Dallas, TX— Noah, Jesus, and Mary, highly respected individuals in the Quran, have taken a backseat to Megatron, Matty Ice and AP as a recent survey reported 71% American Muslim males tend to deeply think of fantasy football lineups during prayer services.
Minaret Sports and Science Research (MSSR) in San Jose, CA surveyed 1000 American Muslim men between the ages of 18-50 from September-December 2012 to determine how honest and sincere they were to God during the 5 standard obligatory prayers. Overwhelmingly, more than 70% of respondents claimed thoughts were on fantasy football leagues and if their roster was ready to contest with the opponent of the week. The figure dipped to less than half at 48.5% after Sunday night, but quickly increased as the days progressed throughout the week. An exclusive Saturday sample showed 87% were honed in on their games for Sunday while observing prayers.
Javid, a 34 year- old Dentist who wished to remain anonymous says that prayers are really the only opportunity during his hectic day of thinking about his team. “Between work, spending time with family and just trying to keep everything from getting crazy, salat is unfortunately the time to reflect on my team” he said rather ashamedly. ” I know I should be connecting with God—but right now I’m thinking about not starting Pat Fitzgerald (WR, Cardinals) against the 49ers great D. Man, I don’t know.”
Dr. Hamid Badawi, a psychologist at MSSR says during football season, stated it’s typical to see males gravitate towards obsession with the game and that competitiveness has a lot to do with it. “They’re men, regardless if they’re Muslim or not. They are focused on beating their friends.” Badawi says that while Fantasy football is simply yet another sports game to build camaraderie it can also be addictive, citing the 87% statistic for Saturday prayers as someone who is unconsciously going through the motions of prayer. “The man is so deep in football thought he couldn’t tell you if he was in the mosque or driving in his car. He’s completely oblivious to the outside for that brief point in time. It’s like some Sufi trance.”
Khalid Mirza, 46, came to the realization that his fantasy football playing was taking over his mind, making him giddy, sad, happy and angry as soon as he started to pray. He decided to hang it up and walked away despite winning 3 championships in 10 years as part of a 12-team conference. “I realized that I was in trouble when my dad asked me to lead prayers at a party and couldn’t remember Fatiha [the opening and most elementary verses for all prayers] because I kept thinking Brady should light up the Jets for at least 300 yards on Monday night. My dad was so pissed! He said I should take Lithium.” Mirza said he has not played in over 3 years even though he gets calls from his friends for advice on players. “Do I miss it? Absolutely. But I couldn’t control myself. I mean when you’re standing for over 10 minutes listening to someone recite Old Arabic and have no clue what he’s saying, the outlet is fantasy strategy. Still—it doesn’t make it right.”
While Muslim Community Centers have shrugged off Fantasy football as a novelty and have avoided any terms such as ‘epidemic’, some are concerned that it’s demonstrating a bad example to kids. Syra Ali, a mom and board member for Al-Ansar mosque in Freemont, CA says while her 14-year old son and husband both have fantasy football teams and spend great amount of time with each other talking ‘shop’, she’s scared their obligation to pray is mitigating. “I watched a college student Sunday afternoon complete his prayers in 20 seconds then turn his smart phone on so he could get the scores for the games. It takes usually takes 5-7 minutes to complete any one prayer. 20 seconds!” Ali says that if she sees any more “Fast and Furious” style of praying, she will request for a fatwa to ban fantasy football.