Former Premier League super striker Frederic Kanouté has volunteered to help a disabled British Muslim man pay his extra care to ensure he can properly observe the holy month of Ramadan.
"I feel very humbled that someone like Freddie Kanouté has been moved by my story,” Imraan Adam, a Muslim man with cerebral palsy, told Derby Telegraph on Tuesday, July 9.
"I feel very lucky to be able to fast again this year. As Muslims we all part of the Muslim family and our relationship is very special.
"It is very reassuring that there are people out there who care and will help out."
Adam, who has recently gained a first-class journalism degree from the University of Derby, has started fasting since he was 10.
But the disabled man needs support to eat, drink and pray in the early hours of the morning before fasting during daylight.
"I can't do anything with my hands and I need to be physically fed. It means I have to come up with the money myself - or I can't fast."
Adam has asked for modifying his care hours to start two hours earlier to allow him a pre-dawn meal, suhur.
The modification would have cost Derby City Council an extra £30 a day for two hours additional daily support, which they say they just cannot afford.
Made aware of the situation by the Association of Muslim Footballers, Muslim Kanouté decided to offer help to Adams.
“I need contact of br Imraan Adam from Derby. I want to pay for his extra care during Ramadan to help him fast," he tweeted on Monday.
In Ramadan, adult Muslims abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset. The sick and those traveling are exempt from fasting especially if it poses health risks.
Fasting is meant to teach Muslims patience, self-control and spirituality, and time during the holy month is dedicated for getting closer to Allah though prayers, reading the Noble Qur’an and good deeds.
In Ramadan, Muslims dedicate their time during the holy month to be closer to Allah through prayers, self-restraint and good deeds. The majority of Muslims prefer to pay Zakah for the poor and needy during the month.
Month of Charity
The super star footballer said that helping the less fortunate was a key teaching in Islam, especially during Ramadan.
"Ramadan is a month of charity for Muslims and helping someone fast is encouraged by the Islamic faith,” the Malian striker said.
"Helping the less fortunate is a key part of Ramadan. Despite his disability, Imraan Adam wants to fast and now he can. Sometimes people need a little helping hand and I'm happy to help."
The money to help Adam has been donated from the footballer's charity, the Kanouté Foundation.
Kanouté began his playing career with Lyon before moving to West Ham in 2000. He then played for Tottenham Hotspur and Sevilla, in Spain.
He is known to be an observing Muslim who regularly performs his prayers even in the locker room.
In 2008, he refused to wear a jersey advertising for an internet gambling site because gambling is forbidden in Islam. His team had to give him a brand-free jersey until he accepted wearing the sponsored jersey in return for money to an Islamic charity.
In 2007, he saved the only mosque in the southern Spanish city of Seville from closure.
Kanouté paid 510,860 euros (some $700,000) so that fellow Muslims in Seville would not find themselves without a mosque. He has created a foundation in his motherland Mali to help orphans.