The European Council for Research and Fatwa endorses the sixth decision adopted by the Islamic Fiqh Council of the Muslim World League, in the Council’s ninth session, 12–19 Rajab 1406 AH (1986), which takes into account that no clear religious text applies to this situation, leaving wide room for scholarly interpretation. The Permanent Committee for Research and Fatwa says that when the night or the day are too long to enable a person to fast, such a person should fast as long as he can. Should he fear that he might die or fall ill as a result, he may break his fast, eating or drinking what he needs to spare himself harm, then continue the fast till the end of the fasting day. He must also compensate for such days as he cannot fast by fasting a similar number of days at a later date.
Shaikh Muhammad Rasheed Rida considers that people in areas where the days and nights are too long or too short should resort to estimating the times of prayer on the basis of analogy with what the Prophet has taught. He mentions that scholars have different views on whether the estimation should be according to the prayer times in Makkah and Madinah or the times in the nearest cities where the days and nights are of moderate length.
Shaikh Muhammad ibn Ibraheem ruled that people in these areas must fast, but they fast according to the times in the cities nearest to them.
The ruling given by al-Azhar is that the times in areas where the days are too long should be estimated on the basis of the times in Makkah and Madinah or in the nearest cities with moderate timings.
In his fatwa on this issue, the late Shaikh Mahmood Shaltoot, the former Rector of al-Azhar, stated: ‘People in those areas should estimate their days, nights and months according to the times of the nearest cities with moderate timings, where the different times are clear and where the days and nights allow the observance of the duties of fasting and prayer, in accordance with the way that enables people to fulfil their duties without much hardship.