In our society it has become common for football (soccer) fans to hold banquets and celebrations when their favourite team wins a tournament or cup. What is the ruling on these banquets and what is the ruling on attending them for one who is invited?
The fatwa on this issue must adopt a middle line between the basic permissibility of such banquets and taking into account the reality of the situation and the motives that people have concerning such matters and the consequences to which they may lead, so as to find the right answer and the moderate approach that will bring good to people and avoid hardship at the same time. Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Allah does not want to place you in difficulty, but He wants to purify you, and to complete His Favour on you that you may be thankful”
By examining this matter and the motives and consequences of holding banquets and celebrations for the fans of sports teams we will find many mistakes and things that are contrary to sharee‘ah, or at the least there are many bad habits, including the following:
Wasting money on things that are of no benefit. Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, will ask us about this blessing and His many blessings. He will ask us about our wealth, from where it was acquired and on what it was spent. Ibn Mas‘ood (may Allah be pleased with him) said: Wastefulness means spending inappropriately. Narrated by at-Tabaraani in al-Mu‘jam al-Kabeer, 9/206. We do not think that any of those who give these banquets claim that they serve a purpose or are done for an appropriate reason; rather they know that they are extravagance and excess, and they are a reason to waste one’s life in causes that are of no use. See the answer to question no. 137954
These banquets fill people’s hearts with hateful partisanship and they create resentment in the fans’ hearts against one another, so they increase division amongst people, and increase them in weakness and decline. Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):
“and do not dispute (with one another) lest you lose courage and your strength depart”
As for being a waste of time and sapping the mental and physical energy of those who follow sports teams, this is something that fills one with regret and sorrow. We are expecting our ummah to rise up and play a leading role in civilization and play an eminent role in carrying the beacon of guidance, but when we see these practices we realise that our dawn is still far off and that our society has not yet reached the level required to achieve true revival; it will never reach that level until all the energy of the youth is focused on constructive efforts. Our backwardness in relation to other nations requires us to increase the time we put into our efforts and to focus all our energy in a constructive manner on all fronts.
We do not say that this applies to all fans and we do not say that all the things they do are haraam; rather there are things that are contrary to Islam that we are afraid they will fall into and that their carelessness may lead them to unknown consequences. If we pause and think about what has been happening, that is sufficient to realise how much time has been wasted in irrelevant matters. The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “No people attend a gathering in which Allah is not remembered and they do not send blessings upon their Prophet, but it will be loss and regret for them; if He wills He will punish them and if He wills He will forgive them.”
Narrated by at-Tirmidhi in as-Sunan, no. 3380. He included it in a chapter entitled: Chapter on people who sit and do not remember Allah. Following the report he said: This is a hasan hadeeth. It was narrated via more than one isnaad from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) from the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him). End quote.
Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh, no. 2274
As Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) used to say, “The worst of food is the food of a (wedding) feast to which the rich are invited and the poor are ignored,” (narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5177; Muslim, 1432), it is more apt to say that the worst of food is that to which people are invited for reasons of hateful partisanship and illusory joy. The fuqaha’ stated that it is makrooh to attend banquets given by people for the purpose of showing off and pride. See Nihaayat al-Muhtaaj, 6/370. It says in Kashshaaf al-Qinaa‘ (5/166): Ibn al-Jawzi did not allow accepting the invitation of an evildoer or one who showed off by holding this banquet. The same applies if it involves any laughing at evildoing or lying, because that constitutes approval of sin. It also applies if he knows that some evildoers will attend that banquet, if they are going to speak of haraam things, in which case the invitation involves something haraam, and if they are going to speak of makrooh things, then it involves something makrooh. End quote.
To sum up: we think that it is makrooh to hold such banquets and it is also makrooh to attend them. On our website we have previously published a number of fatwas that cover the topic of supporting sports teams and the bad practices and habits involved. Please see the following questions: 75644, 82718, 84291, 22636 and 102150.
And Allah knows best.