During Ramadan, Muslims fast until the sun goes down. But what if you live in a place where the sun does not set for the entire month?
Ramadan fasting is bad enough in Oslo, with its 20 hours of day light during summer.
Devout Muslims and religious scholars have worked arduously on a solution to this potentially deadly dilemma. After all, nobody survives 30 days without food nor water.
Human-Stupidity can not but wonder why Allah and his prophet have not planned ahead and given instructions for Muslim expansion to the polar circle on their way to world rule.
Moe, 49, wears a mint-green hijab and is the director of Alnor. She is a patient woman, knowing that it takes some time for outsiders, for non-Muslims, to understand the dilemma facing the faithful of Tromsø.
On the one hand, there are the health concerns. "Nobody should fast for more than 20 hours a day for 29 days," she says. "Ramadan isn’t just for the strong among us, rather it is for all Muslims."
But there are also religious concerns. "Despite our extreme situation, we can’t just make up our own rules." She expresses both points of view as though she is speaking about incontrovertible laws.
In Islam, those who do a good deed which is then furthered by others, rather than merely being gratefully received, will be rewarded doubly in the afterlife. The same holds true for bad deeds, with the originator being punished doubly if others follow him. That is what Moe and the Muslims of Tromsø are afraid of […]
As the Ramadan nights got shorter year after year — and the thirst correspondingly greater during the day — the uncertainty drove Tromsø Muslims to seek out Dr. Abdullah Bin Abd al-Asis al-Muslih. The Saudi sheikh has never been to northern Norway, but he is a highly respected Muslim scholar whose word carries authority. His resume shows that he is the general director of a body that focuses on the Koran’s relationship to science and research. Indeed, it isn’t just the Catholic Church that must address the conflict between science and miracles.
Six years ago, Sandra Maryam Moe and the sheikh spent months exchanging emails. Is it allowed to eat and drink even though it isn’t yet dark outside, Moe wanted to know? And if it is, when does the daily fasting period begin and end? When are the prayer times? Moe described in detail the dilemma facing her community and the sheikh sent her question after question. He too was wary of becoming the originator of a new practice.
But finally, he issued a fatwa, an Islamic legal opinion that may only be issued by a qualified jurist. It was, however, far from conclusive and he shied away from proposing a clear solution. After quoting a few verses from the Koran, he gave the Muslims of Tromsø three options: They could adopt the fasting schedule used in Mecca; they could adopt the fasting schedule used in the nearest city where the sun actually set; or they simply establish their own practice binding on everyone in Tromsø.
It was an expert opinion that left all options open. It could have come as a relief to Moe and the others, but it wasn’t. After all, no one wants to be the author of a bad deed.
The Alnor Mosque faithful decided they had no other choice than to reach a consensus among themselves, knowing full well that others in northern parts of Norway, Scandinavia and even further afield, might follow them