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132) Train Like an Olympian

20 August 2016

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

والمضمار اليوم، وغدا السباق

 (Amirul Mumineen SA)

Today is the day of training, and tomorrow is the race

As many of us marvel at the physical dexterity, strength and fitness of the Olympians in Rio, we are amazed at what human beings can achieve if only they put their mind to it.

The few seconds of the competition which determine their success are a result of years of commitment, discipline and training.  In one article the author argues, “it’s not just that most Olympians are born with a certain set of physiological gifts, although that’s a big part of it. It’s also their commitment to their sports and, perhaps most important, the way they train.

The Arabic word for “sports” or “athletics” is riyadat riyadat involves discipline and training of the body. Based on this word, in our tradition there is also the concept of riyadat al-nafs, which is the discipline and training of the mind and soul. The concept of halaal and haraam food, the five farizat prayers, the thirty days fasting of Shehrullah are all examples of the riyadat al-nafs – the training and discipline of the mind and soul.

In a sense, as Amirul Mumineen SA has said in the following quote, throughout our lives we train for the race towards Aakherat: “Indeed, this world has turned back and declared its farewell. Indeed, the hereafter has come forward and has almost arrived. Today is the day of training, and tomorrow is the race.”

In the words of an Olympian, “training for the Olympics is a lifestyle.” Shari’at is also a lifestyle. Our Hudaat Kiraam help us, coach us, and prepare us for the ultimate race. But the commitment and discipline we bring to the trials throughout our life is up to us.