OpEd: Muslims Connect Over ImamConnect

Many followers anxiously watched UFC 254 with bated breath as Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov went head-to-head with Justin “The human highlight reel” Gaethje. The latter had simply come off a spectacular TKO win towards 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 photographs and crippling low kicks.

We all knew what each would do – Khabib would go for the takedown, and Gaethje would attempt to preserve the struggle on the ft and go for stand-up putting – which fighter’s technique would prevail? Alhamdulillah, it was Khabib, in a mere 2 rounds.  We weren’t within the struggle, 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 struggle after the lack of his father resulting from 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 happy with him.

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We had been all certain when “The Eagle” bought on the mic, he would say he needed to struggle GSP, George St Pierre, after which retire 30-0, as he had stated in earlier press conferences main as much as the struggle.  Instead, he stunned us all by asserting his retirement at 29-0, and I couldn’t assist however marvel that not solely was he turning away from a profitable remaining struggle, however the way in which through which 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 indeed, the reminder benefits the believers.”

Throughout 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 have a look at a couple of of the methods he did this:

1. Beginning 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 once again…your thoughts on an epic championship performance, congratulations.” Khabib didn’t instantly start speaking about himself. Instead, he stated:

“Alhamdulillah, SubhanAllah, God give me everything…”

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 Praise Belongs to God”. Khabib begins by thanking Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), declaring that his abilities and talents are a present, a blessing from the Most High. When now we have 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 skills, 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

If 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 stuff you see are from me – they’re from Allah above.

2. The Prostration of Thankfulness – Sajdat al-Shukr

You might have observed 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 advisable when somebody receives one thing helpful (eg excellent news, wealth, and many others) or in the event that they averted one thing doubtlessly dangerous (e.g. job loss, therapeutic from a illness, and many others). The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) would do that when he acquired excellent news. The believer ought to keep in mind to be grateful to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) as a lot as they’ll.

See additionally:

3. Establishing the 5 Daily 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 Lightweight championship belt, at the moment held by Tony Ferguson.

He did a Q & A with the group, and somebody requested him a normal query about what he would suggest for the youth.  He stated, and I’m paraphrasing:

Take care of your prayers, for those who come to Day of Judgment not care for your prayers, on that day you may be smashed.

The Reminder

The second pillar of Islam that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has commanded us to comply with is to hope to Him 5 occasions day by day. Khabib was little question referencing the next assertion of the Prophet (noticed):

“The first action for which a servant of Allah will be held accountable on the Day of Resurrection will be his prayers. If they are in order, he will have prospered and succeeded. If they are lacking, he will have failed and lost…”

 

 

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 group, Allah informed the Prophet to face and pray. The purpose for it’s because after we are weak and struggling, the place to show to for energy is again to Allah in prayer. There is little question Khabib’s energy got here from his connection to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) which in flip got here from his 5 day by day prayers.

Praying a number of occasions day by day, persistently, might 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) stored telling him to return and ask Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) for a discount, saying, “Your people will not be able to handle it.”

Khabib is a good reminder that irrespective of how excessive you climb in life and profession, irrespective 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. Strong Wrestling Game

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

In a sport that sees way more putting and kicking than it does wrestling, Khabib got here to dominate the light-weight division of the UFC with a powerful grappling model 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.

During his fights, he doesn’t shut out his bouts by pummeling his opponents and inflicting them injury 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 nice nap, versus putting, which may 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 occasions, physique slamming him many times. It was stated that after the conquest of Makkah, Rukanah accepted Islam.

5. Fighting / Training by means of Sickness and Injury

During the post-fight press convention with UFC President Dana White, it was revealed that Khabib had damaged certainly one of his toes Three weeks earlier than the struggle. Prior to that, he had taken two weeks off upon arriving at Fight Island having contracted mumps, in line with AKA coach and coach Javier Mendez. Khabib is quoted as having informed Mendez, “My toe may be broken, but my mind is not.” In addition to this, his father had simply handed away months earlier, and this could be his first struggle with out his father current.

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

The Reminder

In addition, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) has informed us, “A strong believer is better and is more beloved to Allah than a weak believer, and there is good in everyone…” This energy contains energy 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. We all knew his father’s loss of life weighed closely on his thoughts and his coronary heart, and this was his first struggle with out him. His father was his mentor and coach, whom everybody may clearly see he each liked and drastically revered.

In the post-fight query and reply with Dustin Poirier, Khabib was requested, “What’s your message for your young fans out there who look up to you so much?” he responded:

“Respect your parents, be close with your parents, this is very important. Parents everything, you know, your mother, your father, and that’s it, and everything in your life is going to be good, if you’re going to listen to your parents, mother, father, be very close with them, and other things come because your parents gonna teach 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 need to worship none however Him, and that you simply be variety 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 communicate to them respectfully. [17:23]

7. Relationship With His Mother

Our mother and father finally need us to succeed, but additionally need us to keep up our well-being. Without 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 dialogue, Khabib gave his phrase to her that this could be his remaining struggle. 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 is most deserving of my good company?” The Prophet stated, “Your mother.” The man requested, “Then who?” He (noticed) stated “Your mother.” The man requested once more, “Then who?” The Prophet once more stated, “Your mother.” The man requested once more, “Then who?” The Prophet lastly stated, “Your father.”

Khabib simply had thousands and 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 joyful. This is true respect and obedience, and for that matter, the love of a mom for her son and his well-being over financial positive factors.

8. Respect for Muhammad Ali

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

The Reminder

In his remaining sermon, Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) stated, “There is no superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab, or of a non-Arab over an Arab, and no superiority of a white person over a black person or of a black person over a white person, except on the basis of personal piety and righteousness.”

From the seventh century till at the moment, our religion acknowledges that individuals are not judged by their race, however by their actions and the intentions behind these actions. In 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 Other Fighters

With the exception of the struggle with Conor McGregor, Khabib all the time 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 recognized for heavy trash speaking and showboating to construct hype, Khabib stored 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) stated:

“The only reason I have been sent is to perfect good manners.”

Maintaining 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. Fighting Those Who Dishonor Faith and Family

As talked about above, Khabib is understood for being very respectful of his opponents throughout press conferences. He speaks nicely of their strengths, shakes their arms, hugs them; he even runs as much as his opponent after a struggle and hugs them, consoling them and wishing them nicely. After his win towards 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 vanity represented by Conor. We desperately needed Khabib to maul the mouthy McGregor. The latter had gone after his household, his religion, his nationality, something and every little thing to hype up the struggle and attempt to get below the champ’s pores and skin. Some folks lose their calm, and others, nicely, they eat you alive.

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

The Reminder

When our religion and household is spoken of in an unwell vogue, it’s not acceptable that we sit there and take it. Khabib by no means cared when it was criticism towards 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 ought to attempt ourselves to take the struggle again to them by no matter authorized means crucial, 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 towards Muslims.

11. Shaking Hands and Training with Women

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

Extended to that is much more critical bodily contact like coaching on the health club. Cynthia Calvillo, certainly one of Khabib’s teammates at AKA health club, stated the next about Khabib and his unit:

“It’s a little bit weird because of their religion and stuff…They don’t talk to women you know. I mean we say ‘hi’ to each other but we can’t train with them. They won’t train with women…I don’t think any other woman does.

The Reminder

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

“It is better for you to be stabbed in the head with an iron needle than to touch the hand of a woman who is impermissible to you.”

For this purpose, the vast majority of students prohibited bodily contact between women and men with some exceptions (e.g. previous age). Watching Khabib preserve this observe, even in public the place it may doubtlessly embarrass him and trigger undue unfavorable consideration, provides us all inspiration to take care of this problem within the office higher. He encourages us to attempt for higher tolerance and consciousness of our religion slightly than forcing us to adapt.

12. Not Making a Display of The “Trophy” Wife

If you comply with Khabib’s Instagram, you gained’t discover lewd pics of him and a major different. In truth, you gained’t discover any photos 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 publish photographs with their romantic companions, Khabib once more is a standout together with his gheerah, his honorable protectiveness for his important different.

Khabib and his spouse

The Reminder

We are once more reminded that part of manhood is to have protecting ghayrah, jealousy over one’s partner. Ibn al-Qayyim additionally stated, 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 man should be ‘jealous’ with regards to his wife’s honor and standing. He should defend her whenever she is slandered or spoken ill of behind her back. Actually, this is a right of every Muslim in general, but a right of the spouse specifically. He should also be jealous in not allowing other men to look at his wife or speak with her in a manner which is not appropriate.”

13. Owning His Mistakes, Looking to Be Forgiven

Finally, it needs to be famous there isn’t a actual scholarly disagreement on prohibiting putting the face. Recognizing this, Khabib acknowledged when requested if “he thinks the AlMighty will be satisfied with him for taking part in haram fights for money,” he replied, “I don’t think so.”

In an interview with the LA Times, he stated:

“You go to mosque because nobody’s perfect. Everybody makes mistakes, and we have to ask Allah to forgive us. This is very important mentally, to be clear with Allah. This is not about the UFC. There is nothing else more important to me than being clear with Allah. And being clear with Allah is the No. 1 most hard thing 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). We all make errors, typically small, typically massive, however in the long run, He subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is able to forgive us if we’re keen to acknowledge our failings and ask to be forgiven.  Allah says within the Qur’an in 2:222:

“Allah loves those who always turn to Him in repentance and those who purify themselves.”

There are not any sins so nice that redemption is past any of us. Whatever Khabib’s flaws, his worth as a optimistic change maker and faith-based position mannequin globally outweighs his negatives.

Part of looking for forgiveness is the method, and the primary a part of that course of is acknowledging the error. This means not being in denial about it or not justifying it, simply proudly owning it. As Khabib has owned his mistake publicly, there isn’t a want for us to try to justify it both.

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

Concluding Thoughts

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

I ask that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) accepts the nice from what Khabib has completed, 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 comply with.

Ameen.

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