Istanbul: Turkey will mark the beginning of Ramadan, an Islamic month of fasting, next week. A month where the faithful abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and behavior considered sinful, it is also an occasion to remember the virtue of patience and charity for Muslims. Time zone differences, however, can make fasting more difficult for some.
The fasting starts at dawn and ends at sunset, beginning with a predawn meal called sahur and ending with iftar dinner, when Muslims end their fast. The first meal precedes imsak, an exact time where the faithful should refrain from eating and drinking that comes before the time of morning prayers, while iftar can be eaten immediately after the evening call to prayer.
According to the Islamic calendar, this year's earliest imsak, in the early hours of April 2, will correspond with 4:14 a.m. local time in Iğdır, Turkey's easternmost province, while the western province of Izmir will be the last to mark imsak, at 5:25 a.m. Iğdır and the southeastern province of Hakkari will have the distinction of having the earliest iftar, at 6:35 p.m., while the western province of Çanakkale and Edirne in the northwest will be the last to mark iftar, at 7:46 p.m.
The faithful in the northwestern province of Kırklareli and northern province of Sinop will observe the longest fast time throughout Ramadan, with 14 hours and 27 minutes, while the southern province of Hatay will have the shortest fasting time, at 14 hours and 12 minutes, on the first day of Ramadan. This period gradually increases throughout the month and on the last day of Ramadan, the longest fasting time will be in Sinop, at 15 hours and 56 minutes, while Muslims in Hatay will fast only 15 hours and 22 minutes.
The observance time for Ramadan is based on the lunar calendar, which means it begins about two weeks earlier each year, giving an experience of fasting both in the dog days of summer and cold winter, when days are shorter, for millions of Muslims across the world.
Countries in the Southern Hemisphere, from South Africa to New Zealand, usually have the shortest fasting times, sometimes as short as 11 hours. Further up north, fasting times are longer. In Iceland, Finland and other countries, fasting times can be as long as 19 hours at times.
(Ref: Daily Sabah and Agencies. MAR 23, 2022 1:43 PM)