Professional Soccer and Ramadan Fasting

In an attempt to provide an Islamic ruling to this issue, we would like to cite the following fatwa issued by Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, an Islamic Scholar who said the following:

“It is considered permissible, for those who are working (for a living) in extremely strenuous and physically draining jobs, to skip fasting while they are engaged in the same — provided it has been reasonably established either through testimony of medical professionals or practical experience that fasting may risk their lives, or adversely affect their health or impair their work. In this category are included miners, bakers or workers in the fields or factories or outdoor in harsh weather conditions, as well as those who are in similar situations: All those who find themselves unable to continue their work without normal food or water intake.

Those who play professional soccer for a living can also be included in this category. However, it must be emphatically stated that it is absolutely mandatory for each and everyone who has skipped Ramadan fast in this way to make up for the same whenever they are not working or their work condition changes.

If, however, a person is working in such an extremely strenuous job or profession on a permanent basis and does not expect to get a break from it to make up for the fasts thus missed in any foreseeable future, then it is allowed for them to offer fidyah (compensation) in lieu of fasting: Fidyah in this case involves feeding a poor person for every single day of Ramadan fast they have missed. The estimated cost varies from culture to culture: In our present Canadian context, it can be estimated to be approximately ten dollars for every day of fast thus missed.

The above ruling has been based on analogical reasoning: For as scholars have stated that it is allowed for the elderly people who are unable to bear pangs of hunger and thirst to forego fasting and offer fidyah in lieu of fasting; likewise, allowance is also given for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding to skip fasting but make up for it later; again, allowance is also given to those who are temporarily sick or traveling to skip fasting and make up for the same. All of these categories are excused from fasting because of hardship, and the hardship endured by those in the above mentioned professions or jobs is not in any way different but in every sense comparable. Therefore, the same allowance is extended to them as well.”

Based on the aforementioned verdict, we can conclude that if for unavoidable circumstances a soccer is obliged to break his fast, then he can do so but he has to make up for that day or the days missed.