View of Edinburgh

Muslim student life in Edinburgh

As a Muslim, Islam requires us to do Salat (prayer), to eat halal food and to fast. Being in new surroundings in a new country, Muslim students might struggle initially to keep up with these worships without the necessary information and insights. Here, I will try to share my experience as a Muslim adapting to life as a student in Edinburgh.

In my experience, I have found that people in Edinburgh are generally very tolerant of diversity, including religious diversity, and this has made my transition to a new country much easier.

Here are several useful pointers to help a new Muslim student settle into Edinburgh.

Places for Salat

Mosques or prayer rooms are available in several different parts of the city. The mosque nearest to the University of Edinburgh central area is Edinburgh Central Mosque, which is less than 0.1 miles away and just a few minutes on foot.

Image of Edinburgh Centreal Mosque

If you live southwest of the central campus, you might consider attending Jumu’ah Salat (Friday prayer) in Idara Taleem or Mescid-i Eyüp.

Salat Time

Salat time in Edinburgh can fluctuate greatly compared to cities in other countries. During winter, daylight hours are shorter and during summer they are much longer longer. As a result, the time that Salat takes place can differ by around 1 – 3 hours. The table below illustrates the Salat time differences throughout a year:

Table of Salat times in Edinburg

This difference can be crucial to Muslim students. For example, on 1 October the Zohar Salat end time is 16:48, so if you have a class from 14:00-16:00 then you will manage to do Zohar Salat after the class. Two weeks later, however, the Zohar Salat end time changes to 16:18 and it’s unlikely that you will make it in time for prayer after the class.

In my experience, it is always better to keep an eye on the Salat schedule everyday, by either having an android application like EdMosque or by looking at the Salat schedule online.

The direction of the Qibla

The direction of the Qibla (which is the direction that Muslims face when praying) in Edinburgh is to the South East. If you don’t have a compass, then a practical thing that you can do is use a google map application to determine which direction you are currently facing.

Map showing the direction of Qubla from Edinburgh

Halal food

Finding Halal Food is not difficult, especially if you lived around the University of Edinburgh central area. There are plenty of stores/supermarkets that sell halal food, like Maqbools or Bismillah.

Google map showing supermarkets in Edinburgh

If you live around Gorgie Road, Ya Kareem food store and Amma Spices Super Store can also sell you halal food.

Google map of other supermarkets in Edinburgh

While most food products in general stores/supermarkets in Edinburgh will not have a Halal label on them, vegetarian foods are widely available and clearly marked, This can help identify which foods may be Halal and which are not.

Fasting

As I mentioned before, Scotland’s high latitude means daylight hours are shorter in winter and longer in summer, at which time it might not get dark until around 10pm. This means that during Ramadhan when Muslims are required to fast from sunrise to sunset/Magrib, there will be years where the fasting period is relatively short, and other years where the fasting period is much longer. Ramadhan moves forward 10 days each year, and this year (2018) Ramadhan takes places from May 16th to June 14th. So, the fasting period will be a long one – roughly around 17 hours, as shown below.

Fasting times for Ramadhan Scotland 1018

I’d better prepare myself, since this year I will still be in Edinburgh for Ramadhan 🙂

I hope this blog has been useful for new Muslim students arriving in Edinburgh. Do you have any tips to add?

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Deddy Irfandy

Deddy is an MSc Finance student who likes travelling and studying (besides football). Deddy is originally from Indonesia and has been working in Thailand for almost a year, spending several months in Malaysia, and currently working in PT Semen Indonesia (Persero) Tbk. He enjoys visiting lots of different interesting places, documenting, photographing and sharing it with others.