NFL players Hamza and Husain Abdullah might be best known for training while still observing a pillar of their Islamic Faith, fasting during the month of Ramadan, which coincides with the NFL training camp each year.
This year, the Muslim brothers will put their NFL careers on hold to observe another pillar of their faith, the pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj) taking place during the 2012 NFL Season.
In preparation of their pilgrimage, the Abdullah brothers have arranged a “30 Mosques in 30 Days” tour to take place during Ramadan, which begins on or about July 20. During Ramadan, Hamza and Husain will travel across North America to promote interfaith dialogue and to deconstruct the negative connotations often associated with Islam.
In this interview with CNN, Minnesota Vikings’ Husain Abdullah explains how he trains during Ramadan, while fasting from sunrise until sunset.
The brothers plan to have “Iftar,” the Ramadan fast-breaking meal, in a different mosque every night during the month. They will also speak about fasting and its impact on athletes – focusing on the importance of hydration and nutrition during Ramadan. They will also reach out to people of other faiths to challenge misconceptions about Islam.
Following their nationwide tour, the Abdullah brothers will travel to Mecca to participate in the Hajj.
When asked about their decision to postpone their NFL careers to fulfill their religious obligations, Hamza stated “It has been a blessing to play in the NFL for both Husain and I, but we would be remiss if we didn’t give thanks to the One who made it all possible.”
Husain echoed his brother’s statement, “I visited Makkah, Saudi Arabia in March and a strong sense of urgency overcame me to attend ‘Hajj’ in October. I love the game of football but, it would directly coincide with my pilgrimage. So, I’m taking some time off.”
Respecting the game and business of the NFL and what their careers have brought to their families, both Hamza and Husain hope to return to the game of football following their Hajj, but understand that their NFL opportunities may be limited.