Sunday, 21 October 2007 13:17
From little children to great-grandmothers, hardly anybody has been untouched by the sportmania that has gripped the world. Those who are more deeply obsessed ride the roller coaster of emotions with the success and failure of “their” team. While at times they are elated, on other occasions they become truly depressed due to “their” team losing. Sport discussions, heated debates and even arguments abound everywhere — around the table, on street corners and even in the sacred house of Allah Ta’ala — the Musjid. Hence, as Muslims, as the slaves of our Creator and Nourisher, as the true followers and ardent lovers of our beloved Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam), what is our approach to sport?
Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) has himself encouraged certain forms of “sports.” The Ahadith mention the merits of archery and horse riding. However, the bottom line in all the forms of “sport” encouraged by Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) is that they were in actual fact a training for the defence of Islam and the Muslims. Outwardly it may have seemed to be just a sport, but in reality it was never just play and amusement. These forms of “sport” in reality were actual skills and expertise required on the battle field. As for modern-day sports, these are an invention of later times which have no relationship to Islam. This is what we need to examine.
With regard to modern-day sports there are two aspects to it. One is the occasional informal “kicking around” perhaps in one’s backyard. This is permissible provided that the intention is to “freshen up” one’s body and mind so that one may thereafter engage in one’s duties with greater vigour. Furthermore, the type of sport engaged in must not be something that is specific to any religious (kaafir) group in such a manner that engagement in that sport associates one with that creed (such as yoga). Also, no law of the Shariah must be violated — for instance as a result of the sport the salaah should not be missed nor must thesatr (part of the body which is obligatory to conceal) be exposed, etc. (For more details contact your local Ulama). (see Fatawaa Mahmoodia v.12 pg. 375)
The informal aspect is however not the focus of this article. Here we wish to deal with the formal involvement in sports, whether in the form of active participation, especially on a professional level, or merely as a spectator.
ALL OVER A BALL?
It is necessary that we first consider the reality of modern-day sports? If one examines most modern-day sports, the sum total of these sports is that a person can either skillfully hit a fast moving ball with a bat, or catch it, chase after it or bowl it (cricket), or he can deftly kick a ball between two posts after having dribbled around some people (soccer), or strike a little rubber ball with much force against a wall (squash), or hit a little bigger ball with a racket with speed over a low net (tennis), or hit an even bigger ball with bare hands over a higher net (volley ball), or hit a small ball with a long iron over far distances and finally into a hole in the ground (golf), or grab an oblong ball and dash wildly across a field to place the ball behind a line (rugby), or other similar “skills” in various other sporting codes. The question to ponder over is the following: Are these “skills” of such a nature that intelligent, thinking people should be driven into a frenzy by them??? Is it really worth the while wasting hours watching somebody kicking, hitting, running behind, or throwing a ball??? Indeed, it is the kind of “skill” that can boast of being among the most unproductive and least beneficial to mankind at large. It can also boast of having ensnared most people to some extent despite being the least beneficial to them.
Undoubtedly sports today has become a multi million rand concern. Multi millions, rather billions, are taken from the hands of the public for
the “privilege” of watching somebody kicking, hitting or running behind a ball while a handful of people enjoy the massive “spoils,” operating behind the scenes.
Most modern-day sports are thus a glittering display of some of the most unproductive skills that could be hatched up. These skills have been cleverly manipulated by sinister forces to control the collective mind of the people of the world. By means of the propaganda tool of the media, which is largely in the hands of the propaganda masters, sports have been hyped up to such an extent that millions of people worldwide have become addicted to watching a bunch of people displaying their “skill” of kicking a ball around. Even in economic terms, millions of man hours are lost on working days due to people being distracted from productive work just to spectate some sport.
Modern-day sports are also not restricted to kicking a ball around. It is a subtle tool to herd the masses towards adopting the culture of sports stars. A slight indication of this is discerned when one finds people forking out exorbitant sums of money for an ordinary garment with the autograph of some sports hero.
The useless skills of modern-day sports have thus been packaged in an attractive wrapping by the media hype. As a result even Muslims have been lured to indulge in this futility. Other articles in this issue examine other aspects of sports which every Muslim should seriously consider. May Allah Ta’ala guide us to the Straight Path and save us from being herded along by the forces of Shaitaan. Aameen.
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