To maintain fitness and good health is an act of virtue in Islam. To keep fit and to adopt means that acquire fitness in an Islamic manner is desirable. Whilst fitness and good health is desirable and recommended, occupation with sports by watching, following and engrossing oneself with fixtures,updates, commentary and analysis of professional sports players, etc. is undesirable and discouraged in Islam.
Muslims, especially youngsters seem to be intimately involved with sports events. Some are overly obsessed with following professional sport and backing their country or team with firm allegiance to their favorites. This form of engrossment can be detrimental to one’s spirituality and lead one to heedlessness. Present day sports is filled with a number of undesirable activities. Muslims should reflect over the following facts about sport :
1. Play and Amusement – The very nature of professional sport is to create sensation of competition, festivity, play and amusement with no proper purpose and little reminder of Allah Ta’ala. The Quran and hadith have condemned futile play and amusement.
2. Negligence – Watching and following sports causes negligence and distracts one from Zikrullah. Through following sports, a person can spend many precious hours in absolute negligence.
3. People of immorality – Professional sport is largely dominated by people who are immoral and irreligious. Sport is played and viewed in an environment of immorality, intermingling of sexes, music, consumption of alcohol, gambling, intoxicants, extravagance and willful neglect of precious time and religious obligations.
4. Revenue – Much of the revenue that is generated from and used by professional sport and individual is generated through liquor manufacturing firms, gambling houses,and insurance firms. This reflects the tainted nature of the resources used in funding sports. These institutions are the vangaurds of sport and promote their products vigorously through sports advertisement.
5. Futility – Muslim is required to abstain from any activity that is not beneficial or futile. Becoming obsessive and overwhelmed with sports, sports characters their achievements, wins and losses is futile for a Muslim.
6. Friends – A Muslim should associate with people that will draw him close to Allah Ta’ala and be a means of him remembering Allah and attaining salvation. It is stated in a Hadith that a man will be with whom he loves.
Therefore, the sports culture has no spiritual or worldly benefit apart from entertaining oneself with the work and profession of others.
May Allah Ta’ala open our hearts to this reality and save us from being regretful about our wasted time in the hereafter.