Hajj – the Pilgrimage to Mecca – the Ultimate Sacrifice
Husain, formerly with the Minnesota Vikings, and Hamza, with the Arizona Cardinals, step away from what many boys only dream of - why did they quit the NFL and sacrifice million dollar paychecks to perform the hajj? Hajj – what is the hajj? Many are becoming more acquainted with the “hajj”. Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam – it is a pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca, in Saudi Arabia. It is a requirement on every sane, healthy, male and female adult Muslim once in their lifetimes if they can financially afford the journey. In centuries past, to perform the hajj may have taken pilgrims years just to reach the city of Mecca, due to the modes of transportation available to them. It was a Muslim’s ultimate, and maybe last, life endeavor. Now, in modern times, with our modern transportation, the journey is not so harsh – yet it is still a great endeavor to take upon oneself. This endeavor was achieved this year by two brothers, Hamza and Husain Abdullah, NFL free agents.
Religious pilgrimages not only expend one’s physical efforts, but also one’s wealth and money – for traveling is not cheap. Not only did the Abdullah brothers sacrifice their savings to perform the hajj with their family, but they also gave up their careers, positions in the NFL, and their hefty paychecks in order to complete the hajj. If they are young and have their whole lifetimes to carry out the obligation of hajj – why do it now and risk their careers?
One reason for performing the hajj now, and not later, is that even though the hajj season changes every year (due to the following of the lunar calendar in Islam), the hajj season would fall in football season for the next ten years. Ten years – it may not seem like a long time, but Muslims are also taught that they should fulfill their obligations when they are able to, and not put them off until a later date. After all, who knows how many years one has on this Earth? This is one of the reasons the brothers forsook their current careers.
“It has been a blessing to play in the NFL for both Husain and I,” Hamza said in a statement, “but we would be remiss if we didn’t give thanks to the One who made it all possible.” Added Husain: “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.”
So, here are some others reasons the brothers made this decision – one was to give thanks to God, Allah, for all they have been given by performing their duty to Him, and the other was due to an inner calling to fulfill their obligation. These reasons superceded worldly reasons that would have told the brothers otherwise.
We at HotConflict, have been fortunate enough to not only have performed the pilgrimage, but also to have had the opportunity to have been residents in the Holy City of Makkah. It can be said that Makkah is a transformative city – a place where heaven and Earth interact and are One. It is a Higher calling that is hard to resist – one which the brothers answered with the pilgrim’s cry: