What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close

Ramadan and the World Cup: How Muslim Athletes Balance Religion and Sports

June 27, 2014, 9:34 PM
Ozil

What's the Latest?

Ramadan, the Islamic calendar's month of fasting, begins Saturday evening. Fasting during Ramadan is considered one of the Five Pillars of Islam, meaning most practicing Muslims are expected to observe it. This presents a challenge for the many Muslim athletes competing in this year's World Cup. Throughout Ramadan, Muslims are expected to refrain from eating and drinking (among other activities) during daylight hours.

The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, which means that Ramadan pops up at different times each year on the more familiar Gregorian Calendar. The last time the World Cup and Ramadan overlapped was in 1986.

What's the Big Idea?

As the Pew Research Center notes, many of the tournament's remaining players are practicing Muslims. These include Germany's Mesut Özil (pictured above), France's Karim Benzema and Switzerland’s Xherdan Shaqiri, as well as most of the Algerian squad and quite a few members of the Nigerian team.

Deadspin's Samer Kalaf offers a personal take on competing while fasting:

The first week (or so) is tough. The abrupt halt definitely affects your body, and you're a little weaker throughout the day. After that first week, though, it gets... easier? Your body gradually accepts the routine, and while you'll still be a little slower during daylight, fasting becomes less of a struggle.

Kalaf makes mention of several Muslim athletes who fasted during competition. Hakeem Olajuwon famously claimed that fasting during the NBA Finals made him better.

Both Pew and Kalaf mention that whether athletes observe the fasts depends on the level of their piety and what interpretations they have of the Quran. Some imams state that an exception can be made for once-in-a-lifetime events such as the World Cup, as long as athletes then fasted afterward. There is precedent for deferring one's due diligence; Ramadan also overlapped with the 2012 London Olympics:

"I could not fast. I need all that stuff, like protein, carbs and minerals," Egyptian kayaker Mustafa Saied told The Associated Press. "I can do it after Ramadan and Allah will accept it because there was an important reason."

Kalaf finishes his piece by explaining that each World Cup squad's medical staff is no doubt prepared to assist Ramadan-observing players competing in the sweltering Brazilian heat.

Keep reading at Deadspin and Pew Research

Photo credit: AGIF / Shutterstock.com

 

Ramadan and the World Cup: ...

Newsletter: Share: