Is Soccer Haram or Halal In Islam (Football)

Is Soccer Haram

Soccer, known as football in most parts of the world, is the world’s most popular sport. With over 4 billion fans, soccer transcends boundaries of culture, race, and religion.

Islam provides detailed guidance on which actions are halal (permitted) and which are haram (prohibited). However, soccer is not directly addressed in the main sources of Islamic law – the Quran and Sunnah. This has led to differing views among Muslim scholars historically, causing confusion among lay Muslims today.

Some Muslims believe that soccer is haram because it is a form of gambling. This is because soccer matches are often played for money or other prizes. However, it is important to note that gambling is only haram if it involves betting on something that is haram in itself.

Several factors contribute to this confusion:

  • Soccer’s origins in non-Muslim cultures
  • Revealing uniforms worn by players
  • Elements of gambling associated with soccer
  • Aggressive play and foul language on the field
  • Time taken away from religious obligations

These factors have led some scholars to declare soccer as unacceptable in Islam, while others do not see it in contradiction with Islamic teachings. To reach a conclusion, we need to analyze each of these aspects in light of Quranic verses and prophets’ traditions.

For example, it is haram to bet on horse races because horse racing is haram. However, it is not haram to bet on a soccer match if the match is being played in a fair and honest way.

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Is Soccer Haram or Halal In Islam (Football)

it is not Haram to play soccer

The quick answer is, No, it is not Haram to play soccer of any kind, until no unlawful elements, such as gambling, betting, cheating, swearing, etc is involved.

Why Soccer is Halal

On the other side, many prominent scholars, past and present, have argued that soccer is permissible in Islam:

Soccer Itself is Not Haram

Soccer as a sport is not addressed in Quran and Sunnah, so it cannot be declared definitively haram. Only actions clearly prohibited in Islam can be called haram. Soccer is simply a form of recreation and leisure. Allah says in the Quran:

“Rest yourselves during the days of leisure and amusement.” (77:41)

Some recreation is needed for healthy living. Soccer and other sports promote fitness, discipline, teamwork and focus – beneficial qualities according to Islamic morals.

Uniforms Can Be Modified

Revealing uniforms are not inherent to the game of soccer. Modifying uniforms to meet Islamic requirements is easy, and has already been done in many Muslim countries. With covered uniforms, this objection is invalid.

Soccer Betting is a Separate Issue

Gambling being attached to soccer matches is external to the game itself. Muslims can play or watch soccer without betting, so gambling objections are irrelevant. Soccer itself is not the issue.

Proper Conduct Can Be Maintained

Occasional unsportsmanlike conduct by some players or fans does not make the entire sport haram. Players can still compete passionately within ethical bounds set by Islam. Fans also must maintain Islamic etiquette in stadiums.

Playing Soccer in Moderation is Acceptable

Soccer played within limits without compromising religious obligations is permissible. Muslims can strike a balance between soccer and worship. Moderation is key for all halal leisure activities.

Opinion of Prominent Scholars

Based on these points, many prominent Muslim religious authorities have clearly declared soccer to be halal. Some examples:

  • Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani (Iraq): Permits playing and watching soccer in itself. Prohibits only gambling, drinking alcohol, and indecent cheering in stadiums.
  • Dr Yusuf Al-Qaradawi (Qatar): “Football is a sport that is permissible in Islam. However, football players and spectators should adhere to proper Islamic conduct.”
  • Dr. Khalid Hanafy (Egypt): “Football is permitted as long as it remains within the realm of recreation, exercise and entertainment which are balanced with observing religious duties.”
  • Islamic Fiqh Academy of Rabitat al-Alam al-Islami: Ruled football permissible provided modest uniforms are worn and prayers are not missed.
  • Al-Azhar University (Egypt): Has permitted football with precautions regarding gambling associations and revealing clothing.
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Why Soccer is Haram

Over the centuries, some classical and modern scholars have argued that soccer is haram based on the following prohibitions in Islam:

Wearing Revealing Uniforms

The uniform of soccer players, shorts and t-shirts, reveals parts of the body that should be covered according to Islam. The Quran instructs men and women to dress modestly:

“Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and guard their private parts. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and guard their private parts…” (Quran 24:30-31)

Based on this, scholars state that the revealing uniforms of soccer players are not permitted in Islam.

Gambling on Soccer Outcomes

Gambling is clearly prohibited in Islam. The Quran states:

“O you who believe, indeed intoxicants, gambling, idolatry and divination are abominations of Satan’s doing; avoid them, so you may be successful.” (5:90)

Today, sports betting on soccer games and tournaments is a multi-billion dollar industry. Scholars against soccer argue that it promotes gambling, which is haram.

Vulgar Language and Aggressive Fouls

Soccer competitions involve physical contact between players, high emotions, and pressure to win. This frequently leads to aggressive fouls, verbal abuse, angry disputes with referees, etc. Islam encourages sportsmanship, fair play, and dignified behavior during competition. Based on this, some view the atmosphere around soccer as un-Islamic.

Distraction from Religious Duties

Some classical scholars declared soccer haram because it wastes time that should be spent on worship, seeking knowledge and doing dhikr (remembrance of Allah). Fans obsessively following matches and players also takes focus away from religion.

Important Questions

Can I play football in Islam?

Yes, football (soccer) is halal to play in Islam as long as players dress modestly, avoid distracting from religious duties, and refrain from inappropriate behavior. Many scholars explicitly allow playing football.

Is FIFA game halal or haram?

The FIFA video game series is halal as long as it is played in moderation and does not distract from religious obligations. There is nothing inherently prohibited in the game itself. However, obsessively playing for many hours and missing prayers would be haram.

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What sport is allowed Islam?

Most sports are permitted in Islam including football (soccer), basketball, volleyball, rugby, cricket, tennis, badminton, hockey, swimming, athletics, martial arts, horse racing, archery etc. Sports prohibited are those involving gambling, idolatry or extreme violence.

Is it haram for girls to play soccer?

No, it is not haram for girls to play football (soccer) as long as they dress properly by covering the parts of body that Islam requires women to cover. Many Islamic countries have women’s football teams.

Is American football haram?

American football is a highly physical contact sport, but is not prohibited in itself. However, the revealing uniforms and cheerleader outfits would need modification to comply with Islamic dress codes. Also, the extensive protective gear indicates higher injury risk.

Is football betting haram in islam?

Yes, all forms of gambling including sports betting are clearly prohibited in Islam. Betting on football matches would be considered haram even if the match itself is halal.

Is playing football for money haram?

Professional football where players earn salaries and fees is permitted, as Islam allows engaging in lawful careers. However, playing solely for gambling purposes or match-fixing would be haram.

Verdict: Soccer is Islam

Based on the mainstream opinions of credible scholars and institutions, the following verdict can be given:

Soccer is halal and permitted in Islam as long as the following conditions are met:

  • Uniforms must be modest and cover what Islam requires.
  • Soccer playing, coaching or fandom must not distract from religious obligations.
  • Any gambling association must be avoided.
  • Ethics of sportsmanship and dignified conduct must be observed by players and fans.

As long as it is played and supported in the manner prescribed above, soccer – the beautiful game – can be a blessing for Muslims around the world. The popularity of soccer provides immense opportunities for Muslim players, coaches, teams, leagues and tournaments to positively impact Muslim societies and project Islamic values globally.


  • 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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