Football players welcome fasting during holy Ramadan


(MENAFN) As the sun dipped below the horizon on a dramatic evening at Old Trafford, Manchester United's Amad Diallo etched his name into footballing folklore. Scoring the winning goal against Liverpool in the FA Cup sixth round after 123 minutes and 57 seconds of play, Diallo's moment of triumph was magnified by the fact that he was observing Ramadan.

During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset as an act of devotion and spiritual reflection. For Diallo, this meant navigating the grueling demands of professional football while fasting. His goal, timed perfectly at 6:11 PM local time, came just minutes before sunset in Manchester, signaling the moment when he could finally break his fast and partake in Iftar, the evening meal.

But Diallo's journey through the game was not without its challenges. As he basked in the glory of his winning strike, he received a second yellow card for removing his shirt during his celebration, resulting in his dismissal from the match. Despite this setback, Diallo's resilience and mental fortitude were apparent, fueled by both his accomplishments on the pitch and the opportunity to refuel his body after a day of fasting.

In the days leading up to the match, Diallo, like many Muslim footballers across England, received a special package containing essential items to support his observance of Ramadan.

From a travel prayer mat to ceramic jars for dates dipped in honey, the gesture underscored the footballing community's commitment to accommodating players' religious practices.

This initiative isn't unique to Diallo or Manchester United; it extends across all 92 clubs in the top four levels of English football, encompassing over 250 Muslim players. Each player is provided with a thoughtful assortment of items, including prayer beads, Zamzam water sourced from Makkah's sacred well, and attar perfume—a nod to cultural traditions and spiritual rituals.

For these footballers, Ramadan represents more than just a period of fasting—it's a time of spiritual renewal and connection with their faith. Despite the physical and mental challenges they face on the pitch, their dedication to observing Ramadan serves as a testament to their unwavering commitment to both their religion and their sport.

As the footballing world continues to evolve, embracing diversity and inclusivity, initiatives like these highlight the importance of accommodating players' religious beliefs and cultural practices. In doing so, football not only becomes a platform for athletic prowess but also a celebration of the rich tapestry of traditions that unite players and fans alike.

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