Ramadan fasting dilemma when sun never sets

 

Practising Muslims across the world are observing Ramadan. For one month, they are fasting between first light and sunset. But what do Muslims do in a town where the sun never really goes down? The town of Rovaniemi in Finland lies in a land of extremes. At 66 degrees north it straddles the Arctic Circle in Finnish Lapland. During midwinter it is cloaked in total darkness. But in the summer it is bathed in daylight. The long days pose a particular problem for fasting Muslims like Shah Jalal Miah Masud. The 28-year-old moved to Rovaniemi – 830km (515 mile) north of the capital, Helsinki – from Bangladesh five years ago to study IT. He has not had any food or water for 21 hours. Masud says it is difficult to fast according to Finnish time and admits he is tired. But despite the hunger and fatigue, he says it is a pleasure to observe Ramadan during the long Finnish days.

 

There is another option which reduces the number of fasting hours – mark its duration by the rising and setting of the sun in countries far to the south of Finland. Dr Abdul Mannan – a local Imam and president of the Islam Society of Northern Finland – says there are two schools of thought. “The Egyptian scholars say that if the days are long – more than 18 hours – then you can follow the Mecca time or Medina time, or the nearest Muslim country time,” says Dr Mannan. “The other (point of view) from the Saudi scholars says whatever the day is – long or short – you have to follow the local time.” Dr Mannan says the majority of Muslims in northern Finland observe either Mecca’s fasting hours or Turkish time because it is the nearest Muslim country to Finland.

 

Nafisa Yeasmin recalls her first Ramadan in Rovaniemi when she decided to fast according to Finnish daylight hours, going without food for up to 20 hours a day. “It was very difficult to follow because in Bangladesh we are used to 12 hours’ daytime and 12 hours’ night-time,” she says. “Then I thought, not any more. I have to follow Mecca’s timetable. But I’m a little bit worried whether Allah will accept it or not.”

The mosque at the top of the world

North America’s most northern minaret opens (after an epic 2,800-mile
journey)

The most northern mosque in North America officially opened yesterday in
Inuvik, in Canada’s Northwest Territories, where there is a growing
Muslim population.

The opening marks the end of an arduous journey that saw the building
travel over rivers – atop barges – and bumpy, narrow roads to arrive
at its destination.

After being assembled in the city of Winnipeg, the mosque travelled some
4,500km (2,800 miles) and has been nicknamed ‘the little mosque of tundra’.

The most northern mosque in North America officially opened on Wednesday
in Inuvik, in the Canadian Northern Territories

The most northern mosque in North America officially opened on Wednesday
in Inuvik, in the Canadian Northern Territories

The mosque, nicknamed ‘the little mosque of tundra’, was build in
Winnipeg and travelled 2,800 miles to Inuvik

The mosque, nicknamed ‘the little mosque of tundra’, was build in
Winnipeg and travelled 2,800 miles to Inuvik

The new 1,554-sq-ft (473-sq-m) building is a step up from the
one-bedroom trailer Muslims in the town have used for prayer services
over the past 10 years

The new 1,554-sq-ft (473-sq-m) building is a step up from the
one-bedroom trailer Muslims in the town have used for prayer services
over the past 10 years

The mosque, which doubles as a community centre, is believed to be the
second most-northerly in the world, next to one in Siberia.

‘It’s a very personal achievement for all of us because we were in a
small building… and now we have this one,’ Ahmed al-Khalaf, who helped
organise fundraising efforts for the mosque, said

‘It’s a very personal achievement for all of us because we were in a
small building… and now we have this one,’ Ahmed al-Khalaf, who helped
organize

fundraising efforts for the mosque, said

At one point during the mosque’s journey to the small town in the
Arctic Circle, the building almost tipped over but was saved by a road
construction crew

Inuvik, a town of 3,300 people north of the Arctic Circle, has some 80
Muslim residents who until recently have met for prayers and religious
education inside a small trailer.

The new 1,554-sq-ft (473-sq-m) building is a step up from the
one-bedroom trailer Muslims in the town have used for prayer services
over the past 10 years.

‘It’s a very personal achievement for all of us because we were in a
small building, the old one, and now we have this one,’ Ahmed al-Khalaf,
who helped organise fundraising efforts for the mosque, said.

‘For the whole town of Inuvik, it’s another new building in town, and
everybody’s welcome here.’

Hussain Guisti, a member of a Winnipeg-based Muslim charity called The
Zubaidah Tallab Foundation, decided last year he would help design and
build a mosque for the northern community.

The group originally wanted the mosque to be built in Inuvik but soon
realized having a prefabricated building constructed in Winnipeg would
be much less expensive, even with the lengthy shipment factored in.

Inuvik Mayor Denny Rodgers said there is no sign of the type of
animosity encountered by new mosques in some parts of the United States.

‘We’re very much a multicultural town up here,’ he said. ‘Canada itself
is a melting pot, and Inuvik, when you look at all the different
cultures that are represented here, is just like that.’

Inuvik, a town of 3,300 people north of the Arctic Circle, has some 80
Muslim residents who until recently have met for prayers and religious
education inside a small trailer

Inuvik, a town of 3,300 people north of the Arctic Circle, has some 80
Muslim residents who until recently have met for prayers and religious
education inside a small trailer

There were only a handful of Muslims in the town 20 years ago, according
to Guisti. Like many northern communities, Inuvik has a near-constant
supply of job opportunities that has attracted people from all backgrounds.

They are mainly Sunni Muslims from Lebanon, Egypt and Sudan who were
drawn to northern Canada because of those job opportunities. More are
expected to make the trip now that there is a mosque in the Northern
Territories.

North America’s most northerly mosque officially opens in the Arctic

News Agencies – November 10, 2010

The most northerly mosque in North America officially opened on November 10th, marking an end to an arduous journey that saw the building shipped 4,500 kilometres over narrow, bumpy roads and atop a river barge. Inuvik, a town of 3,300 people north of the Arctic Circle, has some 80 Muslim residents who until recently have met for prayers and religious education inside a small trailer. The mosque is believed to be the second most-northerly one in the world, next to one in Siberia.
It is a welcome addition to Inuvik. Mayor Denny Rodgers said there is no sign of the type of animosity encountered by new mosques in some parts of the United States. There were only a handful of Muslims in the town 20 years ago. Like many northern communities, Inuvik has a near-constant supply of job opportunities that has attracted people from all backgrounds.