Malaysian Olympians can postpone Ramadan fast

Athletes can postpone their fast as they are competing at an international event for the nation's honour.

Afp July 24, 2012

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

The London Olympics which open Friday mark the first time the Games will be held during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan since the 1980 Moscow Olympics, Malaysia's New Straits Times newspaper said.

During Ramadan, which began last weekend, Muslims are expected to abstain from food, and drink 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.


bilal | 9 years ago | Reply

@One God. do u even know how the muslim demographic make up of malaysia is ?. malaysia is not a country where 80-90% are muslims. it is not prominent muslim country . its a muslim majority country. muslims make up only 60% of malaysia and ~50-55% of kaula lumpur. generally if u look non muslim cities and states there are more developed than the musilm ones.its not even malaysians. most muslims either living in iran,pakistani,saudia or turkey are middle class and religous so they get in sports less. espacially there are less muslim women in sports. there is only 1 female saudi athlete going to london olympics.

Waleed | 9 years ago | Reply

If only sensible people like these existed in Pakistan. Makes me wonder what religion our authorities are following!

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