Muslims living in the Arctic Circle have been forced to come up with new rules for Ramadan when they are expected for fast from sunrise to sunset – as the region has 24-hour sunshine.
Ramadan begins on 18 June this year, but just three days later is the longest day of the year, when the sun does not set above the Arctic Circle and only sets for a couple of hours further south.
A group of Swedish Muslims are now urgently reviewing the rules. Mohammed Kharraki of the Swedish Islamic Association told AFP: “We’ve got two difficult questions, not just when you can break the fast in the north but also when you should start fasting.
“You’re supposed to start fasting before the sun rises, at dawn. But there is no real dawn in the summer months in Stockholm.”
Previously, Muslims living in the region were advised to break their fast at the same time as Muslims further south in Sweden, but imams are now recommending a new approach.
Kharraki said: “Now you should go by the last time the sun clearly set and rose.”
The European Council for Fatwa and Research – a pan-European Muslim association – is drawing up new guidelines on fasting, including guidance on situations where Muslims could collapse if they don’t break their fast.
Breitbart London previously reported how lack of food and water during the day can drive some Muslims to a state known as “Ramadan rage”. Researchers say those taking part in the fasting can risk dehydration, dizziness, migraines, nausea, tachycardia and circulatory collapse. The rise in irritability of those observing the fast can also lead to an increased crime rate, with one study revealing a 220 per cent increase in petty crime during Ramadan.
“People can try to fast for 19 hours but not handle it. That’s not the idea… If you don’t manage to do your work or stay on your feet, then it’s time to break the fast,” Kharraki added.