THE WORLD STUDENTS SOCIETY - most respectfully, wishes all the Leaders of the world, Grandparents, Parents, all Little Angels -

Students, Professors and Teachers of the world,.... and incontinuation, the whole of mankind, and prays for peace, prosperity and well-being for all

THIS year, the revered Muslim holy month of Ramadhan begins on Thursday. That means a big portion of the world's 1.6 billion Muslims, my co-religionists, will be fasting for 30 days, which is no really easy task.

Every day, from dawn till dusk, they will neither eat  any food or drink a drop of water.

They will be  hungry and thirsty  but will wait patiently between the pre-dawn  sahur meal  and the ifftar dinner at night  -just for the sake of Almighty God.

It is a great experience of self-discipline, devotion and piety.

It is also a  great opportunity , Islamic scholars often say, for reflecting about and  developing empathy with those who starve because they are destitute.

FOR some of the world's most far-flung Muslims, Ramadhan will be even more difficult.  These are the Muslims who live in high altitudes, where ''dawn till  dusk''  can equal almost the entire  24 hour day.

In Reykjavik, Iceland, for example, which is now home to nearly 1,000 Muslims, the sun will set at midnight, only to come back in about  two hours.

That means the fasting time will be as long as 22 hours, allowing for only meal a day.

NO WONDER this challenge has become a major point of discussion among Muslim scholars in the past few decades, particularly as increasing members of Muslims have migrated to northern countries like Norway and Sweden.

Were the believers among these migrants supposed to follow the traditional Quranic timetable? Or could could there by some gracious adjustment?

Answers varied.

Saudi scholars, who typically represent the most literal and strict interpretation of Sunni Islam, ruled that no adjustment should be made.

In a fatwa, or religious ruling, they declared that Islamic law is ''universal and applies to all people in all countries.'' Perhaps they could not empathize enough with their northern co-religionists, accustomed as the Saudis are to the mild fasting times in the Arabia Peninsula-

Where days are pretty standard in length throughout the year and fasting never exceeds 15 hours. Muslims nearer to the North Pole, accordingly, would just have to deal with their bad luck.

Fortunately other Sunni jurists, such those at AI-Azhar University in Egypt. have been a bit more amenable. Two compromises have been offered :

Muslims in extremely high altitudes could ignore the natural day in their location and follow the timetables in Mecca or the nearest Muslim-majority country.

This has allowed some Icelandic Muslims, for example, to follow the time in Turkey and fast for 18 hours instead of 22, allowing for a breakfast and a dinner during the waxing and waning hours of  daylight. 

!WOW! thanks author and researcher Mustafa Akyol and The New York Times for publishing opinion from a wide range of perspectives. We will, in the times ahead, debate.


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