It's funny but when you are kid, you don't see why you should stop playing football just because you are fasting!
As summer peaks, Ramadan begins
CLIFTON PARK -- Back in the mid-1990s, the month of Ramadan coincided with the short, dark days of December. This year, 1432 on the Islamic lunar calendar, the monthlong sunrise-to-sunset fast observed during Ramadan begins Monday, at the peak of summer with the long, hot days of August ahead."It's a challenge, but I can manage," said Farid Niazi, 17, who plays on a soccer team year-round. "It is tiring, especially working out in the sun. Sometimes I take a break for a few minutes." His coaches are concerned about his fasting, he said, but "they know I can do it."
Like Farid, many devout Muslims take the heat and humidity in stride as they go about their daily activities while giving up all food and drink during the day.
Fasting during the daylight hours of Ramadan is the fourth pillar of Islam and is an obligation for every healthy adult Muslim. The faithful wake up early and eat a pre-dawn meal. At sundown, the fast is traditionally broken with sweet dates and followed by a nutritious meal, called iftar. And when Ramadan is in summer, they drink lots of water until bedtime.
Ramadan is also an occasion to rekindle relationships and to be kinder and charitable to other people, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, and to reconnect with God and practice self-restraint. Muslims believe the Quran, Islam's holy book, was revealed by God to Prophet Muhammad through the archangel Gabriel during Ramadan.
It is a time of bonding with fellow Muslims at iftar get-togethers and also at mosques for nightly taraveeh prayers. Many Islamic centers schedule interfaith iftars, inviting their Jewish and Christian friends.
Farid, who lives in Clifton Park and will be a senior at Christian Brothers Academy in the fall, has been fasting since he was nine or 10. His whole family fasts and is athletic too. His older sister, Sara, played tennis and his older brother, Kareem, played hockey and soccer while fasting during Ramadan. His father, Tariq Niazi, who is president of the Islamic Center of the Capital District and a year-round runner, continues to run on his lunch break during Ramadan. Farid's mother, Luisa, who has run in several Freihofer's Run for Women, holds back during Ramadan.
Farid has learned from his family how to incorporate fasting into his active lifestyle.
"I did it last year too," the teenager said, "so I am not worried about it this year. I never think of not fasting."
Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, begins 11 days earlier each year. For those keeping track, Ramadan will be in December again in 2032.