The reason of why majority of mosques in Norway do not follow any convention taken by leading major Islamic organization in the world.

The above question is quite hard to be answered. Because if this question was asked directly to the imams and/or administration leaders, there is no certain answer unfortunately. However, there are some clues that could lead us to understand the background of taking this decision. Let us evaluate one by one.

First of all, it is likely that the prayer time rule applied by majority of mosques in Norway was firstly developed in 1970s, when the first generation of Muslims arrived. Since then, the prayer time rule was copied from one mosque to the other until recently. But, why they selected such prayer time rule? Well… It could be because the reason of limitation, simplicity or tradition. If not all, then one of these reasons could be true.

The reason of limitation is because the only reference available to calculate prayer time is “Almanakk for Norge“. What can we find in this book? We can find the time for sunrise and sunset as well as noon for many cities in Norway. Consequently, we can determine exactly the time for shuraq (the end time of Fajr), the time for Duhr, and the time for Maghrib. But, there is no information about the twilight time specific for each city. Besides, twilight time written in the book is in accordance to civil twilight (6° below the horizon). While the twilight time needed to calculate Fajr and Isha is the astronomical twilight (18° below the horizon). Therefore, it is impossible to determine the Fajr and Isha correctly. Moreover, there is nothing mentioned about the shadow length of an object, such that Asr cannot also be determined.

So, what they can do then? The best they can do is to make approximation by taking 90 minutes between the Fajr and sunrise and between sunset (Maghrib) and Isha fixed throughout the year. For Asr time, simply by taking the middle between the Duhr and Maghrib time. This solution seems to be satisfied for many cities in Norway.

The reason for simplicity is because the above solution no need for long and complicated calculation as usually does for normal astronomical calculation. This is especially true for the calculation of Asr time, where the angle of the sun’s position varies from day to day. The only fixed variable is the ratio between the shadow and its object.

Why is it then decided to take 90 minutes time difference between the Fajr and sunrise and between sunset (Maghrib) and Isha? The reason of tradition could be the answer for this. Most Muslims came to Norway experienced in their homeland the time difference of approximately 90 minutes.


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