Islam is concerned with man’s well-being in both body and soul. Hence it encourages all kinds of sports which strengthen the body and maintain good health as well as provide relaxation and leisure, such as swimming, archery, horse-riding, sword-fighting and wrestling etc. All these sports are encouraged by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
In the current scenario, being a sportsman and following Islamic tenets has become a huge challenge, but the South African cricketer Hashim Mahomed Amla stands apart and sets a practical example for all the Muslim sports personalities across the globe.
Hashim Amla was chosen for the provincial team, Nashua Dolphins; captained the under-19 South African team; and was finally selected for the Proteas at the tender age of 21. But alas, after playing in only two test matches, he was dropped from the squad. Amla, mature for his years and firm in his faith said,
“Although it was disappointing for me not to do as well as I wanted to, it was taqdeer. I had worked hard to get there, but Allah knows best. This belief helped me overcome the disappointment.”
Amla’s strong belief and commitment towards practicing his religion is commendable. In today’s world where many ‘Muslim’ sportsmen consider alcohol consumption a social necessity, Amla reminds us how easy it is to take a stand, but only if we’re willing to do so. Where many people claim that practicing Islam completely is not practical in today’s scenario, Amla has set a practical example. Allah says in the Quran:
“O you who have believed, enter into Islam completely (and perfectly) and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy.”
When Amla was selected for the South African squad, he asked that he be excused from wearing the logo of an alcoholic beverage sponsor, Castle. Castle, a liquor company, sponsors the South African cricket team. We can notice ‘Castle’ written on the T-shirts of all players, except one. Amla was granted special permission by Cricket South Africa and the sponsors because he refused to wear Castle’s logo as liquor is prohibited in Islam. Not only this, he has also decided not to pocket a cent from his match fee. And that’s not all; he is also paying $500 monthly as a fine to his cricket board as a ‘punishment’ for not wearing the liquor’s logo on his T-shirt. We should stick to our principles and pay whatever price we are asked for it. If we have guts and capabilities we can respectfully live without compromising with anyone.
Islam is for every walk of life and a Muslim can be a sportsman, but he has to be within the limits of Islam. May it be wearing T-shirts to promote an alcohol brand or wearing skirts while playing tennis to follow the international guidelines. We need to stand by for what is true rather than falling prey to the financial benefit.
He refused to play in IPL because of immodesty, indecency, unethical, ungentlemanly things, cheer girls and late night IPL parties.
IPL (Indian Premier league) is nothing but the combination of women exploitation, promotion of alcohol and huge betting. IPL teams are being sponsored by alcohol, credit card, banks and insurance companies, such as; Royal Challenge Bangalore is sponsored by Royal Challenge, Kingfisher Premium, McDowell’s No.1 and Whyte & Mackey; Rajasthan Royals is sponsored by Kingfisher; Delhi Daredevils is sponsored by Royal Challenge & Kingfisher Premium; Kings XI Punjab is sponsored by Royal Challenge & Carlsberg; Deccan Charges is sponsored by Kingfisher Premium & McDowell’s No.1; Kolkata Knight Riders is sponsored by Royal Stag; Mumbai Indians is sponsored by Master Card, Royal Stag and Kingfisher Premium; Pune Warriors is sponsored by Max New York Life Insurance and UB Group; and Kochi team is sponsored by Federal Bank. In spite of all this, we have Yusuf Pathan and Shakib Alhasan playing for Kolkata Knight Riders, Zaheer Khan playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore, Irfan Pathan playing for Delhi Daredevils and Munaf Patel playing for Mumbai Indians in the previous IPL session.
Today alcohol has become such an integral part of sports especially cricket that, no victory celebration is complete without a toast of victory, without opening up, drinking, spilling and bathing in champagne. The following Hadith suffices to illustrate the need to avoid all things associated with alcohol: Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) said:
“Truly Allah has cursed wine and has cursed the one who produces it, the one for whom it is produced, the one who drinks it, the one who serves it, the one who carries it, the one for whom it is carried, the one who sells it, the one who earns from the sale of it, the one who buys it, and the one for whom it is bought.” (Al Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah)
Hashim Amla’s wife Sumaiyah follows him around the world like wives of other international cricketers. His wife wears the full Hijab. Most of the time, she is spotted in the stands with the wives and girlfriends of the other team mates. Even after such huge success he has continued to carry on with him humble and polite attitude, whereas some other Muslim cricketers have indulged themselves into many kinds of unlawful activities just after getting a little fame and popularity.
Questions about Islam and its practices might have been raised and thus, on and off the field, Amla might have got excellent opportunities for Dawah work. Over the years, he has met with many curious enquiries, specifically from his teammates. Amla remarks:
“My teammates have begun to understand what Islam is, what Muslims do and how we lead our lives.” Praying five times a day, fasting in the month of Ramadan despite the heat, even when playing, has gained him great respect from both Muslims and non- Muslims.
Once in an interview he said:
“The importance of my religion has increased as I have got older. I couldn’t put a time frame on it but I have found that following the Islamic way of life has a lot of beauty to it. Although I was born into a Muslim family I wasn’t always practicing. The more I have understood the differences in the various faiths, I have adopted as much of Islam as possible. I’m certainly no saint but the discipline of the Islamic way of life has helped my cricket without a doubt. I don’t drink and I pray five times a day, which gives stability to my daily routine.”
Hashim Amla epitomises a rare breed in today’s times, a young man with excellent character. He is a man who is not afraid of what the society will say but is afraid of what will god think. For Amla, success comes from balancing worldly activities with his religion. Amla is surely a role model for Muslim youths and the sports personalities across the globe. Today, many Muslim youths are apologetic about their faith, but it is not the case with Hashim Amla. On the Day of Judgment we all will be judged according to our deeds and not by any man made laws.