Playing sports has benefits across the board: on the player’s mental and physical health, on channeling the youth in positive activities and curbing risky behaviors, and improving societies and communities as a whole, with added economic revenue as well.

Physical activity, which of course includes playing sports, is linked to reduced risk of over 20 illnesses, including cardiovascular disease and some cancers. Islam emphasizes the importance of taking care of one’s physical, mental, and spiritual health, and becoming more active is one way of staying healthy.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “A strong believer is better and is more lovable to Allah than a weak believer, and there is good in everyone, (but) cherish that which gives you benefit (in the Hereafter) and seek help from Allah and do not lose heart, and if anything (in the form of trouble) comes to you, don’t say: If I had not done that, it would not have happened so and so, but say: Allah did that what He had ordained to do and your “if” opens the (gate) for the Satan.” (Sahih Muslim)

There has been noticeable movement in the Kingdom towards encouraging sports and physical activity among boys and girls, and still more needs to be done. Budding soccer players have a talented Muslim professional soccer player to look up to. We should encourage them to write Salah on their jerseys rather than Messi or Renaldo. Salah is often seen celebrating goals he scores by performing the sujood, prostration.

Mohamed Salah Ghaly is nothing short of a rising soccer star and he’s Muslim. He plays as a forward for Liverpool and the Egyptian national team.

Salah started his career in his home country with the club El Mokawloon then transferred to FC Basel in 2012, then he played for Chelsea, Fiorentina, and for Roma before transferring to Liverpool in 2017.

He won bronze medal in Africa U-20 Cup of Nations, he also participated in the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup, the 2012 Summer Olympics, and CAF Cup of Nations 2017. It was Salah who scored the goal in the final minutes of the decisive game against Congo that qualified the Egypt national team to play later this year in the 2018 FIFA World Cup. It will be the first time for Egypt to qualify for the World Cup in the last 27 years. 

Salah was awarded the CAF Most Promising African Talent of the Year in 2012. In 2013, he was awarded the SAFP Golden Player award for being the best player in the Swiss Super League. In 2017, Salah was named CAF African Footballer of the Year, the BBC African Footballer of the Year, and Premier League Player of the Month (November).

With all those shining awards and trophies attached to his name, Salah is still a humble, down to earth, and soft-spoken guy. In his interviews, he is always soft-spoken, thoughtful, and polite; not boastful or arrogant.

Success never comes easy. Salah has told several interviewers of his early practice routine in Egypt when he was still a school kid. He would leave his house early in the morning for school, go straight to soccer practice after school, and not come home until very late at night.

Described as a quick, mobile, hard-working, and tactical player, Salah is well known for his speed, dribbling skills, ball control, and his ability to use both his pace and flair on the ball in order to beat opponents, and create scoring opportunities for himself or his teammates.

José Mourinho, the manager of Premier League club Manchester United, said of Salah, “He’s young, he’s fast, he’s creative, he’s enthusiastic. When we analyzed him he looks the kind of humble personality on the pitch, ready to work for the team.”

His technical skills, pace, position, and direct playing style have led him to be nicknamed the “Egyptian Messi” by the Italian media.

Salah married Magi in 2013. Together they have a daughter named Makka who was born in 2014 and is named after the holiest city in Islam. Salah speaks three languages: Arabic, English, and Italian. 

The outstanding Egyptian Muslim has proven to be a true inspiration for Liverpool fans who are always singing his praises, and expressing respect and admiration for his faith after each game. Fans have been flooding Twitter with support for Salah after Liverpool’s recent game against Southampton. In the game that ended 3-0 for Liverpool, Salah scored his thirteenth and fourteenth goals for the Reds in just eighteen games.

The result has earned Salah overwhelming support from Liverpool fans, so much so that many have even said they wanted to follow him and become Muslim.