Monday, November 20, 2017 - 2 Rabi' al-Awwal 1439

Fasting more than 18 hours a day

We reviewed request no. 336 for the year 2011 which includes the following:
This year in our country, the fasting hours will last for around 19 hours. Is it obligatory on Muslims to fast such long hours?

Answer

Muslims in countries where the fasting hours are 18 or more are to estimate the time for starting and breaking their fast. It is difficult for a person to fast continuously for 18 hours or more and experts have determined the inability of the human body to tolerate such extended periods of fasting which definitely pose harm. It cannot be maintained that harm is the objective of Islamic law.
According to the opinion implemented for fatwa, Muslims in such countries should fast according to the timing of Mecca because it is the mother of cities (Umm al-Qura). This means that Muslims in countries where the fasting hours are 18 or more are to start fasting according to the time of fajr (dawn) in their countries, count the number of hours that people in Mecca fast and break their fast when the people of Mecca end theirs. This is to be observed daily; Mecca prayer times are available online. For example, if fajr in such countries is at 3 am and people in Mecca fast for 15 hours, the time for people in these countries to break their fast is at 6 pm according to their local time.
God the Almighty knows best.