I couldn’t help but notice the excitement in the air amongst some Muslims, writes London-based mum Umm Yusuf.
They have been waiting for this moment for quite some time now. This “visitor” will be in our homes soon and for quite a significant time. Some Muslims will have taken annual leave to concentrate and dedicate to this auspicious event. Supermarkets are also capitalising on its imminent arrival with shopping aisles dedicated to it.
You would be forgiven for thinking I am talking about Ramadhan! But I refer to the much anticipated and hyped-up sporting event which is the World Cup 2014 in Brazil.
Before I get footballs thrown at me for being a party-pooper, I must say that I have no problem with people enjoying halal entertainment and relaxation time. But what grates me is the fantacism it creates in some people that it starts interfering with their ibadah.
On some Facebook pages Muslims are talking about the football more than Ramadhan which is only just over two weeks away.
One of my Muslim Facebook friends has written an open letter to all wives giving them a list of instructions to follow when the football is on such as not talking when the match is on, waiting till half-time to communicate with them, not asking about what the off-side rule is and having full charge of the remote control. I’m sure it was tongue-in-cheek but surely we can apply the same zeal and enthusiasm to Ramadhan.
Already I hear moans about how long the day will be, especially when it’s getting hotter, how their sleep will be interrupted because of the sunrise and sunset times especially from those who will be working whilst fasting. Yet I know of many men who are prepared to stay up late and forsake their sleep to watch some of the late night matches.
Sports makes some supporters do crazy stuff. Take the 1992 Cricket World Cup. I was so proud as a Pakistani that Pakistan beat England in the finals under the captaincy of the legend that is Imran Khan to become world champions. But what followed was something out of jahilliyah. There were reports of people in Pakistan and the UK deliberately breaking their fasts in celebration.
Ramadhan is a time to re-establish and improve our relationship with our Creator, to increase our acts of worship and to try to use it as a yardstick for the rest of the year. I sincerely pray that the World Cup is not a source of fitna in our homes, that our fard prayers are not scheduled to fit into half-time and some specifically making special tarawih prayers for their team to win. Believe me it does happen!
Take last night’s opening match there was excitement in the air with many a man (and some women) rushing home from work, putting their phones on silent, and having a cola on ice with some samosas on stand-by.
But ask yourself the question how much preparation have we made for Ramadhan?And if we are blessed enough to see it through how much time and effort are we willing to put in to benefitting ourselves in this world and the hereafter?
Football may be called the “beautiful game” but we have a beautiful month awaiting us which ultimately should be taking priority in our lives. If I had my way I would show the TV the red card but being outnumbered by males in my home I would end up on the sub bench.
I hope that the football fans out there do enjoy the football but I hope they have an even better Ramadhan.