our Lord the first light of the day would be later and the last would be earlier. The Knower Of All (Al-‘ Alim), The All Merciful (Ar-Rahim). The Perfectly Wise (Al- Hakim) and The Inspirer of Faith (Al-Mu’min) has not left any ambiguity with regards the issue of the length of the fast nor any other worldly issue. Today however the fast has become all too difficult when the 1400 years that have preceded us have seen no change and no argument on this matter.

  28. Ramadan 2015: British cleric issues fatwa to reduce UK Muslims’ fasting period … – International Business Times UK | Everyday News Update Says:

    […] “A number of people have asked me since last year about the excessive length of fasting during UK summer months,” Hasan writes in his fatwa. […]

  29. ash Says:

    Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari
    Yesterday at 7:58pm · Edited ·
    It has just been brought to my attention that ‘some’ people are advocating that long fasting hours in the UK should be shortened, because Islam does not place difficultly on its followers!!
    The absurdness of this view is such that it does not even merit a response. Even small children know that in Islam fasts begin at dawn and end at sunset. Nevertheless, since some people are genuinely confused, I thought I’d clarify briefly.
    The Qur’an and Sunna categorically outline that fasting has set hours – from true dawn (al-fajr al-sadiq) to sunset (ghurub al-shams). There has been a complete consensus of the Muslim umma on this position since the time of the Companions till today. No one ever in Islamic history has opposed this basic understanding of Islam. Muslims have been observing fasts in extremely warm climates and difficult conditions for years, and no one has ever come up with the view that fasts should be shortened.
    Indeed in countries like the UK, Norway, Denmark and Sweden, fasting hours can be 18, 19, 20 hours long and even more. In such cases, Islam has a simple ruling, which governs all aspects of worship: if a particular individual “genuinely” risks losing their life or fears serious illness due to fasting, then he or she will simply not fast and make up for it after Ramadan when physically possible. It is as simple as that. If you can fast, then fast the full hours; and if you can’t, then don’t fast – but there is no short cut!
    As such, it is completely wrong to give a blanket ruling that whoever can’t fast for the full hours may shorten their fast. Rather, each individual’s case will be treated separately. If, upon genuine medical advice and past experience, one is more or less certain or strongly fears falling very ill and harming himself, then the merciful nature of Islam gives a concession to not fast and make up (qada) at a later date.
    Some people confuse the fatawa of classical scholars and jurists in relation to fasting in high latitude areas. These scholars were not discussing fasting in places where the sun actually does set; but rather, in places where the sun does not set at all. As such, we have two separate cases here: 1) where the sun does set, albeit very late, and 2) where the sun fails to set. In the former case, one must fast as explained above, whilst in the latter case there is scope for valid difference of opinion. I’ve visited such high latitude areas during my visit to Norway where it is day light 24 hours long. Muslims living in such lands should follow the fatwa of scholars whom they trust In sha Allah.. However, in the UK, where the sun does set, the default ruling is one must fast the full day unless in exceptional cases. Thus, the elderly, ill, weak and others – who simply cannot manage to fast the long days, and are advised by qualified Muslim medics that they risk seriously damaging their health – will simply make up for the fasts after Ramadan, and Allah knows best.

    • Usama Hasan Says:

      Muhammad bin Adam is simply wrong on this: Sheikh Mustafa al-Zarqa’ (rahimahullah) clearly said that this fatwa applies to any latitude higher than 45 degrees. Sunrise & sunset only disappear beyond 66.5 degrees (the Arctic / Antarctic Circles).

  30. Quentin Obis Says:

    Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim. AlHamdulillah. Allahumma Salli ‘ala Muhammad wa ‘ala ali Muhammad wa baarak wa salim.

    “O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, even as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqun.

    [Fasting is for] a limited number of days. But whoever among you is ill or on a journey [during them] – then the same number of days [should be made up] from other days. And those who are able [to fast, but with hardship] – there is a ransom: To feed a poor person [each day]. But he that will do more, of his own free will,- it is better for him – it is better for him. But to fast is best for you, if you only knew.

    The month of Ramadan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey – then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful.

    And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided.

    It has been made permissible for you the night preceding fasting to go to your wives [for sexual relations]. They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them. Allah knows that you used to deceive yourselves, so He accepted your repentance and forgave you. So now, have relations with them and seek that which Allah has decreed for you. And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct to you from the black thread [of night]. Then complete the fast until the sunset. And do not have relations with them as long as you are staying for worship in the mosques. These are the limits [set by] Allah , so do not approach them. Thus does Allah make clear His ordinances to the people that they may become righteous.

    [al-Baqarah 2: 183 -187]

    Allah’s words are very clear: Eat and drink from sunset until dawn. If you cannot do this, then you must make it up on other days. For the issue of ransom, see http://www.islamiq.sg/2009/09/fidyah-payments-in-ramadan.html or other websites.

    Thanks to Muhammad for pointing us to the fatwa of Shaykh ibn Baaz:

    “With regard to the times for fasting the month of Ramadaan, those who are accountable must refrain from eating, drinking and everything else that breaks the fast on every day of the month from dawn till sunset in their country, so long as the day can be distinguished from the night in their country, and the total of day and night is twenty-four hours, and it is permissible for them to eat, drink, have intercourse and so on only during their night, even if it is short. The sharee’ah of Islam is universal and applies to all people in all lands …

    If a person is unable to fast the whole day because it is too long, or because he knows from signs or by experience or on the advice of a trustworthy, skilled doctor, or he thinks it most likely that fasting will cause him to die or to become severely ill, or will make his sickness worse or will slow down his recovery from sickness, then he should break his fast, and make up the days that he did not fast during any month when he can make them up.”

    Majmoo’ Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn Baaz (15/292/300)

    Beware that just because someone declares himself to be a “Sheikh” does not mean that he actually is one, and just because he calls his opinion a “fatwa” does not mean that it is one.

    May this be an occasion to do your research and strengthen your deen by following the words of Allah in the Quran may Allah guide you, as He comes between a person and the heart.

    • Sajid Manzoor Says:

      Completely agree with you………my detailed response appears in the trail (dated 4th June 2014).

      • socialdevelopementpakistan Says:

        Sir, I wish to seek your guidance/opinion on timing of sahar in light of what the Qur-an says., Surat Al-Baqarah, Verse 187. It says and explains Quote……….”*.eat and drink until the white thread of Dawn appear to you, distinct from its black thread’. *Then complete your fast till the night appears….. unquote.

        Explanation to this Verse, Quote ” Those in touch with nature know the beautiful effects of early dawn. First appear thin white indefinable streaks of light in the east; then a dark zone supervenes; followed by a pinkish white zone clearly defined from dark. *This is a true dawn; after the fast begins.*

        This is from The Holy Qur-an, English translation (Yousaf Ali) of the meanings and Commentary.Revised and edited by The Presidency of Islamic Researches, IFTA. Printed in Saudi Arabia.

        Islamabad 20.06.2015 ( From the News paper Dawn 20.06.15.)

        Sunrise at 4.54 am Fajr 3.16 am Sahar: 3.09 am

        Presently the time of Sahar is 03.09 am. At this time, it is pitch dark outside.. There is difference of over 1 hour from Sahar timing, we observe, to the* true dawn.*

        Could you please clarify this point in light of THE HOLY QUR-AN. One or two hours wouldn’t make any difference. We should follow and be guided by the Qur_an. Surat Al-Baqarah (2), Verse (2).

        Wus salam,

        M K Sufi, Islamabad.

  31. Muslims in Reykjavik will fast for 21 hours during this year’s Ramadan - Quartz Says:

    […] a senior researcher at the Quilliam Foundation, a London-based Islamic think tank, has issued a fatwa, saying that Muslims in Europe can follow the “morning till evening” principle and fast […]

  32. Ramadan Greetings from the UK! | The Mind of Ana Says:

    […] read more about different fatwa https://unity1.wordpress.com/2014/06/30/fatwa-on-fasting-in-ramadan-during-the-uk-summer/ […]

  33. Simple Says:

    People, do you have any common sense what will you do if there is no sunset. Never follow anyone and keep taking issues out of everyone who tells you something. If you dont want 16 hours go for 21 hour, do whatever you like. but dont start to blame others

  34. Il primo giorno del Ramadan Says:

    […] per approfondire le soluzioni adottate dai musulmani nei Paesi siti troppo a nord, ad esempio il Regno Unito, o i paesi che si affacciano […]

  35. Oh no Says:

    “If a person is unable to fast the whole day because it is too long, or because he knows from signs or by experience or on the advice of a trustworthy, skilled doctor, or he thinks it most likely that fasting will cause him to die or to become severely ill, or will make his sickness worse or will slow down his recovery from sickness, then he should break his fast, and make up the days that he did not fast during any month when he can make them up.

    and eat and drink until the white thread (light) of dawn appears to you distinct from the black thread (darkness of night), then complete your Sawm (fast) till the nightfall”
    [al-Baqarah 2:187]

    • socialdevelopementpakistan Says:

      Thank you very much for your reply. I have been fasting for over last 60 years, under all conditions. I am convinced that no person dies of fasting..Perhaps it is a question of faith. I did not seek the guidance, as to under what conditions, a person can or may not fast or make it up some other time. My question was about the timing of “sahar”. Reading the Holy Qur-an, I came across the Verse quoted from Surat Al-Baqarah. Verse 2 of this Surat says ” Qur-an is for guidance for those who Fear Allah SWT”

  36. islande: Ramadan parrait tres dur | togolatest Says:

    […] Usama Hasan, chercheur à la Quilliam Foundation, un think tank basé à Londres. Il a publié une fatwa qui stipule que les musulmans d’Europe peuvent jeûner en respectant l’amplitude horaire […]

  37. Ramadan : en Islande, la journée de jeûne dure plus de 21 heures - IvoireWeb.Net Says:

    […] Usama Hasan, chercheur à la Quilliam Foundation, un think tank basé à Londres. Il a publié une fatwa qui stipule que les musulmans d’Europe peuvent jeûner en respectant l’amplitude horaire […]

  38. Ramadan : en Islande, la journée de jeûne dure plus de 21 heures - Allo Dakar Says:

    […] Usama Hasan, chercheur à la Quilliam Foundation, un think tank basé à Londres. Il a publié une fatwa qui stipule que les musulmans d’Europe peuvent jeûner en respectant l’amplitude horaire […]

  39. IslamIndonesia | » Dr. Usama Hasan: “Bukankah Tuhan Tak Mempersulit Hamba-Nya?” Says:

    […] Alasan rinci tentang fatwa tersebut bisa Anda baca di sini: https://unity1.wordpress.com/2014/06/30/fatwa-on-fasting-in-ramadan-during-the-uk-summer/ […]

  40. zakkir kharim Says:

    very wise thought. The most important point as Dr pointed out is that God is kind and merciful and does not want humans to suffer. The spirit of fasting is important. Anyway there is no point in fasting for long hours, but still not following the spirit. As Dr rightly summarized, let people follow sun timings if they can, if not let them follow the other two rules.

  41. socialdevelopementpakistan Says:

    Qur-an is the message of Allah SWT revealed through The Holy Prophet PUH.. Follow The Qur-an and not the Fatwas. If one reads the Qur-an it provides all the answers to each and everything. There is no priesthood in Islam.

    • Ahmed Says:

      Comments like the above really are a sad reflection of why Islam is in such disarray. We really need to open our minds more and start to use the brain that Allah SWT gave us.

      I honestly believe on the Day of Judgement, Allah and the Prophet will be upset and question these Muslims as to “why didn’t you use your common sense – you were given a brain, why didn’t you use it” – your views put the masses under lots of hardship!”.

      Just because you can fast those ridiculous hours, doesn’t MAKE IT RIGHT. I will even go so far to say that ‘Shariah’ wise, these long fastings aren’t even VALID as hardship goes against the fundamental requirements of ‘Shariah’.

      • socialdevelopementpakistan Says:

        There are other important issues. Jahez is it Islamic ? Dower, it has to be settled at the time or before Nikkah. We are out to reduce women to second class species of human.. Force daughters into marriage. Consider daughters a burden. There is so much of poverty in our Country. Why can’t the affluent adopt a child or be a foster parent to a child and make them a proud citizens. We want cheap labor so why educate them. In US & European Countries per hour wage of a worker is approximately equal to Pak Rs. 1200/. We pay Rs.10,000/ or less per month. Working hours 24/7. Our Feudal thinking has to change. What are we turning our children into by sending them to Madrassahs. Why can’t we teach Arabic language and Qur-an in our regular schools and do away with Madrassahs. I have studied in one of the elite christian Missionary School. Christian students had a period for Bible. Some of the Priests were holding post graduate qualifications and taught us science subjects. In addition to their religious obligation, they participated in sports and other social events.
        In those days there was no perversion despite influence of the western culture. To-day we are obsessed with religion. Offering prayer, reading the Qur-an, performing Umrah & Hajj every year should bring about a spiritual change within us. Taliban & ISSI were created because we are concern more about Ramadhan timings, number of wives etc. and other such issues. Pakistanis settled abroad should set up schools and health care centers in rural ares, managed by them.

  42. Muzaffar Ali Says:

    Syed Muzaffar Ali;:- My suggestions according to Quraan and Sunnah: 1. Lunar months go forward other way round the solar calendar So, from the month of April to backward March, February, January, December, November and October; the fasting duration will be from 12 to 14 hours. Hence, there will be no problem in keeping fasts. during these months.
    2. As for as other remaining months are concerned, Muslims of extreme North and extreme South Pole can Qaza their fasts in other months as they feel better.But they Must perform other activities of the month of Ramadan accordingly along with celebration of Eid ul Fitr well in time.

  43. Muzaffar Ali Says:

    Syed Muzaffar Ali;:- My suggestions according to Quraan and Sunnah: 1. Lunar months go forward other way round the solar calendar So, from the month of April to backward March, February, January, December, November and October; the fasting duration will be from 12 to 14 hours. Hence, there will be no problem in keeping fasts. during these months.
    2. As for as other remaining months are concerned, Muslims of extreme North and extreme South Pole can Qaza their fasts in other months as they feel better As Quraan says ” Don’t put your life in danger of death . (unnecessarily___unwantedly). But they Must perform other activities of the month of Ramadan accordingly along with celebration of Eid ul Fitr well in time.

  44. Muzaffar Ali Says:

    Syed Muzaffar Ali;:- My suggestions according to Quraan and Sunnah: 1. Lunar months go forward other way round the solar calendar So, from the month of April to backward March, February, January, December, November and October; the fasting duration will be from 12 to 14 hours. Hence, there will be no problem in keeping fasts. during these months.
    2. As for as other remaining months are concerned, Muslims of extreme North and extreme South Pole can Qaza their fasts in other months as they feel better As Quraan says ” Don’t put your life in danger (unnecessarily___unwantedly). But they Must perform other activities of the month of Ramadan accordingly along with celebration of Eid ul Fitr well in time.
    3:-In the regions were day or night is of 3 to 6 months or more, Muslims may keep there fasting according to their local timings of Azzan -e- Fajr to azzan-e- Mag-rib.

  45. Muzaffar Ali Says:

    Syed Muzaffar Ali;:- My suggestions according to Quraan and Sunnah: 1. Lunar months go forward other way round the solar calendar So, from the month of April to backward March, February, January, December, November and October; the fasting duration will be from 12 to 14 hours. Hence, there will be no problem in keeping fasts. during these months.
    2. As for as other remaining months are concerned, Muslims of extreme North and extreme South Pole can Qaza their fasts in other months as they feel better As Quraan says ” Don’t put your life in danger (unnecessarily___unwantedly). But they Must perform other activities of the month of Ramadan accordingly along with celebration of Eid ul Fitr well in time.
    3:-In the regions were day or night is of 3 to 6 months or more, Muslims may keep there fasting according to their local timings of Azzan -e- Fajr to azzan-e- Maghrib accordingly.

  46. Muzaffar Ali Says:

    Syed Muzaffar Ali;:- My suggestions according to Quraan and Sunnah: 1. Lunar months go forward other way round the solar calendar So, from the month of April to backward March, February, January, December, November and October; the fasting duration will be from 12 to 14 hours. Hence, there will be no problem in keeping fasts. during these months.
    2. As for as other remaining months are concerned, Muslims of extreme North and extreme South Pole can Qaza their fasts in other months as they feel better As Quraan says ” Don’t put your life in danger of death (unnecessarily___unwantedly). But they Must perform other activities of the month of Ramadan accordingly along with celebration of Eid ul Fitr well in time.
    3:-In the regions were day or night is of 3 to 6 months or more, Muslims may keep there fasting according to their local timings of Azzan -e- Fajr to azzan-e- Maghrib accordingly.

  47. Why Muslims in Anchorage will fast 9 hours more than Muslims in Cape Town – The Muslim Times Says:

    […] former imam thinks this should change and has issued a fatwa, or religious ruling, calling for “moderate timings” to be accepted for those who need […]

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