Paul Pogba has revealed that he was ‘questioning myself over a lot of things’ before turning to Islam and becoming ‘more peaceful inside’.
The Manchester United star, who last month made a pilgrimage to Mecca during the holy month of Ramadan, wasn’t raised as a Muslim, despite his mother practising Islam.
But after going through a difficult period, Pogba decided to research the religion and follow a number of his friends by turning to the faith.
The midfielder, who remains a transfer target for Real Madrid this summer, credits the decision with helping to make him a better person.
Asked what being a Muslim meant to him, during an interview for The Times’ new Life Times podcast, Pogba said: ‘It’s everything. That’s what makes me thankful for everything.
‘It made me change, realise things in life. I guess, maybe, it makes me more peaceful inside.
‘It was a good change in my life because I wasn’t born a Muslim, even if my mum was. I just grew up like that, respect for everyone.
‘Islam is not the image that everyone sees – terrorism… What we hear in the media is really something else. (Islam is) something beautiful.
‘You get to know it. Anybody can find that he feels connected with Islam.’
After completing a disappointing season with United, Pogba – along with Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma – made the pilgrimage to Mecca last month.
Once a year, more than two million Muslims make the journey, known as Hajj, to stand before the holy building of the Kaaba in the Saudi Arabian city and praise Allah.
Pogba’s most recent visit to Mecca was not his first, but it remains a far cry from the lively visits to Los Angeles he enjoyed with Romelu Lukaku in both 2016 and 2017. Lukaku was arrested and given a ‘misdemeanour citation’ following a string of noise complaints as he hosted a party in their rented Beverly Hills mansion.
Asked why he decided to become a Muslim in his twenties, Pogba, who doesn’t drink and now has a baby with girlfriend Maria Salaues, said: ‘It came because I have a lot of friends who are Muslim. We always talk.
‘I was questioning myself in a lot of things, then I started doing my own research. I prayed once with my friends and I felt something different. I felt really good.
‘Since that day I just carried on. You have to pray five times a day, that’s one of the pillars of Islam. It’s something that you do.
‘The meaning why you do it – you ask forgiveness and be thankful for everything you have, like my health and everything.
It’s really a religion that opened my mind and that makes me, maybe, a better person. You think more about the afterlife.
‘This life has a test. Like when I’m with you, here. Even if you’re not a Muslim, you are a normal human. You have a human relationship and respect you for who you are, what religion you are, what colour and everything.
‘Islam is just this – respect of the humanity and everything.’
Credits: Daily Mail