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Salam, I live in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and I had a question regarding Ramadan this year. The time we have to fast for is from 3:00 am to 10:09 pm. It is a very long day and it is hard for my husband who starts work at 6:30. I was wondering what your thoughts are in regards to just fasting according to the time in Saudi Arabia? I have heard form some that it is permissible, however some say that the fast is invalid. JAK

الجواب حامداومصليا

My dear sister in Islam,

I sincerely apologize for not being able to respond to your question sooner.

I can understand the situation of your husband and how it will become very difficult for him to observe the Fasts during the month of Ramdhan due to the extraordinary length of the day in summer.

It is the reality for much of the northern United States and Canada that the day during summer becomes very long. However, in most places, despite the extraordinary length of the day, we can still witness a 24 hours cycle of day and night.

In those places, where we can witness a 24 hour cycle of day and night, a Muslim must observe the Fast in its proper time and also observe the five daily prayers in its repspective time.

Therefore, you can not follow the timings of any place in the world but yours in order to begin and end the Fasting despite being it extraordinarily long.

Now, in case of those individuals, who find it completely unbearable to observe the Fast in a place where the day happens to be extraordinarily long, the concession may be granted. However, the concession would not be in form of cutting the Fast short by allowing the acceptance of another location's time of Iftaar.

The concession maybe granted to select indidviduals who find unberable hardship due to their nature of work, age and health etc... to observe the Fast during summer. Such people may be allowed to skip the Fasting and then make up for the missed Fasts when the days are more normal in its length.

The above mentioned concession does not apply to those who are able to observe the Fast despite its extraordinary length even if it comes with some level of hardhip. After all, one of the reasons of Fasting is to taste the harship for the sake of Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala.

And Allah knows best.

Mufti Ikram ul Haq

Fatwa Center of America