Can a Muslim be a Cardinal during Ramadan? Yes
Today, for the first time in a month, Arizona Cardinals safety Hamza Abdullah will take long swallows from the water cooler stationed in the middle of the field and join teammates in the post-practice spread of food.
Abdullah, a Muslim, has spent the past month fasting as part of the celebration of Ramadan, Islam’s holiest time of the year marking the month followers believe the Prophet Mohammed received the Quran.
It requires fasting during daylight hours - no food or drink while the sun shines. No matter that it fell during one of the most rigorous months of training, as the 27-year-old Abdullah gave all he had physically while fighting for a spot on the roster.
The biggest challenge was not nutrition, however. It was hydration.
Abdullah said that, throughout Ramadan, he routinely drank 80 to 100 ounces of water and 60 ounces of Gatorade each night before bedtime. He also took potassium pills and ate bananas to help his body remain hydrated.
At practice as players guzzled water from hoses hooked to a cooler, Abdullah let the flow wet his tongue and lips. He also poured water over his head.
Throughout Ramadan, Abdullah arose around 4 a.m. and drank an additional 100 ounces of water. He also read the Quran, as Muslims are instructed to do during Ramadan, and prayed before having his usual breakfast of eggs and fruit.
His brother, Husain Abdullah of the Minnesota Vikings, also fasts during Ramadan. He broke his fast before his team’s Thursday-night kickoff against the New Orleans Saints. Abdullah said he plans to watch the beginning of his brother’s game against the defending Super Bowl champions. Then, around halftime, attend a mosque for prayers marking sunset and the end of the fast.