Darul Uloom Abu Bakr

Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Darul Uloom Abu Bakr is an Islamic institute of education established by Mufti Siraj Desai. The Darul Uloom serves as a base for coordinating various Islamic activities in Port Elizabeth and the Eastern Cape province of South Africa.

Today's Sport and its Effects PDF Print E-mail



SPORT PLAYS A MAJOR role in the lives of people today. What once started off as a mere pastime and enjoyment activity has developed into a fully fledged profession and a huge money raking venture. Sport was initially designed for exercise and relaxation, but has since become an occupation of such intensity that it exhausts the energies of even the spectators, let alone the players.

Sport stadiums are now referred to as ‘arenas of combat’ reminiscent of the days of Roman gladiators; players endure mental fatigue and emotional strain to the extent that they need professional and scientific help. Spectators become emotionally drained after watching an ‘exciting’ match, and in worst cases, become psychologically affected when their team loses. Cases of such people committing suicide or injuring others have also been reported.


Sport has also become a huge money spinner for sponsors and advertisers. So it’s not only the players who rake in millions, there are also the sponsors who earn huge sums in advertising liquor, cigarettes, soft-drinks and a host of other commodities. It is clear that what was formerly a means of entertainment has become an end in itself. When this happens, then surely people have their priorities hopelessly wrong.

At this juncture we wish to focus on the effects sports has on people, especially the youth.
Among these, one is Identifying certain players and developing admiration for them. This is followed by the obsession to emulate them in dress, action, and style. Then follows behaviour acceptance. The fan unwittingly accepts any form of behaviour of his hero, no matter how immoral, be it in language, appearance, attitude, or morality. Love for the sport being watched is also another socially and morally debilitating factor. Hours of quality time get squandered in watching sports.

Children become mesmerised with the imaginary skills being displayed by sportsmen, to the extent that these sports activists are glorified and idolised. Women nowadays feature prominently in many types of sports. This is an added spiritual harm, for the viewer (live or on TV) is exposed to a scantily dressed female, producing antics that articulate body parts akin to a ballet-dancer . There is hardly any difference between this sportswoman and the woman who dances on a stage.

Schools introduce sports activities to learners from a very young age. Today our Muslim children have developed ambitions of becoming sports stars and representing their country on the international scene. This has become such a riveting objective that young learners will sacrifice madresa classes for the sake of sports training. The developing and formative years of Muslim children are being wasted on participation in a sport, thus depriving that individual of crucial Islamic and spiritual education.

It might come as a surprise to many to hear that Islam also encourages sport to a certain extent. However, Islamic sports differ vastly in nature and purpose to Western forms of sports. The hadith of Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam defined an important principle: A sport must have a real benefit that accrues to one’s spiritual or worldly life’. In Islam sport is not a past-time. In one hadith Rasoolullah r said: “The lahw (sport) of a Believer is futile except for three types: Horse-riding; archery; and amusing oneself with the wife.” Among these, the first two are of great benefit when it comes to Jihad or self-defence, whilst the third is purely a worldly benefit but extremely effective in creating love between husband and wife.

Ulema state that the scope of this hadith does not end with the abovementioned three acts. Instead, any sporting activity that provides valid benefit to one’s religion or mundane life, is permissible. It is established from several ahadeeth that Rasoolullah r raced with his wives, and swam. So the sports of racing and swimming also become lawful activites. The Sahaaba wrestled with each other in training for jihad, so wrestling becomes a valid sport in Islam. Sword fighting can also be added to this list because that too, is a valid practice.

Based on the above Muslim Jurists have given permission for any sport from which one derives benefit to Deen of dunya. However, the condition is that such play must not entail violation of other Islamic injunctions, such as intermingling of males and females (as in stadiums and sports meetings), exposing of one’s satar (as in the dress-code of most sports), the accompaniment of music (as in stadiums and gyms), betting and gambling, (as in horse-racing and other sports matches), advertising of haraam products (such as wine and beer).

In view of the above readers will clearly understand that a Muslim will not be able to adapt to the sports codes and styles that are prevalent among non-Muslims today. A Muslim just cannot fit into their culture of sport and amusement, for every feature of non-Muslim sport conflicts with Islamic morality and teaching. In Islam sport is not entertainment that becomes a spectacle; it is rather a means of acquiring physical strength and benefit. A Muslim’s true relaxation comes through the thikr of Allah.

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