The Muslim month of Ramadan – fasting – coincided with London’s Olympics and ever since, I’ve been inundated with arguments that the Olympics are kufr and I’ve witnessed the passing of a quasi-takfeer on Muslims participating in the Olympics.
Firstly, unless you as a Muslim have replaced worshipping Allah Az’Wajjal with worshipping the rings of Mount Olympus, I fail to see where the aspect of kufr comes from.
Secondly, I recently heard a BBC documentary titled “Heart and Soul” which explored the clash between strict religious obedience and the quest for Olympic glory.
You can listen to it below:
Peter Musembi from BBC African Sport talks to top athletes, to find out how they deal with the dilemma, he hears from 10,000 metre Gold medal winner Mohammed Farah, born in Mogadishu but raised in London, he has also deferred his fast in past years.
You can read an excellent blog written by Shahad Kamal on Mohammed Farah titled “One Nation Under Gold”.
Mohammed Sbihi, the first ever Muslim rower to gain a medal for Team GB. Sbihi tells Musembi how he has faced criticism for deferring his fast until he is out of competition, and how he has donated his own money to fund meals for homeless children in his family’s home country Morocco.
He also meets an Olympian of the future, 18-year-old Ambreen Sadiq, the first British Muslim female boxer, who tells the programme how she deals with her brutal training regime, while denying herself food or drink for up to 14 hours a day.
There is a hikmah (wisdom) in whether Muslim athletes fast and compete, or do not fast and pay for thousands to be fed. It is a personal choice for the individuals concerned and it does not give any other Muslim the right to judge.