Midnight sun and Ramadan splits Muslim theologians

This year the holy month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar,  is expected to begin on June 28th and will finish on July 27th. It is supposed to represent the month during which the Koran was revealed and the main – and characteristic – practice for Muslims globally is fasting from dawn to sunset. No food, no drink, no cigarettes, no sex while the sun is up.

In Kiruna in northern Sweden in the Arctic circle, there is no night from the end of May till the middle of July.

Muslim theologians and interpreters of the holy scriptures have found various ways to avoid following the Koran and fasting for a whole month in the land of the midnight sun. There is no consensus though, between Sunnis and Shias or within the various sects as to the correct practice to be followed. But they generally agree (except for the Saudi mullahs of course) that the Koran need not be followed literally in the Arctic circle. Mullahs consulted in the Middle East find themselves well outside their areas of competence but that does not stop them exhibiting their ignorance or from issuing their fatwas. (Common sense of course is not something of much value to any theologian).

  1. Some scholars have suggested that fasting could wait till the autumn – but this is considered a cop-out by other, stricter, holier eminences.
  2. Egyptian scholars –  a pragmatic lot – allow that if the length of day is longer than 18 hours then the time in Mecca or Medina may be followed.
  3. “The Azhar Fatwa Committee in Egypt has issued a fatwa permitting Muslims in Scandinavia and Northern countries to fast according to Mecca time”.
  4. Iranian mullahs have decreed that long days do not provide an excuse for not fasting but leave it to the individual as to what time should be followed or if Muslims should just move to a more suitable location for the holy month.
  5. Saudi mullahs – may they live forever – insist that the local time must be followed and mere death should not be allowed to intervene.

Mullahs do not even entertain the heretical possibility that perhaps Islam is not a religion intended for the Arctic or the Antarctic.

As a compromise, some Kiruna muslims are following the times of sunset and sunrise in Stockholm – which still gives them a very long day and a very short night.

Mohammed was not an Inuit.


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