Football: An Islamic Perspective
by Dr Ragheb El Sergany
The Egyptian public opinion has been totally absorbed for about 20 days in the African Cup of Nations matches and later in the celebrations following the Egyptian team winning the cup. This motivates us to discuss such a sensitive issue, i.e. the issue of the African Cup of nations or more accurately the issue of football from an Islamic perspective.
But why this issue is sensitive?
The answer is: It is sensitive because people went to one of two extremes thereon. Some people were fully enthusiastic and felt so joyful that they exceeded all proper limits. On the other hand, other people denied the whole matter viewing that celebrating such events is unlawful. They view that the Muslim Ummah is suffering great problems and it is thus improper to celebrate while many Muslims are slain all over the world.
Actually, there is a great gab between the two extremes. As for us, we adopt a middle course between them, for, indeed, Islam is a moderate religion. In this regard, Allah (the Exalted) said, "Thus We have made you [true Muslims - real believers of Islamic Monotheism, true followers of Prophet Muhammad SAW and his Sunnah (legal ways)], a Wasat (just) (and the best) nation," [Al-Baqarah, 143].
Taking the issue of kidding in the life of the Prophet (peace be upon him) as an example, we will find that some people understand that there is no restrictions on kidding as the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself used to kid in some occasions. However, there are still others who take into consideration other occasions and such Hadith as the one that reads, "By Allah, if you could know what I know, you would laugh little and weep much; you would not enjoy your wives in beds, and would rush into streets and jungles in search of Allah's refuge." Accordingly, they deem kidding to be unlawful and running counter to the Sunnah and thus deliberately contract their brows.
In fact, both views are not in accord with the Sunnah.
Considering the authentic Sunnah, we can find out that the Prophet (peace be upon him) would joke sometimes but would never exceed the limits set by Shari'ah (Islamic law). In other words, he never told a lie, mocked or made a fool of anybody. Moreover, he was ever smiling as stated by Abdullah bin Al-Harith bin Jaz', who said, "I have never seen anyone more in the habit of smiling than Allah's Messenger." Another Companion, Jarir bin Abdullah, said: "Since the time I accepted Islam, the Prophet never once failed to notice me. Whenever he saw me, he would smile at me." Furthermore, the Prophet (peace be upon him) is known to have laughed at times "until one could see his molar teeth." Actually, the Prophet's smiling face was not seen only during peaceful and welfare times but also during the time of distress or even when some Companions would commit a mistake.
Therefore, moderation should not be understood according to our own standards but based on a careful study of the life of our great model (peace be upon him).
Hence, we should first answer an important question if we are to deal with the issue of sports in general and football, more specifically African Cup of nation, in particular. The Question is: Is practicing sports lawful or unlawful?
Some might feel it strange to ask such a question. However, my answer to it will be more astonishing to many people. I view that practicing sports is apt to the Ahkam (rulings) pentad consisting of Wajib (obligatory), Mustahabb (recommended) Mubah (permissible), Makruh (abominable) and Haraam (prohibited).
To clarify, practicing sports is Wajib on the part of soldiers who must do so in preparation for jihad in the cause of Allah. It is also Mustahabb on the part of those who wish to strengthen their physical abilities. Moreover, it is permissible with regard to those who practice sports for entertainment. In addition, it is Makruh in case it caused undesirable waste of time although it does not lead to missing fundamental acts of worship. Finally, it is Haram in case it leads to missing acts of worship, if practiced by women watched by men and if practiced by men wearing tight clothes bulging their private parts, such as swimming championships formal suits. Likewise, it is Haram if accompanied by betting or gambling.
Now, let us together analyze positive aspects of the African tournament so that we might thank those who did them and make use of them as well as negative aspects so that we might avoid them in the future. Below is an outline of positive aspects:
First: There is the taste of an effort exerted, a system followed and a victory achieved especially by Hassan Shehata, the head coach, and the team players.
Second: The team spirit was obviously noticed among the players. (Actually, I have not watched any game due to lack of time; however, this is what I am told about.)
Third: It was remarkable that players would ascribe success to Allah's help in all media interviews they made.
Fourth: The team was generally characterized by commitment to religion. This is supported by many incidents including congregationally prostrating themselves as celebration of scoring a goal, self-control and willpower over their actions and donating to build a mosque in Kumasi, a spirit that was moved to players of such other teams as Ghana.
Fifth: Aboutrika lifted his shirt to reveal a T-shirt with a pro-Gaza slogan, while everyone is absorbed in the game paying no attention to the Gazan Muslims distress.
Sixth: Such a stance of him gained unanimous Arabic public sympathy and thus the Arab public celebrated the Egyptian victory in many Arabic cities.
to be continued
P/S: bahagian 2 akan disambung nanti. untuk pengetahuan korang, ni adalah satu artikel yg aku jumpa masa merayap2 kat internet.sebenarnya dah agak lama dah tapi aku lupa nak letak.ni link asal dia