Focusing on faith: Ramadan and the student athlete
Added 05-24-19 06:03:07pm EST - “For the past couple of weeks, alarm clocks have been buzzing early at Hira and Inaaya Shakir's house. The family has been waking up around 4 a.m., plenty of time to eat a filling meal before the sun comes up. After gobbling down sandwiches,…” - Washingtontimes.com
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ROCKAWAY, N.J. (AP) - For the past couple of weeks, alarm clocks have been buzzing early at Hira and Inaaya Shakir’s house. The family has been waking up around 4 a.m., plenty of time to eat a filling meal before the sun comes up. After gobbling down sandwiches, eggs, and other protein, the sisters usually try to snooze for another couple of hours before getting ready for school.
Muslims all over the world have similar rituals as part of Ramadan, a holy month dedicated to prayer, reflection, and service. It marks when Muslims believe God revealed the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad.
For student-athletes, Ramadan brings additional challenges. While abstaining from food and drink from dawn to dusk, they must maintain the same level of focus on both academics and sports.
It is a particularly crowded time of year, as Advanced Placement exams and finals compete with playoffs for their attention. But, as South Brunswick freshman Hira Shakir pointed out, fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam, “things that are holding up our faith.”
Morris Hills freshman Ali Ashour II believes “you have to be mentally pure” during Ramadan: no cursing, music or graphic imagery. Keeping a positive attitude, even during physical deprivation, is key to the spiritual message.
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