Episode Synopsis:

Bilal, now being a semi professional footballer, but used to be a full time pro at Coventry City for 3 years. His injury caused him to miss the last 3 months of the season which effectively stalled his progress. He dropped into non league football thereafter, but he also has a full time job alongside his football journey.

Faisal and Bilal discuss the nature of how any job can be a bit of a distraction if we let it. But it’s important to find a balance of dunya and aakhirah. Which is why Bilal boldly admits that him being dropped out of the first team was the best thing that could have happened for him in terms of from an Islamic aspect.

Bilal, who has played The Game several times and enjoyed his experiences of it, is questioned by Faisal. “What took you the longest to understand about me?” asks Faisal. Bilal’s initial suspicion of Faisal was how he makes a lot of the conversation about himself. But he doesn’t feel that is actually true at all after listening to more of the episodes as well as getting to know Faisal personally. Faisal admits it hasn’t been easy to make his voice public, but he knows people’s opinions are subjective and he can only control so much with regards to their interpretations. He says he himself has had experiences of assuming certain things about people he followed, but that was actually so far from the truth after he met these people in reality.

There’s something about interacting face to face with a person that builds a connection that can be incredibly influential in learning about their persona. Years ago there was no such thing as being able to interact with anyone virtually. And that eliminated completely the need to assume anything about someone, that in actual fact was probably a false assumption. Faisal shares a beautiful piece of advice he was given by his teacher who said to never feel upset at the things people say about you because Allah did not even reserve that for Him. Allah could have stopped people assuming even about Him, so who are we? Bilal, on the other hand, says he actually pays no attention to what random people think of him.

“Ask me anything – I promise to be vulnerable” reads the card Bilal draws from his stack. Faisal asks him to talk specifically about the impact he wants to leave on others. Bilal says, based on the experiences he’s had in football, he’d never want someone to think that everything is all rosy, or fun and games. He wants to have the impact on someone where there’s more to life than that. And that he doesn’t want people to see footballers as role models. We should be looking at people that have studied the Quran and sunnah. If his future son took a liking to football, he would be encouraging, but his main goal should be the success in the aakhirah. Bilal’s teacher shared some powerful advice related to this. He said the success someone has in this life is the distraction for the afterlife and that is truly the greatest loss.

Faisal asks Bilal, “where do you feel you need the most support?” Bilal answers by saying as the eldest sibling of two brothers and three sisters, he was always the example for his younger siblings. He found it so difficult and felt that he never lived up-to the expectations. He believes he could’ve done with more support in that role.

“What are you not being honest with yourself about?” is the next question drawn for Bilal. Bilal replies by saying he tells himself that he doesn’t have time to memorise more Quran. If he has to really think about it, he can actually put in enough time daily towards putting more effort into Quran memorisation. Faisal shares some tips from Sheikh Jamaal, who says don’t leave Quran for your spare time, rather start with the Quran and then you’ll see the barakah. Bilal’s next question to Faisal is “what about keeping in touch with people do you find the hardest?” Faisal says he’s not so good to end conversations well on WhatsApp. He might even end the conversation in his head and not actually send the message!

Finally, Bilal is asked what win he could really do with right now. Bilal responds saying marriage. He’s wanted to get married from a young age. He is most looking forward to freedom in marriage. Not to say he’s restricted right now, but as the eldest sibling he would really enjoy some time to himself. He also looks forward to being with a best friend always, and having a shoulder to lean on.

It’s only towards the end of the podcast that we actually learn Bilal is half German, and half Algerian! He doesn’t speak German, but fun fact, Faisal has an entry level qualification in the German language. Not that he can recall much right now. He also can converse in Arabic too, badly in his opinion, but he can.

And to wrap up The Game and the episode, Bilal wants to know from Faisal, “what are you avoiding and why?” Faisal shares that he has an ankle injury from 6 weeks ago during football. He’s felt the pain more recently, but can’t get himself to go to the doctors. But, fear not, his appointment with the doctor would have just happened by the time this episode airs.

To end the episode, Faisal let’s us into a little secret that for episode 250, there might be a little something special coming up for us. Keep an eye out on FG’s social media platforms to hear more.