Common Word, Common Lord

Common Word, Common Lord

Ramadan And The World Cup: There Ought To Be No Controversy At All

In the Name of God: the Infinitely Merciful and Compassionate Beloved Lord

Although the number of Muslim football players participating in this year’s FIFA World Cup has dwindled considerably, there are still a number of players who are slated to play this weekend in the Quarterfinal matches. A number of them have already indicated that they will not be observing the fast of Ramadan, due to health reasons.

As a physician, I completely understand this stance. It is quite dangerous to play a fast-paced football game without the ability to hydrate oneself (if the game is before sunset). A couple of years ago, I simply played golf (riding in a cart, no less!)  in a hospital outing on a very hot day and nearly collapsed after six holes. I vowed never to do that again, and that sort of “physical activity” pales in comparison to a football game in the World Cup.

And the players have received scholarly support from Al Azhar University in Cairo, one of the oldest Sunni Islamic institutions in the world:

[German player Mesmut Ozil] has been backed by the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, who reached an agreement with the German FA in 2010. The Central Council had asked for an expert opinion by the Islamic Al-Azhar academy in Cairo, which came to the conclusion that fast-breaking is allowed for professional footballers.

Of course, for some Muslims, this may be seen as controversial, as the fast of Ramadan is one of the most important rituals in Islamic practice. Yet, there really should be no controversy at all. The Qur’an gives Muslims “an out,” so to speak, with respect to the fast of Ramadan:

 Whoever of you is ill or on a journey, [shall fast instead for the same] number of other days… (2:184)

In other words, if you are traveling, you are exempt from the fast of Ramadan, although you must make up the days at a later time (before the next Ramadan).

Thus, there should be no controversy about whether a player should fast while playing a game in the heat and humidity of Brazil. Since they are traveling, they are allowed to break the fast. It is true that whether or not a person chooses to fast is personal, and it should not be the subject of international media attention. Nevertheless, the Muslim players should have no anxiety about not fasting during the World Cup at all. They are traveling.

Of course, the fast of Ramadan is more than just abstaining from food and drink: it is also about upright moral conduct, self-reflection, self-discipline, charity and concern for the poor. I would hope and pray that the players keep this in mind as they rest and recuperate before the games tomorrow and Saturday, even if they are not fasting.

It would be great, in fact, if they would all get together to pray the nightly Taraweeh vigil, as a show of religious solidarity and keeping in the spirit of this blessed month. It would go a long way to show that, even if they are on opposing teams during the World Cup, they are still brothers in faith and can stand side-by-side in prayer to God. We will have to see, I guess.

But, they don’t have to fast, regardless of the medical reasons, because the Qur’an allows travelers to break their fast. And they can make up those days missed in the winter…when the day is much shorter.

A most Blessed and Happy Ramadan to all!

  • HannahMoore2014

    Thanks for the post about World Cup. Just a tip about those who don’t live in countries that stream world cup online. You can use UnoTelly to remove the geoblock and stream World Cup 2014 in your country free worldcup.unotelly.com

Previous Posts

"House of Cards" Shows The Quest For Absolute Power Can Be Destructive
In the Name of God: The Infinitely Merciful and Compassionate Beloved Lord The third season of the smash Netflix hit "House of Cards" comes out on February 27. I must admit, that I have been waiting for it with great anticipation. The series thus far has left me riveted, and I have watched with awe

posted 1:11:52pm Feb. 27, 2015 | read full post »

More on How The Atlantic Got It Wrong About Islam: Are Beheadings "Islamic"?
In the Name of God: The Infinitely Merciful and Compassionate Beloved Lord In the widely-cited, and very long, article by Graeme Wood in The Atlantic, it is written: The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn lar

posted 1:49:18pm Feb. 22, 2015 | read full post »

Think Muslims Haven't Condemned 9/11? Think Again
In the Name of God: The Infinitely Merciful and Compassionate Beloved Lord I had a conversation on Twitter recently when someone mentioned the "Muslim silence" on the attacks of 9/11 to me. I had to make sure the person was asking the question correctly, and he or she was. This person actually cl

posted 3:38:00pm Feb. 21, 2015 | read full post »

For the Families of the Chapel Hill Shooting Victims, All You Need To Do Is Hold Their Hands
In the Name of God: The Infinitely Merciful and Compassionate Beloved Lord While much of the American Muslim community, as well as Muslims around the world, are still in shock over the horrific shooting deaths of three young American Muslim college students, in accordance with Islamic proscriptio

posted 1:42:23pm Feb. 13, 2015 | read full post »

There Should Be No 'Starving Faithful' If Religion Is Done Correctly
In the Name of God: The Infinitely Merciful and Compassionate Beloved Lord I thought, for certain, that Hozier would win "Song of the Year" at the Grammy Awards last night for "Take Me To Church." Not that I'm disappointed about Sam Smith - whose music I enjoy - but "Church's" fame continues to b

posted 1:25:07pm Feb. 09, 2015 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.