As more than 1.9 billion Muslims worldwide prepare for the holy month of Ramadan, the hours of fasting this year will range from 10 to 18 hours depending on the geographical location of the person.
The differences in fasting hours are primarily due to variations in the length of the day and night caused by the Earth’s tilt and the position of the sun.
In countries located closer to the equator, the fasting hours tend to be shorter, while those located further away, particularly in northern and southern latitudes, experience longer fasting periods. Depending on the time of year, the fasting period can exceed 20 hours.
In some areas including in Greenland and Alaska, where the sun never sets, Islamic scholars recommend Muslims to follow the fasting hours of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
They have long agreed upon the system since Saudi Arabia is home to the Kaaba – the holiest site in Islam.
The average fasting hours worldwide usually fall between 14 to 15 hours. In Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar, Muslims will fast up to 14 hours per day throughout the holy month.
Ramadan, the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, is set to begin on March 23, and involves refraining from food and drink, and engaging in practices that improve one’s faith, patience, and sense of community.
Here is a list of countries where Muslims will fast for the most and least number of hours in 2023:
Longest fasting hours
1. Nuuk, Greenland: 18 hours
2. Reykjavik, Iceland: 18 hours
3. Helsinki, Finland: 17 hours
4. Glasgow, Scotland: 17 hours
5. Ottawa, Canada: 17 hours
6. London, United Kingdom: 16-17 hours
7. Paris, France: 16-17 hours
8. Zurich, Switzerland: 15 hours
9. Rome, Italy: 15 hours
10. Madrid, Spain: 15 hours
Shortest fasting hours
1. Christchurch, New Zealand : 12 hours
2. Puerto Montt, Chile: 12 hours
3. Buenos Aires, Argentina: 12 hours
4. Jakarta, Indonesia: 13 hours
5. Nairobi, Kenya: 13 hours
6. Karachi, Pakistan: 13-14 hours
7. New Delhi, India: 13-14 hours
Gulf and Middle East
The average fasting hours for countries in the Gulf and wider Middle East fall between 13 to 15 hours on average. These include Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Iraq, Yemen, Iran, Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, and Palestine.