SRINAGAR: First time in thirty-five years, Kashmiris will be fasting over longest days during Ramazan as the holy month began amidst scorching heat and humidity on Monday. Since the lunar colander that the Muslims world over follow is not static and rotates around the seasons, Ramazan every year commences at least ten days ahead of the previous date.
“The 1990s generation has been used to winter fasting when the days are shorter. It was in 1979 when we had to fast for close to 17 hours a day. But the kids and teens are so excited that the hot summer and longer hours of fasting did not deter them,” says Abdul Qayoom Shah, an avid painter and chronicler.
People who fast during Ramadan will have to abstain from eating or drinking fter 3:39 a.m till Iftaar (breakfast) at 7:50 p.m. , making it almost 16 and a half hours out of 24 hours of the day. A local preacher from old Srinagar, Imtiyaz Najar says the “Iftaar time” witnesses more activities during summers. “It’s voluntarism all around Young boys feel happy serving water and other eatables to the mosque goers. There are eateries in the city who put up special sweet dishes at the sunset. It may be tough to fast during hot summer but such activities lightens the soul,” Imtiyaz says.
No immediate respite from the sweltering heat is expected during the following weeks, officials at the local meteorological department says. The weather in the valley for next 30 days is expected to toggle between 25 and 30 degree Celsius . Last ten days, the weathermen say, are expected to be cooler and “we should look forward to some showers towards end of July.”
The sighting of the new moon on Sunday evening marked the beginning of
the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Every year Ramadan begins around 11
or 10 days earlier than the year before.
Kashmir is not the only place where summer fasting stretches more than 12 hours. People all over the world are experiencing the longest fasting days in Ramadan since 33 years. Muslims in Finland, Iceland and Denmark will have to fast up to 21 or 22 hours, the longest among all the countries followed by France, England Netherlands and Switzerland where Muslims have to fast over 19 hours out of 24 hours of a day.
In the Middle Eastern region Muslims will fast for about over 16 hours. Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey and Palestine will observe fast for over 16 hours. Among the Asian countries India, Pakistan Afghanistan and China will fast for over 17 hours of a day.
The list of countries where the Muslims may get little respite in terms of fasting for shorter duration include Antarctica which tops the list where the fast will be observed only for eight and half hours followed by Argentina’s nine and half , twelve hours at South Africa and twelve and half in Australia. United States, Korea ,Mexico and Morocco 12 and 15.
In order to cope with tough weather during Ramazan, most of the businesses in Kashmir have revised duty hours. “This will give us the luxury of breaking our fast at home,” says Atif, a 24-year-old salesperson with a cellphone seller in Lal Chowk.
Muslims fasting during Ramadan stop having food 10 minutes before dawn and end their fast at sunset. Families and friends get up early for Sehri (the last meal eaten before the sun rises) and at the end of the day of fasting, gather for Iftar, the breaking of the fast at sunset.