Why should I live in India if I need permission for ‘sajda’: Mohammad Shami

Muslim Indian cricketer breaks silence over on-field prostration during World Cup match

A collage of Indian pacer Mohammad Shami speaking at a show and a still taken from a video from a World Cup match. — X/@sports_tak

Muslims in India face several difficulties and restrictions in practising their religion due to the far-right Hindu nationalist policies and the cricketers from the community are no exception.

Being a Muslim, Indian fast bowler Mohammad Shami had once faced online ire following the Men in Blues’ defeat to Pakistan in T20 World Cup 2021.

However, he got his honour back by becoming the top wicket-taker after taking 24 wickets at an astounding average of 10.70 in just seven matches in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023.

Yet, he couldn’t duck a controversy when he apparently seen abstaining from making a “sajda” (prostrating) as he celebrated a splendid five-wicket haul in the match against Sri Lanka in Mumbai.

He was seen reverently bowing down to express gratitude to God, but stopped midway and refrained from placing his head on the ground, going back to the sitting position.

The issue went viral on social media with the netizens coming up with different comments on the matter.

However, speaking to Indian journalist Vikrant Gupta at a recent event, Shami broke the silence on the issue and said that he is a proud Indian Muslim.

“No one could have stopped me if I wanted to perform sajda,” he said, adding that he has never celebrated this way.

He asked what was wrong with him prostrating on the field.

“If I have to get someone’s permission to make a sajda then why should I live in this country,” he added.

It may be noted that some Indians made a big deal about Pakistani wicket-keeper batter Mohammad Rizwan praying on the field during the World Cup matches.

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