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Meet Muslim Basketballers Playing While Fasting for Ramadan

People observing Michigan State player Mady Sissoko’s performance against Purdue last week in the Big Ten Tournament would never believe he was observing Ramadan fasting.

“Playing like a wild man” according to Tom Izzo, Sissoko grabbed seven rebounds in just 10 minutes off of the bench while playing against the best player in the country.

“It’s just something I want to do, and everything is going good so far,” Sissoko told MLive.

📚 Read Also: Begin Your Path to Health This Ramadan

It was not all easy to observe fasting while playing Big Ten Tournament opener on March 14. Yet, Sissoko said he had adjusted to fasting and felt normal.

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“The hardest part was last week,” Sissoko said.

“I feel like the hardest part is gone now. The first three days were hard, but now I feel good, I feel fine. I’m just used to it now. It’s not affecting me.”

Meet Muslim Basketballers Playing While Fasting for Ramadan - About Islam

Young Athletes Too

With high profile superstar athletes observing Ramadan fasting, Long Beach State forward Aboubacar Traore does not seem an exception for those sacrificing comfort to practice his religion, The reported.

Asked about what religion means to him, being fasting while playing the NCAA Tournament, Traore didn’t hesitate in answering. “In a word, everything.”

Traore, nicknamed Kader, is from Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. He was born into a very religious family, so practicing his religion and fasting is already second nature.

“My religion is what I circle my life around,” Traore said.

“Fasting is part of our culture, especially in my family. I started fasting when I was 5-years old. Obviously when I was younger I didn’t really know what it meant, but now I understand that it’s about discipline within yourself and your surroundings.”

Ramadan is the holiest month in the Islamic calendar.

In Ramadan, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.