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Bernama: Islam Encourages Muslims To Take Up Sports

Former Washington, DC high school track star, Juashaunna Kelly

Former Washington, DC high school track star, Juashaunna Kelly

By Ahmad Muliady Ab. Majid

 

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 6 (Bernama) — Muslims are encouraged to take up sports as they are a form of ‘jihad,’ provided they do not go against Islamic teachings.

National Sports Council (NSC) Islamic Affairs Unit head Mohammad Hasnol Bakar said ‘jihad’ in Arabic may have been translated as holy war but what it actually meant was to do something wholeheartedly.

“Sports are a form of jihad for Muslims provided the intentions are good and are not against Islamic teachings,” he told Bernama here today.

Present-day ‘jihad’ may not be as challenging as a holy war but important nonetheless as it was about sacrifices to achieve prosperity for the benefit of Muslims.

Muhammad Hasnol said history had it that Prophet Muhammad had used sports as a medium to propagate Islam.

“Prophet Muhammad had been challenged by a Quraish tribesman named Rukanah Abu Yazid who said he would embrace Islam if he was defeated in three rounds of wrestling.

“He accepted the challenge and defeated the wrestler. This showed that early day Muslims had physical strength derived from sporting activities. This is consistent with a popular Arab saying; “A Healthy Mind Comes From a Healthy Body,” he said.

Scholar Al-Bukhary in his writings stated Prophet Muhammad had also been known to join fellow Muslims in archery and had also gone horse-back riding with wife Siti Aisyah.

The prophet’s close friend Umar Al-Khatab had also been known to encourage archery, swimming and horse-back riding.

Muhammad Hasnol however said there should be a limit to interaction between athletes of the opposite sex, not only to conform with Islamic teachings but to prevent untoward incidents.

He said Islam allowed women to compete in sports but they must follow the Muslim dress code to keep the ‘aurat’, (parts of body that need covering, the same applies to men.

“Nowadays, swimmers can opt for the ‘burqini’, an attire for Muslim women. Ruqaya al-Ghasara of Bahrain proved at the Beijing Olympics that her Muslim attire was not an obstacle.”

Ruqaya shot to world fame when she sprinted to the gold medal at the Doha Asian Games in 2006.

She was among three Muslim women athletes who wore the Islamic attire in Beijing. Two others were Homa Hosseini of Iran and Shaimaa El-Gammal of Egypt.

Mohammad Hasnol said Muslim athletes must prove that they were not weak but could compete against the best in the world.

He said this was consistent to a ‘hadis’ (sayings of the prophet) by Prophet Muhamaad as written by the scholar Muslim which meant: “A Strong Muslim Loves Allah More Than A Weak Muslim.”

— BERNAMA

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