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Questions We, live in different countries of Europe and America, in areas where daytime lasts for even more than twenty hours. While performing the ritual fasting

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Questions We, live in different countries of Europe and America,  in areas where daytime lasts for even more than twenty hours. While performing the ritual fasting

 

Questions

 

We, a group of believing men and women, live in different countries of Europe and America, including Germany, Finland and Sweden, in areas where daytime lasts for even more than twenty hours. While performing the ritual fasting as a religious duty

In the Name of Allah; Most Gracious, Most Merciful

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the Worlds.

Allah’s peace and blessings be upon the most honorable of all beings, Muhammad and upon his family, the immaculate.

His Eminence, the Religious Referential Authority and Grand Ayatollah Sheikh Muhammad al-Yaʿqubi:

We, a group of believing men and women, live in different countries of Europe and America, including Germany, Finland and Sweden, in areas where daytime lasts for even more than twenty hours. While performing the ritual fasting as a religious duty, we face very much hardship and difficulty. According to the verdicts of some other jurists, we are allowed to break our fasting according to the fasting hours observed by those living in Karbala or other cities where we used to live in past times. In doing so, we should break our fasting while it is still daytime and night has not yet fallen in the countries where we currently live.

Group of believers,

Shaʿban 24, 1440 AH.


 

In the Name of the All-exalted God

Allah’s peace, mercy and blessings be upon you and upon all believing men and women.

The time prescribed for observing the ritual fasting has already been defined by the Islamic Law to be extending from dawn to sunset. It is therefore unlawful, in the Islamic Law, to break the fasting before the termination of its prescribed time.

Concerning the verdicts of other jurists who allow those who live in countries where daytimes are very long, to limit their fasting hours to the times of fasting in such familiar countries like Iraq (where the time for fasting is generally moderate), such verdicts are definitely inaccurate.

In my research on this topic—entitled: “Fasting and Prayer in Polar Regions of the Earth”—I have proven that restoring to and relying on the familiar settings in issues appertained to the Islamic Law is acceptable only in certain fields where the details of overall subject matters and concepts of the Law are needed to be defined and explained, such as defining the amount of alimonies of wives, specifying the amount of ritual expiations, and the like issues, which the Islamic Law has mentioned in a general manner without specification.

Hence, with regard to issues whose details are already defined and specified by the Islamic Law but there is difference between individuals and states to whom and which such issues are applicable, in this case all individuals must commit themselves to the pre-defined case that is applicable to them.

To explain, the Islamic Law has defined the parts of the face to be washed in the ritual ablution, confirming that the area of the face to be washed in the ritual ablution begins with the forelock and ends with the (end of the) chin vertically. It happens that some people have longer faces than others do. In this case, such people of longer faces are not allowed to rely on the familiar length of face; rather, they are obligatorily required to carry out the duty (of washing the area between the forelock and the chin) according to the subject matter involved (i.e. the predefined details of the ritual ablution), apart from how other individuals do.

The ritual fasting is of this kind of religious duties, because the time prescribed for fasting has already been defined by the Islamic Law that has decided that the time prescribed for fasting must extend from dawn to sunset; therefore, the people of each country must carry out this duty as it has been defined by the Islamic Law and must fast during the time prescribed thereto, whether it is short or long.

However, in case that fasting for such a long time may cause harm or hardship, the duty-bound person is allowed to have the minimum quantity of water or food that helps him resist harm and hardship and then keep on fasting and, at another time of the year, make up for this fasting, which is in this case decided as missed. He may also travel to cover a distance of 22 kilometers in order to break the fast excusably, or may take such necessary measures that help him consummate the ritual fasting safely, such as spending the daytime hours resting, or travelling to another country where the fasting hours are fairly tolerable, or any other measure.

Muhammad al-Yaʿqubi

Shaʿban 24, 1440 AH