Idle question: if there are Muslims living in the far northern hemisphere – Iceland, say – what do they do when Ramadan falls in midsummer?
Apparently, that depends…
The was discussed at a conference I was at, in a paper on Islamic astronomy. The ruling from someone in Saudi Arabia was that Muslims should observe the fast as if they lived at the latitude of Bordeaux.
A question for potential Muslim and Jewish astronauts is how will they survive if they’re posted to the Moonbase where the days are one terrestrial month long?
And now I’ll have to go and brush up on my German (it’s been a long time). Well, I can get ‘Polarregion’…
I put that badly. I remembered it being a latitude of n degrees, which equated with the latitude of Bordeaux. I see that’s 44.5 degrees north, so I’d guess the quoted figure was 45 degrees. Why 45 degrees I couldn’t say. It could simply be due to it being halfway between the pole and equator but I don’t know of any Koranic justification for that. Of course whoever it was wasn’t THE authority on the subject, so it may not be widely accepted.
I’ve discussed this with a Muslim coworker (in Connecticut, US), and he basically says that’s why there aren’t a lot of Muslims in the far north. He’s not particularly looking forward to Ramadan at midsummer in New England (which I believe is further south than you are).
It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out in the next few years, since the last time it happened was 20 years ago, and the number of Muslims in northern Europe has increased so much since then.
Also, I don’t think Islam has a single doctrinal authority, so it may vary depending on who you ask, how strict you are, and so on.
According to a map in the Guardian on Saturday (which I didn’t see until after I poste this!) there are about 1000 Muslims in Iceland. (Plus 80,000 in Norway and 300,000 in Sweden, but no way from the map of knowing how far north any of those live, and 20,000 in Finland.)
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