Seeing Makkah as a river where Muslims get purified, former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, one of the world’s most popular Muslim athletes, travelled to Makkah this week to perform Umrah in his annual visit to the holy city.
Last year he took a trip to Makkah in November and this year he has made the journey slightly earlier, Asian MMA reported.
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“For me, Makkah is like a river, where you can take a bath and get pure. After all, all servants of Almighty need purification of soul more than anything else. May Allah forgive us and guide us to the right path,” he wrote on Instagram.
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Nurmagomedov or ‘Habib Abdulmanap Nur Mohamed’ in Arabic is not only the UFC’s first Muslim champion, but he holds the longest undefeated streak in MMA with 29 wins.
In October 2019, he said that Allah “the Almighty” would not look approvingly on his violence in the octagon.
Earlier in April 2018 Nurmagomedov explained that “there is nothing else more important to me than being clear with Allah. And being clear with Allah is the No.1 hardest thing in life.”
He retired in October 2020, a few months after the death of his father to coronavirus.
He currently coaches Islam Makhachev who will challenge Charles Oliveira for the vacant lightweight title at UFC 280 next month.
Umrah is called the minor or lesser pilgrimage because unlike Hajj it’s not compulsory. Although they share common rites, Umrah can be performed in a few hours and involves fewer rituals.
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Several Muslim sports celebrities have performed Umrah recently.
Liverpool Muslim superstar Mohamed Salah performed Umrah pilgrimage to Makkah in July 2019.
In May 2019, Manchester United star Paul Pogba performed Umrah to mark the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramad