Should We take Interest in Cricket and Sports?

Question: How times change, a few years ago I was a diehard fan of cricket and football, but things have changed, I do watch sports now but only sometimes and may be just the climax stages of them. I just watched a program on gambling in cricket. I am seriously disturbed by this cricket fever now, I just feel that the devil is playing a big part in it; emotional supporters of both the countries are passing abusive comments, cursing the other team, and you know the rest as well. The way spectators jeer at the players in grounds, and the way so much money and time gets wasted on sports, it is really making me sad. What should be done?

One more question is about countries, with time I have just got rid of discrimination against other countries, I just feel we all belong to God. I don't see any difference in a Pakistani, an Indian or an Israeli. What are your views about all the things I have mentioned?

Answer: Your message reminded me of my early days. I was cricket crazy right from the beginning. I inherited the craze from my father. When he died I was not yet nineteen. I lost interest in everything and turned extremely religious. We migrated from Sargodha to Lahore soon afterwards. Not long afterwards the Indian cricket team visited Pakistan. My mother forced me to go and see the match at the Qaddafi stadium. I didn't like the atmosphere and returned early without watching the entire match.

Things have changed since then. I realize that life can't continue without healthy entertainment within limits of volume and ethics. My love for the game staged a comeback. When I went to study in the UK, I played a lot of cricket. I guess if we know the limits it is not an evil to take interest in cricket or other sports. As I said life without healthy entertainment can be extremely boring. And boredom can breed both evil and extremism.

I am not saying that it is necessary to take interest in sports. All I am saying is that there is no religious requirement that one must give up sports to become religious. We need to strike a healthy balance between religious obligations and the other non-religious healthy activities.

Of course, the kind of immoral trends we see amongst the cricket players and cricket fans should be discouraged and good Muslims must never participate in them. In other words, instead of abandoning cricket and other sports, we should try to bring in morality and God-consciousness in them too.

I quite agree with you that we must love all humans irrespective of their nationality and religion. I see it as a part of nature as my religious obligation. When we believe in one God Who created all humans how can we discriminate against some of them? It would be silly, immoral, and irreligious to do so.


Concept of Love-Marriage in Islam

Question: Is there any concept of love marriage in Islam? If we look at Muslim history, I don't find any stuff like this because our religion does not allow unmarried boys to meet unmarried girls. Please answer my question in detail.

Answer: By concept of love-marriage in Islam if you mean that the Qur'an recommends or condemns it directly anywhere, then most certainly that is not the case. However if one were to look at the spirit of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, the following understanding emerges:

1. Both bridegroom and bride have to willingly approve the idea of their marriage. Therefore, there can be no objection to the fact that the spouses-to-be know each other well enough to take that decision.

2. In the process of knowing each other, they can interact within the limits of decency. However, they should not meet each other and remain together for long durations alone.

3. Before getting married, although exchange of messages in the form of emails, sms messages etc is not disallowed, such exchanges should not degenerate into expression of unacceptable expressions. One should avoid, for example, expressing one's emotions of love for the other person before marriage. That expression should be reserved exclusively for post-marriage life.

4. Feelings of love for the other person cannot be considered unacceptable. Such feelings are in fact quite natural in many cases. However, one should not do anything indecent to communicate and promote it.