There has been discussion in the media recently, about the length of the fast this Ramadan and whether or not Muslims in the West should break their fast early (that is before sunset). In response to this claim, I present the fatwa of Shaikh Ibn ul-‘Uthaymeen rahimahallah discussing when to break the fast when the sun sets late.
Shaikh Ibn ul-‘Uthaymeen rahimahullah was asked:
Question: We live in a land that the sun does not set except at nine thirty in the evening or ten o’clock. So when do we break our fast?
Answer: “They break their fast when the sun sets as long as you have a night and day in twenty four hours. So it is obligatory upon you to fast even if the day is long”.
[Majmoo’ Fataawa wa Rasaail (19/321)]
So according to this fatwa, the Muslims in U.K. or America or Canada, should break their fast at sunset. Much of this discussion has focused on the U.K. as they are fasting close to 19 hours. Iftar in London, for example, was around 9:22 today. So the Shaikh’s fatwa is applicable to them and those who live other parts of the U.K. where the iftar may reach 10:00 pm. So the arguments of shorting the fast should not be considered.
As for the claim that British Muslims can shorten their fasts according to the timing of Makkah or close to it, then this is wrong.
Shaikh Ibn ul-‘Uthaymeen rahimahullah said:
“Whoever passes the verdict that the one who is in a land in which the day is long, then he fasts as much as the day in the Kingdom of Saudia Arabia, then he is clearly mistaken and has opposed the Book and the Sunnah. We do not know of anyone from the People of Knowledge who said this verdict. Yes, the one who is in a land where the night and the day do not alternate in twenty four hours, like a land when the daytime is for two days or a week or a month or more than that. Then he estimates the time of the day and the night from the twenty four hours. This is because when Prophet (ﷺ) spoke about Dajjal and that he will remain on the earth for forty days. one day like a year, a day like a month, a day like week, and the remaining of the days like regular days. They said: Oh Messenger of Allah,will one day’s prayer suffice us in this day which will be like a year ? He replied : No, you must make an estimate of its extent…”
[Majmoo’ Fataawa wa Rasaail (19/308)]
And Allah knows best
Faisal Ibn Abdul Qaadir Ibn Hassan