Is Basketball Halal or Haram in Islam

Is Basketball Halal

Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the world, played and enjoyed by people of all backgrounds and religions.

For Muslims who wish to play basketball while upholding their Islamic values, the question arises whether basketball is halal (permissible) or haram (prohibited) in Islam.

In examining this issue, there are several factors to consider from an Islamic legal perspective.

Is Basketball Halal or Haram in Islam?

Yes, Basketball, like many other sports, is generally considered halal in Islam as long as it is played in accordance with the principles and guidelines outlined by Islamic teachings.

Can Muslims Play In The NBA?

Muslims have been part of the NBA for decades, with some becoming superstar players. Well-known Muslim NBA players include Shaquille O’Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Nazr Mohammed, Enes Kanter Freedom, and many others. From an Islamic legal perspective, there is no prohibition for Muslims playing in the NBA, as long as they uphold their religious duties and avoid anything clearly prohibited in Islam.

Some key considerations for Muslims playing in the NBA include:

  • Avoiding alcohol consumption – Drinking alcohol is clearly prohibited (haram) in Islam. NBA teams often celebrate victories by spraying champagne in the locker room. Muslim players should avoid partaking in these celebrations.
  • Maintaining modesty – Muslim players must be careful to maintain proper modesty in their attire, especially in front of members of the opposite gender. This includes being properly covered when not on the court.
  • Upholding prayers – Muslim players must uphold the 5 daily prayers, even during busy NBA schedules. They must make time and arrangements to pray on time.
  • Fasting in Ramadan – For Muslim players, the NBA season occurs during Ramadan when fasting is required. They must carefully manage their nutrition and energy levels when fasting for games and practices.
  • Avoiding inappropriate social environments – NBA players often attend parties and nightclubs where alcohol, drugs and sexual impropriety may occur. Muslim players should avoid such environments which could tarnish their reputation.
  • Being a positive role model – Muslim NBA players have a platform to be a positive example of the Islamic faith through their character and sportsmanship on the court and their ethics off the court.

As long as they uphold Islamic values and avoid major sins, there is no prohibition in Islam for Muslims playing in the NBA, which can be a great achievement.


There is no clear evidence from the Quran and Sunnah that prohibits Muslims from playing sports like basketball professionally. In fact, scholars point to the hadith where the Prophet (PBUH) raced with his wife Aisha (Al-Bukhari 2578) as evidence that sports can be encouraged as long as they do not lead to neglect of religious obligations.

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When Basketball Is Haram

While basketball itself is permissible in Islam, there are certain contexts and situations in which playing basketball could become haram (religiously prohibited):

  • Missing prayers – If playing basketball causes a Muslim to regularly miss the obligatory 5 daily prayers, this would be haram. Prayers take priority over sports.
  • Inappropriate dress – If uniforms or outfits worn during play are revealing or tight to the point of showing off one’s ‘awrah (private parts), this would be haram. Loose and modest attire must be worn.
  • Inappropriate mixing – Islam prohibits unnecessary mixing between males and females who are not blood relatives or spouses. Basketball games where there is inter-gender physical contact, flirting, etc. would be considered haram.
  • Gambling – Any form of gambling is prohibited in Islam. Playing basketball in a context that promotes or involves betting or stakes would be haram.
  • Music – Playing basketball while listening to lewd or inappropriate music would be considered haram by many Islamic scholars.
  • Missing religious obligations – Skipping religious duties and rituals like Friday prayers, Eid prayers, or fasting in Ramadan in order to play basketball would be haram. Religion takes priority.


The renowned Islamic scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi stated in his book The Lawful and Prohibited in Islam: ‘Islamic law prohibits a Muslim from watching other people committing sins. Allah says in the Qur’an that lot is forbidden, and looking at it is a sin.’ This verse supports the prohibition of watching or engaging in basketball activities that include clear sins.

So, basketball transitions from a permissible sport to a prohibited one if it leads to missing religious obligations, inappropriate dressing or mixing between genders, gambling, listening to bad music, or other sins. The act of simply playing the sport, however, is acceptable.

Tips To Avoid Haram In Basketball

Here are some practical tips Muslim basketball players can follow to avoid crossing the line into haram:

  • Set reminders for prayer times and stop playing to pray on time.
  • Wear loose, non-revealing attire during play. For women, wear sports hijab. For men, avoid shorts above knee or sleeveless tops.
  • Only play basketball with same gender teammates. Maintain proper adab when interacting with the opposite gender.
  • Do not place bets or gamble on basketball outcomes. Avoid environments that promote this.
  • Listen to clean nasheeds or Islamic lectures rather than music while playing.
  • Make sure basketball does not take priority over religious rituals like Friday prayers, Eid prayers, or Ramadan obligations.
  • Maintain good Islamic manners on the court – no profanity, taunting opponents, getting overly angry, etc.
  • Remember Allah and make intention to play basketball for health and recreation, not for fame, wealth or other materialistic reasons.
  • Set limits and refrain from obsessively playing for hours on end if it leads to neglecting other duties.

With the right intention and by avoiding haram contexts, basketball can be played in a halal manner that is rewarding for both physical fitness and spirituality.

Is It Haram For A Girl To Play Basketball?

The short answer is, No, it is not Haram for girls to play Basketball, Islam against girls playing basketball or any other sport.

The issue of whether or not it is permissible (halal) or prohibited (haram) for Muslim girls and women to play basketball is something that is debated among Islamic scholars. There are a range of opinions on this issue.

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Some conservative scholars prohibit women playing basketball primarily for two reasons:

  • Awrah issues – There is potential for the shape of a woman’s body or awrah (private area) to be revealed if they are wearing the usual basketball attire like shorts and sleeveless tops.
  • Inter-gender mixing – Playing basketball in a mixed setting with non-mahram (unrelated) men could potentially lead to fitnah (temptation). Conservative scholars try to minimize ikhtilat (intermingling) between genders as much as possible.

However, there are many other scholars and Muslims who believe that with proper precautions and in the right environment, women can play basketball in a halal manner:

  • Wearing modest attire like sports hijab, long sleeve tops and loose-fitting tracksuit bottoms would address awrah concerns.
  • Only playing basketball in a women’s only setting would prevent free mixing of genders and any potential fitnah. Many girls schools and women’s colleges have all-female basketball teams and competitions.
  • Health experts encourage sports like basketball to help girls develop strength, coordination and confidence. Islam also encourages fitness.
  • Many Muslim majority countries like Turkey, Indonesia, and Tunisia have thriving women’s basketball leagues and competitions.

For girls and women to play basketball in a halal manner, they should maintain proper Islamic dress code and avoid free mixing with non-mahram men. With those precautions, most modern Islamic scholars would permit female Muslim basketball players.


Scholars like Sheikh Al-Munajjid of IslamQA permit women’s sports like basketball with proper Islamic dress and gender separation: ‘If she observes hijab and covers her awrah, then it is permissible for her to engage in sport.’ This supports female Muslim participation in basketball.

Is Being A Basketball Player Haram?

Basketball is one of the most popular sports worldwide, including among Muslims. Naturally, many Muslims aspire to play basketball professionally. However, the question arises whether pursuing basketball as a career and becoming a professional player is permissible (halal) or prohibited (haram) in Islam. There are several considerations in determining this:

  • Intention – The intention behind pursuing any career must be sincere. Seeking fame, wealth, status above all else would be discouraged. Wanting to pursue basketball as a wholesome activity and using an athletic talent blessed by Allah would be encouraged.
  • Impact on Deen – If pursuing basketball prevents a Muslim from fulfilling religious obligations like prayers, fasting, etc., that would clearly be haram. Basketball must not supersede religion.
  • Environment – Professional basketball often occurs in problematic environments – pre-marital mixing, alcohol promotion, gambling, etc. This would require careful caution from Muslim players.
  • Wealth – Islam regulates how wealth is earned and spent. Professional basketball can generate large incomes – players must ensure proper zakat is paid on this wealth, and expend it in a halal manner.
  • Fame – Excessive fame and arrogance is discouraged in Islam. Players must retain humility despite athletic stardom.
  • Gender mixing – For women players, strict precautions would be needed to avoid ikhtilat (gender mixing) issues.

Most scholars agree that if undertaken with a sound Islamic intention and in a manner that upholds shariah obligations, playing basketball professionally can be permissible. The environment and conduct of the player must conform to Islamic guidelines. Overall, intention is key – basketball must be treated as a means of athletic development, not as an end goal to pursue fame and wealth.

Is Watching Basketball Haram?

Muslims often enjoy following professional and collegiate basketball, whether by watching games live, on TV, or via the internet. Naturally, the question arises if watching basketball matches as a spectator is permissible (halal) or prohibited (haram) in Islam. There are some factors to consider:

  • Environment – Watching basketball games live often occurs in environments where alcohol, music, improper mixing between genders, etc. happens. That would clearly be haram environments for Muslims to avoid.
  • Content – Modern basketball game broadcasts contain a lot of inappropriate advertisements – alcohol, gambling, revealing imagery, etc. One should avoid gazing at such content.
  • Time Wasting – Watching hours of basketball could be discouraging from remembrance of Allah, worship rituals, and other constructive deeds. Moderation should be practiced.
  • Gambling – Betting and gambling often occurs on basketball outcomes. Muslims should completely avoid this sinful act.
  • Gender Mixing – When watching basketball with non-mahram men and women, etiquettes of proper modesty and separation must be maintained between genders.
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Most scholars agree that casually watching basketball in itself is permissible if it is done selectively in a halal environment and not to the point of wasting too much time or leading to other haram deeds. As always, intention is key – basketball should be viewed as wholesome entertainment, not idolized above religion.

Is Basketball Spielen Haram?

For Muslims living in German-speaking countries, a relevant question is if playing basketball (basketball spielen in German) is allowed in Islam or not. The same principles that apply to basketball in general also apply to basketball spielen.

The act of playing basketball itself is permissible (halal) as a form of recreation and physical fitness, which are encouraged in Islam. However, it can become prohibited (haram) if it involves missing religious obligations, inappropriate clothing, inter-gender mixing, gambling, foul language, etc.

Some key considerations for Muslims playing basketball in Germany/Europe include:

  • Finding same-gender environments for play, such as Muslim basketball leagues.
  • Ensuring loose and modest Islamic attire is worn.
  • Avoiding venues where alcohol, drugs, gambling, etc. may be present.
  • Not playing to the point of missing prayers, especially Friday prayers.
  • Maintaining Islamic manners and ethics on the court.

Additionally, when playing basketball in public venues, Muslims should be aware of Awrah issues and avoid revealing too much of their bodies, especially when bending over or jumping during play.

Basketball spielen itself can be engaged in by Muslims in a halal manner as long as the proper precautions are taken to avoid haram contexts and situations. It should be undertaken with the right intention to please Allah through healthy recreation.


From the detailed analysis above of various considerations and viewpoints, basketball as a sport is permissible for Muslims to engage in, as long as it is played in a manner that conforms to Islamic guidelines and does not lead to neglect of religious obligations.

Muslim basketball players, both men and women, can thrive in the sport professionally and recreationally while upholding their values. Of course, intention is key – basketball should ideally be pursued for the sake of physical wellbeing and wholesome recreation, not solely for fame, wealth or status.

By better understanding the Islamic rulings and boundaries related to basketball, Muslim players and fans can continue enjoying the sport while staying true to their faith.


  • Rabeeh Azarmehr

    PhD Student and Graduate Research Assistant My research interests are mainly focused on childhood adversity and the underlying psychosocial mechanisms that can affect youth’s mental health and adjustment.

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