Sacrifice is an element in sports that many athletes accept in order to better the team and better themselves. In the case of Minnesota Vikings safety, Husain Abdullah, his sacrifice is for his faith. Husain Abdullah has been a practicing Muslim since he was 7 years old and now that the holy month of Ramadan is upon us, Abdullah, will sacrifice food and drink from sunrise to sunset during the holy month.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It’s the Islamic month of fasting, in which participating Muslims refrain from eating, drinking and sexual activities from dawn until sunset. Fasting is intended to teach Muslims about patience, humility and spirituality and is a time for Muslims to fast for the sake of God and to offer more prayer than usual.
During Ramadan, Muslims ask forgiveness for past sins, pray for guidance and help in refraining from everyday evils, and try to purify themselves through self-restraint and good deeds.
Is this the biggest sacrifice an athlete can give to his team or is this something that hurts his team? On one hand his team should commend his ability to sacrifice his health and still be able to perform at an NFL level. On the other hand, his performance will decline with a lack of hydration, the Minnesota Vikings coach, Brad Childress, said; ‘Last year it occurred in early September, and we saw a dip in his performance”.
Is this hurting or helping his team? Can faith and religion stand in the way of personal obligation? According to Abdullah it can, he told the press that;
“I’ve been doing it since I was 7, to a Muslim; Ramadan is what we wait for every year. The holy month of Ramadan, we love it…. I’m putting nothing before God, nothing before my religion. This is something I choose to do, not something I have to do. So I’m always going to fast.’
Props to Abdullah for putting his faith before everything else, it proves that his convictions are strong and his faith can never be tested. It’s always weird to me, however, when god is invoked in sports, players on the sideline always pray that the guy on the free throw line hits the winning basket, the field goal kicker punts the winning kick, and the pitcher gets the no hitter. Never understood that part of the game, is God rooting for one side and not the other? Is skill not involved when players hit the winning shot or get the no-hitter? But we all do it when watching our favorite sports, we clasp our hands together and look up in the sky and say: “Please God”, some out of passion for our teams, others passion for money. Either way “God” makes the outcome and the athletes’ skill never seem to matter.
Abdullah’s position seems to be the consensus among professional athletes that are devoted to their religion. For instance, former NBA player, Hakeem Olajuwon was a practicing Muslim and when asked about how he coops when Ramadan comes around ‘I find myself full of energy, explosive,” so it seems that it can affect different athletes in different ways.
In September 2001, Shawn Green did not play on Yom Kippur, the Jewish holiday known as the Day of Atonement; it’s the holiest day of the year for religious Jews. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jews traditionally observe this holy day with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive