Playing and watching football

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by IslamicPortal.co.uk

What is the Islamic position on playing sports such as football?

بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم

Answer

It is permissible to play sports subject to the following conditions:

  1. There must be a tangible religious or worldly benefit of the sport such as exercise of the body and mind. If a person makes an intention of improving his physical and psychological health enabling himself to fulfil the commands of Allah more adequately, he will be rewarded for this intention. The Prophet ﷺ said, “The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer” (Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, 2664).
  2. The sport should not involve self-harm or harming others. Boxing between two people, for example, therefore is against Islamic teachings. The Prophet ﷺ said in an authentic narration, “There should be no harm or reciprocating harm.”
  3. It should not involve or result in committing other sins. If any sport leads to swearing and enmity, this is against Islamic teachings. Similarly, it must not result in the exposure of the ʿAwrah (satr). Likewise, there should be no intermingling of the sexes, for this reason, swimming is against Islamic teachings if the setting is mixed.
  4. A person’s mind must not be dominated with the sport, such that it leads to forsaking a religious obligation. For example, it should not lead to the missing of congregational Ṣalāh.

If these conditions are fulfilled, it is permissible to play football and similar sports. This is in so far as playing football is concerned.

As far as watching football on TV or at the football stadiums is concerned as has become prevalent, this is against Islamic teachings and must be avoided. There is no religious or worldly benefit for this. It is wasting time and money. It results in many sins including looking at the ʿAwrah (satr) of players unnecessarily, intermingling of sexes, abetting sin, missing congregational Ṣalāh including in the blessed month of Ramaḍān and many other sins. It is detrimental to a person’s spirituality. Football hooliganism is another evil of this and another reason why such activities must be avoided.

قال الله تعالى: وتعاونوا على البر والتقوى ولا تعاونوا على الإثم والعدوان. وقال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم: المؤمن القوي خير وأحب إلى الله من المؤمن الضعيف، الحديث، رواه مسلم (٢٦٦٤). وقال: لا ضرر ولا ضرار، رواه مالك (٢٧٥٨) وأحمد (٢٨٦٥) وابن ماجه (٢٣٤٠) وصححه الحاكم (٢٣٤٥) ووافقه الذهبي۔

وحكى العلامة الكشميري في فيض الباري (٦/١٦٦) عن شيخ الهند مولانا محمود حسن الديوبندي أنه قال: إن الشعر والشطرنج والاصطياد من أقبح الأشياء، لأن الإنسان يشتغل بها، فيغفل عن ذكر الله وعن الصلاة، انتهى. وقال شيخنا العلامة محمد تقي العثماني في تكملة فتح الملهم (٤/٢٥٨): الألعاب التي يقصد بها رياضة الأبدان أو الأذهان جائزة في نفسها، ما لم تشتمل على معصية أخرى، وما لم يؤد الانهماك فيها إلى الإخلال بواجب الإنسان في دينه ودنياه، انتهى. وراجع أحكام القرآن للمفتي محمد شفيع العثماني (٣/١٩٣) ومحمود الفتاوى (٣/١٢١) والألعاب الرياضية أحكامها ضوابطها، دراسة فقهية تأصيلية معاصرة لخالد سعاد كنو۔

Allah knows best

Yusuf Shabbir

26 Ṣafar 1440 / 5 November 2018

Approved by: Mufti Shabbir Ahmed and Mufti Muhammad Tahir

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