Praying and Fasting in Northern Norway

These days I have met several non-Muslims who wonder how Muslims pray and fast during the holy month of Ramadan when living beyond the Arctic Circle. Two years ago, SaudiAramco World had published an article about the pretty large Muslim community in my city, Tromsø in Northern Norway, 69 degrees north latitude. There are two months in summer when the sun is not setting at all, and dusk or dawn (which are relevant for determination of prayer times) won’t be distinguishable for another month. The last time Ramadan was celebrated in July was 33 years ago, 1981. The first Muslims settled in Tromsø in 1986 when 1 Ramadan was end of August and sunset was late but at least happened. In fact, September and October are usually the most normal months here in the north with day and night quite similar as in other places in the world. In the meantime, about 1000 Muslims have arrived. The largest group consists of Moroccans.

But back to the question when to pray. Sandra Maryam Moe, a Norwegian convert who is married to a Palestinian, asked even for professional advice.

“We finally asked a shaykh in Saudi Arabia, and he gave us a fatwa [instruction] with three choices: Follow the timetable of Makkah, follow the timetable of the nearest city that does have a sunrise or sunset, or estimate the time and set a fixed schedule. We decided to follow Makkah for the part of Ramadan that falls under the Midnight Sun or Polar Nights, and then, for the other times, we follow our own sun.”

Well, converts are said to be especially zealous. I’m quite sure that the issue is none for the majority of Muslims here. They have understood that God Almighty may just have overlooked the possibility that anyone would dare to settle in this remote corner of the world. And since He is merciful he certainly shall have sympathy for His creation making the best of the situation.

Ramadan Kareem.

29 June 2014 @ 3:46 pm.
Last modified June 29, 2014.
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