One of the branch of Geography is called Physical Geography. It’s the branch of natural science which deals with the processes and patterns in the natural environment.
In Africa, physical Geography especially the one that has to do with planets and sun called the Solar System is taught in the first year of Senior Secondary School.
Most African Geography teachers are very passionate about this branch of Geography and always dedicate their time to explaining every details, facts and figures about Solar System, the first man in the moon, the earth and its rotation around its own axis as well as the revolution around the sun, the distance to the sun from each planet in this Solar System.
As it is well established, the earth rotates on its axis and at the same time revolve round the sun, one of the effects of earth rotation is day and night. The earth solar day is 24 hours and it is the time it takes for the earth to rotate exactly once so that the sun appears at the same place in the sky the following day. Ideally, day and night should be 12 hours each, but this is not so because the earth’s imaginary axis is tilted 23.5 degrees, so as the earth revolves round the sun during a year, the northern hemisphere is tilted towards the sun in the Summer, resulting in longer day than night. The reverse is the case during the Winter making the night longer than the day. In the Spring and Fall, the tilt is not towards nor away from the sun as it is somewhat between, hence, the day and night are more the same at these times of the year.
Ramadan is the ninth month on Muslims’ Hijrah calendar, this month is dedicated to abstaining from food during the day and break the fast during the night. Muslims around the world fast for 29 or 30 days during the month, they are also encouraged to be as immaculate as they could as it is a month of forgiveness by God.
In Gregorian Calendar, a month could be 28 (29 leap year because the earth revolves round the sun in 365 1/4 days, so every 4 years, there’s a leap year), 30, or 31. But for Muslims’ Hijrah Calendar, months could either be 29 or 30, that explains why the Ramadan fasting periods always fall into different periods of the Gregorian Calendar.
In Middle East and Africa, the day and night are almost the same as there is hardly the concept of longer day shorter night unlike in the West. In Africa, unlike in the northern hemisphere, where the weather is generally determined by four distinct seasons: Summer, Winter, Spring and Autumn, the weather is determined by two seasons namely: Rainy and Dry Season, so typically, people in this part of the world fast for 13 to 14 hours, this means that the real effects of longer day and shorter night and how it might affect Ramadan are not felt. In Europe however, it is another story entirely as the Ramadan fasting could be extremely easy, extremely hard or in between depending on the Season.
Because of the fact that the earth’s imaginary axis is not tilted towards or away from the sun during Spring and Autumn, fasting in Europe during this time is the same as everyone else for others, just normal 12 to 14 hours fast. Ramadan during the Winter is extremely easy as night comes as early as 4:00 pm during this season. However, the problem starts when the Ramadan fasting is in the summer, Muslims have to eat as early as 3:00 am in the morning because that is the earliest of the night, also, since it’s longer day, they would not be able to break the fast until around 10:00 pm or 11:00 pm. Fasting for 20 hours a day for 29 or 30 days is no joke.
Often when the Ramadan falls within the summer, most Muslims in Europe are able to cope by either leave town to the Middle East and Africa, complete their fast over there and come back after, some believe that they could break by 7:00 pm even if it is sunny at the time as they believe intentions are what matters, some just drop the whole fasting idea and decide not to fast at all, others just go with the flow and make sure they fast accordingly and place their faith in God to reward them abundantly.
Ramadan 2018 is between May 16 to June 14, and here are the Fasting time based on the continents:
Europe – Muslims living in Iceland observe the longest fast mostly compare to others around the world. They fast approximately 22 hours. They are followed by Norway where fasting hours are around 20 hours 20 minutes. Russia, Denmark and The Netherlands are observing fast for around 19 hours and 30 minutes. While UK and Ireland are around 18 hours. Italy and Spain are approximately 17 hours 15 minutes.
The Middle East, Africa and South Asia – Most Middle East, Africa and South Asian countries would be observing fasting hours for around 15 hours to 16 hours.
The Muslims in Argentina and New Zealand have the shortest fasting hours of around 11 hours to 11 hours 30 minutes. Also, The Australians are enjoying a winter season at the moment and will have easy days as their duration will be 11 hours and 46 minutes only.