Thousands of Muslims in the United Kingdom, who face a predicament of observing long fasting hours during Ramadan, sometimes up to 20 hours, now have an option.
A Muslim cleric has even issued a fatwa calling on Muslims in the United Kingdom to observe only 12 hours of fast.
In the UK, during Ramadan 2015, which is set to begin from 18 June, Muslims may have to occasionally fast for 20 hours a day as daylight hours during summer are long here.
The 'excessive' fasting hours poses serious health issues for the elderly and the young, Usama Hasan of Quillian Foundation, a progressive Muslim group that issued the fatwa, said, according to 5 Pillars.
In his fatwa, Hasan has asked Muslims in the UK to fast only for 12 to 16 hours during Ramadan. His controversial edict could cause discomfort among mainstream Islamic scholars who follow the strict dawn-to-sunset pattern.
In his fatwa, Hasan says: "A number of people have asked me since last year about the excessive length of fasting during UK summer months. This has included those new to the practice of fasting, elderly and middle-aged people, who wish to fast but simply cannot manage the very long days. Since last year, I've heard reports of such people in hospital, as well as of children falling seriously ill, due to fasting more than 18 hours per day.
"The day length in London during a midsummer Ramadan is almost 17 hours *sunrise-sunset*. Since there is no agreed beginning of dawn, the dawn-sunset timings vary from 19 to 20.5 hours. The day length increases as we go further north, especially in Scotland and Northern Ireland..."
When is Ramadan in UK?
According to a report in The Guardian, there are an estimated 2.8 million Muslims in the UK and for 30 days starting 18 June, many of them will be observing the conventional Ramadan fast.
To check timings for Suhoor, which is the time for partaking the pre-dawn meal and Iftar, which is the post-sunset meal, check the links below: