Baha’i Fast: Sunrise, Sunset Hours at High Altitude

northern lights

Baha’is who are at high elevations might have a tough time fasting from sunrise to sunset. Of course, this is because when you are far, far away from the equator, the usual day night cycle is skewed.

To clarify this issue, the Universal House of Justice has explained that in such cases, Baha’is are free to depend on the clock to set the time of prayer and fasting.

For more see this letter from the NSA of Canada which contains the quote from the House of Justice:

9 March 2012 / 8 Loftiness 168

Dear Baha’i Friends,

As you may be aware, in high latitudes where there is great variation in sunrise and sunset times during the course of the year, the times of prayer and fasting can be determined by the clock. The National Spiritual Assembly’s policy is that the hours for sunrise and sunset in communities north of 60 degrees latitude will, year-round, be 0630h and 1800h respectively.

The National Assembly received an inquiry from an individual believer regarding whether it is mandatory for the friends living north of 60 degrees latitude to follow the clock during the Fast or whether they may choose to follow the sun. The National Assembly sought the guidance of the Universal House of Justice and we are happy to share the following reply:

“As you are aware, Baha’u’llah states that it is permissible in high latitudes to observe the laws of prayer and fasting in accordance with the clock rather than with the rising and setting of the sun. The House of Justice has left it to National Spiritual Assemblies to make the decision as to which areas of their countries and for which months of the year the beginning and ending of the Baha’i day are to be reckoned by the clock rather than by the sun and to fix the times to be observed for fasting, bearing in mind that the daily period of fasting lasts about twelve hours. By this ruling it is possible for the believers in the high latitudes to use the same standard for both prayer and fasting as well as for fixing the ending of each day in the Baha’i calendar, in determining the time for the starting of each Holy Day, and the holding of the Nineteen Day Feasts.

“The friends will, naturally, abide by the decision of the National Assembly. However, there can be no objection if a person chooses to fast for a longer period according to the hours of actual daylight. The decision of the National Assembly determines when the friends may apply the special provision for high latitudes; it does not compel them to do so.”
(From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to the National Spiritual Assembly of Canada dated 5 September 2011)

We send you the National Assembly’s best wishes during these special days of fasting.

With loving Baha’i greetings,
NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY OF THE BAHA’IS OF CANADA