The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

What do you put before God?

Ask yourself that question after reading this item about Ramadan and Muslim NFL star Husain Abdullah (a grateful diaconal bow to Scott Dodge for this gem):

NFL practices this time of year are designed for maximum sweat production. Coaches are trying to build up stamina and endurance. Players push themselves to the limit, in pursuit of jobs and starting spots. It’s also really, really hot.

And starting on Aug. 11, the beginning of the Islamic month of Ramadan, Minnesota Vikings safety Husain Abdullah will be going through these practices without the benefit of water. Or food. Or any other kind of hydration.


During Ramadan, observing Muslims like Abdullah will fast for 30 days; eating or drinking nothing while the sun is out. Food and drink are permitted after dark and before sunrise, but during the day, there’s nada — not a tiny little sip of water, or the smallest release of Powerade’s mystic mountain blueberry.

From the AP:

Even while sprinting in the heat and humidity during drills, sometimes in full pads, Abdullah is adamant about his faith. He will not allow himself so much as a cup of water until the sun sets and before it rises.

“I’m putting nothing before God, nothing before my religion,” Abdullah said. “This is something I choose to do, not something I have to do. So I’m always going to fast.”


How many of us live our faith that fiercely? How often do we stumble during Lent, when giving up a candy bar during the week or a Big Mac on Friday qualifies in our feeble minds as Heroic Sacrifice? How many of us throw a pillow at the alarm clock and roll over on Sunday morning instead of going to mass?

“I put nothing before God, nothing before my religion…”

Wouldn’t you like to be able to say that, and mean it?

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posted September 19, 2010 at 12:01 am

“I put nothing before God, nothing before my religion…”
That would be an inane statement. No religion is on a sound footing; everyone is worship of an “invisible friend”. People definitely need to put their immediate families before religion and it can be considered traitorous to put things before your country.
The RCC mucky-mucks who hid the pedophiles put their religion before the good of the children they were supposed to be “serving”. Look how that turned out!
No, religion is definitely not something to be high on one’s list of priorities. Maybe if some god sometime could actually be shown to exist things would be different.

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posted September 19, 2010 at 12:09 am

What do I put before God? Goddess! (Not cause she’s more important, just primal)

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Alhaj ibn Ibrahim Asysarawaky

posted September 19, 2010 at 12:10 am

What is Ramadan?
A month to overhaul and refine your physics and soul, reengaging God after eleven months of complacency, to put yourself back on trial if you have derailed and to strengthen again your resolve if you have not been or find yourself not faithful enough!
So ‘they’ say it’s a month of refraining from eating and drinking from dawn till dusk! What a materialistic point of view!
Refraining from eating and drinking is only a premise of fasting.
Fasting is exercising in you to forego satanic desires and to be Godliness!
God does not eat, does not drink, so forget about food. How nice and relieving not to be concerned about eating and drinking once in a while!

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Andre John

posted September 19, 2010 at 9:32 pm

I pray to the BlessedVirginMary,
OH BOY! girls before G=D, uknow(joke).
G=D, Please make me good, but not yet (from TV show “NurseJackie”),
can i have my shot of steroids now? just kidding.
CAPTCHA: without huravery

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posted September 20, 2010 at 10:12 am

To Alhaj ibn Ibrahim Asysarawaky: thank you for a wonderful definition of Ramadan.
To be fair to some of ‘them’, and I include myself in this group, the refraining from food and drink gets mentioned because it is what we see – it gets our attention. But what is admittedly the more important activity, which you describe so well and so succinctly, is internal. It’s something we don’t see so it doesn’t get mentioned that much.
I think the importance of invisible, internal renewal is something both of our traditions respect. In our Scripture it says: “When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” [Matt 6:6]
I work with several men who are faithful Muslims, and while a couple of them booked vacation time during Ramadan some did not. They simply came to work each day and continued as if nothing was different in their lives, dealing silently with the physical challenge that their discipline requires. I can’t speak for others but I know they are a great example for me to follow.
Thank you for sharing this with us, and may every year find you in good health.
God bless

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