Springbok lock Salmaan Moerat makes special Ramadan trip to Mecca to mentally cope with injury

FILE - Salmaan Moerat Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

FILE - Salmaan Moerat Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Published Apr 12, 2023


Johannesburg - When Springbok and Stormers forward Salmaan Moerat tore his anterior cruciate ligament last December that ruled him out of the entire United Rugby Championship and put his place in jeopardy for the Rugby World Cup later this year, he thought his entire world had come crashing down.

But the towering 25-year-old, who is a devout Muslim, put his faith in the higher powers and has instead opted to undertake a spiritual journey to the Saudi Arabian’s cities of Mecca and Medina during the current holy month of Ramadan.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim lunar year where fasting is observed from an hour before sunrise to sunset, which includes no drinking of water and intake of food of any kind.

Moerat has just completed his “Umrah” - which is a non-obligatory pilgrimage - along with his wife Haanim. He had previously undertaken the obligatory “Hajj” pilgrimage to Mecca back in 2019 with his parents Gayatunisa and Nazeem.

Having played two Tests for the Boks last year, and being a pivotal member of the Stormers squad as one of the captains, Moerat needed time to process the extent of his injury.

In an emotional post on Instagram, Moerat explains how undertaking an “Umrah” has helped him mentally.

“Alhumdullilha (Praise be to God) for everything. These past couple of days have been nothing short of amazing and with each day that passes, I feel both grateful and sad. Grateful we are here, sad that it has to end,” he posted.

“When the injury happened I was really torn between acceptance and mourning. I think for the most part I was trying to convince myself I was ok. But then, when booking and confirming our Umrah, I came to the realisation that this injury was a dua answered: it has always been a longing of mine to complete an umrah during the Holy Month of Ramadan, and inshallah that will shortly become a reality - all because of this injury.

“Sometimes when “bad” things happen, we think Allah is unhappy with us. But when we look deep within, we will find that there are no “bad” things that happen - only events that will bring us closer to Him. Once we become receptive to this, every event that occurs will be a means of gaining closeness to him and increasing us in our faith. (Ameen).

“Allah answers your duahs. They just might not be what you pictured. But Alhumdullilha, for he is the best of planners.”

Fellow sports stars such as former New Zealand utility back Sonny Bill Williams and France’s Fifa World Cup-winning midfielder Paul Pogba have all undertaken the Umrah previously.