Cairo, 10th of Ramadan, 1443

Why are the fasting times of the Muslim World League (MWL) correct?

The Muslim World League is an international non-governmental organization founded in 1962 with headquarters in Mecca. The Fiqh Council of the Muslim World League has been addressing the questions of Muslims worldwide since 1974. The first fatwa issued was a warning to Muslims that communism is disbelief. Since 1982, the Fiqh Council has also addressed the issue of prayer times in extremely northern and southern countries and polar regions. Prominent scholars such as Shaykh Ibn Baz, Shaykh Fawzan, Shaykh Uthaimin, Shaykh Bakr Abu Zayd, Shaykh Abdul-Aziz Aal Asch-Schaykh, and many others have been members of the Fiqh Council.

The calculation method for the fasting time:

The dawn can only be reliably determined by an angle of the sun below the horizon. Since the dawn unfolds differently every day and depends on weather conditions and the atmosphere, various angles have been considered the correct time over time. Universal scholars and astronomers such as al-Battani, al-Biruni, and al-Zarqali passed down an angle of 18 degrees a thousand years ago, while other scholars arrived at angles of 19 and 20 degrees. Observations in the Sahara from 1992 show an angle of 18.0-18.6 degrees. Documented observations also reveal angles of up to 17.87 degrees in northern countries such as Canada. Western science has also recorded angles of 17-19 degrees in measurements, and the first dawn has been recorded as the first light observed by navigators at sea since at least 1802 at 18 degrees. To this day, all Fajr times in Muslim countries are calculated with angles of 18 to 20 degrees.

The Islamic World League sets an angle of 18 degrees for Fajr. This angle is also applied in Turkey, Morocco, Jordan, and many other countries. Saudi Arabia has been using an angle of 18.5 degrees since 2010.

Therefore, the fatwa of the Islamic World League with 18 degrees represents the most widespread opinion in the Islamic world and aligns with the most widespread opinion in science.

The astronomical twilight and the false Fajr

Twilight consists of two sources of light, direct scattering with its many colors in the lower atmosphere and white scattering in the upper atmosphere. The first white light that corresponds to astronomical twilight appears as a horizontally spreading light on the horizon. This light is initially very weak but still easily recognizable in suitable locations. At about 16-17 degrees, the first direct light gradually mixes with its colors into the twilight. Shortly thereafter, the direct light becomes so strong that the weak white light is covered by it. In addition to the first horizontal light of the upper atmosphere, there are other celestial phenomena such as the Zodiacal Light (false Fajr). This exists only at the equator all year round and weakens towards the north and south. In Germany, it is only visible for a few weeks in spring and autumn. The Zodiacal Light is caused by the shining on dust in the outer Earth's atmosphere and extends vertically, slightly above the horizon from east to west. At the equator, the light is visible throughout the night. The Zodiacal Light disappears at about 18 degrees. Therefore, the astronomical twilight is not the false Fajr.

The midnight twilight and the jump in Fajr time

In northern countries, it does not get completely dark in summer, which is due to the midnight twilight. The sun does not sink deep enough below the horizon in some weeks. During these nights, the phenomenon that defines the Fajr prayer is no longer reached. It marks the time of Ijtihad regarding Fajr. During this time, Fajr must be calculated using a different method, which can also be referred to as an estimation. Different scholars have come to different conclusions about how Fajr can be established during this time. The fatwa of the Islamic World League defines Fajr during this time as a relative time at a point in Northern Italy (45th latitude). Since the prayer time can be normally calculated throughout the year at this location, the night length is divided and the relative values for Fajr and, if necessary, Isha are used. However, other scholars and organizations have also come up with methods for calculating Fajr during this time. These methods could include using a lower angle for Fajr or setting a fixed number of minutes before sunrise. During this time, it is the time of Fajr Ijtihad.

It is this change in the method that causes the time to jump in some places in Germany. On the day of the change, the time changes by approximately one hour. In the past, such jumps were often compensated by adding minutes in the days before the jump. However, this was deemed incorrect by Sheikh Abdul-Aziz Aal Asch-Schaych in a 2007 update of the MWL fatwa, as it leads to an invalid Fajr time in the days before the change.


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