Watching Football Matches & The Wasting Of Time
By Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-Uthaymeen
After rebuking those who delay their prayer because of the football matches that they play at sports clubs, Sheikh Al-‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) says:
‘And I divert away from this (subject of those who delay their prayers) to what some of the people who are spectators also do. If they (the spectators at football matches) 1 know that there are matches out there that will take place, for example, after ‘Asr, we hear that some of the spectators come before Dhuhr and sit and do not pray. And I believe that in this situation, it is imperative for the administration of the sports club to close the door, and that the door not be opened except at the beginning of the match after the prayer, so that there is no excuse for anyone to be present in the sports club and he leaves the prayer and does not pray.
As for the one who is present in the sports club and he prays with the congregation in the sports club or in a mosque close to it, there is no problem for this one, even though I say, according to my own frame of mind, that indeed, being preoccupied with watching (football) matches, it is nothing but the wasting of time.
(This is) because you do not gain from it anything which is material and worldly, nor anything which is religious and from the hereafter. Rather, you waste the most precious of things which you have with you. And the most precious of things which a person has, is his lifespan; his lifespan, which is not equivalent to wealth and children.
And listen to the Saying of Allah, The Mighty and The Majestic:
‘Until when death comes to one of them he says: ‘My Lord, send me back so that perhaps I may do good in that which I have left behind.’’2
Will he (the person who dies) say: ‘My Lord send me back so that perhaps I may seek pleasure in my wealth’?
Answer! (The people in the audience say ‘no’)
No…will he say: ‘My Lord send me back so that perhaps I may seek pleasure with my wives’? No. Will he say: ‘My Lord send me back so that perhaps I may seek pleasure in my children and enjoy their company’? Never. (Rather, he will say):
‘… ‘so that perhaps I may do good in that which I have left behind’’
He will not mention anything from the world except the good action. Remember this state (of death) which you are traversing towards without any doubt, whether the time (of death) is near or far away. And you do not know, perhaps you will wake up in the morning and not make it to the evening. And perhaps you will make it to the evening and not wake up in the morning. And how many a person has death befallen and in his hand is his pen with which he is writing his dealings? And how many a person has death befallen and he is upon his bed?
It is established from the Prophet (alaihi as-Salaatu was-Salaam) that he took hold of the shoulders of ‘Abdullah Bin ‘Umar and said:
‘O’ ‘Abdullah, be in the world as if you are a stranger or a traveller.’
not as if you are a resident (or) established….(rather) as if you are a stranger or a traveller. And Ibn ‘Umar would say:
‘If you wake up in the morning, then do not wait for the evening, and if you make it to the evening, then do not wait for the morning.’
Life…this is its state. A person is in danger with respect to it and he doesn’t know when death will come to him. How does he put forward from it (his life) from amusement, play and opulence, when he will hope when death will come to him that he can return to it (his life) so that he can change his state for another state?
‘… ‘so that perhaps I may do good in that which I have left behind’. No, it is but a word that he speaks and behind them is a barrier (barzakh) until the Day when they will be resurrected.’3
There is no return. Everything is finished. There is nothing except the reckoning. Therefore, it is obligatory upon the one with intellect, let alone the believer, that he doesn’t waste his time in that which doesn’t benefit him, neither in his religion, nor his in his worldly life. Rather, he should preserve his time more than he preserves wealth. I think that our wealth nowadays is looked after in what? In (safety deposit) boxes behind secure locks. And if it (the wealth) is a lot, guards are placed around it. However, our life spans have no guard over them. They are wasted. The day passes along (and) you think what did you do in your day, and then suddenly you will find nothing (that you did). The night passes along…what did you do in your night? And then suddenly you will find that you did nothing. (And this is) whilst a businessman takes himself to account at the end of the day, at the time of sleep, and if one penny was missing, he doesn’t know where it went, he starts to repeat the accounting time and time again until this error or deficiency which he saw becomes clear to him.’
1 Translator’s note: The Sheikh here is obviously making reference to those Muslim spectators in Saudi Arabia.
2 Translator’s note: Surah Al-Mu’minoon 23: 99-100
3 Translator’s note: Surah Al-Mu’minoon 23: 99-100
[Taken from the cassette ‘A gathering at Al-Ittihaad sports club’ 1 of Sheikh Muhammad Bin Saaleh Al-‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him). Translated by: Abu Yusuf, Sagheer Ibn ‘Abdir-Rasheed Al-Kashmeeree]