August 29th, 2011
10:16 AM ET

Despite daily Ramadan fast, Muslim NFLer trains for the season

By Chris Welch, CNN

Eden Prairie, Minnesota (CNN) - Watching Minnesota Vikings starting safety Husain Abdullah on the sun-drenched field during practice on a recent afternoon, you’d never guess he hasn’t had any food or drink since sunrise.

Abdullah is an observant Muslim, which during Ramadan - the Islamic holy month that ends Monday night - means no eating or drinking from sunup to sundown, not even water.

“My religion is very important to me," Abdullah said after practice. "I mean, it’s the basis of my life.”

He credits his parents with instilling the Muslim values he holds dear today.

"The month of Ramadan is something that we wait for every year," Abdullah said. "When it comes, we actually celebrate it.

“People think because we’re fasting that we should dread it, but we actually celebrate the month because it’s the month in which the Quran was revealed," he said. "Everybody gets excited.”

Even, he says, when that means 95-degree heat and high humidity on the practice field here.

This will be Abdullah's fourth full season playing professional football, a stretch that he says has given him time to perfect a Ramadan diet, aided with the team nutritionist.

“Dinnertime, I will eat whatever my wife cooks; I’m not gonna be picky about that,” he laughed. “Then it’s mainly about the fluids.”

“I try to drink until I can start using the bathroom regularly, so I can keep hydrated," he said. "And then around 2 in the morning …we have lunch in the middle of the night. So I just drink a protein shake, probably eat some fruit and again drink some fluids.”

All that followed by what he called a “regular” breakfast of oatmeal, fruit and eggs. Then, he says, he’s set for the day.

The fast lasts until an after-sundown meal, called an iftar dinner.

Earlier this month, President Barack Obama invited Abdullah, along with his brother Hamza, a defensive back for the Arizona Cardinals, to the White House's annual iftar dinner.

“It was kind of surreal,” Abdullah said. “(We) got to snap a couple pictures, they cleared out a room, and we got to pray inside the White House, which is awesome.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Islam • Ramadan • Sports • Uncategorized

soundoff (100 Responses)
  1. Luigi

    I just visited the UK Diabetes site which says " This breaking of the fast is permitted as religious laws state nobody should put their health at risk." They didn't cite a source, but this business of not drinking water sure sounds like putting his health at risk.

    August 30, 2011 at 12:43 am |
  2. lance corporal

    gorging yourself at night and skipping food during the day is not a fast, it's just a bad diet plan. it's not just athletes that do it, most muslims do similar thing like eat just before daybreak and gorge at sunset

    August 30, 2011 at 12:38 am |
    • Katie

      Uh, yeah that's exactly what all Muslims do. They're not supposed to fast completely. just during daylight hours.

      August 30, 2011 at 1:23 am |
    • Thabet

      Have you ever Fasted? and if you have, have you fasted for 29 straight days? And if you have you would know that you can only eat so much at dinner time, "you can't gorge yourself" even if you want to, your stomach will not permit.

      August 30, 2011 at 2:11 am |
  3. Nick

    No bacon with the oatmeal, fruit, and eggs? Haha kidding.

    August 29, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
    • Luigi

      Anyone know what Muslims with Type 1 diabetes do?

      August 30, 2011 at 12:39 am |
    • SD

      If you cannot fast due to health reasons, pregnancy, being sick, travelling, etc., then you are excused from fasting. I know this because I am Muslim

      August 31, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
  4. edvhou812

    Oh, he's gotta at least have some water during those practices.

    August 29, 2011 at 11:54 pm |
  5. PP-PaulPeter

    Do you think jesus will kill the radio store as well?

    August 29, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
    • BS

      What the heck is a radio store? Do you mean radio star?

      August 30, 2011 at 12:51 am |
  6. PP-PaulPeter

    According to Islamic tradition which describes this graphically, Jesus' descent will be in the midst of wars fought by the Mahdi (lit. "the rightly guided one"), known in Islamic eschatology as the redeemer of Islam, against the Antichrist (al-Masīh ad-Dajjāl, "False messiah") and his followers.[24] Jesus will descend at the point of a white arcade, east of Damascus, dressed in yellow robes – his head anointed. He will then join the Mahdi in his war against the Antichrist. Jesus, considered as a Muslim, will abide by the Islamic teachings. Eventually, Jesus will slay the Antichrist, and then everyone from the People of the Book (ahl al-kitāb, referring to Jews and Christians) will believe in him. Thus, there will be one community, that of Islam

    August 29, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
  7. PP-PaulPeter

    Jesus comes back in Islam too in their version of Revelations. Jesus is one of the most prominent if not the most prominent prophet in Islam. He brings about the end of times.

    August 29, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
  8. John


    August 29, 2011 at 9:27 pm |
    • ....

      SPAM garbage, don't bother viewing click the report abuse link instead to get rid of this TROLL.

      August 30, 2011 at 8:22 am |
  9. The Original

    All the second and third CrystalRiver in each section are fakes. @Jeremy, you are right. Evil Westerners hate only Christianity. They don't care about other religions.

    August 29, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
    • The Original

      This Original is actually a fake. And the first CrystalRiver is the fake. Please ignore this impostor's comments.

      August 30, 2011 at 1:40 am |
  10. Jeremy H

    It's so blatantly obvious that the only faith Atheists want to attack is Christianity. Jesus doesn't sit well with them. Compared to comments elsewhere, reactions to Islam are not anywhere near as vulgar and harsh as those to Christianity on this blog. In fact, I think the only reason most atheists come here is to bash Christ. It's a "belief" blog, not a "take jabs at belief" blog. Rom 1:21

    August 29, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Jeremy.. as an atheist i do not believe in any god, yours or the muslimsor even thor..they are all figments of your imagination until proven. Also, what makes Christians above criticism,.do you occupy a special place above others?, It appears ok for christians and muslims to abuse and denigrate gay people based on a book they read, but feel victimised when the shoe is on the other foot . Sorry you are not a victim, just open to ridicule as you have done to others for centuries..

      August 29, 2011 at 9:34 pm |
    • sensitive bunch

      I did not know I've been alive for centuries. Athiests can't be lumped up in one group because they all don't believe the same nothingness. Not having any common ground in nonbelief makes it difficult to hurt the evolved ones feelings.

      August 30, 2011 at 12:21 am |
    • lance corporal

      well you guys sure do love to climb up on that cross, is it fun being a victim?

      August 30, 2011 at 12:25 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Jeremy H

      Well, -Jeremy... the 'majority' of people that post on this blog that are 'believers' (are)... Christian. So, what do you expect...? It's not that we hate Christ or some crazy baloney such as that.

      As for he Muslim's posting on here, they are typically few and far between, however, when they say the same ridiculous things that a lot of you Christians post, they get destroyed in their arguments as well.

      And of course... you Christians are going to get skewered by people who can think and reason, a.k.a. agnostics/atheists. Heck, you Christians get some flack from some of the other religions too !

      But, you have to admit -Jeremy, you guys kinda' bring it on yourselves with all of the nonsense that you try to claim as fact.



      August 30, 2011 at 12:44 am |
    • Luigi

      EvolvedDNA. (1) How do you know the people who call Christians are Christians? (2) How can you be an atheist without first defining God? Spinoza was considered an atheist, in his time but yet there's Spinoza's God. A misinterpretation of Spinoza leads to God == Nature. I've encountered people with that belief. If God is defined to be nature, can you believe nature doesn't exist? Thus, how can you be an atheist without first defining God?

      August 30, 2011 at 12:58 am |
    • Luigi

      EvolvedDNA – following up. Look up Bernard Loomer. "The world is god." Are you denying the world exists?

      August 30, 2011 at 1:39 am |
  11. CrystalRiver

    It's the thought of honoring God that makes men manly. The secular West has been wrong. It teaches boys to be just powerful and wealthy and to worship women. The values of secular West are a sheer junk.

    August 29, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • CrystalRiver

      I love me some manly men. Hey, let's do some football practice Westerners! Dogpile on meee!

      August 29, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • Alex

      God doesnt exist. Sorry to be the one to tell you:(

      August 29, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • lance corporal

      yeah we need to start beating women in the streets to show our "values"

      August 30, 2011 at 12:27 am |
  12. KM

    repost : What's really pathetic is that all these "Christians" are denouncing anything they can grasp in Islam while completely ignoring the thousands of fallacies in their own screwed-up belief structures. Christianity is just as bad as Islam in every way that matters.

    Religion is for weak-minded, weak-willed people unwilling or unable to use their brains for their intended purpose.

    August 29, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • Alex

      I agree with you. However, its important to note that religion is also used by a minority of intelligent people as a control mechanism. No better way to get someone to do what you want than telling them "God said you need to do this", Actually quite a smart idea:)

      August 29, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • al

      and this universe just popped square out of my arsh right? You better hope God doesn't exists because if your right you may pay for eternity. Sounds like your in need of a life changing experience. If you ever really have one you may just see why so many people believe what you do not.

      August 29, 2011 at 11:44 pm |
    • Dan

      It's funny to hear you refer to religious people as weak minded, considering the vast majority of brilliant people throughout history have believed in God in some form. From Constantine to Gutenberg to Machiavelli to Copernicus to Galileo to Shakespeare to Descartes to Isaac Newton to (gasp) Charles Darwin to Edison to Churchill to Einstein to every US President we've ever had. I could go on and on. But since you're an atheist, I'm sure you're much more intelligent than all those people.

      August 29, 2011 at 11:49 pm |
    • Peace2All


      " You better hope God doesn't exists because if your right you may pay for eternity. "

      Ahhh.... yes, the old 'believe or burn for eternity' threat.

      Hey, -Al... have you ever given it some consideration that even 'if' there is a God that 'does' exist, that it (God) just may think, act, behave and have 'values' ... 'nothing' like you think it 'should' according to the Christian narrative...?

      That 'is' as likely a possibility as the multi-tude of other possible scenarios should a God exist.

      Let's be a bit more open-minded here, -Al.



      August 30, 2011 at 12:10 am |
  13. CrystalRiver

    Muslims oppress women and children, and men in the West have turned into airheaded playboys enslaved by feminists. Mankind knows no balance. Everyone needs Christian education.

    August 29, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
    • Rick

      Christian education? That is what you call balance?

      August 29, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • KM

      What's really pathetic is that all these "Christians" are denouncing anything they can grasp in Islam while completely ignoring the thousands of fallacies in their own screwed-up belief structures. Christianity is just as bad as Islam in every way that matters.

      Religion is for weak-minded, weak-willed people unwilling or unable to use their brains for their intended purpose.

      August 29, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • CrystalRiver

      De-christianized West is not respected or coveted because the society looks like a garbage can.

      August 29, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • CrystalRiver

      I smoke crystals every day–crystal meth that is. That's how I know about a proper education. You should look into it.

      August 29, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • Alex

      I wish you were trolling crystal, but then I realized that you are just pure stupid. Dime-a-dozen.

      August 29, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • CrystalRiver

      I am trolling. I'm the biggest troll to ever exist. I say things that sound serious and important, then I turn around and act all looney to pretend I'm making jokes. Point is, nobody should take anything I ever say seriously. I'm just an idiot. I heart the west like Giant Potato babies love a buttery day in the sun with the Bacon Bits and Sour Cream people from across the land. Anybody who says that I'm a fake just wants you to believe that they mean what they say–so don't let them/me fool you 😉

      August 29, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
  14. CrystalRiver

    Way to go. Muslim men are manly because they are serious about their faith in God. Many Western men were like this when the West was seriously Christian. Nowadays, secularized men in the West are pitifully feminized since they have nothing to protect except for their filthy pleasures. Prophesies all came true. Now, Muslims only need to get to know Isa al Masih (Jesus Christ) to be right and humane.

    August 29, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • Alex

      Sometimes I wish these nutjobs would find out that heaven/god w/e doesnt exist. But when they die, there will only be pure nothingness.. So in a way they will never know they were wrong, kind of unfair.

      August 29, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • The Bible

      "But He(Jesus) has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself. Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him." (Hebrews chapter 9) There is judgment and afterlife for everyone after death. Only faith in Jesus alone saves human souls.

      August 29, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      The Bible..let me ask you this..if you die and do to heaven, what age are you..what if you meet a buddy who died 20 years ago,in his prime..is he that age when you get there? or your age? do you age in heaven..what about babies do they age or they are babies for eternity looked after by groups of angels? how do you recognize a child who went years ago? do those of us who make it to heaven become a median age..what age is that?

      August 29, 2011 at 9:43 pm |
  15. Reality

    Saving 1.5 Billion Muslims from Ramadan!!!

    The Five Steps To Deprogram 1400 Years of Islamic Myths:

    ( –The Steps take less than two minutes to finish- simply amazing, two minutes to bring peace and rationality to over one billion lost souls- Priceless!!!)

    Are you ready?

    Using "The 77 Branches of Islamic "faith" a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true "faith" (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings." i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs.

    The First Five of the 77 Branches:

    "1. Belief in Allah"

    aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc. should be added to your cleansing neurons.

    "2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence."

    Evolution and the Big Bang or the "Gi-b G-nab" (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the "akas" for Allah should be included if you continue to be a "crea-tionist".

    "3. To believe in the existence of angels."

    A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/de-vils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hitt-ites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No "pretty/ug-ly wingy thingies" ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as f–airies and "tin–ker be-lls". Modern de-vils are classified as the de-mons of the de-mented.

    "4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore."

    Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans.

    Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the un-educated masses in line. Today we call them for-tune tellers.

    Prophecies are also invali-dated by the natural/God/Allah gifts of Free Will and Future.

    "5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him)
    Mohammed spent thirty days "fasting" (the Ramadan legend) in a hot cave before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a "pretty wingy thingy". Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic vi-olence i.e. turning Mohammed's "fast, hunger-driven" hallu-cinations into horrible reality for unbelievers.

    Walk these Five Steps and we guarantee a complete recovery from your Islamic ways!!!!

    Unfortunately, there are not many Muslim commentators/readers on this blog so the "two-minute" cure is not getting to those who need it. If you have a Muslim friend, send him a copy and help save the world.

    Analogous steps are available at your request for deprogramming the myths of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Paganism..

    August 29, 2011 at 11:52 am |
    • Franly Speaking..

      How many times do I have to remind you, get a job man!

      August 29, 2011 at 11:57 am |
    • Thad

      Dear Reality,
      I respect your efforts.
      I also respect your opinions.
      Because, I do not think you have ever believed in God completely and straight from the heart.
      I am a chemistry teacher in Texas and we study current science in my classes with my students.
      When we see they explore more about the quark-gluon plasma in Brookhaven labs in Long island NY, Our faith and belief in God gets stronger. I and my students believe in God and the Big Bang theory. He created the Universe from nothing (no initials materials) and he created all the elements and he created time. He is out of time and he can see the entire time together. It is the same for him to create a flower or a spring, and equal to create an Iron Atom or a Red Giant.
      If you believe in God, there is no problem left to be solved. You will have a relaxed spirit and study the universe and elements from a very different perspective.
      I am fasting for almost 25 years now and it does not only help me being more spiritual, It helps my physical health and many other things you will see if you try.
      You do not have to be a believer to fast, just try and see the difference.
      Dear reality,
      I am pretty sure you heard about a lot of spiritual existences.
      If you start to believe in God, you will believe that you will see your lost ones one day in Heaven, which will give you a stronger psychological strength.
      Jesus (pbuh) was healing very sick people without using medicine, and he was making dead people come back to life with the help of God.
      Moses (pbuh) saved the entire Jewish community from the armed forces of Pharaoh w/out using any military tactics; he passed the Red River w/out a boat or a tunnel.
      Muslims' prophet Muhammed (pbuh) never lied in his life and a lot of Jewish Rabbis and Christian Priests were waiting for him looking at the scriptures in the Bible and Torah. Most of them believed him right after he declared his prophethood.
      He visited the Heaven with his physical body and has seen the levels of Heaven and Hell in one night and came back the same night.
      Before his time the Bedouins were killing their daughters and were not respecting woman. During his time everything changed and people started to respect each other. He said the Heaven is under the feet of mothers and became a role model himself.
      Noah (pbuh), saved his believers from the flood w/out knowing how to build a boat by himself.
      Dear Reality,
      There are many things to add but please do not close your heart and ears to belief, let it pour down in to your soul and spirit. New age is much better to believe, we can feel the power of the creator much better when we see how big is the universe and how small the basic materials to build it are.
      Please let me know if you have any questions.
      Sincerely Yours

      August 29, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
    • Reality

      o Think infinity and recycling with the Big Bang expansion followed by the shrinking reversal called the Gib Gnab and recycling back to the Big Bang repeating the process on and on forever. Human life and Earth are simply a minute part of this cha-otic, sto-cha-stic, expanding, shrinking process disappearing in five billion years with the burn out of the Sun and maybe returning in another five billion years with different life forms but still subject to the va-ga-ries of its local star.

      o "In the 1930s, theoretical physicists, most notably Albert Einstein, considered the possibility of a cyclic model for the universe as an (everlasting) alternative to the model of an expanding universe. However, work by Richard C. Tolman in 1934 showed that these early attempts failed because of the entropy problem: according to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, entropy can only increase.[1] This implies that successive cycles grow longer and larger. Extrapolating back in time, cycles before the present one become shorter and smaller culminating again in a Big Bang and thus not replacing it. This puzzling situation remained for many decades until the early 21st century when the recently discovered dark energy component provided new hope for a consistent cyclic cosmology.[2] In 2011, a five-year survey of 200,000 galaxies and spanning 7 billion years of cosmic time confirmed that "dark energy is driving our universe apart at accelerating speeds."[3][4]

      One new cyclic model is a brane cosmology model of the creation of the universe, derived from the earlier ekpyrotic model. It was proposed in 2001 by Paul Steinhardt of Princeton University and Neil Turok of Cambridge University. The theory describes a universe exploding into existence not just once, but repeatedly over time.[5][6] The theory could potentially explain why a mysterious repulsive form of energy known as the "cosmological constant", and which is accelerating the expansion of the universe, is several orders of magnitude smaller than predicted by the standard Big Bang model."

      A different cyclic model relying on the notion of phantom energy was proposed in 2007 by Lauris Baum and Paul Frampton of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.[7]"

      What we know for certain:

      1. The Sun will burn out in 3-5 billion years so we have a time frame.
      2. Asteroids continue to whiz by us daily in the asteroid belt.
      3. One large hit and it is all over in a blast of permanent winter.
      4. There are enough nuclear weapons and the fallout there from to do the same job.
      5. Most contemporary NT exegetes do not believe in the Second Coming so apparently there is no concern about JC coming back on an asteroid or cloud of raptors/rapture.
      6. All stars will eventually extinguish as there is a limit to the amount of hydrogen in the universe. When this happens (100 billion years?), the universe will go dark. If it does not collapse and recycle, the universe will end.

      Bottom line: our apocalypse will start between now and 3-5 billion CE. The universe apocalypse, 100 billion years?

      August 29, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
    • Peace2All


      Your insistence on teaching God right along with real science is pathetic. God becomes a convenient place holder where science doesn't have all the answers... yet.

      You can even make up stuff about your God, like He exists 'outside' of space/time etc... And nothing about your opinions is science as it just isn't testable, predictable, nor verifiable.

      I sincerely hope that you are not teaching this stuff in 'public schools'


      August 30, 2011 at 12:35 am |
  16. J.W

    I just hope that they are safe that is all that matters.

    August 29, 2011 at 11:08 am |
  17. jimtanker

    You're telling me that those guys aren't so much as drinking water and working out? I call total BS on that.

    I'm in Kuwait right now and if you get caught so much as drinking a bottle of water while driving your car you can face a $1000 fine and 30 days in jail.

    August 29, 2011 at 10:55 am |
    • CrystalRiver

      America should let Muslims guide the diet. It'll make the population fit.

      August 29, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
    • CrystalRiver

      I wish America was my boyfriend

      August 29, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • SD

      I played high school football during Ramadan, and now I play college lacrosse during the summer, which fell during Ramadan this year as well. Its not impossible. You just have to be smart about it

      August 31, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
  18. tallulah13

    There is a kid on my nephew's school soccer team who was observing ramadan. They're preparing for the season, doing two practices a day, in 90-100 degree heat. Poor guy. I bet he can't wait til ramadan is over.

    August 29, 2011 at 10:55 am |
    • CrystalRiver

      @Tall-13, it's honor to do something for God. A noble mentality that piggy secularists have no idea about.

      August 29, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • CrystalRiver

      Piggy Secularists and Froggy religious folks. It's a story right out of The Muppets, and it makes me feel all fuzzy inside.

      August 29, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
  19. sheetiron

    Surah 10:54

    August 29, 2011 at 10:36 am |
    • Oodoodanoo

      Form 1040 Schedule A

      August 29, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
  20. Hesalive

    John 14:6.

    August 29, 2011 at 10:26 am |
    • The Gospel

      Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you really know Me, you will know My Father as well. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him.”
      Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
      Jesus answered: “Don’t you know Me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?" (John 14:6-9)

      August 29, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
    • Alex

      Ignorance is Bliss I guess

      August 29, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      the gospel,,do you think they had names like Philip in the middle east when JC was about|? or John, Paul??? do those names exist out there today?

      August 29, 2011 at 9:51 pm |
    • sensitive bunch

      ummm...those are jewish names.

      August 30, 2011 at 12:27 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.