Sports and games both synonymously convey the same meaning, have always attracted huge crowds. Amid all action, the ongoing Cricket World Cup is currently under the spotlight. Stadia are packed to the rafters with spectators and especially the sub continent rakes in most passionate followers. Numerous eyes are glued to television sets to witness the games with maximum excitement.
Islam is a religion which prohibits detrimental entertainment. It believes that most entertainment negates the real purpose of a Muslim life, as ALLAH SWT mentions in holy Quran “And I (ALLAH) did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship ME” [Dhāriyāt 51:56]. Anything which diverts an individual from the remembrance of his Creator amounts to lahw. Entertainment is greatly responsible for this. Prophet PBUH said, “Everything devoid of the remembrance of ALLAH SWT is Lahw save four actions;
Walking between two targets (while practicing archery),
Training or disciplining of one’s horse,
Amusing oneself with the company of one’s wife,
Learning of the art of swimming.” (Targheeb WaTarheeb)
Now the moot question arises is that; whether playing a game or a sport is lawful or unlawful? Majority of Islamic scholars respond to this question as playing sports is Wajib (obligatory), Mustahabb (recommended) Mubah (permissible), Makruh (abominable) and Haraam (prohibited) in varied circumstances. The relevance of this can be explained as participating in sports is Wajib on the part of soldiers who must rigidly train themselves for jihad in the cause of ALLAH. It is Mustahabb on the part of those who wish to strengthen their physical abilities to better perform worship. Moreover, it is permissible with regard to those who indulge in sports for entertainment. In addition, it is Makruh if it results in undesirable waste of time although does not lead to missing fundamental acts of worship. Finally, it is Haram when it involves omission of obligatory prayers; if practiced by women watched by men or vice versa; wearing of tight clothes that bulge private parts such as swimming costume, gymnastic suit or wrestling attire etcetera. Likewise, it is Haram if accompanied by betting or gambling.
Narrated by ‘Aisha RA: “I used to play with the dolls in the presence of the Prophet, and my girl friends also used to play with me. When ALLAH’s apostle used to enter (my dwelling place) they used to hide themselves, but the Prophet would call them to join and play with me.” [Bukhari]
In a lengthy hadith narrated by `Uqbah ibn Aamir RA, Prophet PBUH is reported to have said, ‘Every Lahw (amusements, pastimes, games, etc.) a man involves himself in is in vain except practice of archery with his bow, teaching (breaking, training, etc.) his horse and playing with his wife. (Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Abu Dawud)
In the back drop of a sports most individuals involve themselves in betting rackets which is completely Haraam and forbidden in Islam. Islam disallows any game which involves betting or has an element of gambling into it. ALLAH SWT warns in the Holy Quran, “O ye who believe! Strong drink and games of chance and idols and divining arrows are only an infamy of Satan’s handiwork. Leave it aside in order that ye may succeed.”[Maidah 5:90]. Prophet said, “He who says to his friend, ‘Come, let us “gamble,’ must give charity. (Bukhari)
Another grave sin that people commit when they are engrossed in games is deferring Salat or omitting completely. ALLAH SWT said, “Then woe to the worshipers who are neglectful of their prayers,” [Al Maaun 107:4-5]
A humble request to fellow Muslims to abstain from sports which encourage Haram. Entertain yourself such that your enjoyment is best for you in this life and everlasting hereafter.
Let us not forget to pray for Muslims who are gravely suffering by the autocratic regimes all over the world especially in the West Asian Region.