'Why I'm doing 100 press-ups every day while fasting during Ramadan'
Ramadan, for most, is a time for reflection, spirituality and self-improvement. For Asif Saleem, it’s also a time for press-ups – and lots of them.
The 36-year-old chartered accountant, from Newcastle, is attempting to complete 100 press-ups every day while fasting for Ramadan, all in honour of his late father.
Asif lost his dad, Mohammed Saleem, to a brain haemorrhage in October 2021. Now, he’s hoping to complete the challenge to raise funds to build a well in Kenya – the country where his father was born.
Almost two weeks in, he’s yet to miss his daily target.
‘My arms felt like jelly in the first week, but I’m now a bit more used to it,’ he told Metro.co.uk.
‘The challenge is tough and gruelling, as I typically do the push-ups just before I open my fast. However, when I remember why I’m doing it gives me great motivation to keep going.’
The 36-year-old said he was ‘humbled’ by stories of his ‘charitable father’ growing up, which inspired him to take on the challenge.
‘(My father) was a massive family man, not just for our family but for our community as well. He would give to charity both locally and nationally,’ Asif said.
‘I’ve been humbled with stories of how he helped people in the community both personally and financially. He was a charitable guy, so I think that’s part of my inspiration to do the fundraiser.’
Much to our dismay, Asif has ‘always enjoyed doing press-ups’ and said he’s naturally ‘good at them,’ hence choosing this as a physical challenge. Yet 100 per day is still a lot, even for him.
‘I was into fitness prior to my father passing away,’ he said. ‘After my father passed, I did lose some motivation, however recently I’ve started to get back into it.’
Asif set up a GoFundMe page, which has raised close to £800 out of the £1,000 target so far.
Speaking during Ramadan – which takes place from March 22 and ends on April 21 this year and involves Muslims fasting from pre-dawn to dusk – Asif said that taking on the challenge during the holy month makes it even more poignant.
‘In our culture, we believe that as kids to a deceased person, if we do good deeds and charity, the blessings go towards the deceased,’ he told PA.
‘Particularly something that gives perpetuity or something that’s ongoing, so the benefit would be that we’re continuously providing (blessings) for my dad.
‘Any good deeds or charity that a son or daughter gives will create blessings that go towards the departed.
‘It gives them a better opportunity to go to Jannah – (the Islamic) equivalent to heaven, if you like.
‘It’s challenging, but thinking about the reason I’m doing it, I do feel like I get that spark of inspiration to keep going.’
Asif has received lots of support from his family, with his three-year-old daughter, Aliza, having also attempted a few press-ups alongside her father.
He added that seeing people making donations has been touching.
‘I’m massively grateful to everyone that’s donated and I’m humbled too,’ the 36-year-old said.
‘It spurs me to keep on going and do as much as I can. It’s really touching.’
Asif said the challenge is ‘the least I can do for my father’, adding that he played an ‘important part in my life and gave so much to me’.
‘Family is hugely important,’ he said. ‘Just spend as much time as you can with loved ones, because you never know what’s around the corner.’
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