Cii News | 26 June 2014/27 Shabaan 1435

Ramadan is so close you can feel the change in atmosphere, Muslims are saying. Neighbours, friends and family are exchanging gifts of dates – and samoosa chutney – wishing each other a Ramadan Mubarak. Everyone, Muslim and non-Muslim – is excited about this blessed month.

It’s the month of the Quraan and countless blessings from Allah SWT. While Muslims in every corner of the globe will be upholding the obligations of the fast, we all experience it differently in our varying climates and depending on the season Ramadan visits us in.

Muslims living in countries in the Northern Hemisphere will be fasting 18 to 21 hour long fasts. Trondheim, Norway for example will be praying Fajr Salaah around 1:39am and Magrhib Salaah at 11:34pm. That’s a fast of almost 22 hours. Alaskan Muslims will also be fasting for most of the day, as will Scandinavian and German Muslims, while Muslims in the United Kingdom will observe an 18 hour fast.

Dawn to sunset in Canada lasts about 16 hours and just over 15 hours in the Saudi Arabian regions.

Muslims in South Africa and Somalia and Australia will fast for just over 12 hours while Muslims in the North of Africa, Pakistan and India will experience 14 to 16 hour fasts.

Many people who will be fasting very long hours say their week days are spent as normal, with the day being spent at work. Some make time after work to catch up on sleep. But Ramadan is recognised as the month of sacrifice and is meant to be a test with as much time being put in ibaadah, many said.

Muslims who live in lands in which the sun does not set during the summer and does not rise during the winter, Greenland for instance, have to perform the five daily prayers in each twenty-four hour period. They should estimate their times based on the nearest country in which the times of the five daily prayers can be distinguished from one another.

Similarly their fasting period is calculated in this way. They can set the time for their fast and determine the beginning and end of Ramadan and the times of starting and breaking the fast each day by the dawn and sunset each day in the closest country in which night can be distinguished from day. The total period must add up to twenty-four hours.

In 2013, a Lebanese man living in the city of Nuuk in Greenland was reported as being the only Muslim in the country fasting for Ramadan. His fast lasted a total of 21 hours. The man, Wassam Azaqeer, has been living in Greenland for many years and runs a restaurant in Greenland. After fasting 21 hours, Wassam has about three hours to prepare for suhur (sehri) and also to offer Maghrib, Isha and Tarawee prayers.

According to reports, while Azaqeer said he was able to return to his homeland for Ramadan he chose to remain in Nuuk during Ramadan because “if [he] left Greenland, there won’t be anyone to fast and pray on this land.”