What do Muslims [in the Arctic Circle] do when they have to fast during the hours of daylight and the sun doesn't set for two months?Your well-travelled, -read and -worn Pedant-General, noted polymath that he is, naturally has the answer.
I know the answer because a chum of mine did an "Officer Under Training" tour scrubbing nuts [you know what those Navy types are like] on one of HM's ships whilst it trundled round the Arctic. One of his fellow trainees was a floppy on loan from the R Saudi Navy. After a few days it was noticed that his performance had degraded somewhat (though I am also led to believe that this was a pretty remarkable feat in itself...) and it was eventually discovered that, indeed, nary a morcel has passed his lips since crossing the Arctic Circle.
Frantic signals followed, as the Captain was loathe to have a death on his watch, even if it would have raised the ship's average IQ and operational effectiveness fairly substantially. The Chaplain of the Fleet duly conversed with the uber-Mullah of the R Saudi Navy. A fatwa followed that decreed that the sun could be considered to be below the horizon between 9pm and 3am, during which time the fast could be broken.
So that would appear to be the answer. As with all these things, however, it does beg a number of follow up questions, such as:
- What happens to the Muslim population of Scotland when Ramadan falls over the summer? Even in Glasgow - where most Scots Muslims reside - the longest day affords only a few hours of darkness and, as we know, you can't prepare food until after dark. Do they all get a special dispensation? If not, why not?
- How will the inhabitants of Longyearbyen get along when they are part of the the "Ummah"? Or are the ambitions of the Caliphate tempered by a dislike of Arctic regions?
- When Allah dictated his requirements for the way-the-world-ought-to-be to Mohammed, why didn't he include a little bit about life in the Polar Regions? After all, they were inhabited at the time.
The Floppy gets 10/10 for devotion to the cause, but he has a good crack at winning himself a Darwin Award for his trouble. Muppet.