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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 minutes.

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 of Ramadan.

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 after prayers.

''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 



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