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My Thoughts, as a Muslim, on the World Cup 2010 in South Africa

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Soccer’s World Cup 2010 is just a few days away and for the first time the World Cup will be hosted by South Africa. This has led to much controversy amongst South African Muslims as to whether the World Cup is a good or bad thing and if it is permissible to watch it and support the team.

Many of the local scholars have taken the position that the World Cup is completely Haraam and evil and that all Muslims must boycott it. One of Durban’s leading scholars Maulana Yunus Patel wrote a very strong article against the World Cup that has been distributed widely around the country. Other Du’aat however view this event as a great Dawah opportunity. Then there is a third group who are not interested in the religious rulings and are just excited to attend the World Cup matches live.

I must admit that I am a bit biased in this topic as I have never been a sports lover. However, I will not let that affect this article. I have to agree with Maulana Yunus Patel on some issues yet disagree on others. He is right in stating that many sins happen when these types of events take place including prostitution, intoxication and gambling, but I also have to admit that most of the Muslims who attend these matches do not get involved in these vices and are opposed to it.

The general ruling in Islam is that everything is permissible until proven Haraam. This applies to soccer and other sports as well. Watching or attending a soccer match would be permissible in and of itself but the ruling can change from individual to individual. The following are reasons that can make it Haraam for a person to watch soccer or any other form of entertainment:

1. If it causes one to miss a Salah. Salah is the single most important obligation in Islaam after upholding Tawheed. Anything which causes a person to miss a Salah would be Haraam for that individual to do. So if you want to watch any sport or attend an event, make sure to pray your Salah on time.

2. Indulging in or supporting the vices that occur at these places. No doubt that some people attending these events will be drinking, fornicating or indulging in other forbidden practices. If attending these events tempts one to commit these sins then such a person should stay away.

Besides avoiding temptation, it is also important to hate these sins and disapprove of them in one’s heart. If one does so, then one can attend these events as you will not be responsible for someone else’s actions at such events.

3. If it is not in excess or leading to wastage of time and money. Moderation is key for any form of entertainment to be permissible. One reason I dislike these sporting events is that people will miss Islamic events because these sports are more important to them, this attitude is not acceptable for a Muslim.

Also some people spend so much time engaged in watching these sports that they neglect their families, sometimes abuse them or waste a lot of money on the merchandise, which could be put to better use. So if one can balance watching these events with one’s duties to Allah, one’s family and oneself then it would be permissible.

4. If it leads to hero-worship. So many Muslims do not know the names or biographies of the heroes of Islam yet know the entire life stories of many actors, sports stars and musicians. This should not be the attitude of a Muslim. A Muslim should always give priority to Islam over all else. It is not prohibited to know these people’s stories but when one gives preference to this over Muslim heroes, it may lead to idolizing these people and taking them as our role models which should not be the case for any Muslim.

If one has this attachment to these events and their stars, they need to realize that they are going down the wrong path and make a change. I do not mean that they should stop watching sports, but rather they should learn to balance and start making time to learn their religion, making that a priority in their life.

These are the most common reasons that can cause a sporting event to be prohibited, if one can overcome them then it can be permissible to attend and enjoy the match itself, and Allah knows best.

The other aspect of the World Cup is the Dawah opportunity. Many Muslims are complaining that the World Cup is a fitnah that should not happen in our country. There is nothing we can do to stop it, rather as Muslims we should be optimistic and look for some good in it that we can benefit from.

The thing I love the most about the World Cup is that it means many foreigners will be coming to our country. Many of whom may not have been exposed to Islam and are coming to a Western country in which Muslims are a very influential and powerful minority. This is a perfect opportunity to spread the message of Islam to thousands of people and reap the rewards thereof in the Afterlife.

So these are my thoughts on the topic, I will not be attending any matches but do not regrd it as Haraam in itself, but I am definitely planning a lot of Dawah activities for that time so that I may claim my share of the reward of spreading the message. What are your thoughts and views on such events?

Ismail Kamdar, a.k.a Abu Muawiyah, is the Head Tutorial Assistant of the Islamic Online University, and the host of Living Islam on Radio Al-Ansaar. He began his study of Islam at the age of thirteen, and has completed both the Alim course and a BA in Islamic Studies. He is the author of multiple books including Having Fun the Halal Way: Entertainment in Islam, Getting The Barakah: An Islamic Guide to Time Management and Best of Creation: An Islamic Guide to Self-Confidence.

75 Comments

75 Comments

  1. Avatar

    mofw

    May 6, 2010 at 4:57 AM

    As always, glad to see that Muslims are not shying away from dealing with the pressing issues of the day.

    • Avatar

      Mumin

      May 6, 2010 at 12:29 PM

      sarcasm

  2. Avatar

    Gloria

    May 6, 2010 at 6:28 AM

    I am torn but not because of the local scholars position as I agree with the author of this article. I love soccer and watching the world cup since I was a little kid, however, fifa banning the Iranian girl soccer team from playing in the olympics because of the hijab is the problem. On the one hand I love to see the world cup but it is part of FIFA on the other I feel like I have to support my sisters and NOT watch or buy anything related to fifa. AHH

  3. Avatar

    Middle Ground

    May 6, 2010 at 8:11 AM

    Salam

    What does Maulana Yunus Patel say about Hashim Amla and olther devout muslim cricketers, or cricket in general?

    • Avatar

      Bushra

      May 6, 2010 at 10:57 AM

      Good point! Br. Hashim attends Al Kauthar courses in South Africa too, masha’Allah.

  4. Avatar

    kaschif ahmed

    May 6, 2010 at 9:52 AM

    As-salaamu alaykum,

    The same should be said of the NBA Finals, NFL SuperBowl, NHL Stanley Cub, MLB World Series, Olympics, and others.

    All four points happen.

    But there is a greater threat than missing Salah, indulging of vices, laho (wasting time), and hero worship…

    and this is putting one brother against the other..

    As seen in America, I can’t say how it is in the other countries, but TEAM RIVALRY leads to one brother having love and/or hatred for another because of his home team.

    It’s get’s so far that I don’t like him because he’s a ___ fan. Or he’s a ___ fan so me and him can relate.

    I’ve heard people killing each other because of one or two calls in a game.

    It is better for a brother not to show any favoritism for one or another team and watching (not playing) builds this love/hatred relationship.

    Wa Allaho alim,

    As-salaamu alaykum

    • Avatar

      Abu Ibrahim

      May 6, 2010 at 2:22 PM

      That’s only in really extreme cases. My brother in law and I are both from New York City. He’s a Skankee…I’m sorry…Yankee fan, and I’m a Mets fan.

      We rib each other about our respective teams, but it’s never gotten to the point of a full argument or even momentary hostility.

      As with anything in life, moderation is key.

      Keep sports in perspective, don’t waste too much time on it, turn off the TV when it’s time to pray, remember that it’s just a game.

      And yes, Allah knows best.

      • Avatar

        Yaqeen needed

        May 6, 2010 at 3:22 PM

        Abu Ibrahim

        Just wondering aloud how you know ‘that’s only in really extreme cases’? if you do not have solid proof, then the anecdotal info available strongly supports Kaschif. The recent bitter fight between Egypt and Algeria surely cannot be forgotten. That is of course if you keep tabs with things outside the US

        • Avatar

          Abu Ibrahim

          May 18, 2010 at 12:28 PM

          “That is of course if you keep tabs with things outside the US.”

          Ah, such snide remarks. I’ll refrain from attacking you as you so subtly attacked me. I’ll remember the words of our Prophet (peace be upon him) who warned that a Muslim is one whom other Muslims are safe from their tongue and hands.

          But, to counter your argument, one needn’t provide anecdotal evidence to prove that sports related violence is extreme. The definition of extreme is: “to the utmost degree.”

          Obviously, sports related violence and bitterness are not the norm or it would happen most of the time around the world. It does not; not in the Muslim world or in the U.S.

          The situation between Egypt and Algeria was an anomaly. It is an example of two groups taking their passion for a game to the extreme.

          But it is not the norm. Therefore, YOU should provide the “anecdotal evidence” proving this sort of behavior is normal and typical.

  5. Avatar

    Curious

    May 6, 2010 at 10:03 AM

    Assalamu alaikum.

    I am also a world cup lover. But the soccer dress is what worries me. Soccer players put on shorts that would leave open the lower portion of the thigh and the kneecap which are part of the ‘satr’ for males. Are muslims supposed to watch players in that dress given that it is not permissible to look at the awrah of other people?

    Some one pls clarify on this dress issue so that we dont commit sins while cheering for our teams.

    • Amad

      Amad

      May 6, 2010 at 11:40 AM

      Actually there is ikhtilaf whether the knee and thigh are parts of the man’s awrah or not.

      On the knee, the stronger opinion is that it is not awrah: http://en.islamtoday.net/node/1119

      With respect to thigh, difference of opinion

      Ibn Hazm says: “It is correct to say that the thigh is not part of `Awrah, saying otherwise will conflict with the fact that Allah allowed His Prophet, who is protected (from sin), to uncover his thigh so that Anas and others could see it? Allah would have kept him from doing this. According to Jabir as recorded in the two Sahihs(authentic books of Al-Bukhari and Muslim), when the Prophet was young (before his prophethood), he was once carrying the stones of the Ka’bah, wearing only a loincloth. His uncle al-`Abbas said to him, ‘O nephew, why don’t you untie your waistcloth and put it on your shoulder for padding?’ The Prophet did so and fell unconscious. He was never seen naked again after that.”‘

      [source]

      • Avatar

        Yaqeen needed

        May 6, 2010 at 3:48 PM

        The question is not whether there is ikhtilaf. Its going into the sources before we can even say a position is stronger!!!

        http://www.islam-qa.com/en/ref/34976/thighawrahmen

      • Avatar

        Yaqeen needed

        May 6, 2010 at 3:56 PM

        The ahaadeeth supporting this position include:

        1 – Abu Dawood (3140) and Ibn Maajah (1460) narrated that ‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Do not show your thigh, and do not look at the thigh of anyone, living or dead.”

        2 – Ahmad (21989) narrated that Muhammad ibn Jahsh (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) passed by Ma’mar when I was with him, and his thighs were uncovered. He said: “O Ma’mar, cover your thighs, for the thigh is ‘awrah.”

        Commenting on these ahadeeth, Shaykh Albani said:

        Although their isnaads are not entirely free of weakness, they strengthen one another, because there is no narrator among them who may be regarded as suspicious, rather their weakness has to do with confusion and ambiguity. And there are similar reports which make one confident that the hadeeth is saheeh, especially since some of them were classed as saheeh by al-Haakim, and al-Dhahabi agreed with him. And al-Bukhaari narrated it in a mu’allaq report in his Saheeh… But a number of these isnaads give the hadeeth strength, and raise it to the level of being saheeh, especially sincere there are similar, corroborating reports on the same issue. End quote.

        And going beyond the fatwa and coming to reality, the shorts worn by these footballers and in other sports show more than the thigh. If you are in doubt and want to experiment whether such dressing are modest, according to the maqaasid of the sharia, get sisters to stare at what is brazenly shown in those shorts and ask them if they do not feel anything. Did the real salaf do this or look for opportunity to live their lives on the border line using the ikhtilaf flag?

        • Amad

          Amad

          May 7, 2010 at 6:07 AM

          What I find it more brazen is that someone can promptly dismiss ikhtilaaf and set out to prove one opinion, essentially saying that the person knows better than the ulema who have had ikhtilaaf on this issue for centuries.

          Since we are NOT scholars, it is sufficient to know that there is ikhtilaaf amongst the scholars of ahl sunnah on a particular issue. It is up to individual Muslims to follow opinions from the scholars they trust, or the madhab they adhere to. Which MEANS we respect the brothers who don’t hold the same opinion as us, and don’t go into a tear of haram and halal mini-fatwas.

          If this post was meant to discuss the fiqh of awrah, we could bring in scholarly opinions to get into the details of it. But it is NOT. Let’s be more humble please.

          P.S. I was not the one who made the conclusion about what the stronger opinion is, I was quoting the scholar from Islamtoday. I believe it is, but I will not judge others who don’t agree with me. wallahualam.

  6. Avatar

    Mezba

    May 6, 2010 at 10:05 AM

    “This has led to much controversy amongst South African Muslims as to whether the World Cup is a good or bad thing and if it is permissible to watch it and support the team.”

    To those people: Please get a life.

    It’s just a game. You watch the game and go home.

  7. Avatar

    BintKhalil

    May 6, 2010 at 10:44 AM

    Assalamu alaikum

    Could you please consider posting another article detailing the kinds of da’wah activities that the South African Muslim community is planning? I think this is absolutely brilliant in that if the da’wah affects some of the visiting athletes who may have been nominal Muslims before or non-Muslim athletes learning about Islam who then perhaps start to talk positively about Islam, they could possibly influence the millions of adulating fans.

  8. Avatar

    elham

    May 6, 2010 at 12:20 PM

    On the issue of whether attending the games is halaal or haraam, doesn’t it also depend on why you’re there? I mean, some scholars say that travelling to a Non-Muslim country is haraam because of the same reasons mentioned in this article ( temptations etc) UNLESS its for da’wah, education, their health etc.

    So can’t we also use this as an opportunity for da’wah and not anything else?

  9. Avatar

    Abu Yunus

    May 6, 2010 at 3:09 PM

    <>

    Yes, when exactly will you have the opportunity to give da’wah? The people didn’t come to have a dialogue with people, they came to watch a soccer match. I don’t think the atmosphere would be conducive to give da’wah since their attention won’t be geared towards any person lecturing to them.

    • Avatar

      Ismail Kamdar

      May 8, 2010 at 7:04 AM

      These are tourists, many of them visiting SA for the first time. They are not just going to attend a soccer match then go home.

      They will explore all the fun places here as well as our diverse mix of cultures and religions, including Islam since Muslims have a strong presence in the major cities. So it is when they are touring the country between soccer matches and observing Muslims and Masjids wherever they go, that is when Dawah opportunities arise.

      By the way, Dawah is not just lecturing. There are many ways of doing Dawah, Masjid Tours, pamphlets, friendly chat, or even just showing good character. I’m thinking along those lines, not lectures.

  10. Avatar

    naeem

    May 6, 2010 at 4:52 PM

    AA-

    You see, this is a perfect example of the problem I have with looking at social issues strictly from the fiqhi perspective (ie. is it halal or haram?). We’re missing the picture when we’re discussing men’s awrah or missing prayers. If we limit ourselves to such a tunnel vision, we overlook the greater evil that is inherent in the sports entertainment industry.

    I see this multi-billion dollar industry as an extension of Hollywood and its ilk. What is essentially a commendable act (playing sports) has been transformed into a zombie-inducing form of entertainment. It is geared to dull the masses and re-direct their energies away from the real issues of the world.

    Just like movies and TV shows, watching sports is about running away from the stresses of real life and temporarily entering a concocted world. Islam, on the other hand, is diametrically opposed to anything that distracts us from the realities of life.

    I’ve written more on the sports industry being the new Opium of the Masses:
    http://brnaeem.blogspot.com/2008/04/new-opium-of-masses.html

  11. Avatar

    Mezba

    May 6, 2010 at 6:39 PM

    Here is exactly what a non Muslim friend who read this piece commented to me.

    “Why does no muslim ever come up with the notion to thank Allah for providing an excellent game like football, and just enjoy it and be grateful!
    Sheesh!
    No really, why are muslims always worried that fun things must be haraam, and why can’t they just have fun?
    And if they want to be religious, why not have fun and thank Allah????
    Who is Allah to Muslims? A loving God providing the good things in life, or a nasty practical joker and spoilsport?”

    Yes. part of the comment may be blasphemous but think about it. What image are you projecting to people by even debating the halalness of watching the World Cup? What dawah? Seriously – those people who promote fatwas about World Cup being haram should just Get A Life. And they want to talk about Islam to people watching the world cup!!

    I thought brother Naeem would perhaps provide a voice of reason but he has taken it to another level. I am glad to see Muslims are busy with the pressing issues of the day …

    • Amad

      Amad

      May 7, 2010 at 6:19 AM

      Br. Mezba,
      Our voice of reason is not calibrated by what non-Muslims think and feel about what Muslims find important to discuss. We may find the speaking of tongues in Evangelical prayers quite curious and even humorous, but I don’t find myself in a position to tell them “chill out guys, stop making funny noises”. I can understand non-Muslims not quite getting this, completely understandable. It is hard for them to understand a lot of things, including hijab, bathroom ettiquettes for Muslims, lack of Muslim dating, etc. That is why it is important to steer them away from such intricate issues and focus more on the big picture of Tawheed and the message of Islam in relation to the messages before.

      You’ll find it interesting that non-Muslims mocked Muslims since the time that the Prophet(S) brought the message. One of the mushrikeen (polytheists) said to Salman al-Farsi rd, someone whose quest for truth took him many places: “Your Prophet has taught you everything, even how to defecate!” Obviously the person was trying to mock Islam. But did Salman rd shy away and make excuses for the deen. Nope. Salmaan said: “Yes, he forbade us to face the qiblah when urinating or defecating…” [Tirmidhi, Muslim]

  12. Avatar

    Sayf

    May 6, 2010 at 11:03 PM

    When you get a goal please don’t take your shirt off.

  13. Avatar

    naeem

    May 7, 2010 at 12:14 AM

    AA-

    First of all, let’s be clear what I’m talking about here. I’m not denouncing cheering on your son in his soccer league or watching the local high school basketball game. I’m referring to the ridiculous industry that has been constructed around professional sports (amateur as well if you want to include the Olympics and college sports).

    It boggles my mind how rational Muslims decry Hollywood and the extravagant lifestyle it projects, but find no grievance with the billions and billions of dollars wasted on stadiums, sports salaries, advertising, etc.

    Both have taken legitimate forms of entertainment (sports and theatre) and transformed them into incredibly effective vehicles of distraction used to dumb down the masses.

    Our deen calls us to make full use of all our faculties in combating the callings of our nafs as well as the machinations of our accursed enemy, Iblis. One of the reasons why drugs and alcohol are prohibited is because they dull our senses, rendering us weak in this battle against Shaytan and our nafs.

    It is obvious to anyone who has participated as a die-hard fan of professional sports that it serves as an incredible source of distraction – the term ‘football widow’ illustrates my point.

    These distractions serve to distant us from our primary objective of knowing, loving, and worshiping our Creator. What seems at the surface to be an innocent afternoon watching a game is in reality distancing us from our Lord in ways many of us cannot even comprehend.

    Many may scoff at the laughable attention given to this ‘pressing issue’, but in reality what is more pressing than our relationship with our Lord?

    That is why I believe we are missing the trees for the forest when we focus on peripheral issues such as gambling, drinking, gender-mixing, or missing prayers in the context of sports spectatorship. The real issue at hand is not whether watching the World Cup is halal or haram, but how it effects your relationship with Allah (swt).

    • Amad

      Amad

      May 7, 2010 at 6:23 AM

      I agree and disagree. If Muslims were really practicing and staying away from major haraam, like drugs, sex, etc., then it would make sense that this would be a real distraction. But sometimes this distraction keeps them away from bigger sins, as is the sad affair of the Muslim today.

      I think everything when done in due measure is okay… I watch cricket’s world cup quite closely. I am not infatuated or obsessed with it. But I do enjoy the thrills of winning, and the 5-minute sadness of losing. I don’t think it comes in the way of my relationship with Allah, because that would be an excuse, as I DO have quality time to create that relationship, and continue to fail. May Allah forgive me and help me build that.

      • Avatar

        naeem

        May 8, 2010 at 1:45 AM

        “5-minute sadness of losing”

        Say wha?! I don’t know a leg-spin from a googly and even I feel more than 5 minutes of remorse when Pakistan loses to India!! Man up and admit to the tears you’ve shed over the countless disappointments of the Pakistani team. :-)

        Seriously, your argument about sports keeping youth away from bigger sins is valid (as I stated in my post), but it doesn’t fly here at MM, where most readers are a bit more religiously advanced.

        My worry is that sports entertainment is seen as a ‘halal’ outlet, in contrast to the major sins, and so too many Muslims indulge themselves without moderation.

        • Amad

          Amad

          May 8, 2010 at 5:26 AM

          I didn’t see loss to India… that’s a 7-day mourning period.

          • Avatar

            muslimah

            June 19, 2010 at 1:14 PM

            haram to mourn for more than 3 days lol. but im so glad pakistan lost. way to go india !

  14. Avatar

    Sulaiman

    May 7, 2010 at 1:09 AM

    Bismillah,

    Assalamu ‘Alaykum,

    Jazak Allahu khayr for the interesting article brother. Just one thing to I noted, I think it should everything in mu’amalaat/dealings is halaal unless proven haraam and its vice versa for worship.

    WAllahu Ta’ala A’lam

    • Avatar

      Ismail Kamdar

      June 10, 2010 at 9:58 AM

      Thank you for this correction, you are correct.

      In terms of Dunyah, everything is Halal until proven Haram, in regards to Ibadah, everything is Bidah (innovation), until proven to be from the Sunnah.

      Thank you for reminding me. :)

  15. Avatar

    Sagacious Muslim

    May 7, 2010 at 1:56 AM

    Salaam Alaikum

    Someone commented on why something ‘fun’ would be haraam. Surely Islam does not forbid everything that is fun.

    But- It should be noted that any act which creates “Fitnah” (meaning antagonism, war, riots, etc) is not recommended and therefore haraam.

    A great example is the tension between Egypt & Algeria right now. Both are not only Arab countries, but Muslim nations as well. However, this desire to watch a fun football game has led to unfortunate violence & hatred from both sides of the conflict. The whole event was unnecessary & only slows progress between Muslim states in unifying with each other.

    Such situations in the past has given the West a chance to invade & colonize similar nations at war with each other. Of course- may there be peace between Algeria & Egypt InshAllah. Neither people deserved this. The etiquette of Islam must prevail.

    Watching soccer & cheering for your country is something fun, and it also promotes patriotism which is a good thing (especially if you do not have the luxery of living in your native country). But as soon as anything creates division & animosity, it would be less of a sacrifice & more of a return to just stay away from it.

  16. Avatar

    Ismail Kamdar

    May 7, 2010 at 2:44 AM

    As Salaam Alaikum

    Jazakallah Khair to all those who gave me positive yet critical feedback on this article. I was hoping to provide a different view on this issue and I pray and hope that this article has been of some benefit in showing the right to have fun in Islaam but the limits as well.

    May Allah guide us to that which is best.

  17. Avatar

    Dreamlife

    May 7, 2010 at 5:17 AM

    To Naeem

    I didn’t read your post (yet), but I agree with the essence of your argument – which is what a massive distraction all of this is.

    In fact, there’s this Hamza Yusuf talk about Dajjal some time in the mid-90s (it’s quite long – and if anyone wants the link let me know); where he says – if i remember correctly – that the sports ‘industry’ is a big part of the system of Dajjal. It’s designed to delude us and take us away from what actually matters in the reality of things.

    If you’ve seen the infamous “The Arrivals” series (which justfiably gets a lot of flack, but also contains some truth), near the end, there’s an epsiode about how we should be focussing on proper living – yet we’ve become distracted by so many other things that have taken on over-inflated importance in our world. (I think the episode is called ‘The Balanced Human’ or something). If i’m not mistaken, one image shown in that episode is of a crazy sports fan – as an illustration of how human passion, which should be used for PRODUCTIVE pursuits, has been diverted to artificial ’causes’ – such as supporting a sports team.

    Some people have even gone as far as saying that the sport is their religion – and that attending games is their going to ‘church’.

    While most of us aren’t that extreme – I think there’s a severe danger of many of us ending up that way, if we don’t curb our indulgence in such things and partake only in a balanced way. After all, we’d never openly admit to worshipping idols – but how many modern-day ‘idols’ are there in this world? Things that we pursue so enthusiastically – yet they aren’t really worth much in the bigger scheme of existence.

    To those asking about da’wah:
    Yes, people are coming with a mindset of relaxing, being entertained, and enjoying. But they’re still here as tourists – and as such, they’ll be touring. One initiative here in Cape Town is a tourist map which is part map, part da’wah material. There are also masjid tours planned for tourists, where they can come in, and Islam is explained to them.

    A little while ago, Fadel Soliman (Bridges Foundation, Egypt) was in the country, conducting da’wah training in the World Cup cities.

    And there are probably many more projects I haven’t even heard of…so there’s a lot, and we should support them; and not be sceptical.

    We have dedicated da’ees and people involved in these activities – so insha-Allah all of this is going to be a success. And whether or not it has an effect on any tourists, that’s up to Allah. But as Muslims, we know that what we do is have te intention and make the effort – and the outcomes are in Allah’s hands.

  18. Avatar

    Miro Bagrov

    May 8, 2010 at 3:28 PM

    I am happy to see a muslim view of this event since I am assisting a business with WC10 plans.

    I agree that it is very to consider and respect the views of both majority and minority to make this a fullfiling event for as many as possible.

    Thank you for your post.

  19. Avatar

    Kwame Madden

    May 9, 2010 at 7:03 AM

    I hate to veer from the topic but the South Africian muslim community for yrs. neglected black population who suffered the most under apartheid.There was hardly any dawa that took place.All praise to Allah that in the last 15 yrs that has changed.Many of the indengious folks, at one time thought this was a religion for indians and malaysians.The hanif ulama are known for there strict strigent verdicts there in South Africa.It would be nice if they had just as much fervor in addressing issues like poverty, clean drinking water and decent wages for the poor.As far the World Cup goes we muslims should always seek moderation in all that we do.

  20. Avatar

    DawahIT

    May 9, 2010 at 6:58 PM

    The bigger professional sports get, the less we play sports ourselves.

    Just an observation.

  21. Avatar

    farhan

    May 13, 2010 at 9:59 AM

    Salaamualikum wr wb

    No direct mention of the concept of Asabiyah. Curious to hear the author’s thoughts on how it relates to this subject, if at all.

    JZK

    • Avatar

      Yaqeen needed

      May 14, 2010 at 11:03 PM

      Another fatwa on soccer

      http://www.islam-qa.com/en/ref/84291/football

      Games between what is lawful and what is prohibited

      http://www.islam-qa.com/en/ref/22305/soccer

      One quote of importance

      3 – They should not take up a lot of the player’s time, let alone taking up all of his time or causing him to be known among the people for that, or becoming his job, because then there is the fear that the aayah (interpretation of the meaning) “Who took their religion as an amusement and play, and the life of the world deceived them. So this Day We shall forget them” [al-A’raaf 7:51] may become applicable to him.

  22. Avatar

    reality

    May 18, 2010 at 11:01 AM

    I’d like to mention a few points that specifically apply to the majority of sporting events in N. America:

    1) These events have open consumption of alcohol. People are drinking, getting drunk, screaming and all of this is very widespread.

    2) There is open playing of music. Very loudly as well. Music is a key component to many of these events.

    3) Almost all of these events have close to completely naked women dancing and entertaining the crowd via cheerleaders. This occurs at regular intervals and VERY frequently.

    Thus, I can’t see how it can it be possible for anyone to allow any muslim to be in an environment. I would feel greatly ashamed to ever be caught in an event that was promoting such vices.

    I think this sums up at least 50% of all sporting events.

  23. Avatar

    Asief

    May 18, 2010 at 2:20 PM

    Salaam, as a South African I need to ask: since when do the aforementioned sins mentioned NOT happen in this country in any case? I fail to see how the World Cup is going to cause people to sin any more or less. People are already drinking, fornicating, etc here!

    And before I get attacked, I’m not saying the world cup is good, I just want to know where the idea that it is inherently evil is coming from in the place.

    Please don’t say it’s because more people coming in = more opportunity to sin. Because that’s a poor argument. Having beautiful mountains brings in tourists and those tourists are going to sin as much as they would at home, but if you tell me the mountain is evil, well then I have no words for you.

    Looking forward to your (non-aggressive) response.

    Shukriya,
    Asief
    Cape Town, South Africa

    • Avatar

      another white brother

      May 18, 2010 at 2:27 PM

      People are already going to drink in bars or act liciviously in strip clubs. Is it permissible to go to either, even if one doesn’t partake in the haraam while there?

      • Avatar

        Asief

        May 18, 2010 at 2:31 PM

        There seems to be a lack of congruency between what we think the issue is. My point is about whether the world cup in itself is evil, like I said those people are going to do their thing but that’s none of my business is it.

        • Avatar

          another white brother

          May 18, 2010 at 9:40 PM

          Actually, it kinda is. Enjoining the good, forbidding the evil and all.

  24. Avatar

    sumaiya

    June 7, 2010 at 2:14 PM

    Assalamu Alaikum,

    The world cup is a waste of money.There are millions of people in south africa who are homeless and starving.If the SA government spent more time and effort sheltering and feeding these homeless people their would be less crime.millions spent on the world cup what a shame…..millions dying of hunger
    People spend thousands purchasing world cup tickets…..some of them consider this as a once in a lifetime opportunity…..ask them if they performed Hajj?……the reply is No!……they would rather attend a match then perform Hajj…..Allahu Alam

    Wassalam

  25. Avatar

    anooonymouse

    June 7, 2010 at 3:01 PM

    Firstly, the first two opinions are not mutually exclusive. Maulana Yunus is not saying to not perform da’wah!

    Secondly, regarding the matter of inherent permissibility, there really isn’t even an honest question there for people of taqwa (basic question of awrah, cheerleaders, sitting in a company where haraam is committed, etc. all matters that remove the question of permissibility beyond a shadow of a doubt).

    But even beyond that fact there is a much more dangerous delusion that this writer is laboring under. He goes to great lengths to describe what, in his opinion, WOULD make the world cup haraam- he mentions 4 things. Then he acts as if those things are the “exception to the rule” among people. I mean could you be more delusional about your own condition or the condition of the public? Is there a SINGLE fan of the world cup that is not committing one or more of those things? But the articles is very subtly written in order to give the impression that this is something extraordinary for a Muslim fan to be engaging in these haraam aspects, and as if it is possible to be a “fan” and not do so.

    I mean who will attend and then hate the haraam that is going on? If you truly hated it, you would rather not attend since there is no necessity. Who will watch the matches and not hero-worship the sports idols? And when is it NOT a wastage of time and money, given the hours long matches every day, when there are more beneficial, and more entertaining means of keeping your family happy and together? Is there a single fan that has enough time to watch for 3 or 4 hours (I’m not sure how long these things go on) and pray all their salaah, and read their daily qur’aan, and fulfill the rights of their family, oh, and don’t forget that the vast majority of Muslims have not learned the faraaidh knowledge of Islam, so they would also be required to spend their free time doing that, etc. etc. etc…..

    الحمد لله, the scholars like Hazrat Maulana Yunus دامت بركاتهم, have their fingers on the pulse of the Muslim society, by Allah’s grace, and by their answering 100’s of cases of Muslims all over the world in all kinds of spiritual illnesses daily. Therefore, when they give advice it is based on the reality of the condition of the human nafs, and their own experience in bringing it under control and self-purification.

    These bloggers that are for some reason being looked towards for ruling by some Muslims are themselves unable to control their nafs, look around for justification, then they feel the need to justify themselves with the world as well, and then they end up misleading other people that are laboring under the same spiritual ills.
    This is nothing but self-deception and delusion.

    • Avatar

      Ismail Kamdar

      June 10, 2010 at 9:49 AM

      I did not disrespect Maulana Yunus Patel anywhere in my article, I even called him ‘One of Durban’s leading scholars’ rather I disagreed respectfully.

      So why in response do you feel the necessity of stooping to personal attacks and name-calling, statements like “These bloggers that are for some reason being looked towards for ruling by some Muslims are themselves unable to control their nafs, look around for justification, then they feel the need to justify themselves with the world as well, and then they end up misleading other people that are laboring under the same spiritual ills. This is nothing but self-deception and delusion.” are uncalled for and insulting, please maintain Islamic Adab when presenting an opposing view.

      To generalize that everybody who watches soccer must be involved in these sins is a major generalization and unislamic, I know many people who just watch the matches, enjoy it and that is all they do without getting involved in the sins others are doing. By that analogy, going anywhere for fun would be Haraam, since at every beach, shopping centre or park, you will find women dressed immodestly, music and people drinking.

      For your information, I dislike soccer and won’t even watch a single match at the World Cup, so I never write this article to satisfy my Nafs, rather the view I presented goes agianst my desires.

      • Avatar

        anooonymouse

        June 10, 2010 at 7:58 PM

        You simply repeated the same delusion, in spite of the fact that I gave specific examples.
        My statements may be a major generalization, but that does not make them any less based in fact. Again, I say, for example, “Is there a single fan that has enough time to watch for 3 or 4 hours (I’m not sure how long these things go on) and pray all their salaah, and read their daily qur’aan, and fulfill the rights of their family, oh, and don’t forget that the vast majority of Muslims have not learned the faraaidh knowledge of Islam, so they would also be required to spend their free time doing that, etc. etc. etc…..” The same holds true of the other harms. And any individual that is not getting involved in all but one of the haraam things, will still be involved in that one, and that is sufficient.
        Also, this, second article describes the issue from another angle and the injustice which those who support this event are involving themselves in.

        After berating me for making a generalization, you then made one of your own: “at every beach, shopping centre or park, you will find women dressed immodestly, music and people drinking.” To which I reply, that this is generalization is not based in fact because of two factors:
        (a) Those are not the only sources for fun. If it were really true that this was the case, there should be no difficulty for a Muslim to give these things up and adopt other sources for fun that don’t have those problems.
        (b) There are times, locations, and days when all those things may be visited when there will not be any of those haraam things happening, for example, early in the morning after fajr, at more remote areas of the beaches and parks, during the off-season, etc.

    • Avatar

      Ahmad

      June 10, 2010 at 6:28 PM

      Your “Hazrat Maulana Yunus” is not a scholar. He is a Sufi spiritual leader – by no means a scholar. One wonders why he and his followers are not as critical of cricket as they are of soccer. Could it be because Hashim Amla is one of his flock?

      • Avatar

        anooonymouse

        June 10, 2010 at 8:09 PM

        I’m afraid you are severely mistaken on 4 out of 5 accounts.

        (1) He is a scholar. He has ijaazah from Darul Uloom Deoband. In fact, he was the chairman of Jamiat Ulema KZN for many years before he resigned due to poor health.

        (2) He is a Sufi spiritual leader, alhumdulillah. He has khilaafat from two of the great awliyaa of our time.

        (3) He has spoken similarly about cricket matches many a time. Why have you made this unbased accusation? If you knew the slightest bit about him, in fact, if you had listened to only a few of his lectures, you would never have said such a stupid thing.

        (4) He is not critical of soccer. He is critical of this professional soccer (and professional cricket) opium of the masses. Obviously, if you want to play a game of soccer on your local field, there is no harm in that.

        (5) I don’t know who this Hashim Amla character is, but obviously our Shuyookh do not turn anyone away that comes to them for rectification. Do you think they check if each person is a wali first before accepting their bay’ah? Obviously, there are people who drink, people who gamble, etc. among his “flock”, if they didn’t have spiritual ills that needed rectification, they wouldn’t need him.

        You should be more careful about statements you make with ignorance about the awliyaa of Allah. Allah himself does their protection.

        • Avatar

          A Janjua

          June 12, 2010 at 4:27 PM

          May I ask how you determine who the awliyaa of Allah are?

          May Allah beautify our charcacters, ameen.

          • Avatar

            anooonymouse

            June 16, 2010 at 12:53 PM

            By how strictly they follow the sunnah in their own lives, by their encouragement of others to follow the sunnah, by their sticking by the Shariah even when it may be unpopular with their “fan base,” by the condition of their graduated students in all of the above…..

            …..etc.

  26. Avatar

    lily

    June 10, 2010 at 4:51 AM

    I like the view put by Idris Tawfiq in his article about soccer here : http://www.idristawfiq.com/index.php?news=113

  27. Avatar

    Riz Malek Luton uk

    June 11, 2010 at 1:47 PM

    It’s very simple, you cannot watch footy as their are 23 naked men running around on the pitch. Their suttar is not covered I.e their shorts are above their knee. So according to sharia they are not covered. Simples. So now ask yourself, does Islam allow us to see other peoples uncovered suttar…….. And theirs your answer. = )

    • Avatar

      sabirah

      June 11, 2010 at 7:18 PM

      i just ordered all possible sky sports channels, and i don’t intend to just listen to the horns overpowering the commentator :)

  28. Avatar

    Muslim Girl

    June 13, 2010 at 9:43 AM

    If the sports industry is designed to delude us and take us away from what actually matters in the reality of things… you guys just totally fell into the trap since you have spent so much time and effort talking about something so useless when a much more eminent issue could have been discussed.

    Like, REALLY, guys? SOCCER???

    • Avatar

      anooonymouse

      June 14, 2010 at 3:40 AM

      Doing something haraam == talking to other to get them to stay away from haraam?

      You think giving advice and warning to others to stay away from useless things is a waste of time? Seems like a very good use of time to me.

  29. Avatar

    sabirah

    June 14, 2010 at 4:04 AM

    salam
    as an alternative to discuss if soccer is compatible with Islam we could share a thought or two about the brothers and sisters in Kyrgyzstan where muslims are killing muslims … which I think is more worth pondering.

    • Avatar

      anooonymouse

      June 16, 2010 at 6:36 AM

      The two discussions are NOT mutually exclusive.

  30. Avatar

    Middle Ground

    June 14, 2010 at 7:25 AM

    Salam

    In Somalia, people are getting murdered for watching the World Cup:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/africa/10307512.stm

    Subhanallah… watching soccer is haram, but killing your muslim brother is halal. And we want to tell the whole world about what a great religion Islam is….

    • Avatar

      another white brother

      June 14, 2010 at 9:01 AM

      Got any *real* proof for that statement? I have personally seen incidents where BBC has lied on muslims and never retracted statements. That makes them daeef.

      • Avatar

        Very Sad

        June 14, 2010 at 9:20 AM

        Salam

        It happened famously in Somalia in the last world cup as well. 10 Somalians were killed in a cinema for watching.

    • Amad

      Amad

      June 14, 2010 at 9:28 AM

      I wonder about such stories considering how bad they sound. I mean any Muslim with basic beliefs can understand that you can’t hurt someone, let alone kill someone because of watching soccer. I wonder if the deaths occurred as part of another agenda, with soccer as an excuse.

      On the other hand, it is one of the signs of khawarij is that their utter disregard for Muslim blood. But I do doubt that there are very many Somalians who would consider such action.

      I think the lawless situation of Somalia is allowing jaahil people to do crazy things in the name of their political cause, and as always masked in religious language.

      It’s tough to blame the Islamophobes when we keep gifting them such awful stories.

    • Avatar

      elham

      June 14, 2010 at 12:27 PM

      La hawla wa la quwata illa billah. The people have only Allah(swt).They know enough to see that these nutjobs’ actions are alien to Islam.

      Once one man’s blood is spilled with no remorse,the rest is a reptition of the same and every episode finds its excuse to occur.They do not avoid bloodshed they seek it.

    • Avatar

      anooonymouse

      June 16, 2010 at 6:37 AM

      If you will watch the world cup under threat of flogging, then I’m pretty sure that’s a sign of “excess”, one of this ^^ guy’s 4 points.

      • Avatar

        Middle Ground

        June 16, 2010 at 11:01 AM

        Salam

        And you’ll be ready with the whips?

  31. Avatar

    Ify Okoye

    June 14, 2010 at 9:28 AM

    This just in: the World Cup prayer space is sunnah-style and barrier-free. And there is a separate women’s tent for those who wish to pray by themselves.

    • Avatar

      anooonymouse

      June 16, 2010 at 6:34 AM

      “Sunnah-style” AND barrier free….

      Interesting….

  32. Avatar

    Ismail Kamdar

    June 20, 2010 at 5:17 AM

    Latest conspiracy theory about the World Cup. The Mascot of the World Cup is a cute animal named Zakumi which stand for SA 2010, however many local Muslims are convinced it is named after a tree in Hell named Zarqoom. I even heard a Moulana warn against Zakumi on this argument in the Jumah Khutbah,

  33. Avatar

    Asief

    June 20, 2010 at 6:11 AM

    I just lol’d

    But sometimes I don’t know who to blame for this. There are people who believe they’re doing Islam a favour by spreading conspiracies based off lies, but at the end of the day it’s just that: lies! On the other hand, it’s like the youth here in SA only take a moral stance on something when somebody sensationalises the issue with a conspiracy eg: The Arrivals series had everyone all of a sudden “open their eyes”…. For like two minutes that is.

    An example would be the way I try to get my family to boycott Zionist products. They never listen, they have no problem supporting the firms who finance the slaughter of Palestinians but when someone forwards an e-mail saying that if you turn a bottle of Coca Cola upsidedown the text actually says there is no Allah or somesuch crap or that Mc Donalds coats their chips in pig fat, THEN they’re quick to abandon the products…. For like two minutes that is.

  34. Avatar

    Khaliq.Bux

    June 21, 2010 at 10:32 AM

    In The Name of Allah, The Most beneficient, The Most Merciful.
    “Invite (all) to the Way of your Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer) with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for your Rabb knows best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance.” (16:125)

    Abu Hurairah (RA) narrated that the Prophet (SAW) said, “Religion is very easy and whoever overburdens himself in his religion will not be able to continue in that way. So you should not be extremists, but try to be near to perfection and receive the good tidings that you will be rewarded; and gain strength by offering the prayers in the mornings, afternoons and during the last hours of the nights.” (Bukhari 1/ 38)

    “…O my Rabb! Expand me my breast. Ease My task for me; and remove the impediment from my speech, so they may understand what I say.” (20:25-28)

    “O my Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer)! Bestow wisdom on me, and join me with the righteous; grant me honorable mention on the tongue of truth among the latest (generations); make me one of the inheritors of the Garden of Bliss.” (26:83-84)

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#Current Affairs

Why Sarfaraz Ahmed’s Racist Slur Strikes Beyond Cricket

Amad Abu Reem

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The Pakistani cricket team, that has been dogged with many off-field problems in the past decades, is now facing an issue that many outside the Indian subcontinent find perplexing—charges of racism, after Sarfaraz Ahmed, the team captain was caught on mic calling a South African player a “kala” (literal translation black).

Some are wondering how racism could even be an issue in a team which has all shades of brown, from very fair to very dark. In fact, racism in the subcontinent is dirty laundry that no one wants to talk about.

For far too long, racism has festered in the brown world (or “desis”—a term that encompasses the people of this region), be it the Indian subcontinent or Arab countries. And thankfully (not for Sarfaraz of course), it has been brought into sharp focus with Sarfaraz’s racial slur caught on mic.

Lets face it, the word “k*^la” is offensive and derogatory, but if you were to ask most desis about this incident, they would tell you that the word “kala” is normal part of the language and completely innocuous. While “k*#a” and other iterations of this word are indeed a commonly used “taunt”, it is nevertheless a taunt and far from innocuous.

The repercussions of a national team captain normalizing racism goes far beyond a joke.

It would not be surprising if Sarfaraz himself does not understand the gravity of the situation, because of the routine use of this word in Pakistan. Many consider it neutral. In fact, cricket fans in Pakistan often refer to the West Indian cricket team as “Kali Aandhi” (Black Storm).  The intention, many would argue, is not to insult but just a factual observation of blackness. But that explanation falls flat, because it is not as if Pakistanis call the Australian team “Chitti Aandhi” (White Storm).

Others would argue that this is just out of habit. So should we just let bad habits fester?

In reality, there is nothing innocuous and innocent about racism among brown people. The British left the Indian subcontinent more than 70 years ago, but not before infusing a white superiority complex among their ex-subjects.

The derogatory capacity of a pejorative word has far reaching consequences. Slurs perpetuate prejudices and cause intolerance and harm.

Let’s look at the negative coloring of this word- no pun intended.

As an example of why this issue extends beyond humor or innocence, ask most desis: what is the number one attribute in brides that parents look for, especially  in arranged marriages? The answer would be “light colored skin”. It is not a secret that most brown people still do not appreciate their children having dark or black spouses. While some of these folks may argue that not marrying into the black race is related to cultural differences, how come it is much more acceptable then to marry into the white race?

One needs to realize that the difficulty of considering darker/black spouses is not borne out of instant prejudice. It stems from a slow and steady indoctrination process that is common among most desis and Arabs. Many times, this process is not out of ill intent. It is not even conscious for the most part. It just happens out of routine behaviors. As an example of this process, mothers will tell their children to stay out of the sun, not because they may be harmed by sun exposure, but they may become “kala”. What is amusing and sad, is that many white people spend countless hours and money to willingly become a little “kala” by resorting to sunbathing or staying locked up in tanning parlors!

Let me speak from personal anguish—a painful personal experience that I have not shared with many others out of embarrassment. Growing up, my family used to visit Pakistan often. While I am not at the darkest end of the “brown spectrum”, I was darker than my cousins. This was enough for me to be routinely subjected to taunts of “k&*a”. Dark was bad was the message I got, as do many young children. I cannot recall if my uncles and aunts participated in this, but I do know they did not admonish their children either. Amusingly enough, I was even called “Indian” as a taunt (this continued well into adulthood too), because in the petty minds of my cousins, Indian was near synonymous to black—it was like two insults packed in one!

While I pretended to shake this off, it bothered me enough to secretly buy a stash of skin-bleaching cream, transfer it to an unlabeled container to avoid embarrassment and use it. I was only 11 or 12 years old! Please tell me how harmless these taunts must be to cause a young child to want to change his skin color that Allah gifted to him?

Recently, playing cricket with some desi friends, I was reminded of those painful times. The same “kala” slurs that you heard from Sarfaraz were targeted at a very dark friend. To make it more palatable, the taunts were packaged in jokes, such as “we need more light, because so-and-so will be in the picture”, or “don’t let your blackness rub off on the ball”, etc.

My dark friend took it with a smile or a laugh. However, I always wondered what was going on inside his mind. I regret that I did not say anything from the very first time I heard it, but being dark myself I felt hesitant to come to his defense. I never participated in the jokes; it would be hypocritical. But I know I could have—because it is like a pecking order, the lighter shades joke about the darker shades, even if the differences in shades are invisible to an outsider.

Eventually, I garnered the strength to advise my good friend (very light-skinned) who was the main source of the comments to lay off and that he may be hurting our friend’s feelings. And while I have no doubt about our fair friend’s good heart, I suspect that similar to those with white privilege, he didn’t even realize the problem with his jokes.  

It is not enough to just talk about racism and its cousin colorism, as if it only affects other societies. It is intricately woven in the desi and Arab societies. It gets passed down from generation to generation, like an inherited disease.

It is time for a change among our societies. The Muslims among desis and Arabs need to pay heed to their own Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), who forbade racism of any kind. What culture is more important than the Islamic culture of an egalitarian society, where race and color have no impact on position or influence or the opportunities for success?

It is time for all brown people, Muslim or not, to purge the scourge of racism, not just from our tongues, but our hearts. Stop telling your children to avoid sunlight to avoid becoming dark. Stop using the word “k*&a” at your homes in ANY context of someone’s skin color. Stop telling your family the color of your newborn child is congratulatory if white or a commiseration if dark. Stop your children’s friends or cousins from making any negative comments (in jest or otherwise) with respect to anyone’s complexion- this is a form of unacceptable bullying. Raise children who feel completely comfortable and beautiful in their complexion, no matter the shade.

Because black and white are both beautiful.

. هُوَ اللَّهُ الْخَالِقُ الْبَارِئُ الْمُصَوِّرُ لَهُ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَىٰ يُسَبِّحُ لَهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ

He is Allah, the Creator, the Inventor of all things, the Bestower of forms. To Him belong the Best Names . All that is in the heavens and the earth glorify Him. And He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise. (Surah Al-Hashr 59:24)

A Shade Less | Not Fair and Lovely

Between a Rock and a Hard Place- Black and Muslim

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#Culture

Iftar and The NBA Finals: Lebron vs Steph Episode 1

Ammar Al Shukry

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hijab

All praise is due to Allah and may the most perfect salutations be upon His messenger.

Today is a day that many people have been waiting for for the better part of a year. Today my friends, starts the NBA finals. From the beginning of the year, everyone knew that it was going to be Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors. It was just a matter of time. People’s imaginations are captured by the idea of two teams meeting for the third time in three straight years, each one having one in the past two, and now this may be the deciding one; the competition being at an all time high, all of the tables are stacked, both teams healthy and loaded to the teeth, the competition is at an all time high.

It is enough to almost make one forget that they are in a competition themselves.

A real one. You see, we’re in the playoffs right now. Ramadan IS our high stakes. Every day we should be pushing ourselves to do what these players have now taken as a mantra “we’re just trying to get better each day.”

And the reality is there is a place for competition in the religion.

In fact regarding Jannah Allah says,

“وَفِي ذَٰلِكَ فَلْيَتَنَافَسِ الْمُتَنَافِسُونَ

So for this let the competitors compete. (Surat Al-Mutaffifeen v. 26)

The competition of the prophets

Bukhari and Muslim both report that when the Prophet (ﷺ) ascended into the heavens on the night of Mi’raj he met Musa and the following conversation occurred,

“When I went (over the sixth heaven), there I saw Moses. Gabriel said (to me),’ This is Moses; pay him your greeting. So I greeted him and he returned the greetings to me and said, ‘You are welcomed, O pious brother and pious Prophet.’ When I left him (i.e. Moses) he wept. Someone asked him, ‘What makes you weep?’ Moses said, ‘I weep because after me there has been sent (as Prophet) a young man whose followers will enter Paradise in greater numbers than my followers.'”

And the prophet (ﷺ) said as reported by Al-Nasa’i, Abu Dawood and Ahmed among others,

“Have many children for I will boast your great numbers over the other nations on the day of Judgment.”

The competition of the companions amongst each other

One of the most striking examples of the competition of the companions in goodness was the complaint that was presented by the poor companions about the rich companions to the prophet (ﷺ). And I don’t know any other complaint that the poor ever made about the rich that was *about* their richness.

AlBukhari and Muslim both report that

Some of the poor Emigrants came to Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and said to him, “The wealthy have obtained all high ranks and everlasting bliss.” He asked, “How is that?” They replied: “They offer Salat as we do, and observe Saum (fasting) as we do, but they give in Sadaqah (charity) and we do not, and they emancipate slaves and we cannot.” He (ﷺ) said, “Shall I not teach you something whereby you will catch up with those who have preceded you and will get ahead of those who follow you, and no one will surpass you unless he does the same as you do?” They said, “Surely, O Messenger of Allah.” He said, “Say: Subhan Allah, and Allahu Akbar, and praise Him (by saying Al-hamdu lillah) thirty-three times at the end of every Salat.” They returned to him and said: “Our brothers, the possessors of wealth, having heard what we are doing, have started doing the same.” Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “This is Grace of Allah which He gives to whom He wishes.”

And so the poor’s complaint is actually an incredible one, their complaint is not about any of the additional worldly access that the rich may experience because of their wealth, but what they feared was a spiritual access that they may have to their exclusion because of their wealth. They wanted every opportunity to be able to compete with them in giving charity. And that is an incredible testimony to the culture of the companions.

The competition of the prophet (ﷺ) and companions with previous nations

In fact, the very gift of the Night of Power (Lailatul Qadr) was a direct related to the prophet (ﷺ) and companions wanting to compete with previous nations:

In the Muwatta of Imam Malik we find:

Ziyad related to me from Malik that he had heard a man he trusted of the people of knowledge say, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was shown the lifespans of the people (who had gone) before him, or what Allah willed of that, and it was as if the lives of the people of his community had become too short for them to be able to do as many good actions as others before them had been able to do with their long lives, so Allah gave him Laylat al- Qadr, which is better than a thousand months.”

And Imam AlQurtubi reports in his tafseer that there was a King from Bani Israel who would go out and fight in the path of Allah daily with his wealth and sons, all while fasting during the days and praying during the nights. He did this continuously for a thousand months until he was killed. The companions upon hearing this said,

“No one can reach the station of this man.” And so Allah revealed, “Laylatul Qadr is better than a thousand months.”

The competition of the successors

The successors were that generation that came immediately after the companions. They saw the companions but did not see the prophet (S). Abu Muslim Al-Khawalani was of them and once was praying in the night. As he was praying he was overtaken by sleepiness but instead of succumbing he struck his thigh to wake himself and said,

أيظن أصحاب محمد أن يستأثروا به دوننا ، كلا والله ! لنزاحمنهم عليه زحاماً حتى يعلموا أنهم قد خلَّفوا وراءهم رجالاً

Do the companions of Muhammad think that they will have him exclusively (again), no by Allah. We will crowd them over him (on the day of Judgment) so that they know that the ones who came after them were men!

And this is an amazing notion, to feel that you are not only in competition with your own generation, but even the previous ones, in fact even the companions in a sense. For paradise is up for grabs, as is Al-Firdaws, as is the company of the prophet (S) in Paradise.

The competition is on. The activities are many; recitation of the Quran, prayer, du’a, feeding others, charity and repentance. The stakes are high. And victory in it is the ultimate triumph.
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فَمَن زُحْزِحَ عَنِ النَّارِ وَأُدْخِلَ الْجَنَّةَ فَقَدْ فَازَ ۗ وَمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا إِلَّا مَتَاعُ الْغُرُورِ

So he who is drawn away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise is indeed Victorious. And what is the life of this world except the enjoyment of delusion. (Al-Imran v. 185)

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#Life

Aaron Hernandez’s Death And The Responsibility of Sports Fans

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By Abu O’baydah b. Ali

Many people will look at the passing of AaronHernandez, former New England Patriots tight end, and say look “someone who had it all, money, fame, women, super human talent on the football field and he just threw it away.” But let’s follow the trend in pop culture and take a moment to look at our part in his passing (yes, we do play a part)…

Hernandez’s dad died from complications of surgery in 2006 when Aaron was just 16 years old. According to Hernandez’s mother this when he started acting out against authority. In 2007, at the age of 17, while on a recruiting trip to Florida (where he would eventually play college football and win a National Title) he consumed two alcoholic drinks at a restaurant, refused to pay, was escorted out of the restaurant by an employee and subsequently punched the employee in the head rupturing his eardrum. No charges were ever filed against Hernandez and the University of Florida was more than happy to have him still come and play for them. During college, Hernandez was believed to be involved in a shooting that left three people injured; he failed multiple drug tests and was a known and admitted marijuana user. The repercussions for his actions? He led the Gators to a national championship, was first team all SEC and first team all American and received the John Mackey award for the best tight end in college football. And even though his draft stock dropped when news of his marijuana use leaked, he was still selected by the best team in the NFL.

The message the world was sending Aaron Hernandez time and time again was that so long as you produce on the football field, so long as you keep winning, so long as you keep making our team money, you can do whatever you want off of it. Did anyone ever think that this was a troubled individual and that he needed help? Why would they? He was always a stud on the field which must have meant that everything off the field was ok. That’s why the NFL and NBA and every other sports league for that matter have no desire to speak about or touch upon anything not sports related. Just look at what the NFL has done with the issues of domestic violence, concussions and Colin Kaepernick. And as fans that’s what we’re sold and that’s what we eat up and love. We’re taught to care about our favorite teams and players and nothing more. We don’t care if our teams players are accused of rape, murder, lying, cheating or stealing. So long as they bring us the great satisfaction of seeing our team win, then that’s all we really care about.

Is this what Islam is about? Would our Messenger ﷺ look at us supporting these teams and these organizations as something trivial? Or would it be something that he truly detests? Could he (peace be upon him) watch a video of a woman being brutally beaten in an elevator and then go on to support the organization that tried to cover that up? Could heﷺ hear about an activity that was causing massive brain damage to those involved in it and then go on to support the organization that tried to cover that up? Could heﷺ hear about an individual who stood up and spoke out against oppression and then go on to support the organization that tried to silence him and shut him up? And while we agree that Aaron Hernandez committing murder is nothing short of despicable and abhorrent, could the Prophetﷺ hear about a troubled individual who time and time again acted out and was screaming for help, yet his screams were ignored by everyone because he was just too good at his craft, and being too good at your craft means that you should be grateful and thankful and suck it all up. Could the Prophetﷺ look at such an individual and feel sorry for him because he had all the fame and fortune and still decided to throw it away? Or would the Prophetﷺ feel sorry for those who couldn’t see or didn’t want to see past the fame and fortune to help someone who was obviously troubled?

As a sports fan you’re probably saying to yourself that this man had millions and it’s not my fault that he did what he did. And as a Muslim, I’m saying to you that the fact that we all support this kind of behavior when we should know better means we are just a little to blame. Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.

Abu O’baydah b. Ali is a certified CrossFit trainer, and the president of the innovative charity org: Muslims Giving Back. He is also a doctor of pharmacy, and enjoys long walks on the beach and long car rides with older wiser men.

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