JUMAH KHUTBA- Olympics 2012 & the Muslim Athletes Dilemma

By Majed Iqbal- Inshallah you are all in the best state of health and Imaan. Please take time to send durood upon the Prophet (saw) especially on the Day of Jumah. Abu Hurayrah (ra) may Allah be pleased with him narrated Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said:

“The person who recites eighty times on Friday (the following supplication) immediately after Asr Salah, before standing up from his place, eighty years of his sins will be forgiven by Allah and the reward equivalent to eighty years of worship will be written for him: Allahuma Sallay Ala  Sayyidina Muhammadin Nabiyyil Ummiyi wa Ala Aalihi Wa sallim Tasleema” [Al-Jami Al-Saghir; Allamah Sakhaawi RA in Al-Qawl al-Badee’; Imaam Daraqutni RA and Al Muassah al-Rayyan]

And continue to send durood and salaam upon the Holy Prophet (Salallahu-aleihi-wasallam) every day inshallah

This weekend a much awaited sporting extravaganza is set to take stage in London. The Olympics 2012 venue will be in the UK which will see thousands of athletes across the world participate and compete in a range of sporting activities. Each athletes dream is to win the Gold, Silver or Bronze prize to represent and wave their countries flag, marveling their achievement to the world.

 

People of the World

The sporting extravaganza will also be drawing in athletes from the Muslim World in the thousands. For many, this is a defining moment in their life. Reaching to this international level has meant years of training, endurance, regimented exercising and working through the Political hurdles of the corrupt regimes ruling over them, red tape and beaurocracy to finally get here.

However, there is a dilemma. In this physically grueling sporting competition, how will Muslim athletes survive? Will they be able to fast and swim, sprint, jump, box, horse ride, play football and wrestle?

After all, it is the month of Ramadhan, in which fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam that lays the foundations of the Deen of Islam.

The Holy Prophet ﷺ said “Islam is built upon five [pillars]: the testimony that there is no god but Allaah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah; establishing regular prayer (salaah); paying the zakaah; Hajj (pilgrimage) and fasting Ramadaan.” (Agreed upon; narrated by al-Bukhaari)

 

The Dilemma

So how will Muslim athletes reconcile their Beliefs and identity with the opportunity of a lifetime to represent their country? The month of Ramadhan is a month of Spiritual bliss, full of actions where a believer draws closer to his lord thorough increased adherence and observance of the Shariah of Allah (Swt). This may eat away at the conscience of many of the Muslim participants in this years London Olympics 2012.

The Prophet ﷺ said: Whoever fasts during Ramadan with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven. Whoever prays during the nights in Ramadan with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven. And he who passes Lailat al-Qadr in prayer with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven (Bukhari, Muslim).

So athletes potentially will be missing out on this huge reward because of their sporting commitments.

 

The ‘voices’

Many Athletes have been quite open with views citing they will not be fasting during the Olympic Games. Seventeen-year-old Qatari sprinter Noor al-Malki said “It will be difficult, but it is Ramadan,” al-Malki told AP news agency. “You have to respect Ramadan. But I want to make a new national record so if there is a problem with that I will not observe Ramadan.”

Moroccan swimmer Sara El-Bekri adopted a similar position. “We are split between the desire to respect one of the five pillars of our religion and the need to arrive in London in the best possible physical condition to compete at the Olympics.”

Many others have cited similar views too.

 

Pick n Choose Shariah

Surprisingly, Fatwa’s have been issued to defend the athletes participation in the Olympics whilst not observing the obligatory fast.  Grand Mufti of Dubai, Sheikh Ahmed al-Haddad said “those who do not fast can make up for it after the competition”

The Moroccan Ministry of Youth and Sports also asked the country’s own religious scholars to issue a similar fatwa. A decision is due in the coming days.

Such voices have been a minority as many of us look into sheer astonishment as to how a Muslim could be exempt from fasting whilst participating in Olympics when the Sahaba themselves fought the Battle of Badr whilst fasting and gained the victory of Allah on the battlefield of Haqq (truth) versus baatil (Falsehood), in the process defending the newly emerged Islamic state in Medina under the leadership of our beloved Prophet (SAW).

Where is the comparison for the Muslim athletes and the momentous Sahaba’s resolve that they are striving for today in the quest to become Olympic ‘Champions’?

Allah (SWT) reminds us in the Quran of this approach of picking and mixing, and selectively following only certain pats of Islam. Not only should the Muslim athletes take heed but also the Ulama, the backward rulers and the corrupt Un-Islamic regimes representing the Ummah today. Allah (SWT) says in the Quran

“Do you believe in part of the scripture and disbelieve in part? What should be the retribution for those among you who do this, except humiliation in this life, and a far worse retribution on the Day of Resurrection? GOD is never unaware of anything you do” (AL-Baqarah 85)

 

Month of Mercy NOT Competition

The month of Ramadhan arrives as a guest once a year. It is the prime opportunity to seek forgiveness of sins, amend our ways, learn more about our beautiful Deen of Islam and make a resolve to continue beyond Ramadhan to build upon what we have established in ourselves throughout the month.

Fasting is a Fardh (obligation) that all sane and mature Muslims men and women must observe. The Quran confirms this

“O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become God-fearing.” (2:183)

Apart from travelling and illness there is no Shari reason why a person should abandon fasting. The scholars who have permitted the abandoning of fasting for Muslim athletes has rested on the notion of travelling. The conditions of the traveler are described on one Islamic website as

“A traveller (one who is undertaking a journey of more than 77 kms (48 miles) and does not intend staying more than 14 days at his destination). However, it is better for him to fast in Ramadan than to fast later, provided the journey is not a demanding one.”

How exactly are Muslim Olympic athletes in a continuous state of travel? And surely if a trade or profession conflicts with the Deen of Islam, are we not obliged to change this and find a Halal option, even it means less money, fame and fortune?

 

Representing your Country or your Deen?

The Olympics thrives off countries competing each other, with athletes from these countries giving it their best to gain that prestige and honour of winning. However, the regimes Muslims currently live under were carved out by colonial powers in the Sykes Picot agreement which pencilled out the Muslim world on the ashes of the destruction of our Khilafah in 1924CE; destroying our unity and the implementation of the Deen of Islam.

It is narrated by Abu Dawud that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “He is not one of us who calls for ‘asabiyyah, (nationalism) or who fights for ‘asabiyyah or who dies for ‘asabiyyah.”

And in another hadith, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ referring to nationalism, racism, and patriotism said “Leave it, it is rotten”. [Muslim and Bukhari]

So what is the pride in representing such false borders that have divided the Ummah for decades and have been the obstructing force for unity between us?

 

Origin of the ‘Olympics Games’

If one were to look at where Olympics originate from, a huge question would arise if Muslims, from a Religious point of view even should participate or not.

The Olympic Games originated long ago in ancient Greece. The Games were a direct outgrowth of the values and beliefs of Greek society. The Greeks idealized physical fitness and mental discipline, and they believed that excellence in those areas honored Zeus, the greatest of all their gods.

One legend about the origin of the Olympic Games revolves around Zeus. It was said Zeus once fought his father, Kronos, for control of the world. They battled atop a mountain that overlooked a valley in southwestern Greece. After Zeus defeated his father, a temple and immense statue were built in the valley below to honor him. This valley was called Olympia, and soon religious festivals developed there as people came to worship Zeus and to approach as nearly as possible his great strength. It is believed that these religious festivals eventually led to the famed Games of the Olympics.

 

The future Khilafah State and the Olympics

In the 1980 Moscow Olympic games, the USA and many other countries boycotted the grand event on the premise that Russia had invaded Afghanistan. Earlier on in 1976, South Africa was barred from the Olympics on the grounds of their apartheid regime.

A future Khilafah State, a true representer of Islam, would rally its citizens, Politicians, Ulama, Media, international partners and  allies against powers like the US and Britain to highlight their brutalities committed in the name of peace making.

How ironic, that the US boycotted the 1980 Olympics on the premise that the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979 when the US itself, under the new Political concept of ‘Unilateral invasion’ invaded Afghanistan in 2001!

This conniving attitude is addressed in the Quran When he the Almighty said

And when it is said to them, “Do not cause corruption on the earth,” they say, “We are but reformers.”

 

Our Future ahead

So where is this political stance today from the regimes which rule over us. None! Only a Khilafah State will take this principled stance and guide the future youth with pursuits that use their energy for meaningful endeavours and shift them away from activities that feed nationalistic tendencies and waste their time in trivial tasks.

The youth of today should be active in the Dawah for re-establishing Allah’s Shariah, and working to revive the sleeping giant that will guide us to our glorious position of leaders of Humanity, and not merely sporting competitions. Allah (SWT) says

“And thus we have made you a just community that you will be witnesses over the people and the Messenger will be a witness over you” (Al- Baqarah- 143)

 

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Comments

  1. sarfraz says:

    All praises to be with Allah (swt)

  2. AbuTalha says:

    Assalamualikum, jazakallah for this article. Just one day fasting in month of ramadan is more honourable and worthy in the sight of allah then winning countless number of gold medals and will never replace the fasts they missed. fasting and entering jannah will be the ultimate Gold medal honour from our lord, swt.

  3. May Allah help you to spread authentic Islamic knowledge and revive the sunnah as well as hold on the rope of Allah as the companions of our Prophet Mumuhammad {saw} held it.

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