Feature Article of Saturday, 26 January 2013

Columnist: Shaban, Abdur Rahman Alfa

AFCON 2013: Islam & the Disease of Football

Football, indubitably the most followed sport globally in my opinion has a place in the life of every one, either as an active participant or a supporter [active/passive]. So for all who thought I am of those who have outlawed football, sorry! But kindly read on.

But with it comes a disease that Muslims especially should guard seriously against.

At one time or the other we are either caught supporting our national sides or keening following our preferred club sides [home and abroad] worse still ‘doing against’ watching opposing clubs.

Club football is almost always being played whiles the tournaments be it continental and/or global competitions come around at specific times. One such tournament is the 2013 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) currently being staged in South Africa.

Having laid the above premise, we as Muslims should express our love for the sport within limits allowed by our religion Al – Islam.

Below are a few pointers of and about what Muslims should desist from doing whiles watching or discussing football during this AFCON period and beyond. May Allah make it easy for us …

a. Do not allow football to in any way affect your daily prayer. Here in Ghana the first game is at 3 o’clock just about when some mosques call the prayer, don’t wait till half time to pray Asr. If possible, pray Asr before you even go to watch the remaining minutes.

b. Islam ABHORS gambling. PLEASE DO NOT bet on these games. I say this against the backdrop of the evil called premier betting, an Islamic illegality that is right under the noses of Muslims, yet we have refused to wake up, let alone to smell the coffee

c. Do not insult a player for whatever he does, miss a penalty, caused one, mistimed a kick, missed a goal etc. not to talk of cursing him. Same applies to the referees and technical bench.

d. You have no business quarrelling with fellow Muslims over football related issues.

e. Learn to use words of zikr whiles watching the game, e.g. Subhanal Laah! Al hamdu lil Laah, Allahu Akbar etc.

f. Lastly do not swear about what is going to happen especially about scores, so far so that when it happens you see people claiming they knew it (To None But ALLAH Belongs Knowledge Of The Unseen) and so shall it be.

May Allah grant us the power to know good and right, heed it, spread it and more importantly abide by it even if it goes against us.

Friday 13 Rabi’ul Aw_wal 1434H/ 25 January, 2013

Was salamu alaikum warahmatul Laah Ta’aalaa wabarakaatuhuu!

Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban