The Ruling on Watching the World Cup | The Permanent Committee

Q: What is the ruling on watching sports matches, such as world cup matches and the like?

It is unlawful to play football matches for money or any other rewards because this is a type of gambling.1 It is not permissible to take a reward in a competition unless this competition is permissible in the Sharīʿah (Islamic law), such as horse or camel racing and shooting.2 Consequently, attending football matches and watching them is unlawful for a person who knows that they are played for a reward, for attending such matches involves approving of them. However, there is no wrong in watching matches if they are not played for a reward, do not distract people from obligatory acts of worship such as Ṣalāh (Prayer), do not include any unlawful practice, such as uncovering the ʿAwrah (parts of the body that must be covered in public), or free intermixing of men and women, or use of musical instruments. May Allāh grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muḥammad, his family, and Companions.

The Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Iftāʾ

Members: Shaykh Bakr ibn ʿAbdullāh Abū Zayd, Shaykh Ṣāliḥ ibn Fawzan Al-Fawzān
Deputy Chairman: Shaykh ʿAbdul-ʿAzīz bin ʿAbdullāh Āl ash-Shaykh
Chairman: Shaykh ʿAbdul-ʿAzīz bin ʿAbdullāh ibn Baz


Footnotes added by Abū Āsiyā Muzaffar al-Hindī غفر الله له

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  1. As Allāh سبحانه و تعالى says in the Qur’ān:

﴾يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنَّمَا الْخَمْرُ وَالْمَيْسِرُ وَالْأَنصَابُ وَالْأَزْلَامُ رِجْسٌ مِّنْ عَمَلِ الشَّيْطَانِ فَاجْتَنِبُوهُ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ﴿

O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), gambling, Al-Ansāb (sacrifice on an altar for other than Allāh), and Al-Azlām (arrows for seeking luck or decision) are an abomination of Shaytān’s handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful. [5:90]

  • As it comes in the Hadīth narrated by Abu Hurayrah -May Allāh be pleased with him- that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Prize money is allowed only for racing camels, racing horses or shooting arrows.” Related by Ahmad (474/2), Abu Dāwūd (2574), an-Nasā’ī (226/6), at-Tirmidhī (1700) and Ibn Hibban (4671). Tirmidhī graded it as Hasan and Ibn Hibbān as Sahīh.