Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Revert Nathan Ellington

Asalamu Alaykom,



Meet Nathan Ellington.  He's a Muslim man now but he wasn't always.  He's a revert.  We don't say, "convert" because that means to change to something new.  We say, "revert," because essentially he's going back to follow the way God intended for him. 

This British soccer player first learned about Islam in 2004 from his brother Jason, who had  reverted.  Later, Nathan would met and marry his Bosnian-born wife Alma, who was also Muslim.  With two of the most important people in his life following Islam, Nathan then explored and accepted Islam for himself.  Alhumdulillah.  I first learned about him when I was researching my post Fast or Be Fast:  Muslim Athletes During Ramadan

He has been striving to fulfill both the professional and spiritual sides of his life. For him, he is blending the two on his website The Association of Muslim Footballers.  The site is due to go live before Eid, inshahallah.

He is not shy to discuss his life.  Click here to read more about his life as a Muslim pro-athlete in England.  It's an interview he did with the Daily Mail in 2007.  The Headline?  "I Pray Five Times a Day, the Boys Call Me Beardo...I'll Live with It"

Leading up to Ramadan, he gave an interview from which I have been given this excerpt:

QUESTION:  Why do Muslim footballers or even athletes find themselves in a 'dilemma' during this month? Is the month a setback for them?  Why do you think some Muslim footballers are willing to fast while they play the football matches?  Won't their performance and concentration be decreased?  What drives them to do it?

NATHAN'S ANSWER:  It is a shame that it is a dilemma for many of us, it really should not be. The ruling is very clear on this issue really. I think many of the Muslim sporting and non-sporting people alike have a choice to make: are we going to submit to laws of Allah or disobey him?

It all depends on ones tawwakul; trust in Allah. We all should know that it is obligatory for us all to fast every single day of Ramadan (unless we are able to take advantage of any of the provisions which Allah has set). So the only time which I can identify which would coincide with football is when we are in the state of the traveller (away matches). Then and only then should we have the choice to fast or to miss that day and make it up after Ramadan. 

Its unfortunate but many of us prioritise our work ahead of Allah's command, and to be honest I have personally suffered from this fitnah; or trial, since becoming a Muslim. It was in fear that it will hamper my performance too much, or cause a negative reaction from the manager (who would be aware that I am fasting and then use that as an excuse not to involve me in games). I knew that I had to build on my level of imaan; level of faith. Alhamdullah, over the years, I have gradually become stronger in this area of my religion, and this year I intend to fast everyday of Ramadan. 

I feel that Allah has answered my duas and made it easy for me to handle whilst playing games. I feel I have now reached the point where I would never consider putting anything before my obligation of fasting in Ramadan. I had a year where I fasted whilst playing matches and there was no difference in my performances at all. My teammates even noticed that I was playing better than before. One of the players gave me a huge compliment when he asked if I could fast for every game because I was playing so well.

On the other hand I have also had a manager who has told me that it plays a massive part on his selection of me because I am fasting. He believes that it must have an effect on my stamina and energy levels. I believe that if you; have the correct intention, wake up fourty-five minutes before fajr to have a good suhoor; pre-dawn breakfast, and refuel with the correct foods and keep hydrated, that will be enough for you to comfortably make it through the day inshallah.

So for me I have decided that I will put all my trust in Allah and fast every day and whatever happens, happens for the good even if I myself can not see it. As long as I please my Creator and put him first then He will put the satisfaction of me into the hearts of people.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Asalamalaykum

I really enjoyed reading this thank you so much for posting. Keep up the good work I look forward to your daily Ramadan posts.

Semolina

egyptchick7 said...

Pretty awesome post and timely...Although tommorrow I am not playing a spot (Ha!), I am taking two very difficult finals...I was thinking about not fasting but knew I should regardless of tests...And so I will fast tomm, Inshallah.

Yosra said...

Wa Alaykom Asalam Semolina,

Thanks for giving a shout out. It's nice to know who is here and what's making a difference.

Alhumdulillah that there is such a good role model as Nathan Ellington.

Asalamu Alaykom EgyptChick,

I timed this perfectly, right?! Nahhh, not me. I just put it up and subhanallah it was from Allah that the timing was when you needed to see it. Alhumdulillah. Honestly? If we don't open up to receiving the word, then we simply don't. You were open, you got it, and now inshahallah you'll have more resolve to stick to your faith during those exams.

Actually, if everyone reading your comment could make du'a for you that would be an ADDED bonus. So, let's ask Allah that our sister does well on her tests YA RAB :)