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OpEd: Muslims Join Over ImamConnect

Many followers anxiously watched UFC 254 with bated breath as Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov went head-to-head with Justin “The human spotlight reel” Gaethje. The latter had simply come off a spectacular TKO win in opposition to a formidable and feared fighter within the type of Tony Ferguson, beating him over 5 nerve-wracking rounds by outstriking him with a mix damaging head pictures and crippling low kicks.

All of us knew what each would do – Khabib would go for the takedown, and Gaethje would attempt to hold the combat on the ft and go for stand-up hanging – which fighter’s technique would prevail? Alhamdulillah, it was Khabib, in a mere 2 rounds. We weren’t within the combat, however we’re all nervous and supplicating, making du’a to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) to present him one other victory.

And so it was that after the win, he collapsed in the course of the ring to cry, as this was his first combat after the lack of his father attributable to problems with Covid-19. He cried, and plenty of a person cried with him, feeling his ache. Gaethje revived from his triangle choked slumber and consoled his former foe, telling Khabib his father was pleased with him.

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We had been all positive when “The Eagle” acquired on the mic, he would say he wished to combat GSP, George St Pierre, after which retire 30-0, as he had mentioned in earlier press conferences main as much as the combat. As a substitute, he shocked us all by saying his retirement at 29-0, and I couldn’t assist however marvel that not solely was he turning away from a profitable remaining combat, however the way in which wherein he introduced his retirement reminded us of our religion, our deen, our faith, Islam.

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says within the Qur’an

“And remind, for certainly, the reminder advantages the believers.”

All through his MMA profession, Khabib has proudly worn his religion on his sleeve. As he has risen to turn into the present pound-for-pound #1 fighter on the earth and arguably the GOAT, the best of all time, his unwavering instance as a working towards Muslim reworked him into a world phenomenon and position mannequin for many people by reminding us to be higher worshippers, to be nearer to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He).

Let’s take a look at a number of of the methods he did this:

1. Starting with Alhamdulillah

The announcer at UFC 254 started by congratulating Khabib on a job well-done but once more by praising him, stating, “The world is in awe of your greatness as soon as once more…your ideas on an epic championship efficiency, congratulations.” Khabib didn’t instantly start speaking about himself. As a substitute, he mentioned:

“Alhamdulillah, SubhanAllah, God give me every part…”

After stating this, he went on to announce his retirement, his causes for retiring, and thanked everybody who supported his skilled MMA journey.

The Reminder

Alhamdulillah is actually translated into “All Reward Belongs to God”. Khabib begins by thanking Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), declaring that his skills and skills are a present, a blessing from the Most Excessive. When we have now any blessing from Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), we should keep in mind that no matter our personal effort, our talents, our assist, and our achieved outcomes finally tie again to assist from our Rabb, our Lord, who controls all.

Khabib pointing to Allah

It’s not from me, it’s from Him

In case you’ve ever seen Khabib level at himself, shake his finger backwards and forwards as if to say, “No” after which level as much as the sky, it is a nonverbal method of him saying, don’t suppose all these nice belongings you see are from me – they’re from Allah above.

2. The Prostration of Thankfulness – Sajdat al-Shukr

You’ll have seen on the finish of Khabib’s victory, when the announcer states that he’s the winner of the bout, he falls right into a prostration often called Sajdat al-Shukr – the Prostration of Thankfulness (to Allah).

Khabib and his sons prostrating

The Reminder

Performing that is beneficial when somebody receives one thing helpful (eg excellent news, wealth, and so on) or in the event that they averted one thing probably dangerous (e.g. job loss, therapeutic from a illness, and so on). The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) would do that when he obtained excellent news. The believer ought to bear in mind to be grateful to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) as a lot as they will.

See additionally:

3. Establishing the 5 Day by day Prayers

Khabib and me, don’t be jelly

Years in the past (early 2018), Khabib visited my native masjid in Santa Clara, California (not removed from the place he was coaching in San Jose on the AKA health club). Many on the masjid didn’t know who he was, however we heard he was the #1 contender for the UFC Light-weight championship belt, at the moment held by Tony Ferguson.

He did a Q & A with the neighborhood, and somebody requested him a common query about what he would advocate for the youth. He mentioned, and I’m paraphrasing:

Maintain your prayers, if you happen to come to Day of Judgment not care for your prayers, on that day you’ll be smashed.

The Reminder

The second pillar of Islam that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has commanded us to observe is to wish to Him 5 instances each day. Khabib was little doubt referencing the next assertion of the Prophet (noticed):

“The primary motion for which a servant of Allah will likely be held accountable on the Day of Resurrection will likely be his prayers. If they’re so as, he may have prospered and succeeded. If they’re missing, he may have failed and misplaced…”

Shaykh AbdulNasir Jangda notes that when the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) first started his mission of da’wah and confronted devastating rejection from household and neighborhood, Allah informed the Prophet to face and pray. The explanation for it is because after we are weak and struggling, the place to show to for power is again to Allah in prayer. There is no such thing as a doubt Khabib’s power got here from his connection to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) which in flip got here from his 5 each day prayers.

Praying a number of instances each day, persistently, will be difficult; when it was legislated by Allah to the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) saved telling him to return and ask Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) for a discount, saying, “Your folks won’t be able to deal with it.”

Khabib is a good reminder that regardless of how excessive you climb in life and profession, regardless of how busy you suppose you’re, worshipping Allah is crucial deed one can do, and this self-discipline is crucial behavior to construct.

4. Sturdy Wrestling Sport

Some say Khabib is already 30-Zero for wrestling a bear

In a sport that sees much more hanging and kicking than it does wrestling, Khabib got here to dominate the light-weight division of the UFC with a robust grappling type that may be a mixture of sambo (a Soviet martial artwork), judo, and wrestling. Famously, he outwrestled a bear when he was a lot youthful.

Throughout his fights, he doesn’t shut out his bouts by pummeling his opponents and inflicting them harm as most strikers would. Most of his hits open up his opponents to being pressured to faucet out through submission. Even his final opponent, Justin Gaethje, famous that he was a lot happier to be choked out in a submission, as all he would get is a pleasing nap, versus hanging, which might have long-term well being penalties.

The Reminder

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was not solely in a position to wrestle, he took down the strongest wrestler in Makkah. Rukanah, the famed Makkan wrestler, challenged RasulAllah due to his hatred for the da’wah. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) accepted his problem and took him down a number of instances, physique slamming him repeatedly. It was mentioned that after the conquest of Makkah, Rukanah accepted Islam.

5. Combating / Coaching by Illness and Harm

Throughout the post-fight press convention with UFC President Dana White, it was revealed that Khabib had damaged one in every of his toes Three weeks earlier than the combat. Previous to that, he had taken two weeks off upon arriving at Combat Island having contracted mumps, in keeping with AKA coach and coach Javier Mendez. Khabib is quoted as having informed Mendez, “My toe could also be damaged, however my thoughts isn’t.” Along with this, his father had simply handed away months earlier, and this might be his first combat with out his father current.

Mumps, damaged toes, and the emotional turmoil of household tragedy

The Reminder

As well as, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) has informed us, “A robust believer is best and is extra beloved to Allah than a weak believer, and there’s good in everybody…” This power contains power of physique, thoughts, and spirit; not simply when situations are excellent, however when trials encompass you from each conceivable route.

6. Relationship With His Father

After defeating Justin Gaethje, Khabib went to the middle of the ring and cried, and everybody cried with him. All of us knew his father’s loss of life weighed closely on his thoughts and his coronary heart, and this was his first combat with out him. His father was his mentor and coach, whom everybody might clearly see he each cherished and tremendously revered.

Within the post-fight query and reply with Dustin Poirier, Khabib was requested, “What’s your message to your younger followers on the market who look as much as you a lot?” he responded:

“Respect your mother and father, be shut along with your mother and father, this is essential. Dad and mom every part, you already know, your mom, your father, and that’s it, and every part in your life goes to be good, if you happen to’re going to hearken to your mother and father, mom, father, be very shut with them, and different issues come as a result of your mother and father gonna train what to do.”

The Reminder

There isn’t sufficient area on this article to go over how a lot emphasis our religion locations on respecting our mother and father. Allah says within the Qur’an:

Your Lord has commanded that you must worship none however Him, and that you just be form to your mother and father. If both or each of them attain previous age with you, say no phrase that exhibits impatience with them, and don’t be harsh with them, however converse to them respectfully. [17:23]

7. Relationship With His Mom

Our mother and father finally need us to succeed, but in addition need us to keep up our well-being. With out his father’s presence, it was clear that Khabib’s mom didn’t need him persevering with within the Octagon (the UFC ring). After Three days of debate, Khabib gave his phrase to her that this might be his remaining combat. After beating Justin Gaethje in UFC 254, Nurmagomedov introduced he was retiring as a result of he promised his mom that he would retire and that he’s a person of his phrase.

The Reminder

This hearkens again to a press release of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) about how a lot respect moms deserve. A person requested the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, “Who’s most deserving of my good firm?” The Prophet mentioned, “Your mom.” The person requested, “Then who?” He (noticed) mentioned “Your mom.” The person requested once more, “Then who?” The Prophet once more mentioned, “Your mom.” The person requested once more, “Then who?” The Prophet lastly mentioned, “Your father.”

Khabib simply had hundreds of thousands extra to make on a journey to hit 30-Zero in his skilled combating profession and determined to hold all of it as much as make his mom glad. That is true respect and obedience, and for that matter, the love of a mom for her son and his well-being over financial features.

8. Respect for Muhammad Ali

When requested in regards to the comparisons between himself and Muhammad Ali, Khabib said that it was an inappropriate comparability. He famous that Muhammad Ali didn’t simply face challenges within the ring, however challenges outdoors of it attributable to racism, and that he was an agent of change with respect to bringing about better civil rights for African Individuals.

The Reminder

In his remaining sermon, Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) mentioned, “There is no such thing as a superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab, or of a non-Arab over an Arab, and no superiority of a white individual over a black individual or of a black individual over a white individual, besides on the premise of non-public piety and righteousness.”

From the seventh century till at the moment, our religion acknowledges that persons are not judged by their race, however by their actions and the intentions behind these actions. Within the video above, Khabib acknowledged each the wrongness of racism, and the problem it posed alongside the way in which of Muhammad Ali’s personal journey, and that his contributions to social justice transcended his involvement in sport.

9. His Conduct with Different Fighters

Except the combat with Conor McGregor, Khabib at all times dealt together with his opponents with respect. He hugs them, shakes their hand, and says good issues about their accomplishments and strengths each earlier than and after fights. In a sport identified for heavy trash speaking and showboating to construct hype, Khabib saved his cool and his manners.

Champion vs Champion, the respect is mutual

The Reminder

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) mentioned:

“The one cause I’ve been despatched is to excellent good manners.”

Sustaining good character and conduct throughout press-conferences was Khabib’s calling card; even when trash talkers like Tony Ferguson tried to go after him, he would nonetheless recount Ferguson’s formidable stature as a fighter.

When reporters tried throwing him a softball opening to insult Ferguson’s psychological well being, Khabib responded that he didn’t need to speak about Tony Ferguson’s issues if he they had been actual; if Ferguson actually has an issue, then we should always assist him, as all of us have issues.

10. Combating These Who Dishonor Religion and Household

As talked about above, Khabib is understood for being very respectful of his opponents throughout press conferences. He speaks effectively of their strengths, shakes their palms, hugs them; he even runs as much as his opponent after a combat and hugs them, consoling them and wishing them effectively. After his win in opposition to Poirier, he traded shirts with him and donated $100ok to Poirier’s charity.

Khabib vs Dana’s boy, the rooster

The exception was the notorious UFC 229 which Muslim followers watched holding years, possibly a long time of pent up anger at the kind of crass secular conceitedness represented by Conor. We desperately wished Khabib to maul the mouthy McGregor. The latter had gone after his household, his religion, his nationality, something and every part to hype up the combat and attempt to get beneath the champ’s pores and skin. Some folks lose their calm, and others, effectively, they eat you alive.

Khabib made it clear he wasn’t having any of that. He took the combat to Conor and choked him out with a neck crank. We then discovered why he was referred to as “The Eagle” as he hopped the cage and jumped into the viewers to go after different members of Conor’s crew who had spoken sick of him, giving delivery to “Air Khabib”.

The Reminder

When our religion and household is spoken of in an sick style, it’s not applicable that we sit there and take it. Khabib by no means cared when it was criticism in opposition to him, however as soon as it went to others round him, he took flight. We as Muslims ought to by no means give anyone who tries to assault and dehumanize us an opportunity to relaxation on their laurels. We should always try ourselves to take the combat again to them by no matter authorized means needed, as Khabib did, whether or not it’s cartoons of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) or political pundits and satirists who monetize hatred in opposition to Muslims.

11. Shaking Arms and Coaching with Ladies

In quite a few public situations, Khabib reminded us that our religion calls for we don’t shake with the other gender. As one in every of my lecturers taught us, the Qur’an instructs us to “decrease our gaze” when coping with girls. If we shouldn’t even take a look at them out of respect for Allah’s command, how can we take it to the following stage and contact them?

Prolonged to that is much more severe bodily contact like coaching on the health club. Cynthia Calvillo, one in every of Khabib’s teammates at AKA health club, mentioned the next about Khabib and his unit:

“It’s somewhat bit bizarre due to their faith and stuff…They don’t discuss to girls you already know. I imply we are saying ‘hello’ to one another however we will’t practice with them. They gained’t practice with girls…I don’t suppose another girl does.

The Reminder

Our religion locations stricter bodily and social interplay boundaries between women and men. Protecting issues skilled and respectful with the other gender needn’t embody bodily contact. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was mentioned to have by no means touched non-mahram girls. It was narrated that he mentioned,

“It’s higher so that you can be stabbed within the head with an iron needle than to the touch the hand of a lady who’s impermissible to you.”

Because of this, nearly all of students prohibited bodily contact between women and men with some exceptions (e.g. previous age). Watching Khabib preserve this apply, even in public the place it might probably embarrass him and trigger undue unfavourable consideration, provides us all inspiration to cope with this difficulty within the office higher. He encourages us to try for higher tolerance and consciousness of our religion slightly than forcing us to adapt.

12. Not Making a Show of The “Trophy” Spouse

In case you observe Khabib’s Instagram, you gained’t discover lewd pics of him and a major different. In actual fact, you gained’t discover any footage in any respect of him and his spouse. Who she is is a thriller to all. In an age and a sport the place many put up pictures with their romantic companions, Khabib once more is a standout together with his gheerah, his honorable protectiveness for his vital different.

Khabib and his spouse

The Reminder

We’re once more reminded that part of manhood is to have protecting ghayrah, jealousy over one’s partner. Ibn al-Qayyim additionally mentioned, bringing within the idea of chivalry,

“The dayyuth / cuckold is the vilest of Allah’s creation, and Paradise is forbidden for him [because of his lack of ghayrah]. A person must be ‘jealous’ close to his spouse’s honor and standing. He ought to defend her every time she is slandered or spoken sick of behind her again. Truly, it is a proper of each Muslim on the whole, however a proper of the partner particularly. He must also be jealous in not permitting different males to have a look at his spouse or converse together with her in a way which isn’t applicable.”

13. Proudly owning His Errors, Seeking to Be Forgiven

Lastly, it must be famous there is no such thing as a actual scholarly disagreement on prohibiting hanging the face. Recognizing this, Khabib said when requested if “he thinks the AlMighty will likely be happy with him for participating in haram fights for cash,” he replied, “I don’t suppose so.”

In an interview with the LA Occasions, he mentioned:

“You go to mosque as a result of no person’s excellent. All people makes errors, and we have now to ask Allah to forgive us. This is essential mentally, to be clear with Allah. This isn’t in regards to the UFC. There may be nothing else extra necessary to me than being clear with Allah. And being clear with Allah is the No. 1 most arduous factor in life.”

The Reminder

We as human beings aren’t excellent – perfection is just for Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). All of us make errors, generally small, generally giant, however in the long run, He subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is able to forgive us if we’re prepared to acknowledge our failings and ask to be forgiven. Allah says within the Qur’an in 2:222:

“Allah loves those that at all times flip to Him in repentance and those that purify themselves.”

There are not any sins so nice that redemption is past any of us. No matter Khabib’s flaws, his worth as a constructive change maker and faith-based position mannequin globally outweighs his negatives.

A part of in search of forgiveness is the method, and the primary a part of that course of is acknowledging the error. This implies not being in denial about it or not justifying it, simply proudly owning it. As Khabib has owned his mistake publicly, there is no such thing as a want for us to try to justify it both.

We will personal that there are issues with MMA and the trade, in taking part in addition to watching and supporting. On the similar time, we will do as Dr Hatem al-Hajj mentioned about Muhammad Ali:

Concluding Ideas

Whereas UFC pundits will eternally debate over the best of all time, there’s unsure that Khabib Nurmogomedov, the primary Muslim UFC champion, will at all times be our GOAT.

I ask that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) accepts the great from what Khabib has performed, rewards him tremendously for the inspiration he’s given us all to higher centered on the akhirah, the following life, and continues to make him a robust sports activities icon who makes use of his platform as Muhammad Ali did to show Islam and exemplify it in one of the best ways for all of us to learn and observe.


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