Muslims of north Sweden follow new iftar time due to nearly 23 hours of daylight

Kiruna is 90 miles north of the Arctic Circle.

Muslims living in the north of Sweden have been given a new time to break their fast due to daylight lasting longer than 20 hours.

Around 700 Muslims are taking part in Ramadan in the town of Kiruna, located 90 miles north of the Arctic Circle.

The sun stays up around the clock from May 28-July 16, which constitutes half of the fasting period this year.

Since there is no central authority in Sunni Islam that could issue a fatwa, Muslims in north Sweden are using at least four different timetables to break the fast.

According to the Gregorian calendar, around every 33 years Ramadan falls at the same time.

A majority of those who fast in Kiruna follow the timings of the capital Stockholm, 770 miles further south, after being advised by the European Council of Fatwa and Research (ECFR), a Dublin-based private foundation composed of Islamic clerics.

Secretary-general of the council, Hussein Halawa said: “In Stockholm, there’s day and night.” He was personally invited to northern Sweden from Dublin this year to experience the lengthy daylight and give advice. The ECFR fatwa means the longest period of fasting will be 20 hours.

During two-thirds of Ramadan, Muslims following the Kiruna prayer times (as opposed to the fatwa of ECFR) will fast for about 18 hours. But due to the sun’s movements, they will fast for a whole 23 hours during one of those days.

The weather in Kiruna varies during the summer. Within a day, 25 degrees Celsius and sunshine can turn into 10 degrees and pouring rain.

In winter months there is perpetual darkness, where Muslims face the opposite of midnight sun – polar night. For two weeks, the sun does not rise above the horizon in December.

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