A recent example of a popular British Muslim athlete is Mo Farah, but let’s be honest with ourselves, athletics doesn’t invoke the same type passion amongst the British public as football does.
Since his arrival at Liverpool Football Club (LFC) in June 2017, Mohamed Salah’s dazzling performances on the pitch has seen him win the much coveted Golden boot, scoring 32 times on his debut season in the highly prestigious English Premier League.
With 32 goals, Magnificent Mohamed Salah wins the 2017/18 @premierleague Golden Boot 👑 pic.twitter.com/hZ6KaU1yVJ
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) May 13, 2018
But it’s not his goals that have fans and non-fans captivated, it’s his Islam. For those of you living under a rock, the 25 year old Egyptian national had a short stint earlier on in his career at Chelsea Football Club where he was rejected by Jose Mourinho. However, he did not succumb to his failures and was loaned out to Italian side Fiorentina. Flexing his footballing prowess in the once revered Serie A, and a permanent move was made to the rival side Roma, which culminated in him becoming the player of the season. In June 2017 LFC secured the signature of the Egyptian on a long-term contract for a fee of only £35 million.
While other players invent ever more creative ways of celebrating their goals, Salah (and other Muslims players) are leading the field in giving thanks to the One who gave them the ability to score that goal. Unlike countless Muslims in the workplace, praying to God that they won’t be caught with their foot in the bathroom sink, Salah wears his Islam on his sleeve. So much so that from labelling fellow Muslim LFC fans a ‘disgrace’ for praying to now inventing some notorious chants which are making the rounds on social media, there is no denying the impact Mo Salah has had on the fans.
“Mohamed Salah, the gift from Allah, He came from Roma to Liverpool. He’s always scoring, it’s almost boring. So please don’t take Mohamed away.”
The prostration has now become synonymous as an act of gratitude. That’s why you’ll see people, Muslim and Non-Muslim alike falling into prostration upon scoring a goal. Whether they realise it or not, this act appeals to the deepest parts of their fitrah (innate disposition). It’s in our nature to give thanks to the one that has given us life and everything we take for granted in it.
Mo Salah’s performance on and off the pitch has resulted in an avalanche of proposed shahadas from the loyal LFC fan base.
It’s obvious that such tweets need to be taken with a pinch of salt but the positive impact of one man doing his job to the best of his ability, thankful to God all the way is undeniable.
What next for Mo Salah?
With Ramadan upon us and growing speculation about ‘will he or won’t he fast’, the lessons we can all learn from Mo Salah is to be the best in whatever field you’re playing in, be proud to share your Islam with others and be thankful to the one who granted you that success in the first place.
Who’s your favourite Muslim sportsman/sportswoman?
Do you use them as a talking point to engage with Non-Muslims on the subject of Islam?
Are you a Man Utd fan who has (momentarily for a ‘one-day special’ — May 26th, 2018) converted to the LFC cause!?