Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Football: An Islamic Perspective (2)

continued from the last article

Nevertheless, there were many negative aspects that deformed the overwhelming joy, including:

First: Exceeding all proper limits while celebrating in streets, which was characterized by misconduct and paying no attention to the interests of others, a behavior mistakenly understood within the context of expressing joy. Examples can be seen in blocking streets, shooting fireworks, molesting girls, destroying cars, unlawful mixing between boys and girls while celebrating.
Second: Exceeding proper celebration limits in some public and private institutions during the final game and subsequent days to the extent that public interests were hardly achieved.
Third: Showing uncontrolled joy regardless of distresses the Ummah suffers. I wonder why do not we care for the feelings persecuted Iraqis and Afghanis when they see such celebrations!
Fourth: Extravagantly conferring unreasonable monetary bonuses and unreasonable spending on the football activities in general. No doubt, the country passes serious economical circumstances giving no room for spending such or even less sums of money. Supposing that the economical position is better, no equal appropriations is allocated to other more important fields such as scientific, medical, nutrition and infrastructural fields. Moreover, the low spirit of youths, who endure great economical sufferance seeking essential live provisions, should be cared for. Seeing football players of equal age who are not as highly educationally qualified as them receive millions of pounds because of football playing, they must feel depressed.
It is also eye-catching that some businessmen give exorbitant gifts to players on such occasions. In my opinion, it would be better if the value of such gifts is spent on society-developing projects or given to the farming and working class. If they insist, gifts should be given privately to players, for, in fact, using it for mere propaganda is meaningless.
Fifth: Paying much time to watching the tournament games, which extends much further to include watching hours-long analytical studios before and after the game. This is in addition to time given to public discussions on games and to waiting the team plane coming back home for hours. (Amazingly, some people spend the whole night in the airport waiting for the team plane.) Supposing that one thousand persons only waited for the plane for ten hours, Muslims would miss ten thousand useless hours!

The following question is now inevitable: Why did these negative aspects take place?
Unarguably, the answer is:

First: There is a priority trouble on both governmental and individual levels as well as on the level of the Ummah as a whole. While negligent in performing duties and requirements necessary for essential and future family needs, an individual is being concerned with fruitless and valueless interests.
Second: Due to the general state of frustration caused by lack of examples of genuine success in other important fields, as the Ummah suffers from failure in a variety of fields, people feel very joyful for achieving any success in any field even if entertainment-related. In this regard, it should be born in mind that the list of the best 500 universities in the world is void of any Muslim university and that we are industrially backward and dependent on others. The same is the case with many other fields.
Third: Lack of sound religious awareness which might serve as an organizer of Muslim's thought, a director toward highly important interests and an arranger of ideas in good order.
Fourth: The feeding frenzy sparked off before, during and after such occasions. Actually, mass media dealt with winning the cup as a great victory in an attempt to distract public attention from serious interests.
Finally, I would like to express the view that we are not against sports or celebrating its victories. However, all aspects should be put within the general and integrated frame of a Muslim committing to Islam who practices sports and watches its games by way of entertainment. Within the same frame, he does not waste his time, respects the time of others, excels in his study field and enjoys an excellent noble character. Such a Muslim also does not fail to read about Islam and is much more keen to pursue Muslims' news than sports or players news.
A final word to all players: Through your good morals, commitment to Islam and seriousness, you can be callers to Allah's way and have impact on such society classes as can never be affected by great Du'ah (callers to Islam) and scholars. Actually, this is a great bounty of Allah which you should safeguard and for which you should be grateful to Allah.
I ask Allah to confer success and prosperity on the whole Muslim Ummah.
Dr. Ragheb ElSergany

[1] Related by Al-Tirmidhy and Ibn Majah and is judged by Al-Albany to be Hassan (reliable).
[2] Related by Al-Tirmidhy and Ahmad and is judged by Al-Albany to be Sahih (authentic).
[3] Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

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