Should Muslims in the North Fast 20 Hours a Day?

A Survey of Relevant Fatwas


To summarise, the alternative opinions that this article has presented to facilitate summer fasting for Muslims who live north of 48 degrees irrespective of the sunset are:

(1) to fast according to the calendar of Makkah or Medina;

(2) to fast according to the calendar of the closest region with moderate timings;

(3) to fast starting from Fajr for a maximum of sixteen hours based on 45 degrees of latitude;

(4) to fast from Fajr to a maximum of 18 hours based on 48 degrees of latitude.

Given the above diversity of ijtihad or juridical reasoning regarding the length of the summer fast in the northern regions of the world, it is my view that every Muslim must consider these opinions and follow that which will enable her or him to fulfil this fundamental pillar of our faith. Fasting during Ramadan is an obligation on every Muslim wherever they live on earth. I have striven to present several equally valid opinions in this article that in my view more accurately fulfil the objectives of this blessed month.

Ramadan Kareem.

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About Dr. Jasser Auda
Jasser Auda is a Professor and Al-Shatibi Chair of Maqasid Studies at the International Peace College South Africa, the Executive Director of the Maqasid Institute, a global think tank based in London, and a Visiting Professor of Islamic Law at Carleton University in Canada. He is a Founding and Board Member of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, Member of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, Fellow of the Islamic Fiqh Academy of India, and General Secretary of Yaqazat Feker, a popular youth organization in Egypt. He has a PhD in the philosophy of Islamic law from University of Wales in the UK, and a PhD in systems analysis from University of Waterloo in Canada. Early in his life, he memorized the Quran and studied Fiqh, Usul and Hadith in the halaqas of Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo. He previously worked as: Founding Director of the Maqasid Center in the Philosophy of Islamic Law in London; Founding Deputy Director of the Center for Islamic Ethics in Doha; professor at the University of Waterloo in Canada, Alexandria University in Egypt, Islamic University of Novi Pazar in Sanjaq, Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies, and the American University of Sharjah. He lectured and trained on Islam, its law, spirituality and ethics in dozens of other universities and organizations around the world. He wrote 25 books in Arabic and English, some of which were translated to 25 languages.