How Long Is The World Fasting This Ramadan? A Country Rundown As Thousands Flock To Grand Mosque
22 June 2015
By Eleanor Wahl Choufany
The holy month of Ramadan is set to start on June 18, with the number of fasting
hours varying by country depending on the period of time between sunrise and
sunset, which changes subject to latitude and longitude.
Fasting is compulsory for any sane and healthy Muslim who is not pregnant or
travelling. Those who fast are not allowed to eat, drink, smoke, or have sex
from sunrise to sunset during the month.
A map published by Radio Nederland Wereldomroep, and reposted by several Arab
news outlets, shows that this year Denmark will see the longest fast, with an
average of 21 hours per day.
Those in other northern European countries such as Iceland, Norway and Sweden
will fast for almost as long, with an average of 20 hours per day. The UK will
fast for 18 hours and 59 minutes, as well as Germany at 18 hours and 9 minutes.
The Americas and Australia
In South America, Argentina will see the shortest fasting period at 12 hours and
21 minutes. Australia, Brazil and Chile will see fasting periods of 12.5 hours,
13 hours and 9 minutes, and 11 hours and 58 minutes respectively.
The fasting duration in North America ranges from 15 to 18 hours, with
Washington DC seeing an average of 16 hours and 44 minutes. Muslims in Canada
will see an average of 18 hours and 9 minutes.
Middle East and Africa
Most countries in the world have 11-16 hours of fasting, including Saudi Arabia
at 16 hours and 13 minutes, the United Arab Emirates at 15 hours and 23 minutes,
and Kuwait at 15 hours and 59 minutes.
The Middle East is expected to have the hottest summer in 33 years this year,
with predictions that temperatures in Saudi Arabia could reach record highs.
This, along with fasting hours varying from 14 hours to 16, could lead to
dehydration and other health issues, so those fasting should avoid long periods
under the sun and hydrate when possible.
South Africa has the third-shortest duration of fasting in the world at
approximately 12 hours, while North African countries such as Egypt, Tunisia and
Algeria have 16.5 to 17.5 hours of fasting.
Indian and Pakistani Muslims will fast for 17 hours and 11 minutes and 16.5
hours respectively. In China, the fast will last for 17 hours and 28 minutes.
Russia will see the longest fast in Asia, at an average of 20 hours and 49
Last year, those in Iceland and Sweden fasted for the longest, at just under 22
hours and 21 hours respectively. Australia had the shortest fasting period at
just under 10 hours.
Thousands Flock To Grand Mosque
Nearly 1 million people prayed at the Grand Mosque in Makkah on the first Friday
Worshippers and Umrah pilgrims from inside and outside the
Kingdom flocked to the Grand Mosque from the early hours of Friday morning,
filling its corridors, floors and the courtyards to pray there in an atmosphere
of security, stability and peace.
All government agencies and private bodies implemented the
operational plans which focused on providing the best services to the guests at
the Grand Mosque, and on facilitating the performance of the holy rituals in
peace and comfort from the moment they set foot on the holy land until they
return to their homes.
Worshippers and guests in the House of God have benefited from
the expansion project of mataf which includes three floors — the marbled open
plaza surrounding the Holy Kaaba, the first floor and rooftop. Additionally,
there are the two specially designated structures for wheelchairs.
Traffic personnel made great efforts to direct motorists to
the allocated parking lots at Makkah's entrances. The central area was evacuated
and free of vehicles to facilitate the worshippers' entrance to, and exit from,
the Grand Mosque.
Despite the high temperatures, the air conditioning inside the
Grand Mosque, plus the approximately 250 fans spraying cold water in the outside
yard, enabled worshippers to enjoy moderate atmospheres and reduced the effects
of high temperatures.
Large numbers of guides and security personnel were deployed around the gates of
the Grand Mosque and the doors leading to the escalators to help worshippers and
older people on how to use them and remain safe.
Brig. Gen. Muhammad Al-Ahmadi, commander of the Grand Mosque
Security Force, said: ''Despite the high temperatures, the mosque operated at
about 95 percent capacity. All the plans in place were successful and this
helped in facilitating the atmosphere for worshippers to perform the holy
rituals and enjoy the feelings of faith and reverence.''
Maj. Gen. Abdul Rahman Al-Muqbil, director general of Traffic
Department, said the traffic plan was based on preventing all vehicles from
entering the central area a whole hour before prayer time and another full hour
''The central area is reserved for pedestrians and worshippers
coming to the Grand Mosque,'' he said.
The Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques intensified its efforts
and provided all necessary services for worshippers around the clock. The
presidency is implementing its plans by employing more than 5,000 employees, men
and women, in addition to cleaners who work effortlessly around the clock to
keep the inside of the mosque and its courts clean at all times.
In Madinah, the Prophet's Mosque has been furnished with more
than 16,000 carpets in addition to 250 umbrellas and 436 fans spraying water to
protect the worshippers from the heat of the sun.
Abdul Wahid Al-Hattab, media director at the Presidency of the
Two Holy Mosques, said worshippers prayed the first Friday of Ramadan with ease
because of the implementation of an integrated system of services.
''The presidency used modern technology and installed 60
electronic screens in the Prophet's Mosque to serve worshippers and visitors by
displaying guidance and instructions as well as data and information on the
services offered,'' he said.
Madinah police chief Maj. Gen. Abdul Hadi Al-Shahrani
confirmed the readiness of all security agencies in the region, adding: ''The
police force with more than 17,000 men and 400 officers is ready to offer the
best services to the worshippers and visitors.
Our efforts are more than doubled inside the central area
surrounding the Prophet's Mosque and on the roads inside and outside the city.''
Eleanor Wahl Choufany writes for Al Arabiya News