Yesterday, I published an article on the option of using the length of the fasting day in Mecca or Medina when fasting Ramadan in northern locations where the fasting time can be unreasonably long. I discussed flaws in the argument of those who object to this method and the incompatibility of their thinking with the objective of Islamic Law. I also quoted well-known scholars who approved of this method.

In this article, I am going to give simple instructions on how to calculate the start and finish times of the fast everyday following the length of the fast in Mecca.

# I) The Dawn Method

This method presumes that the Muslim would like to start their fast at dawn and end it in the afternoon.

1) Find out the time of the dawn (*fajr*) prayer in Mecca on that day. Let’s call it MDawn.

2) Find out the time of the sunset (*maghrib*) prayer in Mecca on that day. Let’s call it MSunset.

3) Calculate the length of fast on that day by subtracting MDawn from MSunset. Let’s call this MTime. So, MTime = MSunset – MDawn.

4) Find out the time of the dawn prayer in your city on that day. Let’s call it CDawn.

5) Now, add the length of the fasting time in Mecca to the time of the dawn prayer in your city and that would give you the time at which you can break your fast, which I will call CEnd. So: CEnd = CDawn + MTime.

You can apply this method to any day and city and develop the timetable for your fast in the city where you live.

I will now give a specific example on how to use this method. I will presume that we want to do these calculations for Birmingham, UK, where I live, for today, the 21st/July/2013:

1) The time of the prayer of dawn in Mecca is 4:27.

2) The time of the prayer of sunset in Mecca is 19:04.

3) The length of the fasting day: MTime = 19:04 – 4:27 = 14:37, i.e. 14 hours and 37 minutes.

4) The time of the prayer of dawn in Birmingham (CDawn) is 3:53.

5) The time to break the fast in Birmingham is therefore: CEnd = 3:53 + 14:37 = 18:30.

# II) The Sunset Method

This method presumes that the Muslim would like to end their fast at sunset, which means they would start it sometime in the morning. Note that the first three steps are the same as in the Dawn method.

1) Find out the time of the dawn prayer in Mecca on that day. Let’s call it MDawn.

2) Find out the time of the sunset prayer in Mecca on that day. Let’s call it MSunset.

3) Calculate the length of fast on that day by subtracting MDawn from MSunset. Let’s call this MTime. So, MTime = MSunset – MDawn.

4) Find out the time of the sunset prayer in your city on that day. Let’s call it CSunset.

5) Now, subtract the length of the fasting time in Mecca from the time of the sunset prayer in your city and that would give you the time at which you can start your fast in the morning, which I will call CStart. So: CStart = CSunset – Mtime.

Let’s apply this method to our example above:

1) The time of the prayer of dawn in Mecca is 4:27.

2) The time of the prayer of sunset in Mecca is 19:04.

3) The length of the fasting day: MTime = 19:04 – 4:27 = 14:37.

4) The time of the prayer of sunset in Birmingham (CSunset) is 21:16.

5) The time to start the fast in Birmingham is therefore: CStart = 21:16 – 14:37 = 6:39.

There are many websites that you can use to find out the prayer times that you need for these calculations, such as IslamiCity and IslamicFinder. The former is more useful if you would like to produce a table for the whole month in one go. Note that different websites, software applications, and authorities produce timetables that often differ by several minutes, depending on the method of calculation used. Spreadsheet applications, such as Microsoft Excel or OpenOffice Calc, can make the addition and subtraction much faster and reduce the possibility of errors.

For further illustration, I have prepared for download the calculations for the whole of Ramadan in both methods above for Birmingham, UK, and Stockholm, Sweden. I have also included the calculations needed for Mecca in both timetables.

The columns in yellow show the calculations for the Dawn method. The first (CDawn) is for the time of the dawn prayer, which is when the fast is started, and the second (CEnd) is for the time when the fast is broken.

The columns in green show the calculations for the Sunset method. The first is for the time of the Sunset prayer (CSunset), which is when the fast is ended, and the second (CStart) is for the time when the fast is started.

Copyright © 2013 Louay Fatoohi

Website: http://www.quranicstudies.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/louay.fatoohi

Twitter: http://twitter.com/louayfatoohi

All Rights Reserved.

## Leave a Reply

8 Comments on "Calculating the Ramadan Timetable in High Latitude Cities Using Mecca’s Length of the Fast"

Assalam o Alaikum. I need to know if we use this method to calculate the length of fasts for high latitudes, it seems fine but how about the prayer timmings? Shall we have to follow the prayer timmings of the city where we live during fasting or the prayer timmings of the Mekkah?

I mean we have to offer prayer also during fasting. So, which prayer time to follow! the city where we live or Mecca’s prayer time.

Salam brother Rizwan,

The reason for having such a method for calculating the length of the fasting day does not apply in the case of the prayer. There is a clear need for some people to have a shorter fasting day than their the places where they live would other have. There is no such need for performing the prayer. In other words, if the person breaks their fast, using this method, before the sunset of where they live, they must still do the sunset prayer at sunset. I hope I understood your question.

Ramadan mubarak.

Louay

Wa alaikum mus salam. Understood the answer. Jazak Allah.

I think it is now high time and very necessary that Muslims Think Tankers with the coordination of Ulam A E Din to debate the matter of long fasting, otherwise the new generation will not accept the concept of fasting and will run away from Islam.