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How Muslims should relate with sporting activities

By Shakirah Adunola
25 November 2022   |   4:08 am
In view of the controversies trailing the participation of Muslims in soccer tournament or hosting the game or being a sporting club fan, Muslim scholars have examined the Islamic perspectives, benefits and limitations to Muslims.

Saudi Arabian players observing Sujuud Shukrah (Appreciation prostration) to thank Allah for their victory over Argentina. Saudi team defeated Lionel Messi-led Argentina 2-1 in their group’s opening match at the ongoing FIFA World Cup in Qatar

In view of the controversies trailing the participation of Muslims in soccer tournament or hosting the game or being a sporting club fan, Muslim scholars have examined the Islamic perspectives, benefits and limitations to Muslims.

Islam encourages Muslims to practice sports as a means of maintaining physical fitness, for a sound mind is in a sound body. Supporting a certain team or being a club’s fan is something that has been in practice since time immemorial, so it cannot be termed as vogue.

In an interview with The Guardian, The Chief Missioner of Nasrul-Lahi-l-Fatih Society (NASFAT), Imam Abdul-Azeez Onike said Islam places a premium on living a healthy life and being strong which is one of the end products of engaging in sporting activities.

“There is so much scriptural evidence that points to this assertion: The Noble Prophet Muhammad (SAW) says, “Teach your children swimming, archery and horse-riding. A strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than a weak one.”

According to him, Muslims are not expected to always to wear mournful looks and be fully unconscious of this world, without neglecting the hereafter of course.

He added that there are some etiquettes to be observed while engaging in sporting activities according to Islam online.

“Islam does not allow matches or games that involve both sexes, in a way that opens channels for seduction, temptation and corruption.

Islam rejects all games and sports that stir sexual urges or encourages moral perversion such as women practicing dancing and being watched by the public. A Muslim is not permitted to give himself loose rein in practicing sports in a way that involves inflicting harm on others. Such as practicing sports in crowded streets, thus causing traffic jams is not permitted.

“A Muslim should not occupy himself with sports to the extent of neglecting religious and other duties, While practising sports, there should be no room for foul words, bad behaviour or slandering, blind fanaticism in favour or against a team has nothing to do with Islam, for this really contradicts the Islamic teachings calling for unity and love and males are to practise sports that suit their nature and vice versa. In Islam, females are not allowed to practise sports that are suited for men.”

He urged Muslims not to neglect their Solat during the ongoing world Cup as the host country Qatar makes arrangements for Solat.

“As the world is focusing on the World Cup tournament tagged, Qatar 2022, Muslims should not neglect Solat or engage in activities that run contrary to the Qur’an and Sunnah, such as betting, intermingling between opposite sexes and others. Also, do not let your love for your preferred football team implant hatred of fellow beings in your hearts.”

Mufasir of Lagos State Central Mosque and Chairman of Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, Imam Shakir Ayinde Gaffar (aka Mofesaye), said during the life of the most beloved prophet (SAW) he engaged in sporting activities.

“The wife of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon them) competed against her husband in footraces. She said I competed with the Messenger of Allah in running and overtook him. Later, when I had put on some weight, I once again competed with him, but this time he overtook me and said, we’re even now.”

He added that sport is naturally embedded in Islam, like the Solat. Its postures and timings are set to aid our physical well being in addition to the spiritual connection that we get to our Creator (SWT).

He said it’s noteworthy to set the timings of games and events involved in such a way that will not obstruct the timings of Solat.

“It is very important to discourage betting, which may not be totally prevented, May Allah forgive us for shortcomings that are beyond our human capacity. But if it is found that its sport hosting merits outnumber the demerits after juxtaposition of the two and then we are good to go. Allah knows best.”

He commended the Islamic ethics put in place by the host country to promote Islam during the ongoing 2022 World Cup soccer tournament.

“Alcohol will not be sold at the World Cup’s eight stadiums in Qatar. In hotel rooms, there is a barcode that introduces the teachings of Islam, hadiths, and a simple definition of our faith. They changed muezzins of mosques and brought those with beautiful voices.

Microphones are put in stadiums for Azan, Availability of prayer areas and places for ablution for the first time in the history of World Cup, among others.”