The Evil Consequences of Sporting Competitions
The definition of 'competitions'.
The Islamic ruling regarding competitions.
ruling regarding the setting of prizes for competitions.
The sport of Football.
Defining the sport.
The history of this sport.
The Islamic ruling regarding football.
The Islamic ruling regarding the offering of prizes for the
winners in football.
The evil consequences of sporting competitions.
Causing Muslims to love, honour,
glorify and esteem disbelievers.
Diverting Muslims from thinking about Islamic
Diverting Muslims from the concern
of fulfilling their Islamic objectives and esteemed issues, to occupying
themselves frivolity and trivia.
Inverting standards and corrupting
Setting an evil example for the
Hindering people from the
remembrance of Allaah and from fulfilling their obligations.
Enslavement and emotional
Corrupting community and family
Leads to one cursing their own
Intensifies hatred and enmity between
The wasting of money.
It is a fertile medium for gambling.
Creates victims of stadium catastrophes.
The Islamic ruling and conclusion.
An allowed exception.
The Islamic ruling on the game of 'flippers'.
A Message to
The Scholars of Islaam
have differed in their definition of what a competition is; Imaam
Al-Kaasaani, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said: "It is
when two (or more) people have a contest to see who is faster on horse-back or
camel-back, and they have agreed beforehand that the winner gets a certain
prize which comes from the participants own expense". Imaam Ibn Qudaamah, may
Allaah have mercy upon him, said: "It is the rush towards a destination
in a race". Others have said: "It is a contract between two
parties to accomplish a task in order to see who is the smarter or better of
ruling regarding competitions:
It is proven in the Qur’aan, the Sunnah
and the consensus of the Muslim scholars that generally, such competitions
Allaah says that which translates as: “And prepare against them whatsoever
you are able of power and of steeds of war by which you may terrify the enemy
of Allaah and your enemy and others besides them whom you do not know [but]
whom Allaah knows. And whatever you spend in the cause of Allaah will be fully
repaid to you, and you will not be wronged." (Al-Anfaal: 60). Imaam
Al-Jassaas, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said commenting upon this verse:
"This verse is evidence that anything which strengthens the believers
against their enemies is mandatory upon the believers to prepare."
Allaah says that which translates as: “And if they had intended to go
forth, they would have prepared for it [some] preparation, But Allaah disliked
their being sent, so He kept them back, and they were told 'Remain [behind]
with those who remain.'" (At-Tawbah: 46). Therefore, Allaah dispraised these
people for the abandonment of the preparation of facing their enemies and going
out to fight them, and one of the means of preparation and strength is to race.
Allaah says that which translates as: “They said: 'O our father, indeed we
went racing each other …'” (Yoosuf: 17) Imaam Ibn Sa’di, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said: "(This
means by) running and competing by throwing arrows."
‘Abdullaah Ibn ‘Umar, may Allaah be pleased with him and his
father, narrated that: "The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam raced
from Al-Hayfaa’ to Thaniyyat Al-Wadaa’ and from Thaniyyat Al-Wadaa’ to the mosque
of the tribe of Zurayq’ (Bukhaari & Muslim). ‘Abdullaah Ibn ‘Umar, may
Allaah be pleased with him and his father, was among those who would
Imaam Ibn Hajar, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said
commenting upon this narration: "This Hadeeth is evidence that racing
and other such competitions are allowed, and that they are not considered to be
a waste of time. On the contrary, they are praised, as they assist a person's preparation
for Jihaad and help him to utilise his physical fitness when it would be most
Anas Ibn Maalik, may Allaah be pleased with him said: "The
Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam had a she camel named Al-‘Adhbaa’ which
nobody could beat in a race, until one day a Bedouin came and raced against it and
won, so the companions of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam felt uneasy.
Thereupon, the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “It is incumbent upon Allaah that
everything which reaches a high rank in this life must come back down again.” (Bukhaari). Imaam Ibn Hajar, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said:
"It is evident from this Hadeeth that it is permissible to use camels for
riding as well as for racing."
‘Aa’ishah, may Allaah be pleased with her, said: "Once
I was with the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam on a trip, and we had a race,
which I won. After a few years, when I became heavier, we went on another trip
and raced again, but this time the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam won,
and thereupon he said: “This one for that one” (Ahmad, Abu Daawood and others).
The consensus of the Islamic scholars:
Many scholars have stated that is the consensus of the Islamic scholars
to allow such competitions such as, Ibn ‘Abdul-Barr, Ibn Hazm, Ibn Hubayrah,
Ibn Qudaamah and others.
The Islamic ruling regarding the
setting of prizes for competitions:
There are three ways that prizes are set
and won in competitions:
First: That there is a third party offering a prize to the competitors.
For example, if this party were to state that: 'The winner of the
competition will win a specified sum of money from me.' This is islamically
permissible according to the consensus of the scholars.
Second: That one of the competitors sets the prize. For example,
if this competitor were to state that: 'The one who beats me will win a
specified sum of money from myself.’ The vast majority of scholars hold the
view that this is permissible.
Third: That every competitor contributes towards the prize which
goes to the winner of the competition. This is amounts to gambling and is strictly
prohibited in the religion of Islaam.
The sport of Football:
Defining the sport:
This sport has four factors: Two
competing teams each consisting of eleven players; a rectangular shaped field
of specified dimensions; A ball; And three officials, consisting of one referee
on the field and two linesmen who flank each side. The two teams compete to
score the highest number of goals points by entering the ball into the opponent's
goal, and the winner is the team with the highest number of goals. The game
consists of two halves, each forty-five minutes in duration with a fifteen
minute break in between.
The history of
This sport as a contest during which
each team tries to score more goals than the opposing one goes as far back as
the celebrations which used to take place in Egypt and other ancient civilisations.
In China for example, one writer reports that soccer
was played in the year 5000 BC and that it was played with a ball filled with
hair. The Greeks later gave this sport the name ‘Harbistom’. After this, the
Romans played this sport all over their empire and it spread to England through the Romans and fascinated the
At the end of the twelfth century CE football
matches were held in England on Tuesdays, and after a few years, Tuesday became a regular festival of
football in England and an official holiday. People would gather to watch the games and the
Lord Mayor of London would kick the ball to start the game.
The city of Chester was among the cities which were famous
for their Tuesday games and it is said that the games were held specifically on this
day in memory of one Tuesday in the year 217 CE when the locals expelled the Romans from that city.
During the nineteenth century, two
factions appeared in the sport; one wished to involve the use of hands in the
game, whilst others did not. This eventually led to the creation of two
separate games; one is commonly known as football, or soccer, and the other is
rugby. After this, the rules and regulations of the game of football were set
in the cities of London and Cambridge.
Today, there are more than one hundred
and thirty countries as members of ‘FIFA’, the International Football Federation,
which was established on the 21st of May 1904 CE in Paris, France. This organisation initiated what is
known as the 'World Cup' on the thirteenth of August 1930 CE in Uruguay, and this tournament takes places once
every four years. There are also many other tournaments which take place in
different parts of the world, such as the European Championships which was established
in 1958 CE to compete against the World Cup.
The Islamic ruling regarding
In Islaam, all matters that are not in
the category of worship, or Ibaadah, are permissible, unless there is
specific evidence from the Islamic texts that would render them prohibited. In
fact, such matters could even be recommended if it strengthens the Muslim due
to his participation in it. Islaam actively encourages the practice of everything
that would strengthen the body in order to be constantly prepared for Jihaad.
Abu Hurayrah, may Allaah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet sallallaahu
‘alaihi wa sallam said: “A strong believer is better and dearer to Allaah than a weak believer,
and there is goodness in both” (Muslim).
Shaykh Al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said: "If
playing with a ball (whether on horseback (polo) or with the feet) is
beneficial to the horse or the person, by keeping the person or the horse in
shape and as a way of preparing for Jihaad, then it is good. Otherwise, if it is
harmful (to either), then it is forbidden."
The Islamic ruling regarding the
offering of prizes for the winner in football:
Offering prizes for contests in horse
and camel races as well as arrow shooting is permitted according to the
consensus of the Islamic scholars because the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa
“No prize offering is allowed except for horse and camel races and
arrow shooting.” (Ibn Hibbaan).
The Islamic scholars have differed in their
rulings regarding prizes for things other than what was mentioned in the above
Hadeeth. In some cases, there is a consensus among them that it is
prohibited, such as offering prizes for rooster and goat fighting contests, or
in contests between craftsmen and people with special vocations; for example,
if a person were to offer a prize to the best carpenter in a specially devised
competition to see who could craft the finest table. This is because the
carpenters would spend their time, effort and money in making such tables and
at the end of the competition, only one would take the reward. Islamically,
this is not permissible because it involves a guaranteed risk factor of losing
for each participant, as only one will win the prize. With regards to this, Imaam
Ibn Al-Qayyim, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said: "It
is not known that any scholar has permitted such a contest."
There are certain cases where controversy
exists between the scholars, such as contests for memorizing the Qur’aan,
Ahadeeth and other beneficial knowledge. Also running, swimming,
wrestling, sword fights, weight lifting and races on donkeys, cows and
elephants. It was allowed in camel and horse races and arrow shooting because
these are things that are considered preparation for Jihaad. This is the
reason why some scholars have allowed the above mentioned types.
Imaam Ibn Al-Qayyim, may Allaah have mercy upon him, divided
all these types of competition into three distinct categories and gave the
Islamic ruling for each one as follows:
First: Contests in which the benefits far outweigh any possible
harm. These include things that Allaah and His Messenger sallallaahu ‘alaihi
wa sallam love, or things that lead to it, or help achieve it, such as
horse and camel races and arrow shooting. This category is loved by Allaah and
His Messenger sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam and pleasing to them. Allaah
has made these types of competitions permissible for His slaves and legislated all
means that lead to them and help achieve them.
Therefore, this category of competition is
allowed in order to encourage people to partake in them. People would compete
in these competitions for two reasons; to enjoy the win, or to gain a prize. The
prizes gained from such contests are Islamically lawful, and this is not
considered a form of gambling. Correspondingly, it is lawful to give prizes for
any contest which helps people prepare for Jihaad.
Second: Contests in which the harm is not expected
to outweigh the benefits, and which do not include that which Allaah and His
Messenger sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam commanded. For example, running,
swimming, wrestling and weightlifting are things that are neither loved by
Allaah (i.e. did not ordain them) nor are they prohibited by Him, so there is neither
a command nor a prohibition for these.
Such contests are permissible as long as
there is no prize money involved. This is because they have not been prohibited
by Allaah and they give satisfaction to people who take part in them. However, it
is not permissible to take prizes for them, due to the fact these would lead
people to become pre-occupied in preparing and training for them in order to
win these prizes, which in turn would lead them to neglect more important
Third: Contests in which the harm outweighs any possible
benefit, such as playing with dice and the game of chess. These are hated by
Allaah and His Messenger sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam and lead other
things that displeases Allaah.
This type of competition is prohibited
and any money resulting from it is unlawfully gained gambling money according
to the consensus of the scholars. Even if there is no prize money for such a
contest, the majority of scholars rule that it is prohibited, and there is no
scholar who said that it’s evil and good are equal in proportion.
Now that this has been established, it
becomes very clear that football tournaments and competitions which have prizes
involved are not permitted Islamically and that the money gained from them is considered
ill-gotten. It is not a sport which is useful in a war, nor is it a preparation
for Jihaad. Moreover, this sport in its current form destroys the very
foundation of loyalty and disavowal which our religion stands upon. Due to this
sport, the Muslims develop love for the disbelieving players and imitate them.
Also, this sport acts as a tranquilizer for the Muslim nation which numbs their
senses to the current reality of their situation. The enemies of Islaam have huge
set budgets and spent lots of money on this sport in order to divert the Muslim
nation from its preparation for Jihaad and therefore the actual
performance of Jihaad has become distant in their minds. If the Islamic scholars
have ruled unlawful the setting prizes for sports which do not help in the preparation
for Jihaad, then what would they say about a sport which actually
hinders them from preparing for and performing Jihaad?
The evil consequences
of sporting competitions:
The sport of football has developed over
last few centuries from being a means of keeping physically fit into an
activity that is full of Islamic prohibitions and forms of Jaahiliyyah (pre-Islamic
ignorance) as well as moral deviation and ideological deformation. The
following points highlight some of these prohibitions and expose the deviations
Causing Muslims to love, glorify,
esteem and honour disbelievers:
One of the most dangerous consequences
of these contests is the breaking and dissolving of the barrier of disavowal
between Muslims and disbelievers which is the most important base of belief.
These contests aim to eradicate the Muslim’s
hatred towards the disbelievers, the hatred which is a natural result of the disbeliever's
enmity towards the Muslims and their fighting against them using all available
means. What is even worse than this is when the Muslims begin loving, esteeming,
praising, admiring, glorifying and exalting the mention of the disbelievers.
They even become angry if anyone dispraised these disbelievers whom they admire
and love and go out of their way to get their shirts, autographs, or even a
Some Muslims hang pictures of these
disbelieving football stars in their houses and cars and even on their bodies in
the form of tattoos; others would go as far as carrying these disbelieving
players or coaches on their shoulder.
‘Aa’idh Ibn ‘Amr , may Allaah be pleased with him, was
with Abu Sufyaan, who was not a believer at that time, on the day the
Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam conquered Makkah to meet
the Prophet. As they approached, some of the companions of the Prophet sallallaahu
‘alaihi wa sallam said: "Here comes Abu Sufyaan and ‘Aa’idh Ibn
‘Amr." Thereupon, the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said:
here comes ‘Aa’idh Ibn ‘Amr and Abu Sufyaan. Islaam honours and nothing else can
give honour beside it.” (Daaraqutni). Imaam Ibn Hajr, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said
commenting upon this Hadeeth: "Mentioning someone’s name first
reflects their virtue." This was the case due to the companions of the
Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam merely mentioning the name of a
disbeliever before that of a believer, therefore, what is the case when Muslims
praise, honour and glorify the disbelievers and even carry them on their shoulders?
Diverting Muslims from thinking about Islamic issues:
The enemies of Islaam have been successful
in overwhelming the Muslims with these competitions and making them forget about
their religion and their responsibility of propagating it. They have succeeded
in exterminating their sense of duty and pride towards their religion; this is precisely
the reason why you see many football fans that closely monitor these competitions
not caring about what happens to their oppressed fellow Muslims around the
world. It does not concern them whether their brothers and sisters in Islaam are
killed, displaced, tortured or that their sacred places are profaned; their
only concern is monitoring the news of football matches and monitoring the
lifestyle and financial conditions of the players.
A poet said describing the situation of sport
People stay watching it, dazzled
until day light.
And when the call comes for
Jihaad, to make their future bright.
They are all in deep sleep, as if
they say, ‘The team’s victory is our delight’.
Diverting Muslims from the concern of fulfilling their
Islamic objectives and esteemed issues, to occupying themselves with trivia and
In reality, these competitions are a
tool of the disbelievers which they are using to destroy the Muslim nation and
their sense of ambition. This is confirmed by the thirteenth protocol of the
'Learned Elders of Zion' which states: "In order to keep the masses
misguided and unaware of what is ahead of them and behind them, or what is
plotted against them; we will increase ways of keeping them busy by
establishing new forms of entertainment, fun, games and different sports, then
have newspapers call for contests and tournaments of these."
Inverting standards and corrupting
This refers to what is known as
‘Terminological warfare’; which is the most lethal weapon that our enemies use against
us. This is the mislabelling of matters and the fabrication of facts; our
enemies label the truth as ugly and disgraceful whilst labelling falsehood as attractive
In relation to the subject of this
research, we can observe that this phenomenon occurs very often. Football
players who are wasting their time and others are labelled as heroes, stars,
history makers and accomplishers of might. Winning games are called victory and
success while respecting opponents is called sportsmanship; and in this they
try to avoid attributing this mutual respect to the Islamic teachings which is
where this behaviour originates. Fans that waste their time are called allies
and supporters, but we must ask ourselves, what are these fans doing when it
comes to the support that they owe to this religion? Also, some football
matches are called ‘friendly', even if they were played against the very worst enemy
Setting an evil example for the
The cultivation of youth by setting an
example is one of the greatest and most effective ways of achieving it. The Qur’aan
has guided us to this as Allaah says that which translates as: “There has already been for you an
excellent example in Ibraaheem and those with him…” (Al-Mumtahinah: 4) and also: “Those are the ones whom Allaah has
guided, so from their guidance take an example” (Al-An’aam: 90). Also, the Prophet sallallaahu
‘alaihi wa sallam attached great importance to this. Hudhayfah may
Allaah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa
sallam said: “Follow
the example of those who will come after me; Abu Bakr and ‘Umar” (Ahmad, Tirmidhi and Ibn
These competitions set evil examples for
the Muslim youth and are an obstacle to them benefiting from wholesome and pure
examples. In order for them to accomplish this evil, the disbelievers focus
their media heavily on famous athletes, follow their lifestyles closely and describe
them as heroes, stars and celebrities. This affects our children to the extent
that it makes them become intensely fascinated by these athletes and the only
concern that they have is to be like them in every way. Due to this, any
ambitions that they hold with regard to working for the religion of Islaam
disappears. In many cases the Muslim youth imitate these athletes even in acts
that are of disbelief.
Hindering people from the remembrance of
Allaah and from fulfilling their religious obligations:
Many of those who watch and follow these
contests are thereby hindered from remembering Allaah and performing prayers.
This is known fact to everybody and only an arrogant person would attempt to
refute this fact or reject it. Anything which leads to abandoning prayer or not
praying on time is prohibited. Many people stay up all night watching the games
and therefore miss the following Fajr prayer, others abandon
congregational prayers just so that they can watch these games. What is worse
than this is when some miss Jumu’ah prayer for the sake of watching the
games. In addition to all this, many neglect their ties with their parents,
children and relatives and give precedence to these games.
Allaah says that which translates as: “Satan only wants to cause between
you animosity and hatred through intoxicants and gambling and to avert you fromn
the remembrance of Allaah and from prayer. So will you not desist?” (Al-Maa’idah: 91). Imaam
Al-Qurtubi, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said commenting upon this verse: "Any
fun which leads to more fun and results in enmity and hatred between those who
practice it, or hinders them from remembering Allaah or praying becomes as
prohibited as the consumption of alcohol is."
A person may argue that 'The consumption
of Alcohol causes a person to become drunk such that they cannot even pray, whereas
playing chess and rolling dice does not do any of that.’ The answer to that is Allaah
combined the prohibition of both alcohol and gambling in the same verse, and
described them both to be causes for hatred and enmity between people and
hinderers from the remembrance of Allaah and prayer. It is obvious that alcohol
is an intoxicant whilst gambling is not, yet Allaah made them equally
prohibited because both lead to the same result. Moreover, consuming a small
amount of alcohol will not intoxicate a person, just as playing chess and
rolling dice does not, yet it still remains just as prohibited as consuming a large
amount. Therefore, there is no problem or contradiction in prohibiting it along
with intoxicants in the same verse. This is because alcohol was prohibited due
to it causing a person to become intoxicated and thereby hindering them from
prayer. Playing chess and rolling dice would naturally take the same ruling
because it results in people becoming heedless and hinders them from praying.
Enslavement and emotional control:
No one can deny that football affects
the personality and emotional well-being of the players as well as the fans.
Nothing can be more evident to illustrate this than the heart attacks which
occur to some football fans during and after games which frequently result in death.
This is because such people would usually be observing the games in a state of
The true aim of sports, which is to
develop the human-body and discipline the soul, has clearly failed to be achieved.
In fact, sport has become a lethal weapon which attacks the very bodies and
souls that it was meant to develop. One of the ugliest ways in which one can
die is on the football pitch, or in a stadium, or to die for the sake of a
soccer team, and what an evil state to be in at the time of resurrection, for
everyone will be resurrected according to how they were at the time of their death.
An example of this is a story that was
published in ‘Al-Akhbaar’ which is an Egyptian newspaper, it stated
that: "The chairman of An-Nasir Company for rubber manufacturing died of
a heart attack when his favourite team lost in a final game. He was watching
closely with his family members and became very excited and started jumping and
kissing his family members when his team scored the first goal. However, the
other team scored an equaliser and then came the second goal which meant defeat
for his team. Afterwards, he went to his bedroom to rest and shortly afterwards,
his wife went into the bedroom to find that he had died of a heart attack."
Corrupting communities and family
The infatuation of these competitions has
become widespread in the homes of many people. It entered without permission,
spread corruption and created problems and disputes. Many cases of divorce
resulted from these competitions; if the husband’s favourite team loses, he vents
his anger at his wife and may even beat her. Many brothers have fought because
they support different teams. This is precisely what the enemies of Islaam are
eager to cause so that the structure of the family collapses and calamities befall
the Muslim nation.
Leads to one cursing their own parents:
In many cases people start cursing each
other during games and may even use words which would affect their belief. Many
people are habitually foul-mouthed and rude and so they direct this towards the
referee, players, or other fans. This eventually results in somebody cursing
their own parents, which is a major sin is Islaam. ‘Abdullaah Ibn ‘Amr, may
Allaah be pleased with him, said that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa
sallam said: “It
is one of the major and great sins that one curses his own parents” it was said: "O Messenger of
Allaah! How would a person curse his own parents?" he sallallaahu
‘alaihi wa sallam replied: “He curses somebody's father and that person responds by cursing his
father back, or he curses the somebody's mother and he responds by cursing his
mother back.” (Bukhaari & Muslim).
Intensifies hatred and enmity between
People claim that these competitions are
a civilised way to strengthen bonds, build deep feelings of harmony and build
bridges of communication between people. Reality is quite the opposite. History
proves that such competitions and contests act as sparks which ignite huge
fires, both between the players themselves and the fans of each competing team.
The fact that the disasters and subsequent victims which result from such
competitions are very many makes it easy for sincere people who are truly seeking
the correct Islamic ruling of these competitions to reach the truth; that they take
the rulings of other prohibitions because of their evil consequences. The
following are some evidences from the history:
August 16th 1950 CE: The organisers of the World Cup in a
game between Brazil and Uruguay where forced to dig a thirteen metre long and
one and a half metre wide trench to protect players from the crowd.
May 23rd 1963CE: During a game between Peru and Argentina a dispute arose regarding the soundness
of a goal which was scored. A clash followed which took place between rival fans
that which resulted in the death of 320 people and the injuring of 1000 others.
September 17th 1967 CE: 48 people were killed and 606 injured in
a fight between the fans of two Turkish teams, caused by a disputed goal.
June 25th 1969 CE: 15 people were killed and 102 injured in a fight between
the fans of two teams over a disputed goal during a game in Turkey.
August 16th 1980 CE: 18 people were killed and 100 injured in India after the referee sent two players off
November 18th 1982 CE: 24 people were killed and 210 injured in a fight between
drunken rival fans at a match in Colombia.
May 29th 1985 CE: 39 people were killed and 600 injured with broken bones
resulting from an intense fight in Brussels, Belgium between the fans of an Italian team (Juventus) and an
English team (Liverpool).
These are just a few examples of events
that have occurred and which remain as a mark of disgrace in our minds.
The evil consequences of the some
football matches have been even worse than those already mentioned and have
even affected diplomatic relations between countries. For example, in 1969 CE, war
broke out between El Salvador and Honduras due to the result of a football match between those two countries. In
fact, this war was called 'The Battle of Football', it lasted for seven days
and left more than 2000 people dead.
The wasting of money:
These competitions are the reason for
the wastage of huge sums of money. This is because vast amounts are spent in preparing
the pitches, securing the money needed to hold the games and refurbishing damages
which result from unruly fans when their team loses. Moreover, the security that
is required during and after games is an extra financial burden. There is no
doubt that all these costs are ultimately shouldered by the poorer section of
It is extremely unfortunate that some
Muslim countries are at the top of the list of countries that set a high percentage
of their budget for sports, others spend more on sport than they do on educational
and religious issues.
Something else which is shocking is when
a foreign guest sportsman is invited to participate in a game and paid huge
sums of money to do so. One of the North African Arab countries paid a huge
amount for the foreign coach of their national team which exceeded the salary
of fifty university professors. Another Muslim country hired a Serbian Christian
coach for their national team while our brothers where being slaughtered like
sheep and our sisters were being raped by his nation.
It is a fertile medium for gambling:
These competitions open the door for gambling
and speculation which is prohibited Islamically. For example, FIFA hold weekly
gambling sessions for guessing the result of the weekly games between the
European teams and LOTO does the same thing in some of the Arab countries. Abu
Hurayrah, may Allaah be pleased with him, narrated that he Prophet sallallaahu
‘alaihi wa sallam said, “He who says to his brother 'let us gamble' must give to charity (as an expiation).” (Bukhaari & Muslim). Imaam
Ash-Shawkaani, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said explaining this Hadeeth: "This
charity is an expiation, which is a clear indication that this act is
It is therefore clear what evil and
destructive effects gambling has on a nations economy; It wastes human resources
and increases unemployment, consumes a nation’s wealth and instils hatred and
enmity. There are many more evil consequences than one can mention in a single research,
but the few examples given should suffice as an illustration of the point.
Creates victims of stadium catastrophes:
Stadiums often become over filled due to
peoples' zeal and enthusiasm to watch the matches, as well as the organisers
aiming to maximise their profits. The danger of this is that disasters and catastrophes
may result leaving behind them many victims. They die when stadiums collapse,
or when fans rush to leave to stadium after a game is over, or for many other
reasons. The following are some examples of what history has preserved for us:
March 9th 1946 CE: 33 people were killed and 500 injured when people rushed
out of a stadium in Sao Paolo, Brazil.
January 1966 CE: 66 people were killed in Glasgow, Scotland as a result of bad match organisation.
June 23rd 1968 CE: In Argentina, fans lit fireworks which caused fear to spread between people
who thought that a fire had broke out. Due to the rush to leave the stadium, 89
people were killed and 150 injured.
December 25th 1973 CE: 27 people died and 52 were injured in the Congo as a result of people rushing out of a
February 7th 1973 CE: 80,000 rushed into the ‘Zamaalik’ stadium in Egypt to watch a game, although the stadium
was built to accommodate only 40,000. This resulted in the death of 48 people
and the injuring of the same number.
August 4th 1979 CE: 24 people were killed and 27 injured in Nigeria due to match officials turning off all
stadium lighting before the stadium was evacuated.
October 20th 1982 CE: in Moscow, USSR, the Holland team scored a goal while a large number of people were leaving
the stadium. This caused them to rush back in joy, which resulted in the death
of 20 people.
May 11th 1985 CE: A fire broke out during a match in Bradford, England which terrified people into rushing
towards the exit gates only to find that they were locked. This resulted in the
deaths of 53 people and injuring of more than 200.
March 14th 1988 CE: In Nepal, 72 people were killed and 27 injured when a power-cut
resulted from a strong gust of wind which cause people to rush out of the
stadium that they were in.
April 15th 1989 CE: in Sheffield, England large numbers of people entered a stadium which was
completely full, resulting in the deaths of 95 people and the injuring of more
than 200 in two hours.
Also, the people who propagate this
sport deliberately and shamelessly broadcast their games during religious
seasons for the Muslims and thereby pre-occupy them with it. They fill the newspapers
and magazines with commentary, analysis and discussion on this.
The Islamic ruling and conclusion:
We have seen the evil consequences of these
competitions, and what has not been mentioned is far more than what was
mentioned, and each one of these evil consequences is a root which has other
evils sprouting from it. It is not possible for one seeking the truth after reading
all this to do anything except that this it is prohibited to hold such competitions
or to monitor them. Also, each one of us must encourage people not to waste their
time with it.
Imaam Ibn Al-Qayyim, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said: "If
one were to monitor these competitions, they would not fail to notice that they
have exactly the same influence on people as alcohol does, and partaking in
them in a very limited way leads to partake in them in a bigger and bigger way,
so they are addictive in nature. The more people partake in them, the more they
are hindered from doing that which Allaah and His Messenger sallallaahu ‘alaihi
wa sallam love, and the closer they are to committing that which Allaah and His
Messenger sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam hate. Even if there is not a specific text
(from the Qur’aan and Sunnah) referring to this, the general rules and principles
in Islaam, and judging according to that which brings benefit and prevents harm
and evil, is enough to prohibit them." This statement was made
during the era of Imaam Ibn Al-Qayyim, may Allaah have mercy upon
him, so what would he say if he saw the competitions in our time?
We must be more concerned and protective
of our religion than the Kings of England were about their personal interests,
for they prohibited these competitions when they saw the violence and brutality
that they lead to. They were prohibited in 1314 CE by King Edward II, in 1365 CE
by King Edward III and after that by King Richard II, Henry IV and the Queen
In 1314 CE King Edward II announced the
following: "The loud noise and fighting which results from this game
where people run after a ball, and the evils that result from it, and the fact
that God prohibits such evil behaviour compels me as the King to prohibit these
to take place in the future, and anyone who disobeys this will be imprisoned."
An allowed exception:
Although it is prohibited to practice
the sport of football due to the prohibitions and evils that result, one can
play this sport on the condition that they can guarantee that these prohibitions
will not take place. One can play this sport if it improves physical fitness,
even if it is less than that which would result from the military training which
the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam recommended the Muslims to take
Beside the physical gains derived from
this sport, we can utilise and direct this sport to achieve other important
objectives, such as:
First: To prevent the youth from getting
involved in worse and more evil matter which they might waste their time doing,
and would do more damage to their morals and manners.
Second: To strengthen relations between the
Muslim youth, and introduce them to the objectives of Islamic propagation.
Third: Satisfy the sense of competition which in
natural in youth and which would otherwise be fulfilled in other frivolous
ways, or even in a prohibited manner, such as gambling.
These are suggestions which one must
consider due to the nature of the circumstances that the Muslim nation is currently
in. When this nation comes back to its senses and returns to the way our Lord
wants it to be and realises the necessity of being equipped with Islaam as a
comprehensive way of life, it is only then that nurturers of the youth as well
as those in charge of the Muslims can set a curriculum for the youth which
includes the performance of sports in a dignified and respectful manner, which
coincides with the responsibility of enjoining good and forbidding evil. Allaah
describes this in the Qur’aan with that which translates as: “You are the best nation produced
[as an example] for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong
and believe in Allaah…” (Aal ‘Imraan: 110).
The Islamic ruling on the game of 'flippers':
The following question was put to the
committee of senior scholars in Saudi Arabia:
"Is playing flippers is
permitted in Islaam - especially when a condition is that the loser pays for
the game and the winner plays for free?"
[NOTE: This game involves the
use of a table with a picture or a statue of a footballer on it]
The answer was as follows:
"If the case was as described
then such a game includes the following prohibitions:
* Wasting time and
missing out on many good things which can benefit one in both this life and the
* Making statues and/or
possessing them is prohibited and considered to be one of the major and great
sins according to authentic Ahaadeeth, and the warning is
clear for those who do this
that they are deserving of a serious punishment.
* The loser having
to pay for the game is prohibited because it is wasting money and the money
saved by the winner is considered to be the same as ill gotten money as it is a
form of gambling."
A Message to football fanatics:
This is sincere advice to all football
fanatics: Football is for some, a form of fanaticism which has affected generations
of minds. Due to it, wars have been fought, divorces instigated and family ties
broken. Due to it, a man would stab his own brother in the back with a knife.
Whenever a game between two famous
teams is announced, it is as though war has been declared; radio stations discuss
it, TV stations fill their slots with discussions concerning it and fans arm themselves
with rocks, knives and drums as well as songs and slogans in preparation for
As soon as the game is over and
one of the teams loses, the battle begins in the stadium, then it moves out
into the homes, schools, cafés, work places and markets. Irrespective of
whether it is a small or big community concerned, the result remains that
casualties occur and victims are created. It may be that these events die diwn,
but not for long, because as soon as another game starts, this process begins
all over again. If you try to rationalise with any of these soccer fanatics
about the dire consequences of their actions, they would reply to you: 'I am
This is one side of the story,
from the point of view of the damage that it does to our youth, but the other
side of the story will only become clear to us when we understand the
objectives of Islaam and how it aims to build communities. It is only then that
we would realise that in fact Islaam praises and encourage sports like football
because it is a means for gathering and uniting people and creates feeling of
responsibility toward one another rather than enmity; it is a sport which
confirms that objectives cannot be achieved unless people work collectively and
with team spirit, for it is when individuals work in a group that they become
One wonders about the about those
football fanatics who know nothing about the game except for its name, I
address them with the following question: ‘Can a selfish player score completely
unassisted, regardless how good he is?’ Indeed not, for it requires a whole
team effort, and the goal is simply the end product. The best teams are those
that have team spirit and co-operation.
Did these fanatics learn any
lessons from the game of football? Do Muslim referees and fans realise that disunity
and selfishness lead to defeat on the real battle field? Unfortunately, we did
not learn anything and have taken the means to the end in this matter, and the
ends to be the means. All we have done is consider the outward appearance of
the game and ignored the real content of it.
Do they realise the stupidity of
statements like ‘I worship this team' or 'I am a fan of that team.’
All these statements do is reveal the shallow minded, selfish, narrow thinking
of the people who make them. Such people do not understand anything about sport
or sportsmanship and only know how to clap and cheer loudly.
We do not mean to discourage
sports, but we must all realise that there is a vast difference between cheering
and enjoying and becoming a fanatic who knows nothing but rocks and stones when
his team loses. Sportsmanship teaches us that we have to be modest in victory
and gracious in defeat, it also teaches us that our fortunes alternate and that
you win some and you lose some.
The Prophet sallallaahu
‘alaihi wa sallam set the very best example in sportsmanship and
we would be wise to learn a lesson from it, as in the story of if we only
learn the lesson, as in the story which is narrated by Anas
Ibn Maalik, may Allaah be pleased with him said: "The Prophet
sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam had a she camel named Al-‘Adhbaa’ which nobody
could beat in a race, until one day a Bedouin came and raced against it and
won, so the companions of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam felt
uneasy. Thereupon, the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “It is incumbent upon Allaah that
everything which reaches a high rank in this life must come back down again.” (Bukhaari).
Would these fanatics read this and
reflect? I ask Allaah to forgive us and cure us from madness and all other diseases.