Earning as a Sportsman

Q: I would like to know whether money earned through football will be halaal or haram?


A: Before addressing the issue in question, it is important for us to discuss few preliminary aspects in order that the issue be understood in correct perspective.

Man’s sole purpose and object for being sent to this world is to worship Allah Ta’ala and live his life in total conformity with the mubaarak teachings of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). However, while remaining in this worldly abode, man is bound by worldly conditions and circumstances. He is in need of food and drink for his physical existence as he is dependent on earthly resources (e.g. clothing, shelter etc.) for his physical continuity. Hence Allah Ta’ala allowed him to earn a halaal livelihood and to indulge in worldly activities, in the view that this will serve as a means of assisting him to fulfil the ultimate purpose of his creation i.e. the obedience of Allah Ta’ala.

Despite man being given permission from the side of Shari’ah to earn a livelihood, it is necessary that in the course of earning a livelihood he does not disobey Allah Ta’ala. Hence, the permission for earning a livelihood is subject to certain conditions being met:

1. The means of livelihood and income one engages in must be permissible in Shari’ah. If one engages in a haraam employment in order to earn a living, it will be ruled as impermissible. E.g. If one accepts employment in a bottle store for selling wine, it will be impermissible. Thus adopting such a means of livelihood will not be permissible.

2. If the means of livelihood one adopts is of a permissible nature in Shari’ah, however it is accompanied with certain impermissible factors, then involving oneself in such a means of livelihood will be impermissible. (E.g. Selling grape juice to a person regarding whom it is known that he will use it to manufacture wine. Though the selling of grape juice is permissible, but since it is now accompanied with the factor of manufacturing wine, earning an income through this means will be impermissible.)

3. If the means of livelihood one engages in is permissible, however it becomes the cause for preventing one from the obedience of Allah Ta’ala, then involving oneself in such a means of livelihood will be impermissible. E.g. one takes employment in a certain company. The company does not allow one to go to the Musjid to perform Jumuah Salaah. Since this employment is becoming the means of preventing one from one’s Deeni obligations, it will be impermissible for one to take employment is such a company.

Let us now closely examine the issue of earning one’s livelihood through playing for a national or international sports team in the light of the Quraan and Sunnah in order to ascertain whether this type of a livelihood is recognized in the eyes of Shariah. Below are a few important points which will prove that this type of an occupation is impermissible in Shariah on account of the fact that all the above mentioned conditions are not met:


1. The contract being an invalid and impermissible contract according to Shariah

The contract of playing for a team is an invalid and impermissible contract in Islam. In order for any employment to be permissible in Shariah, it is a precondition that the employment be recognized by Shariah i.e. It will have to enter within the ambit of an Islamic contract and fulfil its conditions. An Islamic contract is that contract where one is employed to carry out a halaal service, the benefit of which will be obtained by the employer. E.g. a person hires the services of a grass cutter to cut his lawn. In this case, there is a halaal service rendered by the grass cutter which makes him eligible for a remuneration. Hence, upon completing the task assigned to him, he will be deserving of his wages.

On the contrary, the fuqaha have explained that if a person keeps an animal on display and charges people a fee for viewing it, then this is an invalid remuneration since no halaal service is being obtained by the one paying the fee.

Viewing the masalah in the question and applying the above-mentioned principle one will understand that this type of a contract and employment is impermissible and invalid in Shariah. In the case where the team owner or manager buys off the player (for a certain period of time) and thereafter pays him monthly for training and playing for different matches, then this type of a contract is impermissible since the monthly salary the player receives is not in lieu of any Shar’ee recognised service that he is providing the team owner with. The training of the player is confined to his own self and there is no physical benefit or valid Shar’ee recognised service that is being obtained by the team owner in lieu of the wage he is giving the player. Merely kicking the ball and training is not viewed in Shari’ah as a valid service rendered to the team owner. Instead the benefit of training is confined to the player. Hence we understand that this contract is an invalid and impermissible contract in Shariah and the wealth received through it is also impermissible.


2. The dressing being un-Islamic

In certain sports, (e.g. rugby and soccer etc.), one is required to wear clothing that exposes part of the satr. In doing so, one will be sinful on account of him exposing his satr before men and women. At times one is required to wear clothing sponsored by kuffaar companies e.g. S.A.B. (South African breweries) upon which they will have their logo e.g. Castle lager. The player wearing such attire will be supporting the haraam practices of the kuffaar and promoting their products. Hence the Hadith of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) prohibiting one emulating the kuffaar and their ways is clear in this regard:

عن ابن عمر قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم من تشبه بقوم فهو منهم. (سنن أبي داود رقم 4033)

Whoever imitates a nation is counted from among them.


3. The ambiance and Environment being un-Islamic

At the time of the match one will find that there is a host of haraam activities taking place at the sports field. Music is played and intermingling of sexes takes place. People openly consume wine and are dressed in an immodest and shameless manner. Zina (fornication and adultery) takes place in that environment and gambling is the highlight of such matches. One possessing a little Imaan will understand that the ambiance of such a place is certainly not in keeping with deeni ethos and the principles of Islam.


4. The match being televised

Among the many sinful activities associated with these types of sport, is that it is televised thus making it possible for people around the globe to view it. Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has said:

عن عبد الله قال سمعت النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول إن أشد الناس عذابا عند الله يوم القيامة المصورون  (بخاري 2/880)

Abdullah bin Mas’ood (Radiyallahu Anhu) reports that he heard Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) say: “Undoubtedly, the people subject to the worst forms of punishment on the day of Qiyaamah are those involved in picture-making.”


5. Foregoing salaah at the time of the match and missing fasts during the month of Ramadhaan

During the match, many salaah become qadhaa, or if they are performed, then they are not performed on its prescribed time with jamaat in the Musjid. Hence this type of activity causes one to become sinful and neglect his main obligations which he owes towards Allah Ta’ala. If the month of Ramadhaan comes, and one is scheduled for a match, then generally on account of the match, many players forgo the fasts of Ramadhaan. In the mubaarak Ahadith, Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) had cursed the person who does not honour the month of Ramadhaan and fulfil its rights.

On account of the abundant wrongs that are associated with this form of livelihood, one will clearly understand that it is impermissible in Shari’ah for one to adopt such a means to earn one’s livelihood.

Answered by:

Mufti Zakaria Makada

Checked & Approved:

Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)