Did God Institute the Fast during Ramadhan?

Muslims have started their annual fast during the Islamic month of Ramadhan as of dawn this morning. One of them asked me yesterday, “Have you spotted the new moon yet?” I told him it was only 1:30 p.m. my time, perhaps by nightfall. Then I asked if he knew there are places in the United States where the sun doesn’t set. He laughed it off.

Muslims fast because the Qur’an commands it. As important as this fast is to Islam, it wasn’t even practiced the first decade after the advent of Islam.

The Qur’an strictly puts the fast as from dawn to dusk. Why would a supposedly all-knowing God give a command that depends on the sun when Muslims these days live in areas where the sun in some months doesn’t rise or set? For example in the United States, Barrow, Alaska, today the sun rose at 3:04 a.m. and will set 23 hours later at 1:59 a.m. There is twilight for the hour the sun appears set. How could a Muslim in Barrow break his or her fast?

Some Muslims argue in modern times clocks replace the sun, which doesn’t make any sense because the Qur’an clearly says “seek what Allah Hath ordained for you, and eat and drink, until the white thread of dawn appear to you distinct from its black thread; then complete your fast Till the night appears.” The Qur’an envisaged the fast to be strictly according to the position of the sun.

Several reasons exist to show that the Muslim fast did not originate from God Almighty:

1.      The command to fast is specific to Arabia where lengths of nights and days don’t vary greatly throughout the year. The Qur’an says fasting wasn’t institute to be burdensome but Muslims in Alaska would fast for as little as zero hours to as long as a few months because the sun doesn’t rise or set during certain months. You think Moses and Jesus Christ going without food or water for 40 days hold the record? Alaskan Muslims would have to go longer.

2.      The Qur’an states that the sun sets “in a spring of murky water.” It tells a story of a man who traveled and “reached the setting of the sun, he found it set in a spring of murky water.” “God” in the Qur’an was limited to seeing the sun “going down” into the horizon, hence instituted the fast according to that knowledge.

3.      Muslims fast during the month of Ramadhan because the Qur’an claims the Qur’an was revealed during this month. However, even non-Muslims know Prophet Muhammad started receiving the Qur’an in 610 A.D. If this month were so sacred, why was the fast to celebrate its sacredness invented 14 years after the fact?

4.      Prophet Muhammad did not have a problem with observing the Jewish fast even after the Islamic calendar was invented in 621 A.D. Here is what happened:

a.      When Prophet Muhammad migrated to Medina, he encountered Jews who were fasting and asked them why they were fasting. He learned from them they fasted due to Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). And he observed their fast.

b.      Then he commanded Muslims to observe the Jewish fast. In the Qur’an “Fasting is prescribed to you as prescribed to those before” refers to the Jewish fast.

c.      Then Prophet Muhammad had a fallout with the Jews in Medina. He concocted fast during Ramadhan but he did not make it compulsory. Verse 184 of Suratul Al-Baqara (chapter 2 of the Qur’an) clearly shows Ramadhan was optional. The Hadith shows it as well.

d.      He made the Jewish fast optional.

e.      Then when he had further fallout with Jews, he banned Muslims from observing the Jewish fast and made Ramadhan compulsory

Fasting during the Islamic month of Ramadhan was not from God Almighty. It only came into existence when Muhammad did not get along with the Jews of Arabia. That explains why the fast doesn’t make any sense in Polar Regions.

  • Seeking for guidance

    Please check the comments under “Fasting during Ramadan, Muslims and a Skyscraper” post

  • Seeking for guidance

    Dear Brother,

    In Islam you have the right to ask any question. I have been asked this question by one of my non- Muslim friend “How do people in Alaska and some other countries where the sun doesn’t set for days fast during Ramadan?”. Well I had no clue how to answer the question at that time because I didn’t know the answer. But then i come home and started wondering what the answer would be. I researched the answer online for nearly two hours and found this perfect answer. It quotes the Quran and the saying of Prophet Mohammed (P.B.U.H) But before going to the answer i would like to point out that the religion Islam is complete as the Quran say in Surah Al-Maeda Verse 3 “…… This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion…..” So there are no question that you wouldn’t find answers in Islam. Going back to the answer yes fasting is from dusk to sunset. So what happens if there is no sunset should the person fast the whole day? no because Allah says in the Quran”….. Allah would not place a burden on you, but He would purify you and would perfect His grace upon you, that ye may give thanks. (Al-Ma’idah 5:6) in another chapter of the Quran Allah says “Allah does not burden a person beyond his/her capacity….”. (Al-Baqarah :286). So obviously from this Verses you can see that Allah doesn’t ask for beyond what you can do. But then Fasting is Obligatory and should the people in Alaska not fast? Off course they should. How? Let me bring a Hadith which address similar issue . The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, describing the situation at the time of the appearance of Dajjal. He said, “When the Dajjal will come to deceive the people, he will remain on the earth for forty days, one of which will be as long as a year, the second as long as a month, the third as long as a week and the remaining days as your normal days.” One of the Companions stood and asked the Messenger of Allah, ‘On the day which will be as long as a year, would it be sufficient to offer only five prayers of the day?’ The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, replied, “No, but calculate.”. So when you face a situation like the question you asked the answer is CALCULATE. Therefore the person who lives in Alaska should follow the timings of the area that is closest to them which has normal days and nights. I hope this answers your question.
    May Allah guide us to the right path Ameen.

    • http://www.cracksinthecrescent.com Hussein

      What Hadith are you quoting? Would you please give the Hadith reference for:

      When the Dajjal will come to deceive the people, he will remain on the earth for forty days, one of which will be as long as a year, the second as long as a month, the third as long as a week and the remaining days as your normal days.”

      And:

      One of the Companions stood and asked the Messenger of Allah, ‘On the day which will be as long as a year, would it be sufficient to offer only five prayers of the day?’ The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, replied, “No, but calculate.”

      Thank you!

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