by Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani Sahib
The question arose with full intensity. It arose in such circles too where this sort of questions are never considered to bring forward. Some decent people raised this question out of their tender, refined feelings, as they cannot bear loss to the nation’s capital, loss of lives, imitation of the foes of Islam and contempt of Islamic injunctions. They apprehended the fact by observing the flow that if they do not block the flood of immorality it would envelope the whole nation causing deterioration of society. Then not only eager participants would drown but also spectators on the coast could not escape. Although there was an air of adversity yet some good people have lit candle of hope in the dark night. They argued the point, accomplished the condition so that whoever lives or dies must be aware of the fulfillment of the condition, accomplishment of reasoning and argument. They raised the voice of truth from the high platforms of mosques, journalism and print media. They shook the dead-hearted people by proving with the historical and credible references that what they were doing in the name of ‘Jashn-e-Baharan’ (spring celebration) was profligacy and dissolution and it was also resemblance to the blasphemer of the holy Prophet. It is abhorrent ridicule with a nation gripped in the claws of poverty and heavy foreign debt. The voice has an effect on the audience as it rose from hearts having no intention to get fame or any benefit. Some people inspired and some foreheads glistened with sweat, the pearls of repentance. Some mum tongues broke silence and asked those who hide the filth of basant under lovely covering of entertainment that whether every sort of entertainment was permissible. But this question can only be put up to those whose conscience is alive; who did not part them from Islamic teachings despite being entangled with their routine work and worldly problems; who first of all consult the holy book of Allah and tradition of His messenger sallallahu 'alaihe wasallam before stepping down in any field whether it concerns economy, society, culture or games. But this question has no value in the eyes of those who pursue only their desires and term it shari'ah, who are not ready to differentiate between culture and vulgar, pure and impure, entertainment and dissoluteness. In their opinion the question of permissible and impermissible is awkward, outmoded, conservative and mullaiyat, and whatever Mulla says is wrong, narrow-mindedness. To cross limits of morality in the name of entertainment, letting out loud guffaws whether it is on a corpse rolling in blood, molestation of a chaste woman or cries of a child who is robbed of his kite is broad –mindedness in their view. When a man crosses all limits and his heart turns into a wolf’s heart then human rights, religious traditions and moral values no longer remain important in his eyes. What is important and valuable to him are his unlimited corporal desires. Look in ‘ Tarikh-e- Ikhlaq-e-Europe’ a history book that depicts that the most popular sport in Byzantine was ‘siafi’ in which man was forced to fight with beasts.
A large crowd of ardent people, some times up to 80 thousand would gather in the stadium to watch it. The most delightful and ecstatic scene for the spectators was that when the defeated one writhed in pain and took his last breath. Then 80 thousand tongues unanimously applauded and praised and the sound resounded throughout the town and its suburbs. The cheerful spectators of Roma used to get so eager to see the pleasant scene that they rushed forward and trod many in stampede failing all the attempts of police to control the situation. When this sort of cruel, bloody entertainments became unlimited orders were issued to stop it but all the attempts ended in smoke as the lovers of this practice did not consider it a cruel act but a mere entertainment.
On no account they agreed to abandon this fun. Not to speak of Byzantine people our ‘Patang baz’ kite-flyer Muslim brothers are surpassing everyone to get fun. They were advised in one way or the other that kite flying is not a single sin but combination of many sins. It is a reflection of the Hindus’ religious festival. Its strings coincide with the blasphemers of Rasoolullah sallallahu 'alaihe wasallam. It takes a lot of precious human lives. Hundreds of thousands rupees are wasted. It has all kinds of evils as plundering, theft, singing, dancing, violation of veil, mix gathering of men and women, extravagance, purposeless firing, teasing and creating troubles for others, gambling and drinking. The Muslims’ social and economic conditions also do not allow such entertainments. Kite flying is one of those games that play prominent role in spoiling the new generation. But our basant-lover brothers pay no heed to any advice. They say one thing over and over that basant is an entertainment and Islam allows enjoyment. Indeed Islam permits entertainment because it is a religion of nature and does not suppress or prevent the demands of nature but determine its limits. To play, have fun and amusement is man’s nature, thus Islam allows it. Hazoor –e-Akram sallallahu alaihe wasllam, despite being anxious for the hereafter all the time and pain for humanity in his heart, used to spare time for sahaba keram, azwaj-e-mutaharat and innocent children for amusement. He took part in wrestling, horse riding and lance throwing. Once at the event of Eid some Negroes were playing with lances and shields. They felt hesitation to see Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasalam arriving there but the holy prophet encouraged them saying, “O Childeren! Carry on play so that Jews and Christians know our religion has vastness.” Similarly some girl children were playing on Eid day. Hazrat Abu Bakar wanted to forbid them but the holy prophet asked to let them play as it was the day of Eid and Jews should know that Islam has vastness in it.
In short requirements of nature are nor suppressed in the religion of nature but encouraged within the proper limits. Such sport or entertainment that is good for health, that gives strength to body, delight to soul and expertise in the war field is not only permissible but a requirement in shariah. That is why the holy prophet used to encourage swimming, horse race, swordplay and archery. The prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam said ‘whoever learnt archery and then gave up do not belong to us.’ But such sports and amusements that comprise haram (impermissible) acts or that make a man negligent of its religious obligations and human rights or that cause inconvenience to other people or that are useless and played only to pass time are not allowed by shariah. More over if jihadi sports that are encouraged in Islam are infested with evils then then they too are not permissible. For example in horse race if people gamble on horses, or do not care to cover their satar (the part of body from naval to down the knees) or so much engrossed in the game and missed prayer then it would not be permissible for them. Now in perspective of above mentioned points consider how great loss of money, time and religious obligations we are incurring upon ourselves for the sake of games like kite flying, cricket, pigeon petting and video games that are being popularized among the people by media. But all this is important for those whose conscience is alive and who distinguish between jaiz (permissible) and najaiz (impermissible).