REPORT – What happens to Ramadan fasters when the sun never sets?

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SHAFAQNA - We’re well into the Holy Month of Ramadan now, and Muslims across the globe have stopped their snacking, put down the cigarettes and ignored any other temptations that may come their way during daylight fasting hours.

That’s why in the countdown to sunset, every minute matters.

But that wait is going on a lot longer for some, since the further north you go, the more time it takes for the sun to dip below the horizon.

This wasn’t an issue back when Muslim communities were concentrated in regions near the equator, but the global spread of Islam in recent decades changed that. Now worshippers are living — and fasting — all over the world, giving rise to some unexpected problems.

What should you do, for instance, if the sun never sets where you live?

Muslim scholars have come up with a couple different solutions — clerics at Cairo’s prestigious al-Azhar Mosque placed an 18 hour cap on fasting hours, while others say sunset in Mecca should be taken as a reference point.

Despite this, many fasters in these faraway places choose to bite the bullet and wait out the last rays of sun. And it’s not all bad — Ramadan moves up a month every year, so those long hours eventually reverse and turn in your favor.

Check out the locales where, depending on the year, Ramadan brings you either epic nights of celebrating or a grueling wait till iftar.

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