Islam and Sports


A true Believer is primarily concerned about the commands of Allah Ta’ala and the Sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). He regards the slightest violation as a serious sin. Sins are of two categories. One is the sin that is perpetrated in secrecy. While committing it in secrecy does not diminish its severity, worse than this is the sin that is committed openly and in public.

When a sin is committed openly and those not involved shirk in their duty of amr bil ma’roof and nahy anil munkar (enjoining the good and forbidding the evil), the perpetrators of that evil as well as those who maintained silence despite their ability to correct the evil are engulfed in the wrath of Allah Ta’ala. Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) is reported to have said: “Verily Allah Ta’ala will not punish all the people  due to the actions of a specific group until a sin is committed in their midst. Thereafter, despite their ability to repel the evil they do nothing about it. In such a situation Allah Ta’ala will punish the open sinners as well as the general masses who maintain silence” (Mishkaat). In the light of the above Hadith let us consider the following aspects with regard to sports:



Most sports are played in attire that does not conform to Shar’i requirements. The sporting attire is such that most of the time the thighs of the players are exposed. The satr (part of the body compulsory to conceal) for men is from the navel to the knee. Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) is reported to have said: “Do not look at the thighs of a living or dead man” (Mishkaat). In the case of sports, this sin of exposing the satr is perpetrated in public. The spectators must be endowed with some super human abilities if they can manage to look  at the player only from his waist upwards and not look at his exposed satr. While some commit this open sin together with thousands of others on the sports field, many people collectively commit this evil of looking at the satr of others, together with wives and daughters, by huddling around the T.V. Thus zina of the eyes is committed collectively and nobody even bats an eyelid. The situation becomes much more worse when people watch tennis. Often the players are shameless women attired in skimpy outfits. Shameless Muslims sit with their families and watch these women prancing around the court. By the time the match is over, they are spiritually drained and empty due to the zina of the eyes.



Another serious calamity of sports is the extent to which it becomes an impediment in the way of the obligatory ibadah. Even those who are normally regular with their salaah often miss it because they were too “enchanted” and “spellbound” by somebody kicking a piece of leather. Either the salaah is completely missed or the congregational salaah in the Musjid is deliberately omitted. People have missed taraweeh salaah in the sacred month of Ramadhaan and, Allah forbid, even fasts were missed due to sports. Recitation of the Qur’an or zikr cannot even be given a second thought if a match is on.

There are many other objectionable aspects in sports. The above two are serious enough to make any true Muslim give up his involvement in formal sports. Other evils discussed in this issue make the matter even more severe. However, to understand the inherent evil in modern day sports, one will have to consider it with the light of Imaan that Allah Ta’ala has blessed us with. If we consider it as the kuffaar do, then there is nothing else to say except to pray: “O Allah! Have mercy on us and guide us.” 

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