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July 22nd, 2012
03:00 AM ET

Muslim Olympians wrestle with Ramadan dilemma

By Richard Allen Greene and Aroub Abdelhaq, CNN

London (CNN)– Olympic judo competitor Hemeed Al Drie plans to sin during the Games in London, he admits with a grin.

"God is merciful and compassionate, even when our sins are many," said Al Drie, kneeling on a mat while martial artists hurled each other to the floor around him.

Al Drie's sin isn't what you might expect. It's that he is planning to eat and drink while the sun is up during the Olympics, even thought the Games fall smack in the middle of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Observant Muslims are supposed to fast during Ramadan, abstaining from all food and drink, even water, during daylight hours, then eating and drinking after sundown. Fasting for the month is a major religious obligation, one of the Five Pillars of Islam.

But Al Drie, 19, knows that fasting on days when he has up to six judo matches against the world's best competitors would doom his chances of winning.

"If you don't eat and you enter a competition, you might faint," he said. That would lead to instant elimination.

So Al Drie is going to stick to his normal competition diet.

CNN's Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the big stories

"Maybe some people will fast, and that's good for them. But for me, I can't risk losing any of my matches," he said.

Al Drie, who is from the United Arab Emirates, isn't alone in facing the Ramadan dilemma. It's not clear exactly how many Muslim athletes are competing in the Olympics this year, but more than one in five people around the world - about 23% - is Muslim, according to estimates by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

Religious experts in Saudi Arabia determine the starting date of Ramadan each year based on the phase of the moon.

Muslim athletes face a particular challenge because there are so many hours of daylight in London during the Games, says sports nutritionist Hala Barghout.

"It's a 17-hour fast in London. It's not like here in the Middle East," said Barghout, from the United Arab Emirates.

It is "physically impossible" for a world-class athlete to stuff as much food as they need into their body during the seven hours of darkness that remain, she said.

"How much can a person eat in one meal? You can't have, say, 3,000 or 4,000 calories in one meal. You need time to digest," she said. Three thousand calories is the amount that the U.S. government recommends that an active man in his 20s eat in an entire day.

Explain it to me: Ramadan

But one of the leading Islamic religious leaders in the Middle East says Muslims competing in the Olympics should observe the daytime fast, regardless of how it affects their performance.

"Playing sports is not a requirement in Islam. Players become athletes by choice. This optional activity, therefore, does not allow athletes to break their fast," said Ahmed Abdul Aziz Al Haddad, the grand mufti of Dubai.

Muslim athletes must also observe the fast because they are representing Islam at the Olympics, Al Haddad said.

"They must be ambassadors of their faith," he said. "Meaning that Islam must be present in their actions, and they do not fall into anything that Islam forbids."


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Competitors may eat or drink if fasting is threatening their health, he said.
"If a person feels extreme fatigue, sharia allows him to break his fast. Sharia is flexible," he said, using the Arabic word for Islamic law.

"But to immediately break your fast without being hungry or thirsty is the same as submitting to your cravings and lusts, and not putting God's desire before your own," the religious scholar argued.

Not all Muslim authorities agree with Al Haddad.

British Olympic rower Moe - for Mohamed - Sbihi has discussed the problem with his imam, and decided not to fast during the Games.

He plans to feed 1,800 hungry people in Morocco after the Games as compensation for not fasting during the holy month, and will observe a fast later.

"It was a hard decision for me to make," said Sbihi, who was born in Britain to an English mother and Moroccan father.

"When I first started rowing as a youngster, I said that I'd be fasting regardless," he said.

But over time he changed his mind. He did his university dissertation on fasting in sports, and consulted family, friends and coaches in Morocco and Britain before making his decision, he said.

British rower Mohamed 'Mo' Sbihi.

"In the end it felt like I was making the right decision for me, and that's to postpone my fast, to make it up at a later date," he said.

Sbihi has been considering the Ramadan dilemma for years, since it became clear that the 2012 Games would fall during the holy month. They usually don't. The Muslim calendar follows the moon, so Ramadan falls during different seasons in different years.

Members of the London committee organizing the Games this year noted it was not their decision to hold them during Ramadan - the International Olympic Committee sets the date.

The IOC pointed out that the Games "bring together virtually every religion and creed. ... How to deal with religious practices is up to each athlete and his/her personal beliefs."

Sandrine Tonge, a spokeswoman for the IOC, said different countries and individuals deal with the question differently.

"Some countries, like Egypt, for example, issue fatwas exempting athletes from the need to fast when competing," she said, using the Arabic word for a Muslim religious ruling. "At the end, religious practice is a matter for individual conscience."

Interactive: The evolving Olympic athlete

The London organizers pointed out that major international sports events have taken place during Ramadan before, including the Singapore Youth Olympic Games in 2010.

Dining facilities in the Olympic Village will be open 24 hours a day, and athletes observing Ramadan will be able to order "break-of-fast packs that will include water, nutritional bars and fruit," the organizing committee says.

Even with those provisions in place, and with the Games beginning in just days, Khadijah Fahed Mohammed hasn't decided whether she will fast.

The 17-year-old weightlifter is the first woman from the United Arab Emirates ever to qualify for the Games.

Her nutritionist has put together a plan for her to consume 5,000 calories a day - more than twice as much as an active woman her age should normally eat, according the U.S. guidelines.

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She's torn between her obligation to fast and her desire to win.

"Both are important to me. Fasting is a must," she said, even as she recognizes the importance of her first time in the Olympics.

"This is our chance. Ramadan just happened to be at the same time as the competition, so no one knows what to do. Should we fast or not?" she asked.

Her coach says she should.

"Many competitions have taken place during Ramadan," said Nagwan El-Zawawi. "I am not convinced you can break your fast. I mean, fasting is a must. There are no excuses."

But judo competitor Al Drie doesn't believe that.

"God is with me wherever I go, whether I fast or not," he insisted. "The most important thing is to have faith in God and give it your best and thank God, whether you win or lose."

CNN's Christina Macfarlane, Mohammed Jamjoom, Jon Jensen and Nima Elbagir contributed to this report.

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Belief • Islam • Ramadan • Uncategorized

soundoff (1,052 Responses)
  1. tios

    Devotion to Allah? Or to the Olympic ambition? Creeping compromise in any religion (including atheism) can steal your soul if you let it.

    July 22, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
  2. Muhammad

    NBA Hall of Player Hakeem Olajuwon won Player of Month award while fasting in Ramadhan!
    "His religion dominates his life" Drexler said in 1995.[59] Olajuwon was still recognized as one of the league's elite centers despite his strict observance of Ramadan (i.e., abstaining from food and drink during daylight hours for about a month), which occurred during virtually every season of his career. Olajuwon was noted as sometimes playing better during the month, and in 1995 he was named NBA Player of the Month in February, even though Ramadan began on February 1 of that year.

    July 22, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
  3. paperjihad

    A dispensation is specifically granted for Muslims who are travelling, so what's the issue? You simply make up the fast at a later time, and there isn't anything wrong with that. This is really a non-news item.

    Peace

    July 22, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
  4. Name*Ahmad

    Players should not fast. There should be no dilemma about it. However as far as the setting of the dates is concerned, then perhaps the next time the Olympics committee should chose dec 25th. ): C'mon the Olympics committee made an error and they should apologize. It's okay.

    July 22, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • doughnuts

      No, they shouldn't apologize.

      July 22, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • uh...

      See the nice thing about December 25th, is that it's celebrated on December 25th every year haha. It doesn't change like Ramadan. Additionally, these are the SUMMER Olympics, so it would makes sense that they take in the summer and not during the winter. As for the winter Olympics, should they ever fall on December 25th it would be a non-issue, as the observance of Christmas would not present any physical challenges to the athletes.

      July 22, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • randy

      No they shouldn't apologize, If fictional characters drive your lifestyle then suffer under it.

      July 22, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  5. Billy

    Islam – first of all there is no god. He is made up as the Easter bunny, tooth fairy and Santa Claus are. But if your
    Stupid religion says you cannot eat in the name of god/Allah or Mickey mouse then find a new god.

    July 22, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • Alhassan

      Fasting is compossory for every muslim in the month of ramadan, if you don't fast during the ramadan, or because of some so called sport, you fail to fast, you are not a complete muslim, because it compelite the pillars of islam.

      July 22, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • Alhassan

      Why not to pospone all olympic games, for human sympatie.because some people can't face the game when fasting, (always feel starve).

      July 22, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • randy

      Or the Muslims could just deal with and let the rest of the world compete. It's their belief holding them back. Why should I have to change anything cause someone believes in the all powerful fairy in the sky?

      July 22, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  6. Muhammad

    Bismillah, As was mentioned in another post, a traveler 23 miles from his hometown, can make up fasting days. The young man is not a so called reformed Muslim, he is an uninformed Muslim who needs to study the Quran and Hadith. –under Sharia he can make up the lost days. Eat and drink enough at night during Ramadhan, you will find that you have the ability to wrestle. You just make sure to get at least 7 hours total sleep, even sleeping during some of the daylight hours.

    July 22, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • JustMe

      Then why didn't Ahmed Abdul Aziz Al Haddad, the grand mufti of Dubai say that? Guess he needs to study up too. Doesn't sound like anyone knows what should be done.

      July 22, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • paperjihad

      @JustMe The Mufti shouldn't have to. The dispensation of not fasting during travel is explicitly mentioned in the Qur'an.

      July 22, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
  7. Jalen

    This guys probably just signed his own death warrant... You just know the Islamic Extremists will freak out about him so publicly breaking one of the pillars... no matter the reason. If moderate clerics say he should not do it, just imagine what the extreme ones will say.

    July 22, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
  8. Bob the Cat

    Thanks religion, meow!

    July 22, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
  9. Sean

    If you examine Islam close with no prejudice you will see that it converts the sacred relation between God and people into a superficial rituals. Examples: washing elbow and feet for purity, covering women’s head for righteousness, claming to worship one God while the rest worship more (lol) (for the record all religions worship only one God)! I do not think God needs people to worship him, we need to worship God to become better people, love and respect each other and that is not the case in the Muslim world!

    July 22, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • dashoosh

      You're such a party pooper!

      July 22, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • Chiniquy

      Nonsense, Sean.

      July 22, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • Karim Azeb

      Women cover their heads, like Men have to wear pants or shorts that go below their knees, not because of "righteousness" but because of modesty. You obviously don't know anything about Islam because you have never studied it. If you did, you would know the choice for women to cover their head with the hijab is not a requirement, but a personal choice given to them by God.

      July 22, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • doughnuts

      Karim, do the women in Saudi Arabia, Iran, and now Egypt also "choose" to get beaten, arrested, and chased back into a burning building (yes, this happened) by religious "police" for going outside with their heads uncovered?

      July 22, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • paperjihad

      @Sean The goal is for the inner to reflect the outer.

      July 22, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • taz111111111

      Karim Azeb, simply not true. A hajib is not a choice. Case in point, Saudi Arabia. Your statement may be true in some Muslim countries, but not all.

      July 22, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • tvnutt

      This is a reply to Karim. I am curious. If hijab is a personal choice then why are women forced to wear them in Iran or Saudi Arabia in public? Even American women, regardless of religion, are pressured into wearing abaya or hijab when traveling to Saudi Arabia and need permission to leave the country from the male head of the household. If not, the woman can be arrested. So it's either wear the clothing or get arrested. hmmm.....doesn't sound like much of a personal choice.

      July 22, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • paperjihad

      The hijab (head covering) is a religious obligation, so countries which observe religious law will probably require it, just like some secular states may require a woman to wear a shirt in public. Some states still require their Catholic citizens to pay a church tax; Austria is one. It happens.

      Peace.

      July 22, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • randy

      You sir are full of it. Religion makes people feel better cause it releases them from any blame. As for the other fellow Karim Azeb; women do not choose to do that. You cannot honestly tell me they choose to be covered in bed sheets and only have a little slit to see through, while men do what they please. Stop lying, some of us don't by it!

      July 22, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  10. Sami

    I know that travelers are exempted from fasting, and they can make up for it after Ramadan

    July 22, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
  11. skr321

    Well, you have reformed Jews and now you have reformed muslims, no different.

    July 22, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • Muhammad

      Bismillah, As was mentioned in another post, a traveler 23 miles from his hometown, can make up fasting days. The young man is not a so called reformed Muslim, he is an uninformed Muslim who needs to study the Quran and Hadith. –under sharia he can make up the lost days.

      July 22, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
  12. Ben A. W.

    Man-made religions/gods prove again how utterly stupid they all are. GOD AIN'T REAL...Get it?

    July 22, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • BenPohiel

      Religions are man-made, it is true, but God does exist (actually, could you prove that He does not exist?). He did not ask people to erect temples and set up cults.

      July 22, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      BenPohiel: how do you know that "god" exists? And which god, of the thousands that mankind has invented, would that be? How do you know it's not more than one "god" ?

      July 22, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • Unknown

      Got proof or is that just an opinion?

      Opinions aren't facts.

      July 22, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • Unknown

      To back up a claim like "There is no God" you need real proof other than "I can't see God".You need scientific evidence that proves its correct and real.But you have ZERO evidence just like believers do.

      Your religion of non-belief is weak.

      July 22, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Q

      To Believers:
      Nonbelievers aren't making a claim when we say there is no god. We are asking those who claim to know there is a god to provide evidence. Do not shift the burden of proof to those who don't make a claim. Saying "there is no god" is not a claim anymore than saying Santa isn't real. It's a position that nonbelievers take because no one has been able to provide evidence apart from the anecdotal. Go take a class on logic.

      July 22, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  13. Zaphod2010

    Religion, any religion, s u c k s, doesn't it?

    July 22, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • sharkfisher

      Maybe you think so but to many thousands it does't. What I can never understand is why so many people that claim there is no GOD can be so angry at something they claim doesn't exist.

      July 22, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • Chiniquy

      No, not true Sharkfisher! Not thousands but billions of people believe in G-D.

      July 22, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      sharkfisher: we're not mad at a "god" that doesn't exist... we're angry at the stupidity displayed by believers in these fairy tales and the way they seek to control the behavior of everyone else.

      July 22, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • Unknown

      even the religion of atheism?

      July 22, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
  14. Zaphod2010

    Religion, any religion, sucks, doesn't it?

    July 22, 2012 at 11:52 am |
  15. hubert39

    I live in the USA and have a few Muslims friends. We all go out and eat lunch. I asked them I thought you were not suposed to eat during day light hours. They said, heck, were are hungry, lets go to lunch.
    I guess they are like the Chrisitan faith. The Bible says their are 600 sins. But 99% of the Christians pay attention to around 2 or 3 so call sins. The other 598 are good sins.

    July 22, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • Seyedibar

      or perhaps they, like most christians, just subconsciously know that their religion has preposterous guidelines that serve no logical function.

      July 22, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • Edwin

      Life is about compromise. I have a jewish friend. He won't eat pork products or cheese on meat... but he loves shrimp and othe seafood. I figure it's his business to decide what's right and wrong for himself, not mine.

      July 22, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • klamerus@pobox.com

      Where in Judaism aren't you allowed to eat shellfish? Is that a rule too?

      July 22, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • rick52

      @klamerus ... Leviticus 11:9-12 "9 “‘Of all the creatures living in the water of the seas and the streams you may eat any that have fins and scales. 10 But all creatures in the seas or streams that do not have fins and scales—whether among all the swarming things or among all the other living creatures in the water—you are to regard as unclean. 11 And since you are to regard them as unclean, you must not eat their meat; you must regard their carcasses as unclean. 12 Anything living in the water that does not have fins and scales is to be regarded as unclean by you."

      I'd assume that Muslims follow the same law. Christians who believe in the Bible are supposed to follow it as well, but most seem to ignore it.

      July 22, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • Hossam

      Just to clarify, I am Moslem, and Islam orders us to fast the whole month of Ramadan. There are still exceptions mentioned in Quran for those who are either ill or on travel. They are allowed not to fast, but then they have to compensate those days after they recover from illness/ or come back home. It is simple!
      For the comment about logical obligations in religion, of course fasting is so logical. It is a practical training session for each believer that he/she can conquer his/her physical needs for the orders of GOD. It is the will challenge! can you do it?

      July 22, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • paperjihad

      @Seyedibar Such as practicing self-discipline and solidarity with those who go hungry without a choice?

      July 22, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • Chiniquy

      Not true Rick52. Those laws concerning sea creatures doesn't apply to Muslims. Only the meat of the pig and animals like lions and tigers are forbidden for Muslims.

      July 22, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • Muhammad

      NBA Hall of fame Hakeem Olajuwon won player of month award while fasting in Ramadhan!

      "His religion dominates his life" Drexler said in 1995.[59] Olajuwon was still recognized as one of the league's elite centers despite his strict observance of Ramadan (i.e., abstaining from food and drink during daylight hours for about a month), which occurred during virtually every season of his career. Olajuwon was noted as sometimes playing better during the month, and in 1995 he was named NBA Player of the Month in February, even though Ramadan began on February 1 of that year.

      July 22, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
  16. Thomas

    Saudi authorities have told all non-Muslims living in the country to strictly respect the holy month of ramadan and to not drink or eat in public until the end of ramadan, or be expelled from the country. Another example of how Muslims/Islam are a disgusting cult with no respect for others.

    July 22, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • JK3234

      and your comment makes you no different.

      July 22, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • Sean

      Right on the money! However, Muslims take this truth as an insult!

      July 22, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • JMK

      No, that shows how intolerant the Saudi Government is. There is more than ONE Muslim country in the world, and many of them are pretty tolerant of non-Muslims

      July 22, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • Seyedibar

      Islam is backwardness and primitivism personified as a force.

      July 22, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • Edwin

      Thomas: how is that disgusting? Eating in public causes others to be reminded of how hungry they are - and if they can't eat, that would be truly mean. Being thoughtful of the local customs is part of being a mature human being.

      Saudi Arabia doesn't require non-muslims to fast during the day. They just ask them not to flaunt it.

      July 22, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • klamerus@pobox.com

      Why is that disgusting? That seems to fall in the rule of doing what is expected wherever you are?

      July 22, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • FutureWizard

      I was do disgusted after reading this news. I's soooo Islam

      July 22, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Jackie

      YOu mean kind of like Christians want to force all of their ideas on everyone? What is the difference?

      July 22, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • Seyf

      Disgusting is the bias and the shallowness of the opinion you have formulated in your mind. May be non-Muslims who respect Islam, Muslims and other beliefs and people of faith, without such a request should have thought kindly enough to avoid public eating and drinking during the month of Ramadan in predominantly Muslim lands.

      July 22, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • z-j

      sorry am a Muslim and studied in a college which 99% of the profesores there are non-Muslim and they eat during Ramadan 🙂 and we set with them and talk when they do eat !!! whats the problem ?why are you people try to reflect a bad image about Muslims ? we are all human-beings in the end and seek for peace ! why most of you are generalizing that all Muslims are bad . seriously you must educate yourself and speak objectively ! you must interact with Muslim people and judge later! thanks god most of Muslim people do not think that way ! 🙂 i have christian + Jewish friends who used to have a bad image about Muslim people and they changed their minds now ! stop hating and don't generalize when you share your view ! 🙂 thanks bye !

      July 22, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
  17. barbara

    These athletes know ahead of time that competing in the Olympics is going to pose conflicts for them. But it's not like they can't eat at all. and all you people bashing Islam's fasting, etc..... I was raised Catholic and for many years we didn't eat meat on Fridays. Many people still observe that. You couldn't eat anything before mass if you were going to receive holy communion. And It was common practice to give up something for Lent. Now many churches place emphasis on doing something extra, rather than giving up something. What surprises me about this article is that these Muslims athletes aren't asking for the games to be postponed for them. I guess they already knew the answer to that one ahead of time. In regard to them issuing a fatwa to excuse them from fasting, is making an exception that's unfair to everyone else in their religion.

    July 22, 2012 at 11:34 am |
  18. Violet Weed

    A practicing Christian does not read books written by the devil and his minions, which is exactly what the quran is. As for muslims making up 1/4 of the world's religion, I highly doubt that statistic and do not care anyway. Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven.

    July 22, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • Jon

      Which part is written by the devil- the part where it is said there is only one God instead of 3?

      July 22, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • Edwin

      Violet Weed: you are not a christian - you are a troll. Be honest - you are merely trying to create anger and hostility in others to get your own jollies.

      If you really WERE the type of christian who spewed the nonsense you wrote, you would include a few choice quotes from the Scriptures to back up your claim. If you are going to pretend to be something, do some actual research first!

      July 22, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • Sean

      If you examine Islam close you will see that it converts the sacred relation between God and people into a superficial rituals. Examples: washing elbow and feet for purity, covering women’s head for righteousness, claming to worship one God while the rest worship more (lol) (for the record all religions worship only one God)!

      July 22, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • eroteme

      Because both Muslims and Christians believe they are going to heaven, I wonder if they know where heaven is. (Of course Muslims believe Christians will not be going there and Christians believe Muslims will not be going there.) I have heard that heaven is in the sky, but I have also heard their may be no sky, just space. I presume both Muslims and Christians are aware it is only their souls that will be going there. Eternity is a pretty long time. I hope also to go to heaven but even though the streets are paved with gold, I wonder after a few hundred thousand years or a few million years if I might have the feeling, 'enough of this bliss' I would like to get out of here.

      July 22, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • sharkfisher

      Amen!!

      July 22, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
  19. zaglossus

    If they don't win a medal because they're hungry, I could care less. That's their problem. No special accommodations for religions please!

    July 22, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Ben A. W.

      Agree.
      And BTW it would not be an accommodation, it would be SUBMISSION to a primitive myth for small brained peopled.

      July 22, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • Jon

      At no point did anyone ask for accommodations.

      July 23, 2012 at 10:03 am |
  20. Mudassir

    Here is the guiding principal from the Quran;

    2:184 (Fasting) for a fixed number of days; but if any of you is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed number (Should be made up) from days later. For those who can do it (With hardship), is a ransom, the feeding of one that is indigent. But he that will give more, of his own free will,- it is better for him. And it is better for you that ye fast, if ye only knew.

    So it is apparent that even though Fasting is highly stressed there are allowances made for 2 categories, the sick and those on a journey (away from his or her home ). They can fast at a later date. And apart for the above categories, there is a third category of those are still not able to fast due to any hardship. They can feed the poor for not fasting.

    The Muslim Olympians may fit category 2 or 3 as Allah is most forgiving.

    I appreciate both negative and positive comments and would encourage everyone reading these comments to read the Quran (available online on websites or pdf ) to confirm or refute these comments. Thanks.

    July 22, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • JMK

      Did not know that. Thanks! It's nice to see someone educated about the religion for once!

      July 22, 2012 at 11:45 am |
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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.