This well known registered trademark, Nike, which may be the most well known of sporting brands in the world, bears the name of the Greek goddess of victory. The founders of this company who chose this name were Philip Knight and Bill Bowerman. They chose this name as a symbol of good luck and hope of victory for sportsmen who wore this brand and propagate the symbol of this god.
This is something well known that is stated in encyclopaedias. See Wikipedia.org on the internet. In an article on this topic in the well-known al-Mawrid dictionary it says:
Nike was the god of victory among the ancient Greeks, who was usually presented in the form of a winged maiden, carrying a crown in one hand and a palm branch in the other. End quote.
Al-Mawrid Qamoos Ingleezi ‘Arabi (p. 613)
We find the same information in a book called al-Mu’taqadaat al-Deeniyyah ‘inda al-Shu’oob, ed. by Geoffrey Barrinder, which was published in Arabic in Silsilat ‘Aalam al-Ma’rifah, no. 173, p. 409.
Thus it is clear that it is not permissible for the Muslim to wear this symbol or to imitate those who wear it. The Muslim believes in the Oneness of Allaah (Tawheed) and believes that victory, help and strength come from Him alone. Wearing this symbol is contrary to his belief and faith. If he has no option but to buy the products of this company, then at least he should erase their symbol and name so that it is not on his chest, foot or neck. Thus his religious commitment will be safe as will his belief (‘aqeedah).
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
With regard to images, such as images which appear on clothes for adults and children, they are the same: it is not permissible for a person to wear anything with pictures on it, or to dress his children, boys and girls alike, in anything that has pictures on it.
With regard to words written on garments, such as “I am a Christian” on a sweater, or “I am a Jew” or “Christian” or “sexual fluid” or “the gushing water of man” or writing the symbol for Venus, which is a symbol for immoral actions, and also writing “the ancient Greek god of love” or “alcoholic drink” or the name of a man and woman, or “Christmas” – all of these are unacceptable.
What matters is that we are a Muslim people, and what we must do is boycott these clothes. We should also write to the Ministry of Trade, reminding them to fear Allaah, and tell them: You must be very careful about such things that are imported to our market.
Subhan Allaah, a Muslim boy or girl with the words “I am a Christian” or “I am a Jew” written on their clothes! Don’t we understand? Are we sheep? Subhaan Allaah, we should be one ummah. If the people in charge are heedless of this and are unaware of it, we should write to them and point it out and send examples of these clothes. That has to do with those who are in charge. As for the rest of us, we should advise them and explain this matter to them. If we do that we will have discharged our duty, and they will be responsible before Allaah.
“The Day whereon neither wealth nor sons will avail,
89. Except him who brings to Allaah a clean heart [clean from Shirk (polytheism) and Nifaaq (hypocrisy)]”
Woe to them, for they have betrayed the trust and fallen short in taking care of their flock, so the ummah will be their opponents on the Day of Resurrection.
As for us, what we must do is boycott these things, and not spend our money on that which is bad for us, because at the very least a boy may start accept accepting these words that say that he is a Jew or a Christian, when we know that the Jews and Christians have been our enemies since ancient times.
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as Awliyaa’ (friends, protectors, helpers), they are but Awliyaa’ of each other. And if any amongst you takes them (as Awliyaa’), then surely, he is one of them. Verily, Allaah guides not those people who are the Zaalimoon (polytheists and wrongdoers and unjust).
52. And you see those in whose hearts there is a disease (of hypocrisy), they hurry to their friendship, saying: ‘We fear lest some misfortune of a disaster may befall us’”
i.e., we are afraid that some misfortune may befall us, but if we make friends with them, they will be with us. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Perhaps Allaah may bring a victory or a decision according to His Will. Then they will become regretful for what they have been keeping as a secret in themselves”
What we must do is boycott these things completely, and if we see that a shopkeeper is selling them, we should advise him and tell him to fear Allaah, and draw his attention to it, because some shopkeepers do not know English and do not know what the writing says. But we should tell them. Allaah is sufficient against those who wrote it and deceived the people with it.
Even the names of singers and soccer (football) stars and others who are not Muslim – all of that is not permissible, because it will lead to the Muslim venerating these people, who are kaafirs.
With regard to images (pictures), we have stated that they are haraam on sweaters, shirts and pants. End quote.
Liqa’ al-Baab il-Maftooh (4/question no. 14)
And Allaah knows best.