The Length of the Night and the Day

The Length of the Night and the Day

Question :

In the land of Scandinavia and the area north of it the Muslim has to deal with the problem of the night and the day being very long and very short. Sometimes the day will continue for 22 hours and the night will be for 2 hours. Then, in another season, the situation will be the opposite. This is like what happened to one of the questioners when he passed through this land during the evening in Ramadhan. He also said that it is said that the night in some of the areas lasts for 6 months and the day will last a similar amount of time. So, how does the person estimate the fast in lands like these and how do their people who are Muslims fast or those Muslims who live there for work and study?


The problem in these lands is not particularly related to fasting. Rather, it also includes the prayer. However, if the country has a day and a night, then it is obligatory to act according to the dictates of that, regardless of whether the day is extremely long or short. However, if the land does not have a night and day, like the areas around the poles of the earth where the day will last 6 months or the night will last 6 months, then these people estimate the time of their fasting and prayer. But what do they base their estimation upon? Some of the people of knowledge say that they estimate based upon the times of Makkah, because Makkah is the Mother of cities. Thus, all of the cities refer to it because the mother is the thing which is followed, like the Imam for example. This is as the poet said: "Upon its head is a mother for it that you follow." Others have said that in that land they should consider based upon the middle course. Thus, they should consider the night as 12 hours and the day as 12 hours, because this is the balanced time regarding the day and night. Some of the people of knowledge have said that they consider the closest land to them that has a regular night and day. This view is the most correct, because the closest land to them has the most right to be followed and it is the closest to their climate geographically. Therefore, based upon this, they should look at the night and day of the closest land to them, and they should restrict themselves to following it, whether it is for the fasting or the prayer.

Ash-Shaykh Ibn 'Uthaimin
Fatawa Islamiyah, Vol. 3 Pages 258-259

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