Today's question has been answered by IOL Shari`ah Researchers.
Q: What do you think of being fervent supporter of a sporting club or a certain football team?
IOL Shari`ah Researchers: Islam encourages Muslims to practice sports as a means of maintaining physical fitness, for a sound mind is in a sound body. Supporting a certain team or being a club’s fan is something that has been in practice since a time immemorial, so it cannot be termed as a vogue.
The legal maxim reads: “Permissibility is the original rule of all things unless something denotes otherwise.” Therefore, if supporting a team is done out of love and hobby, it’s ok, as long it does not lead to cultivating hatred and blind fanaticism, neglecting duties or committing evil. Highlighting this point, Dr. Salim Ahmad Salamah, Dean of the Faculty of Islamic Theology at the Islamic University in Gaza, Palestine, states the following:
“There is nothing wrong in supporting clubs so long as no blind fanaticism is involved. As for the Olympic Games and the fierce and blind fanaticism that always accompanies it culminating in throwing the players of the opposite team with empty bottles and stones, it is totally un-Islamic. In addition to this, the enemies of Islam have used such things to distract people, especially Muslims, from concentrating on what is beneficial for them.”
The prominent Muslim scholar, Sheikh Muhammad Saleh Al-Munajjid, a prominent Saudi Islamic lecturer and author, adds:
"A Muslim is always commanded to occupy himself with the noble goal he is created for, namely worshipping Allah and showing obedience to Him. Almighty Allah says: " I created the jinn and humankind only that they might worship Me." (Az-Zariyat: 56)A Muslim should keep aloof from trivialities and things that distract him for the serious matters of this world and the life-to-come.
In permissible matters, scholars hold the view that anything that distracts the Muslim from observing his obligations or leads him to commit prohibitions, is itself Haram (unlawful). As for permissible things that distract the person from offering recommended matters, they are just Makrooh (detested). Permissible things that do not distract a person from neither obligations nor recommended matters are still permissible. A close up look at the condition of those club fans will show that they are absorbed in their practice to the ears. This has led them to neglecting many of their obligations such as attending congregational prayer or not performing it on time. Once, this support reaches such an extent of negligence, and then it becomes evidently prohibited. In addition, it breeds hatred and dissension among people."
Allah Almighty knows best.