We Muslims are living a tough time in this era, where situations are not easy for us at all. Hate crimes against Muslims, Islamophobia, Terror attacks on Muslims, Derogatory comments on Muslims in Western countries are so common that people started living with it. Western media has left no effort to brainwash common people by preaching hate, demonizing Islam, making derogatory comments upon Muslims. We are facing persecution all around the globe with different kinds of sufferings from Kashmir to Nigeria and from New Zealand to Colombo.
At this difficult time, We see a little light of hope in the sportsperson who are representing Islam through their game all across the world. They are teaching the world that, What is it to be a Muslim, Who are we, What do we do, What does Islam teaches us and so on. People must know What is Islam, What is our belief; hate or peace, How do we live, There must be awareness among Non-Muslims to counter the fake allegations and hate preach of Western media.
There are certain Muslim athletes out there, who are not only making it big into the game but also representing Islam through their sports, etiquette and actions on the field; As some of the media reports says, “Muslim athletes are reducing hate crimes and Islamophobia among their fans and spectators, as more and as more and more people are learning about Islam after watching their athlete on the field”. Indeed, it is a positive news.
So, Today we bring you 7 such athletes who are doing this great job of representing Islam on a global stage, They are ranked from below to top:-
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7. MUHAMMAD ALI
Born as Cassius Clay in 1942, Mohammad Ali converted to Islam in 1961 and eventually took his current name. The name needs no introduction as he is nicknamed ‘The Greatest’ and is widely regarded as one of the most significant and celebrated sports figures of the 20th century and as one of the greatest boxers of all time.
After converting to Islam, he went on to winning ‘World Heavyweight Championship’ from Sonny Liston in a major upset in 1964 at the age of 22. Initially, He was affiliated with Nation of Islam, which he later disavowed and became adherent of Sunni Islam, supporting racial integration like his former mentor and friend Malcolm X. Ali was a leading heavyweight boxer of 20th century and remains the only three-time champion of heavyweight boxing. He has countless accolades to his name, as he remained a global celebrity till his death in 2016 with his legacy still going on.
Ali openly denounced his previous name and identity, saying “Cassius Clay is my slave name”. Ali was not afraid to antagonize the white supremacy as he spoke against them from time to time. Ali went on Hajj twice once in 1972 and next in 1988, where he achieved greater knowledge of Islam when he met people of different colors under one command of Allah. He openly defended Islam after 9/11 attacks stating “Islam is a religion of peace” and “does not promote terrorism or killing people” and that he was “angry that the world sees a certain group of Islam followers who caused this destruction, but they are not real Muslims. They are racist fanatics who call themselves Muslims”. In December 2015, he stated that “True Muslims know that the ruthless violence of so called Jihadists goes against the very tenets of our religion.”
Muhammad Ali always stood next to his Muslim Community at the tough times and inspired millions of young blacks to know Islam and convert to it. He was always a fighter who fought against opponents, hate crimes and Islamophobia. This gentle soul departed for heavenly abode on 3 June 2016. May Allah have mercy upon his soul.
6. HASHIM AMLA
Hashim Mohammad Amla, is a South African International cricketer who holds record for being the fastest ever to 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000, 6000, 7000 ODI runs. He also became the fastest cricketer to reach 10 ODI centuries. Hashim Amla is an occasional off break bowler and South African’s Test Skipper from June 2014 to January 2016.
Apart from being a renowned and successful Cricketer, Amla is also a devout Muslim. He was born into a South African Muslim family with family roots in Gujarat, India. From childhood onwards, Amla was reared into an Islamic atmosphere which had a deep impact upon his lifestyle and personality. Amla always promoted Islamic lifestyle through his appearance on field and by his etiquettes inside and outside field. As a devout Muslim, he has actively campaigned to remove all alcohol- promoting logos from merchandise and playing gear, He doesn’t wear alcohol logo on his team jersey and also pays fine for not wearing it to the Cricket board of South Africa. Moreover, His beard which is bushy and a part of Prophet’s Sunnah has gained global recognition to him as a devout Muslim. Despite being so famous and rich, he still lives a simple life and his family maintains a complete Islamic tradition, As his wife completely veils herself in Burqah and keep herself away from limelights.
Amla himself is a victim of Islamophobia, as once he was referred “terrorist” by one of a commentator while he was playing on the field. This incident outraged fans, players, and several former cricketers and commentators showering sympathy upon Amla and anger on the commentator. Amla in one of his interview told that,” I am certainly no saint but the discipline of the Islamic way of life has helped my cricket without a doubt. I don’t drink, I pray five times a day, which gives stability to my daily routine and I am generally more disciplined about my game and my life.” May Allah bless him with good health and bright future in the game.
5. MESUT OZIL
Recently married, Ozil is undoubtedly one of the best footballer of the current time. Born in 1988, to a Turkish-German family in Germany, Mesut Ozil plays for Premier League club “Arsenal”and for national team of Germany in International matches and FIFA World cups.
Ozil identifies himself as a practicing Muslim, He recites from Holy Qur’an before all of his matches. In an interview Ozil said,” I always do that (reciting Qur’an) before I go out (on the pitch). I pray and my teammates know that they cannot talk to me during this brief period.” He observes fasting during the holy month of Ramadan, although he admits that due to his profession which requires a fit body he has to eat and drink even in the blessed month.” In may 2016, he performed Umrah in Mecca. He can be seen praying on the field and doing sujood after goal frequently which makes it easy for the fans to understand the Muslim sentiments. He from time to time shows multiple gestures of Sunnah which are widely appreciated by global audience all over the world.
Ozil is an active philanthropist, he actively donates for the cause of Muslims and non-muslims. Even at his marriage, he decided to pay for 1000 children’s surgery to celebrate his wedding. He has close ties with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
4. PAUL LABILE POGBA
Paul Pogba is a young French footballer, He plays for Manchester United in Premier League and French national team in International matches. He was born in Lagny-sur-Marne, France to Guinean Muslim family. Paul established himself as one of the most promising young players in the world, receiving ‘Golden Boy’ award in 2013, ‘Bravo’ award in 2014. He was selected in the 2015 UEFA Team Of The Year, 2015 FIFA FIFPro World XI.
Pogba is a devout adherent of Islam, introduced to him by his mother. This Manchester United star has traveled ‘Mecca’ (Saudi Arabia) multiple times to perform Umrah and also to pay thanks after his first season at Manchester United. He also observes holy month of Ramadan and can be seen praying on the field during matches. Pogba condemned the terror attacks on Manchester by saying, “ You can’t kill a human being. To kill a human being…it is something crazy, So I don’t want to put religion on it. This is not Islam and everybody knows it.”
Pogba has definitely impressed his fans and the world through Islam. As one of the leading Western website states “Religion isn’t for everyone, nor is any religion panacea, But as Paul Pogba’s religion illustrates it can bring peace and serenity in a wild world.”
3. SONNY BILL WILLIAMS
Sonny ranks third on our list, because in recent aftermath of Christchurch Mosque attack on Muslims in New Zealand, Sonny has risen to a prominent Muslim face in New Zealand. Being one of the best rugby player in New Zealand Sonny needs no introduction in the world of sports and in his own country. In rugby league, he has played 7 seasons in two spells and has won 12 caps for Kiwis (New Zealand).
He converted to Islam while he was in Toulon, France. He performed Umrah in Mecca in 2018. Sonny’s understanding of Islam and his complete submission to Allah compelled a number of people around him to convert to Islam including his wife and family. His mother Lee converted to Islam in the week of Christchurch attack. After the attack in 2019, he made a tearful message of condolence for the victims of the Christchurch Mosque shootings. In an interview to John Fontain, he said, “The hardest thing for me is I live in a Christian majority society. Our island brothers and sisters…we have a strong religious background. But the message I try and push is that I don’t hate you. That’s Ok, you’re a Catholic, you’re a Christian, you might be an atheist, but if your message and your purpose is positive, then I am with you.”
Furthermore, he added, “If there is something bubbling under the surface that you feel is hatred towards us . I would suggest reaching out to someone in your community that is a Muslim because they will reach back tenfold and show you what is taught in our religion and that is – love.” We pray that Sonny keeps his mission active and reduce hate crimes against Muslims in New Zealand, May Allah strengthen his arms.
2. KHABIB NURMAGOMEDOV
Garnering a worldwide fame after knocking out Connor McGregor in one of the biggest UFC MMA fights ever, Khabib is now no strange name for this world. Khabib Nurmagomedov hails from Muslim majority province of Russia, Dagestan. He was born in a Muslim family and grew up there in an Islamic surrounding which created a deep impact of religion on his heart. Prior to winning the most expensive UFC fight, he is a two-time combat Sambo World Champion. With 27 wins and no losses, he holds the longest undefeated streak in MMA.
Alhamdulillah, he is the first Muslim to win an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) title. Khabib is a very strict Muslim and observes almost all religious rituals and doesn’t hesitate to proclaim his faith openly. In one of the EA sports game, his animated character was seen showing Christian symbols in a fight celebration upon which he expressed anger and grief stating , “I am a Muslim, not baptized. Please edit my fight celebration.”
Khabib undertook many journey to Mecca to perform Umrah and Hajj. In his social media handles, he openly shares his religious views. He has accumulated a mass fan following among all sections of the people around the world. He is supported over his religious sentiments by his non muslim fans from time to time.
1. MOHAMED SALAH
Mohamed Salah, currently the best player on the planet holds the top position on the list. Often referred as ‘Egyptian King’, Salah is an Egyptian footballer who plays for Liverpool FC in Premier League and for Egypt National Team. Born in 1992 as Mohamed Salah Hamed Mahrous Ghaly, He went on to winning multiple accolades in the sport such as PFA Players’ Player of the Year, Football Writers’ Player of the Year award. He was joint recipients of the Premier League Golden Boots with 22 goals in 2018. He was named CAF ‘Most Promising African Talent’ of the Year, BBC African Footballer of the Year. He was named by TIME as one of the ‘100 Most Influential People in the World’ in 2019.
Salah is a devout Muslim and often celebrates goals by performing the Sujood (prostration to Allah). It was published in a report that Mo Salah has a crazy fan following in the Europe and west, and his outstanding performance in the field has made his fans go crazy behind him and his religion Islam, In a viral video last year, a group of his fans were crazily chanting a song in which they mentioned that if Salah continues scoring goals they are going to convert to Islam. Many of the Christians were seen in the mosque in London taking Shahada. In the same report, he has been credited with reducing hate crimes, prejudice and Islamophobia against Muslims in Europe and other parts of the world. People are now welcoming Muslims, which is a great sign of positivity for our brothers and sisters living in west. A number of people are reaching out to mosque and Muslims and learning Islam from them, most of them are ending up converting to Islam.
Salah has deep respect for Islam in his heart, he named his daughter ‘Makkah’ after holy city of ‘Mecca’. Salah proved his true Islamic beliefs numerous times, recording one here; Once he pardoned a thief who robbed him and his family, didn’t give him into the Police and also assisted him financially. His solidarity with Palestinians is also firm, He refused to shake hands with Israeli club players during UEFA Champions league qualifying match in 2013.
He is a devout Muslim to such a degree that many of his contemporary Muslim athletes are far behind him. Despite being so rich and a global celebrity, he remains down to earth, which indeed is a sign of good Muslim. May Allah bless him and keep him flourishing.
Here is our list of 7 Muslim athletes who are making us proud and also making it big into their game. We hope that you liked our article. Please share it with your friends and family. Do comment your opinions below in the comment box and Don’t forget to visit us again for more such articles .