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Malaysian Olympians can postpone Ramazan fast: official


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Malaysia will compete in nine sports in London, with Muslims taking part in archery, cycling, shooting, sailing and track and field. -Photo by Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Islamic and Olympic officials said athletes from the predominantly Muslim country are excused from fasting for Ramazan while competing at the London Games.

The London Olympics which open Friday mark the first time the Summer Games will be held during the Muslim fasting month of Ramazan since the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

During Ramazan, which began last weekend, Muslims are expected to abstain from food, drink and sex from dawn until sunset, when they break their fast with a meal known as Iftar.

But a senior member of the National Fatwa Council, Malaysia's top religious authority, said athletes can postpone their fast until after the Games as they are competing at an international event for the nation's honour.

“They are going to the Olympics to bring fame for the country. They can fast when they return to Malaysia,” Mufti Harussani Zakaria, the top religious official for the Malaysian state of Perak, told AFP on Monday.

“The Quran says if you have a mission to complete, you can postpone the fasting but you must replace the number of days you did not fast.”

Eleven out of the 30 Malaysian athletes going to London are Muslim.

One of Malaysia's top medal prospects, cyclist Azizulhasni Awang, who won silver at the 2009 track cycling world championships, is among the athletes who will put off fasting, Malaysian media reported this week.

Sieh Kok Chi, secretary of the Olympic Council of Malaysia, also said Olympic athletes should not fast while competing.

“It is a once in their lifetime chance to participate in the Olympics. They should opt out from fasting for one or two days so that they stand a chance of winning a medal,” he told AFP.

Malaysia will compete in nine sports in London, with Muslims taking part in archery, cycling, shooting, sailing and track and field.

Shooter Nur Suryani Mohamad Taibi, who will compete in London despite being eight months pregnant, is excused from fasting since she is expecting, but said all Muslims should be excused from fasting during competition.

“Islam is lenient. It is not a religion that forces people. Actually when we go to London we are termed as travellers. Islam allows us to postpone our fasting,” she said.

British tabloid The Daily Mail reported in 2006 that the London-based Islamic Human Rights Commission said the Olympics timing was insensitive while Turkey, Egypt and Morocco lobbied for it to be rescheduled.

The International Olympic Committee, however, declined the requests, saying the Games were a secular event.

Islamic authorities in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, and Morocco have recently allowed their athletes to postpone their fasts despite disagreement from some Muslims.

Comments (16) Closed

pars Jul 24, 2012 10:02am
disagreement from some muslims.... what kind of muslims would disagree to postponing fasting, i wonder. my guess is th eones who have appointed themselves ALlah myans personal assistants, hehe. I thought fasting was strictly between a person and his creator. why dont 'those disagreeing muslims' let the poorer-quality-muslims get thier punishment when they see Allah at the end. Isnt it about time we said no to state or mullahs or anyone but ourselves deciding what kind of muslims we want to be?
irfan Jul 24, 2012 02:44pm
During Traveling, Islam allow postpone your fasting...
Saba Jul 27, 2012 11:03pm
Fasts are exempted during travelling only if the duration is less than 10 days. It is obligatory under all circumstances except if one is pregnant, breast feeding or ill and under medication. Saying that, No one can force anybody to be a good muslim or be a muslim for that matter. Its just a matter of how strong ones faith is and getting your priorities straight, the rest is between you and your God. All the religions of the world teaches us to work for the good of humanity and follow God's rule and work for the hereafter. We are all grown-ups who know what we want in our lives and deep inside each one of us also knows where we stand as far as Allah and faith is concerned. We know the rules so Please lets stop arguing and insulting each-other, it is not worthy of anybody
Agha Ata Jul 24, 2012 01:59pm
"...for mere Olympic game." I loved this sentence. I also laughed. :)
raika45 Jul 24, 2012 01:59pm
That is why this nation is progressing and people have a good life .No one starves or is without a house.We have some one million immigrant workers,mostly muslims.Pakistan included.We are known as the most modern and pragmatic muslim nation where people of all religions live in peace.You stick to your practice and do not preach us.We know the situation and condition of your country where no day passes without some people killed or maimed.Keep your introvert thinking to your self.We do not need it.
Khan Jul 24, 2012 01:28pm
This is ridiculous, it is not possible that on the saying of one religious scholar you can postponed the whole month of Ramadan. Sahaba (R.A) were in battle field and they would be facing death (Shahadat) but they never compromised on Fasting. I can give you the recent example of Hashim Amla (one of the Muslim batsman of South African Cricket team, who scored three centuries in one test match and he was from fasting during the whole match.He scored more than 300 runs in one shot. It is indeed written in the Quran that during the travelling you can postponed the fasting, but there is very strong condition that if the intention of the duration is less than two week. But the Olympics duration is more than two weeks. I think that such FITWA can only be accepted if the group of religious scholars sit together and give a comprehensive FITWA.
Anwar Jul 24, 2012 12:51pm
No body can make another person do something , if he does not want to. One may fast or not, yes this is between him and Allah. But you can not modify, twist ,alter the rules set by Allah SWT. Where does it say in Quran, that if you have a mission to complete you can postpone the fasting. Remember fasting is ordained( Fard ) and olympics is not.
Cheebz Jul 24, 2012 12:17pm
@pars... There is nonsuch thing as "type" of muslims... U are muslim or not muslim... If ur muslim u have to follow the command of Allah... He has provided guidelines to life for which a muslim must follow.. Else u can choose to be a non-muslim... A state has its role to play, a father has its own role, a company manager has its own role and local council has its own role... Some interfer with an individuals life...
Rahul Jul 24, 2012 10:54am
Too late buddy, its like hotel california from eagles u can enter but u cant leave !!! those lucky or with money get to do anything and get away, those unlucky and poor are left for vultures !!!
haris Jul 24, 2012 11:09am
Fasting is obligatory for a person if he fulfils five conditions: 1- He is a Muslim 2- He is accountable (mukallaf) 3- He is able to fast (not ill or bearing no disease) 4- He is settled (not travelling) 5- There are no impediments to fasting Apart from aforementioned attributes there is no way a Muslim could exempt from Fasting.
kaamat Jul 24, 2012 11:48am
How can the sacred fast be postponed by able bodied persons. Is the ramjan fast more important or the Olympic? Millions of Olympic games come and go, but a single day's Ramjan fast goes on for ever. A muslim out of his mind will only think of postponing the fast for a mere Olympic game.
zaheer Jul 24, 2012 04:48pm
Under the divine rule of Allah and Prophet Mohammad, the person travelling is exempt from fasting. The Olympic team is travelling outside of Pakistan, so it is exempt from fasting.
Fazl Rab Jul 24, 2012 05:53pm
Muslim olympians from any country going to UK are in a state of "Travel". As such, they may postpone their fast. However, abstinence from "Fast" in itself is not obligatory. It is a conditional option; the condition being that missed fast must be compensated as soon as possible after the holy month of Ramzan.
Saad (DXB) Jul 24, 2012 08:10pm
What a silly thing to say. Fasting has nothing to do with rich or poor. Every Muslim whether rich or poor is to fast. These rules are implemented strictly in any Muslim country. Therefore, while it's your choice not to fast, but eating is strictly prohibited in public.
Saad (DXB) Jul 24, 2012 08:12pm
Ok i believe you are not a Muslim. Unlike many other religions which force people to do or not do certain things, in Islam it is clearly told that if for any reason you can not pray or fast, you should do that at a latter stage and therefore, there is no force in Islam. For the daily prayers, if anyone misses any of the 5 prayers, he can do it with the other one(s).
anambores Jul 24, 2012 10:39pm
Technically, at the Olympics, the contestants WILL be in a state of travel, and therefore exempt from fasting