Praise be to Allaah, the Lord of the worlds. May the peace and blessings of Allaah be upon Muhammad, His last Messenger, his household, his companions and all those who follow him till the Last Day.
Here we are again; four years after the last plague, the world is catching the football fever once more. Before we abandon ourselves to the malady, shouldn't we at least examine the Islamic position on professional football and of course, the World Cup!
Here is the verdict [fatwa] of the past Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Shaykh Muhammad ibn Ibraaheem. He said in Fataawa al- Shaykh Muhammad ibn Ibraaheem [Vol. 8, Questions # 1948 - 1950]: Playing football nowadays is accompanied by reprehensible things which mean that playing it should be disallowed. These things may be summed up as follows:
1 - It is proven to us that play continues during the times of prayer, which results in the players and spectators missing prayers or prayers in congregation, or they delay performing prayers until the time for them is over. Undoubtedly any action that interferes with performance of prayers on time or leads to missing prayers in congregation with no valid shar'ee excuse is haraam.
2 - The nature of this game leads to factionalism, stirring up fitnah and hatred. These results are the opposite of what Islam promotes of tolerance, friendship and brotherhood, and cleaning hearts and souls of hatred, resentment and grudges.
3 - The game involves physical danger for the players as a result of collisions and injuries. Usually the players do not end the game without some of them falling on the pitch unconsciously or with broken arms or legs. Nothing is more indicative of that than the fact that there must always be an ambulance present throughout the game.
4 - The purpose behind allowing sports is to make people become physically active and to train them for fighting and to ward off chronic disease. But playing football nowadays has no such aim.
As well as the things mentioned above, it is now also taking peoples' money for false purposes, let alone the danger of physical injury and the generation of hatred in the hearts of players and spectators, and the stirring up of fitnah. It has even gone so far that some spectators attack some players, which could go as far as murder, as happened in a match a few months ago. This - alone is sufficient reason to disallow it. He also said, If it is done in an organized manner [as in the clubs], it seems that it should be banned altogether, because people becomes deeply involved in it and that prevents people from remembering Allaah, and it is more akin to gambling. They call it "sport" but it is just a game, and matters of jihad are not like this, and even if the players have some agility and nimbleness, they are not able to strive hard in any other field. As for one or two people playing with a ball an unorganized fashion, there is nothing wrong with that, because it does not involve anything haraam. It also involves other things. Some of them offer prizes for it, and this is gambling. In the hadeeth it says: "There should be no (money) prizes for competitions except archery competitions and races with camels and horses." And this applies by analogy with these three to anything that supports Islam.
And Allaah is the source of strength .
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited