Monday, October 29, 2012

Muslims and Cricket: Is it okay for Muslims to watch Cricket? By Adnan Khan

 Some have aggressively argued that Cricket is a waste of time, some people even more extreme have said that the nations obsession with Cricket is immoral and against Muslim teachings. They have been vocal about this on social networking sites. I am now going to attempt to shed some light on these idea's.

     Firstly, is it right for a nation of 180 million Pakistanis to spend three hours in front of the TV engaged in nationalistic chauvinism while ignoring faith and belief as some of the self proclaimed pious men of God would proclaim? Is it right for us to watch National and domestic cricket where even semi clad women wearing pom poms jump around cheering for either side? Is this how a nation that prides itself as being religious should behave?

     Well firstly lets look at some benefits that Cricket brings our country. Cricket makes millions of people happy or sad depending on if they win or loose, but generally our Cricket team is pretty good, we are like the New York Yankees of Cricket for those more familiar with Baseball. So while our team may win or loose it's generally against the best teams in the world during the quarter or semi finals. Occasionally our team even wins an international competition. Cricket is a major sport and winning a major championship title in one of the major sports of the world is a huge boost. Millions are made happy. However in the ancient Roman days, people were made happy by gladiators dueling to the death surely making people happy isn't a means to an end? Well what else could Cricket possibly do? From an economic stand point some of the nations that excel at Cricket including our own are backward. Cricket is one of the profitable industries that we lead in. That we can generate allot of wealth from participating in. It's not just a few athletes who make millions. It's thousands of workers and broadcasters, trainers and coaches and writers and merchandise sellers who can tap out a livelihood from Cricket. Thousands of people are literally eating off of Cricket. Cricket is a business or an industry, and it's big business and theirs big money involved. Cricket helps thousands materially is not an exaggeration to say the least.

      Some of the more extremely religious minded people will say we could be bowing our heads in worship of God during these matches, they may snarl at you and say "Lo you are wasting your time" please attend to your Lord instead of watching Cricket. However I don't see how Cricket takes away from religious duties, which can easily be performed. After all most religions themselves make the claim that they are simple to follow. By this logic open heart surgery is a waste of time, and the surgeon who spends 12 or 18 hours completing the surgery is not spending his time appropriately  He should be in prayers instead of focusing on the surgery at hand? However I find this logic twisted as is not saving a life through surgery and making the mother and father happy and eternally grateful from the determined application of your skills which cost you an arm and a leg to obtain and 10 years not a Godly act? Are Godly acts only relegated to realm of men with big beards making open and chauvinistic displays of religion? Who would you say is more religion a man with a large beard and white robe who debates about the higher principles of religion for two or three hours? Or a man who spends twelve hours a day building an orphanage with bricks, but doesn't utter a word about God or religion? Can we assume religion is in one man's heart, while the other is making a display of his religion, and God only knows what is in his heart? They what is in your heart will show in your actions, thus to me the one who does not not about religion or God at all, yet who builds hospitals and orphanages and helps educated the young is far more religious and pious then the outward chauvinist who feels the need to constantly talk about a religion he does not feel in his heart or mind. The chauvinist is trying to show his religion. The other man is simply a good man of God on the inside and is comfortable in this state. He no longer feels the need to make any outward displays of religion or piety because that is what is in his heart that is who he is. Rather it is the man not comfortable with piety or belief that needs to keep proving it to himself and others by outward displays and extremist behavior.

          Some may say this is all well and good but two things, first how does this all relate to Cricket and secondly how can you compare a necessary act like Open heart surgery to a meaningless recreational act like Cricket. Firstly this relates too Cricket because the type of man mentioned who no longer feels the need to prove to himself or the world that he is religious simply is a good person, in his mind and thoughts. He is comfortable in his religious activity and identity. He no longer feels the need for outward display and can move on to perfecting other arts that generate wealth such as becoming a Brain surgeon or a Cricketer. So the Cricket is a man of God, he may pray 5 times a day but he need not speak it, he has moved on and is now trying to perfect the art of Cricket and win a victory for his nation. While he may not save lives directly, his activity generates millions of Pounds or Dollars or Rupees. Millions feel good of his ability and thousands eat. Is not God pleased when poor children eat that day. If Umar Akmal did not fill up a stadium would the ticket holder at the stadium earn his days wage? Would his poor daughter get to go to school or even eat three full meals? It is the prodigality talent of young Umar's batting that makes people come to see the game, it is precisely because Umar has his religion and identity solid that he can move on to productive pursuits that fulfill God's will pragmatically and productively. It is indeed the Cricketer's talents that sell out the stadium and who provide for thousands to eat and sleep. The Cricketers are directly feeding and giving education to thousands of men women and children! Is that not the ultimate act of worship 1,000 times more powerful then the zealots empty talk, and display of outward religiously, when in reality his cannot even feed his neighbor at times? If anything was truly wasting Almighty God's time it is not the Cricketer who has worked thousands of hours through broken broken fingers and through cut throat competition for a place on a National team of a major country. It is the zealot arguing or preaching religion on a social network. The problem is not millions watching Cricket, the problem is unproductive and confused men who want so desperately to be apart of a religion, and try to hard when they can't simply let the idea's adsorb into their hearts and minds and then let their actions speak thousands of words about their piety, without uttering a word about religion or judging others about how to live their lives.

      If you truly love God, then strive with all your actions and not words to generate enough wealth to help the poor, let your piety speak volumes through your actions. We have seen Cricket propel the great Imran Khan to building a cancer hospital and a world class university. In Conclusion, Cricket is not a distraction from the worship of God anymore then a surgeon performing a surgery is distracted from God. Is is not Godly to heal a desperately sick person, or at least more so then speaking on Facebook about your views on religion, where in reality you know absolutely nothing?

       Cricket and competing are the natural extensions of the pious man who is no longer struggling with religious or identity issues and can get on with it. Cricket is a high form of religion because it is productive. It feeds people and generates wealth for people to live and eat. Jesus once said money is the root of all evil, however you don't really know yourself until you are rich. The poor can claim piety quite easily as the avenues of temptation and sin are closed off. However the rich truly know themselves because everything is at their finger tips. Cricketers are stars and powerful, they have to resist and focus on their game, stand media pressure. Could you imagine the pressure if you dropped a catch 180 million people would go to sleep upset that night?

      In conclusion, Cricket and all productive actions and activity and viewing of these actions is good, and right and productive and helpful. They serve God's purpose because they push people who in turn generate wealth to help others and feed others. In no way does Cricket distract from your religious obligation in fact it complements it. It's necessary for your religious obligation, not Cricket but any profession a man or women devotes themselves to completely. The problems does not stem from Cricket but the lowly self proclaimed men of God who would rather point the finger on Facebook, then do the hard work of shutting up and doing something to help the world, or quietly moving on.

Copyright 2012

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