The month of fasting is upon the Muslim ummah, Alhamdulillah. During these 29 or 30 days, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. That means no food, no water, no mid-afternoon snacks, none of that. Before dawn, there is a meal, and at sunset, there is a meal, and any time during the night. Daylight hours = fasting hours.
In the summer, it’s a long fasting day, yes. However, students like myself can take advantage of the vacation from school to increase in our worship, and make the best use of our time. Obviously, this is easier said than done, but without the distraction of schoolwork, the focus can shift to deen al-Islam, something way more beneficial.
Since Muslims follow a lunar calendar, the month of Ramadan moves up 10 solar days each year. So this year, it started in August, but I remember when I was younger, I fasted in November– a much shorter day. I have never experienced a spring Ramadan or even a Ramadan in the dead of winter that I can remember clearly.
Gym class was always a blast while fasting…running laps and avoiding the water fountain afterwards. Physical activity for a maximum half-hour straight really isn’t that bad. Muslim athletes played entire games and participated in entire practices without a replenishing drink of water or Gatorade. This thought intrigued me, as I am aware of the existence of past and present Muslim NBA players (though presently the NBA season falls outside of Ramadan), and I began to wonder if there was anything out there on the web about that.
So, like everything else, I Googled it, and found this article from U.K. paper, The Guardian (thank you Comm101):
In the 90s, Hakeem Olajuwon, a devout Muslim considered to be one of the greatest basketball players of his generation, would often play in the NBA for the Houston Rockets while fasting. “It made me stronger and my statistics went up,” he later remarked. “I was better during Ramadan, more focused.” In February 1995, Olajuwon averaged an impressive 29 points per game and was named NBA Player of the Month, despite the entire month coinciding with Ramadan.
My internship superviser was just telling me how in Ramadan she feels super productive, instead of sluggish and lazy, SubhanAllah. The increased God-consciousness gained from abstaining from food helps one focus, and as a result, produce something beneficial. According to Mehdi Hasan’s linked article above, it sounds like Hakeem had it all figured out in Ramadan 1995. I ask God to grant those Muslims fasting this current Ramadan 2011 for the ability to figure it out as well.