Commitment to Faith: Abdullah Brothers Put NFL Career on Hold for Islamic Duties

Hamza AhsanCorrespondent IJune 22, 2012

NFL safeties and brothers Hamza and Husain Abdullah are widely known for their commitment to Islam because of fasting during the month of Ramadan while training for the upcoming football season.

During this upcoming Ramadan, the brothers will be going through a similar commitment to their religion, but this time without the NFL season because both brothers will be placing their NFL careers on hold in order to complete the required Muslim pilgrimage of "Hajj."

"I visited Makkah, Saudi Arabia in March and a strong sense of urgency overcame me to attend 'Hajj' in October," Husain said in a press release (from "I love the game of football, but it would directly coincide with my pilgrimage. So, I'm taking some time off."

The brothers—both free agents—had decided that they were going to spend training camp this year completing the holy month of Ramadan at a new mosque every day for the whole 30-day period. During these 30 days, they will share the special "Iftar"—or fast breaking meal—at the new mosque, as well as going around the country speaking about fasting and its impact on athletes. The main focus will be on the importance of hydration and nutrition during Ramadan. Also, they will also reach out to people of other faiths to challenge misconceptions about Islam on their trip.

Both brothers have been role models to the Muslim community for the past few years and have arguably been the biggest influences to Muslim youth around America since Hall of Fame basketball player Hakeem Olajuwon.

A reason for the sudden NFL career hold might have been Husain's concussion issues in the past. He has had four games where he has suffered a concussion, including one in his ninth game of the 2011 season, which forced him to sit out the rest of the year.

Hamza was a special teams sensation for the Arizona Cardinals this season and even landed a spot on Football Outsiders' list of the top special teams tackles in 2011.

Both Hamza and Husain do have hopes of coming back for the 2013 NFL season but both are aware of the negatives a year off can have on their potential return. 

Although it might seem like an odd idea to some, their own teammates respect their journey and fully support them throughout it.

All-Pro wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald wrote to Hamza: " I'm happy for you my friend. You will be missed."

"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," Hamza said.

For more information, and if you would like to follow and donate to the brothers' journey, visit their site at