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Meet the Muslim Athletes Who Inspire Us To Ditch The Internet and Get Fit

Credit: @zeina.boxer

Here at Ummahsonic, we spend a lot of time trawling the internet on our never-ending mission to bring you the best stories about Islam and great Muslims.

It’s an important job. And very often a fun one. Sometimes it even lets us leave the office and speak to awesome people face to face. However, our ferocious love of memes and other digital ephemera that only exists online ensures we come racing back to the screen.

As such, we’ve been neglecting our human desire to move, to exercise, to run, to dance…to LIVE. So we really need something to motivate us again. Perhaps some sort of day dedicated to such physical pursuits. Possibly a day recognised across the nation. On an annual basis.

Luckily, 26 September will see the UK mark National Fitness Day 2018. To get us in the mood to move more than our mouse, we’re taking a look at a few Muslim athletes who will inspire us (and you!) to lace up those trainers and flood our bods with endorphins. Go!

Zeina Nassar

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Just do it 🔥

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Zeina Nassar is a boxer from Berlin, Germany. The 20-year-old, whose parents hail from Lebanon, wears a hijab when she’s in the ring. Like many awesome hijabi athletes, she had to fight for her right to honour her faith while competing.

With her coach in her corner, Nasser successfully challenged a rule that outlawed hijabs in the boxing ring. She considers the moment to be one of her greatest achievements “This was probably the most important triumph of my entire career,” she told Material Magazine. “Something that, even now, years later, keeps me passionate and lends me the strength I need to push through and overcome every obstacle.”

Pretty impressive really, when you consider the fact that she’s also five time Berlin Boxing Champion and the 2018 German Champion.

Nasser recently starred in Nike’s latest ‘Just Do It’ campaign, alongside Colin Kaepernick, which you can check out in the video below:

 

Khabib Nurmagomedov

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💦⚔️ #hardwork

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Khabib Nurmagomedov is a UFC fighter from the Dagestan region of Russia. When we first told you about him almost two years ago, he was something of an up-and-coming fighter (albeit an undefeated one).

Khabib was clearly on to big things, his talents only matched by his devotion to his faith – he had previously made headlines for declining bouts as he was observing Ramadan.

Fast forward to 2018, Khabib is still undefeated and he’s now set to defend his UFC lightweight title against Conor McGregor at UFC 229 on October 6 in Las Vegas.

That’s going to be an incredible contest, to say the least. But whatever the result, Khabib proves that faith can help you reach the pinnacle of your chosen sport

Ramadan Midnight League

 

Last year, Birmingham local Obayed Hussain came up with a unique idea for a football competition. With the help of Aston Villa and the city of Birmingham’s football association, he launched the region’s first ever Ramadan football league.

The Ramadan Midnight League hosts matches between midnight and 2am over the course of the Holy Month to allow those observing the fast to still play football with some fuel in their stomach.

Ramadan 2018 saw the league complete its second season. Along with giving Muslim footballers the chance to perform at their highest level while fasting, the league serves another purpose.

Speaking to the Guardian earlier this summer, Hussain said the league challenges “negative stereotypes we see in the media about Muslims not integrating with society”. He adds: “I thought it would be a great opportunity to say we as Muslims are just as interested in football as anyone else in England. We’re playing at midnight; football means that much to us.”

The positive aspects don’t end there.

“Although it’s called the Ramadan league, you can see people from lots of different backgrounds here,” said Kiyam Hussain, whose wonderfully named team, Real Aston, won the league last year. “It’s a really good opportunity for communities to get together. It’s only for a couple of hours a week but it gives people a lot of joy for those hours.”

If that doesn’t inspire us all to get exercising on National Fitness Day, we don’t know what will.

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