Ruling Regarding Sports such as Football & Martial Arts


Are students religiously permitted to play sports like football, martial arts (also known as combat arts or fighting arts), badminton, and physical training (PT)? What do scholars say about sports?


Sports like football, etc. can be included in physical exercise with the purpose of maintaining good health. The condition is that the parts of the students’ bodies from the navel to the knees should remain covered during the sports, and not be revealed even during the game. There should not be a competition for compensation or in a boastful manner, and congregation

prayers should not be missed because of them.

If these conditions are observed, then these sports are indeed a means of preserving health and will not become unlawful just because they are named after unlawful matters. For example, a drink is lawful and will not become unlawful just because it is given an inappropriate name.

Sports in Islam are impermissible and are also called lahu wa laib (amusement & play) because humans are not created for games, hence there is also a command to avoid meaningless tasks. However, Islam has permitted three sports:(1) Recreation with wife. (2) Horse training. (3) Archery practice.

Because these three are name sports, but they are in fact sources of great wisdom and benefits. For example, recreation and play with the wife is the means of the existence and continuity of the human race, and the other two are the means of the protection and survival of the human race and the means of comfort and pleasure. So if there is a sport that apparently looks like a game, but it meets the standard of health preservation, it will be allowed based on this wisdom and benefit. We present some sayings of the Prophet ﷺ and noble jurists on this matter.

في الدر المختار: كره (كل لهو) لقولهﷺ «كل لهو المسلم حرام إلا ثلاثة ملاعبته أهله وتأديبه لفرسه ومناضلته بقوسه»

(Durr Al-Mukhtar, Book of Prohibition and Permission, Chapter on Selling)

 في رد المحتار: وفي الجواهر قد جاء الأثر في رخصة المصارعة، لتحصيل القدرة على المقاتلة دون التلهي فإنه مكروه اهـ والظاهر أنه يقال مثل ذلك في تأديب الفرس والمناضلة بالقوس

(Radd Al-Muhtar, Book of Prohibition and Permission / Chapter on Selling, vol 5, page 253,258, Beirut)

وفیه عن القھستانی عن الملتقط: من لعب بالصولجان یرید الفروسیة یجوز

(Radd Al-Muhtar, Book of Prohibition and Permission / Chapter on Selling, vol 5, page 258 ,Beirut)

وفی الدر: المصارعة لیست ببدعة الا للتلھی فتکرہ۔ برجندی

(Durr Al-Mukhtar, Book of Prohibition and Permission / Chapter on Selling)

From the Hadith of the Prophet ﷺ and the directions of the jurists, it is clear that when the purpose of the game is some important benefit, it is religiously permitted.

This explanation and clarification also clearly shows that the five sports mentioned in the question, such as football, etc., if played for physical exercise and health preservation, are permissible and correct.

However, this permission is conditional on a few conditions.

(1) The intention of those playing and making them play should be physical exercise and health preservation.

(2) It should not be as a competition, compensation or boasting that there is a win or lose in it and giving some compensation or reward to the players is conditional or known as alias (urfan)

(3) From the navel to the knees should be properly covered in clothes, no organ should be visible while playing.

(4) Prayer and congregation should not be missed. If these four conditions are restricted these games are wisdom and expediency, so they are permissible, and if they are not obeyed, then those games are really games, not wisdom and expediency, so it will be prohibited. And Allah knows best.

Answered by: Mufti Muhammad Nizamuddin Razavi

Translated by: Arslan Attari

Monthly Maqazine Ashrafia Mubarakpur, May 2023


Link of Fatwa

Aap ke masela | | Al Jamiatul Ashrafia

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