In the last decade, unarguably, the single most influential tool in changing the way we live has been the internet. Whether it be keeping in touch, shopping, world events or even traveling around the globe; all this and more can be done from the comfort of one‘s living room.
Where is happiness? More than five billion people are searching for it. But where is it? If happiness was in the hand, then the one whose wrist is adorned with a designer watch worth hundreds of thousands of rands, or whose fingers have been ringed with priceless diamonds, or the one who counts huge bundles of his money everyday, would always be very happy.
Shuaib received an automobile from his brother as an Eid present. On Eid day when Shuaib came out of his house, a street urchin was walking around the shiny new car, admiring it. "Is this your car, Uncle?" he asked. Shuaib nodded. "My brother gave it to me for Eid." The boy was astounded.
Islam and Sports
A true Believer is primarily concerned about the commands of Allah Ta’ala and the Sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). He regards the slightest violation as a serious sin. Sins are of two categories. One is the sin that is perpetrated in secrecy. While committing it in secrecy does not diminish its severity, worse than this is the sin that is committed openly and in public.
When a sin is committed openly and those not involved shirk in their duty of Amr bil ma’roof and Nahy anil munkar (enjoining the good and forbidding the evil), the perpetrators of that evil as well as those who maintained silence despite their ability to correct the evil are engulfed in the wrath of Allah Ta’ala. Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) is reported to have said: “Verily Allah Ta’ala will not punish all the people due to the actions of a specific group until a sin is committed in their midst. Thereafter, despite their ability to repel the evil they do nothing about it. In such a situation Allah Ta’ala will punish the open sinners as well as the general masses who maintain silence” (Mishkaat). In the light of the above Hadith let us consider the following aspects with regard to sports:
Most sports are played in attire that does not conform to Shar’i requirements. The sporting attire is such that most of the time the thighs of the players are exposed. The satr (part of the body compulsory to conceal) for men is from the navel to the knee. Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) is reported to have said: “Do not look at the thighs of a living or dead man” (Mishkaat). In the case of sports, this sin of exposing the satr is perpetrated in public. The spectators must be endowed with some super human abilities if they can manage to look at the player only from his waist upwards and not look at his exposed satr. While some commit this open sin together with thousands of others on the sports field, many people collectively commit this evil of looking at the satr of others, together with wives and daughters, by huddling around the T.V. Thus zina of the eyes is committed collectively and nobody even bats an eyelid. The situation becomes much worse when people watch tennis. Often the players are shameless women attired in skimpy outfits. Shameless Muslims sit with their families and watch these women prancing around the court. By the time the match is over, they are spiritually drained and empty due to the zina of the eyes.
Another serious calamity of sports is the extent to which it becomes an impediment in the way of the obligatory Ibadah. Even those who are normally regular with their salaah often miss it because they were too “enchanted” and “spellbound” by somebody kicking a piece of leather. Either the salaah is completely missed or the congregational salaah in the Musjid is deliberately omitted. People have missed taraweeh salaah in the sacred month of Ramadhaan and, Allah forbid, even fasts were missed due to sports. Recitation of the Qur’an or zikr cannot even be given a second thought if a match is on.
There are many other objectionable aspects in sports. The above two are serious enough to make any true Muslim give up his involvement in formal sports. Other evils discussed in this issue make the matter even more severe. However, to understand the inherent evil in modern day sports, one will have to consider it with the light of Imaan that Allah Ta’ala has blessed us with. If we consider it as the kuffaar do, then there is nothing else to say except to pray: “O Allah! Have mercy on us and guide us.”
Controlling anger, forgiving others
In this characteristic, lies the crux of the problem for human nature. You see, anger and forgiveness go hand in hand. It is very easy to get angry, but it is very difficult to forgive. Just sit back and ask yourselves at this moment, how many friendships we could have saved; how many family disputes we could have avoided; how many severed relationships we could have mended, if we knew what Allah has said to us about it in the Qur’an. Anger and forgiveness are inseparable for in order to control one you must lose the other.
When one gets angry he loses his control over himself and thus is liable to say or do things that he may regret later when he regains control over himself. Even doctors and psychologists, in this 121st century, have proved through scientific research that when human beings get angry, they are in a state of subconscious in which they do not realise what they are doing.
This is why our Prophet described anger as a raging fire (Abu Dawood) and advised the Muslims not to say or do anything till their anger had subsided. A simile can be drawn here since fire destroys everything it engulfs. Similarly anger destroys human beings, since it is burning the individual who is angry as well as the people on whom that individual is letting his anger out on.
This is why in another hadith the Prophet said to the Muslims, “If you have nothing good to say remain quiet.” Meaning use the tongue only for halal good purposes otherwise keep quiet, because if you don’t then you are accumulating sins through the tongue. Certainly, the tongue will stand witness on Day of Judgment against you, because Allah says which means
“And they will say to their skins,” Why do you testify against us?” They will say: Allah has caused us to speak, – as He causes all things to speak...” (Surah Fussilat 41:21)
The tongue is a blessing which Allah has given to all of humanity. For he says in the Qur’an which means:
“And a tongue and a pair of lips.” (Surah Al-Balad 8:9)
This tongue can cause great harm if not used properly and guarding against it is very important. The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said:
“Whoever guarantees me (the chastity of) what is between his legs (i e his private parts), and what is between his jaws (i e his tongue), I guarantee him Paradise.” (Bukhari)
One of the key distinctions of a true believer is the ability to control anger as described by Allah in the Qur’an:
“Those who spend in prosperity and in adversity, who repress anger and who pardon men; verily, Allah loves the good-doers.” (Surah ‘Ali-Imraan 3:134)
If we were to look at this aayah for a moment and see what Allah is saying with the many Ahadith mentioned about restraining our anger we would be able to understand them better. To share just a couple of them, the Prophet said:
“The strong is not the one who overcomes the people by his strength, but the strong is the one who controls himself while in anger.” (Bukhari)
In another hadith the Prophet mentions how to repress our anger. Allah’s Messenger said:
“When one of you becomes angry while standing he should sit down. If the anger leaves him, well and good; otherwise he should lie down.” (Tirmidhi)
Today, a person is considered powerful if he can show his strength and might through his anger or any other source, and by the same token a person who is mild, cool and easy going is considered to be a weak. This is indeed a sorry state to be in, and is a complete contradiction to our religion. As Muslims we have to understand that we have to see what the Qur’an and Sunnah are saying in regards to each aspect, and not follow the tide of society we are living in. From childhood to old age the social scientist, the psychologist and the psychoanalyst have been feeding us with the notion that we are to let it out i e our anger and not repress it.
Unfortunately some of these misguided people have influenced the Muslim community as well. We find people being less and less tolerant with each other and being more and more violent.
Alhumdulilah Allah has saved us from these wicked theories and given us His Glorious Book. In this Book He says “And Obey Allah and his Messenger, and do not dispute (with one another) lest you loose courage and your strength depart, and be patient. Surely Allah loves those who are patient.” (Surah Al-Anfal 8:46)
Instead of letting it out, here we are told to be patient by our Lord who is Knower and Hearer of all things.
We are encouraged by our Creator over and over to forgive others, so that He may forgive our mistakes. It is a double reward with Allah for implementing this characteristic, because Allah says in the Qur’an which means:
“...Let them pardon and forgive. Do you not love that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Surah An-Noor 24:22)
The mercy of Allah overcomes his anger as this is recorded in Saheeh Al-Bukhari. In his infinite mercy He has given us so many chances and opportunities to benefit from them. If we could even follow this simple hadith of the Prophet who said:
“He who conceals (the faults) of a Muslim, Allah would conceal his faults in this world and in the Hereafter,” not only would we benefit immensely, but our brother would be saved of being humiliated at the same time.
I pray to Allah that he give us the understanding to forgive each other and to refrain from being angry at each other. Ameen.
Not afraid of losing your job
When Mufti Muhammad Shafee' (rahmatullahi alayh) came to Pakistan (from India), he was appointed as a member of the Islamic Education Board by the Government. This Board was one of the sections of the Government. Once the Government decided to take an action, which was contrary to Islamic Laws. Mufti Shafee' was prompt to oppose it and explained that due to it's being against the teachings of Islaam, it should not be adopted. His remarks, however, prompted a debate between the Government officers, many of whom began to criticise the respected Mufti for having said what he did, as he was a member of the Board and part of the Government.
Seeing this, Mufti Shafee' bluntly addressed the gathering and said that he had agreed to become a Member of the Board only for the sake of Islaam, and therefore, it was his duty to object to what was unislamic, regardless of whether his objection was in agreement with the line of the Government or not. He clarified that he was not a Government servant and unlike them was not worried about losing his job. He said, "I have my resignation letter in my pocket and my expenses do not exceed a few rupees, so I am not dependent on salary and allowances like you. I can earn that much money by hard labour too, while you cannot because your suit alone costs two hundred rupees, so, you might fear losing your job."