Pause for Thought
With Yunus Dudhwala, Imam, Hospital Chaplain, and Olympic Chaplain for London 2012.
Four years ago, I was privileged to be at the Birds Nest in Beijing at the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games. My daughter Tayyiba who was 10 years old at the time won a Blue Peter competition to have a starring role. If you remember the little girl who came off the bus and then handed David Beckham a ball to kick into the stadium - that was my daughter!!
Well, for me this week, it’s been an amazing experience to be part of the Olympics here on my own doorstep. There’s also an added spiritual dimension this time, as these games coincide with the Holy Month of Ramadan.
12 days ago, Muslims around the world started to observe Ramadan by fasting from dawn to sunset, and the fast is totally nil-by-mouth, no food, no drink.
This obviously has brought about extra challenges for many Muslim athletes who are committed to their faith and yet continue training for their individual sport, as currently the fast is just over 18 hours every day.
Speaking to many athletes and coaches in the athletes’ village, there are varying ways of how each person is dealing with this dilemma. Many have said that they have never neglected any fast of Ramadan since they started fasting from a young age.
But, using the concessions allowed in Islam, some have decided to postpone the fasts till after they return home. Some are donating charity to the poor in place of every fast missed, and there are those who find strength in fasting and except for the competition day, will be fasting throughout the games.
But Ramadan, isn’t just about refraining from food and drink. It is a very spiritual month. Extra prayers are said every night, more devotion is given to the Quran, consciousness of one’s self, one’s environment, and one’s relationships with others.
The goal for all Muslims in Ramadan is to become closer to their Creator.
Athletes have been training with commitment, self-discipline, and determination to achieve their dream here at the Olympics.
Muslims are also training through fast, prayer, devotion and determination to achieve their goal in becoming God Conscious at all times.
And then Chris - you have the super Athletes who are trying to achieve both!
The Chris Evans Best Bits Daily Download
Get all the best bits of this morning's show, including Zara Phillips popping in with her Team GB Equestrian silver-medal winners, in The Chris Evans Daily Download!The Chris Evans Daily Download