UAE residents will fast for less than 15 hours a day this Ramadan, the shortest period in four years.
The Holy Month is expected to start on May 6 and will finish almost three weeks before the longest day of the year, meaning a shorter fast.
The Islamic calendar consists of 12 lunar months totalling either 354 or 355 days, depending on a visual sighting of each new moon.
It is up to 10 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar, which is 365 days long, running from January 1 to December 31.
Emirati astronomer Thabet Al Qaissieh, who runs Al Sadeem Observatory in Al Wathba, said while the fasting period is slightly shorter this year compared to last, it is unlikely to make much difference from a practical perspective.
“If someone is fasting 14 hours, they can wait 13 minutes more or less,” he said.
Because Ramadan moves backwards by 10 days each year, the fasting period is set to shorten each year for more than a decade.
By 2030 – when Ramadan is predicted to begin on December 25 and end on January 23 – the fast will be significantly shorter, at a little over 10 and a half hours.
Muslims in the UAE will not see a fast as long as this year’s again until 2042, when Ramadan will again occur during the summer.
For those observing Ramadan elsewhere in the world, however, the story is very different.
In the height of summer in northern Europe, for example, countries like Finland and Sweden can experience little, or no darkness. As a result many Muslims in the region opt to adhere to the timetable of the closest Middle East country, like Turkey. (thenational.ae)