Egypt’s Salafi Cleric Forbids Football

There is no greater destructive force than ignorance.

Ignorance breeds misinformation. Misinformation breeds hatred. Hatred breeds violence.

By now the entire world has become aware of the tragic events that occurred at the football match in Port Said, Egypt last week (link) which prompted many to rise up and voice their opposition towards the leading military council responsible for handling Egypt’s affairs after then president Mubarak stepped down in February 2011. Although not blaming the SCAF directly, they were still responsible for not guaranteeing the safety of the Egyptian people from the hands of the Old Regime. It is now crystal clear that what happened after the football match was no cruel fate or random act of violence, it was premeditated and predetermined.

What further enrages the senses however is the likes of Sheikh Abdul Moneim al-Shahat (شيخ عبدالمنعم الشحات), a prominent Salafi Cleric (a group that up to the Revolution of January 25, 2011 was operating under the radar, that dared not speak out at all for fear of swift retaliation by the then operating Regime, however suddenly rose to prominence, ever the opportunists, as the Old Regime crumbled) made a statement that struck a nerve in two ways.

Number one; he nullified the martyrdom of the victims of the tragic events of the football match.

Any practicing Muslim will know that it is not for mankind to either grant or revoke the word “Martyr” from anyone, that is for God Almighty alone to decide. The common belief is that soldiers that die defending their country are Martyrs, those that die of illness are Martyrs. It is not a title to be given freely, nor is it a title to be denied.

Mistake number 1.

Second, the cleric goes on further to state that, and I quote:

“Only three sports are allowed in Islam: shooting, swimming, and horseback riding. Other sports are forbidden.”

In the Ahadith’s it was mentioned that Muslim children should be taught swimming, archery and horseback riding. No where does it nullify all other sports as “forbidden“.

Another response from The Holy Quran:

Any sports that involve killing (i.e. hunting) are strictly forbidden according to Islamic Law Sharia.

If the basis used for forbidding an activity is its presence in Muslim Literature, then the very Media that the cleric is using to reach his followers is forbidden, the use of electronic amplifiers in mosques is forbidden, modern medicine is forbidden, the Internet is forbidden..

The list is endless.

Mistake number 2.

For more of his ramblings, check this link.

It is a crying shame when someone who claims to be knowledgeable of Islam is acting in such a disgraceful manner. His vile words serve only to embitter the families of those that tragically lost their lives during that fateful day. They take the noble teachings of Islam and twist and pervert them to suit their own archaic purposes. The references they give are not specific, they are open for interpretation for example:

“The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allaah than the weak believer.” 

Strength and weakness of mind, body, spirit? Open to interpretation.

If you seek to spread conceit, then do so without the guise of Religion as you only succeed in tarnishing it, and proving to the West how ignorant one can be.

Carlos Latuff said it best

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