Fatwa: # 43063
Category: Jurisprudence and Rulings...
Country:
Date: 11th September 2019

Title

Is it permissible to play ‘Fantasy Football’?

Question

Assalam Alaikum

I would like to ask is fantasy football (https://fantasy.premierleague.com), a game played by around 6 million people across the world where participants serve as the general managers of virtual professional english premier league football teams. The selection of players is dependent on us as managers taking into account the actual real life players performance. Points are also based on real life performance.

Its free to participate and chances of winning prizes are also very low. Most of us play to compete against fellow colleagues and freinds to develop teamwork and healthy competition. I have below questions to clarify halal status of:

1) Free to participate competition with prizes awarded by official premier league authorities who also regulate the actual real game - This in my humble understanding should be halal as this doesnt involve any payments and selection of real life players in real life competition. There are many practising Muslims even playing as real life players such as Mohammad Salah (Egypt), Sadio Mane, etc.

2) Special leagues which charge money to enter competition and give away prizes and are operated by individuals, websites or sometimes friends and colleagues - I have never entered these competition for fear of them being gambling as you are charged money to enter competition. I have seen some fatwas justify that it is halal so long as enrty money is covering expenses and not used for giving away prizes which normally come from sponsors. That is too difficult to determine and as I understand as accountant, entry money and sponsor money both must be used to award prizes

3) Some special websites operated by individuals and companies operate websites which provide data to analyze real life matches and players so that we can decide whether as an example go for Salah or Mane. While these website have free content, there is some paid content also available to their members only. Is it ok to be a member there? Being member there gives access to data such as https://members.fantasyfootballscout.co.uk/

4) Some special websites have special competitions such as https://www.fanteam.com/season-game/171482/ffscout  whose offering €250,000 in prizes for their Premier League cash game for an entry fee of €25. Again since there is entry money involved 

It will be great to have your views on each of these criteria as there are many of our muslim brothers playing this game and I will be in better position to make informed opinion. Happy to provide further details.

 

 

Answer

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuhu.

You ask regarding the permissibility of playing ‘Fantasy Football’. You mention that there are options in the game where money is involved and you have doubts regarding its permissibility. You further state that in this game there are options which don’t involve money, they are free to play. You state how you feel that this should be permissible because there is no money involved.

Before answering your question, a few things need to be explained and clearly understood.

With the advent of technology, the entertainment industry has flourished and become immensely popular. In addition, the ever-increasing advancements in technology have resulted in an increasing number of ways to amuse ourselves.

As a result of such advances, Muslims react in a variety of manners towards entertainment. Some label entertainment as completely forbidden. Others, who do not want to take this extreme approach, fall into the trap of excessive use of – and even addiction to – various sources of entertainment, without any limits.

The correct attitude of a Muslim is that Allah Ta’ala created us upon the fitrah. He created us with needs and natural inclinations towards various things. There is nothing in this religion which is against our human nature.  Anything that is part of human nature is accommodated for in Islam, and so to, the human need for recreation is also accommodated.

Islam encourages anything that promotes refreshing the mind or revitalising the body provided it does not lead to or involve sin, cause harm, or hamper or delay religious obligations. 

The traditions of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) undoubtedly encourage involvement in occasional light-hearted talk and sporting activities, as a way to maintain a healthy lifestyle and encourage brotherly love and family unity. That being said, we must recognise that in Islam sports has a number of very specific functions:

Firstly, it has a physical build-up function whereby the discipline of sport may be harnessed to prepare the individual to defend himself should the need arise.

Secondly, it has a social function in bringing people together which is in keeping with one of the chief purposes of Islam, and that is to foster a spirit of mutual love, co-operation, respect, and friendship amongst all members of society.

Thirdly, and closely tied to the second, is the recommended attempt at developing mastery and control of the self. While to win might be a commendable achievement, in Islam to overcome and conquer the lower self is even more commendable.

Fourthly is the relationship between the body and soul. In Islam, divisions between the sacred and secular hold little meaning. Everything we do here in the earthly domain has an immediate impact on the sacred and spiritual domain. A healthy body can act as nothing less than a healthy home for the numerous challenges and demands made upon the soul. Indeed a proper balance of work and relaxation is the way to strengthen the soul’s capacity and endurance for work, just as a proper balance of physical exercise and rest makes the body stronger and fitter.

The game in reference, ‘Fantasy Football’, has options of playing with money and also an option to play for free. All options of this game which include giving money come under gambling and are completely prohibited.

The option to play for free does not involve gambling however, there are various other factors to consider.

Firstly, this game is such that it requires a person to regularly keep themselves updated with live sports and so demands attention. This constant demand for attention to such a futile thing, is a distraction from the focus of our lives.

Secondly, research shows that through games like Fantasy Football, there has been a massive increase in watching football, which in turn increases the persons overall attachment with the sport. In modern age, following professional sports has become an obsession and craze. For many people, it has become an essential part of life. Millions of people across the globe spend significant amounts of time, enthusiastically viewing these sports and religiously keeping themselves up to date. This leads to them neglecting their duties to Allah and to other people. Such people often choose to watch a match over attending an Islamic programme, which is not the attitude of a believer.

Thirdly, the game is based on the real-life performance of the players and teams. This requires a person to have knowledge of the players and teams. Sports fans tend to know the names and life stories of many players of their favourite teams, yet because of their preoccupation with this information, such people tend to be ignorant of Islamic knowledge. This is completely unacceptable.

Fourthly, relying on players to perform well and receiving points upon their performance is very likely to lead to ‘hero worship’. The society we live in is witness to this.  Many fans of professional sports begin to exaggerate in praising their favourite players, and they try to emulate and revere them in every way. Excessive attention towards them and regular discussions about them leads to hero worship. This includes having more reverence for the sports player than the heroes of Islam and even the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him), many sins are committed because of this. Such people develop inside them a preference to imitate their favourite sports players rather than the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) and his companions (May Allah Be Pleased With Them). This is a great act of disrespect.

Fifthly, as proven through research and basic common sense, it is understood that the driving forces of Fantasy Sports are money and ego. Experience shows that people become so personally attached that they are emotionally affected by victory and loss.

Sixthly, in our societies today, the type of competition found in such games is against the teachings of Islam. In Islam, the spirit of sport is one of seeking the general upliftment of everyone, and not a spirit which encourages competition against the other – where the “other” is imagined to be different in race, religion, or nationality. This type of unhealthy competition very often leads to mocking and making fun of one another, this is something you yourself can observe. Islam does not forbid us from having clean wholesome fun. What it is opposed to however, is making fun of others.

Seventhly, this game has no benefit which is recognised by Shariah, no clear benefit in this world as a believer, and no benefit for the hereafter.

Eighthly, on a mass scale at a global level, this game and all similar fantasy games are used for gambling and betting purposes which is completely Haram and impermissible in Islam. Involvement in such a game leaves one at great risk of falling into this sin.

Based on what has been mentioned above, even playing this ‘free version’ of Fantasy Football and all such games are prohibited[1].

 

And Allah Ta ‘āla Knows Best

Bayazeed

Student – Darul Iftaa

UK

 

Checked and approved by,

Mufti Ebrahim Desai

09-01-1440 | 09-09-2019

 

 


[1] امداد الأحکام (4/366)

کبڈی اور گیند بلا وغیرہ سے کھیلنا اگر محض کھیل اور لہو لعب کی نیت سے ہو تو ناجائز ہے اور قوت و شجاعت بڑھانے کے نیت سے ہو تو جائز ہے ۔

فتاوی محمودیہ (19/538)

جو کھیل کفار یا فساق کا شعار نہ ہو اور اس میں ہار جیت پر مال کی شرط نہ ہو، اور اس میں مشغول ہونے کی وجہ سے طاعات ترک نہ ہو تو درست ہے، اگر اس میں صحت درست و قوی ہو کر دشمن کے مقابلہ میں قوت میں ترقی ہو تو اس نیت سے اس میں ترغیب بھی ہے۔ جیسے گھوڑے کی سواری میں یا تیرنے میں، ورنہ جیسا کہ جتنا غلط کھیل ہو گا ویسا ہی اس پر حکم بھی ہو گا، اس ضابطہ کے تحت ہر کھیل کا حکم معلوم ہو سکتا ہے ۔

آپ کے مسائل اور ان کا حل (8/407)

کھیل کے جواز کے لئے تین شرطیں ہے، ایک یہ کہ کھیل سے مقصود محض ورزش یا تفریح ہو، خود اس کو مستقل مقصد نہ بنا لیا جائے ۔ دوم یہ کہ کھیل بذات خود بھی جائز ہو، اس کھیل میں کوئی ناجائز بات نہ پائی جائے ۔ سوم اس سے شرعی فرائض میں کوتاہی یا غفلت پیدا نہ ہو ۔

فتاوی قاسمیۃ (24/361)

جسمانی یا دماغی تفریح کے لئے چار شرطوں کے ساتھ کھیل جائز ہوتا ہے۔ (1) جو کھیل کھیلا جائے وہ کفار یا فساق کا نہ ہو۔ (2) کھیل میں ہار جیت کی شرط نہ ہو۔ (3) اس میں مشغول ہونے کی وجہ سے نماز، روزہ جیسی عبادات یا معاشی مشغولیت میں نقصان دہ نہ ہو۔ (4) کھیل میں کوئی خلاف شرع عمل نہ ہو۔

فتح الملهم (5/257)

 اعلم ان شريعة المصطفوية السمحة البيضاء لا تمنع الإرتفاقات والمصالح التي فطرت عليها الطبيعة البشرية، ولا ترتضي الرهبانية والتبتل، بل تقتضي المدنية والمعاشرة الصالحة، نعم تمنع الغلو في المسليات والانهماك فيها بحيث يلهي عن الضروريات الدينية والمعاشية، ومن المعلوم ان من الحاجة المفطور عليها الانسان تمرين البدن وترويح القلب وتفريحه ساعة فساعة. ومن ههنا قال عليه الصلاة والسلام: (روحوا لقلوب ساعة فساعة) أخرجه ابو داود في مراسيله عن ابن شهاب مرسلا، وابو بكر المقري في فوائده، والقضاعي عنه عن انس (الجامع الصغير). ومن ههنا جرت سنة المزاح في أقواله صلى الله عليه وسلم وأفعاله. وروي عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم انه قال: (الهوا والعبوا، فإني أكره أن أرى في دينكم غلظة) رواه البيهقي. وعن عائشة رضي الله عنها ان النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال: (هل كان معكم من لهو؟ فإن الأنصار يحبون اللهو) رواه الحاكم. ومن ثم جاء عن علي وابن مسعود رضي الله عنهما: (القلب يمل كما تمل الأبدان، فاطلبوا لها طرائق الحكمة). وعن ابن عباس رضي الله عنه انه كان إذا أكثر الكلام في القرآن والسنن قال لمن عنده: أحمضوا بنا – أي غوصوا في الشعر والأخبار – وقال غيره: روحوا القلوب مع الذكر، كذا في كف الرعاع بهامش الزواجر).

وحاصل الكلام ان ترويح القلب وتفريحه كذا تمرين البدن من الإرتفاقات المباحة والمصالح البشرية التي لا تمنعها الشريعة السمحة برأسها. نعم تمنع الغلو والانهماك فيها بحيث يضر بالمعاش او المعاد. وهذا هو السر في الإباحة بعض الملاهي في بعض الأحيان، فإن هذا اللهو على هذا النية والغرض لم يبق لهوا، بل عاد مصلحة وفائدة، كما سبق في الأحاديث المذكورة من اباحة السباحة والرماية والانتضال بالقوس، والمسابقة بالإبل والبهائم، وإجراء الخيل، وملاعبة الأهل، فإنها وان كانت في الصورة اللهو، ولكنها لما كان الاشتغال فيها علي غرض صحيح ومصالح معاشية أو معادية: خرجت عن اللهوية حقيقة ، فأبيحت، وربما استحبت، نعم، من فعلها بقصد التلهي والتلعب كان حراما و مكروها في حقه، صرح به الفقهاء- وكما ان اللهو قد يصير مصلحة بالنية، ويخرج عن اللهوية، كذالك قد تصير الأعمال الصالحة بالنية الفاسدة لهوا، او تعود لصدها عن ذكر الله لعبا و معصية، قال عليه الصلاة والسلام: (كل شيء ليس من ذكر الله فهو لهو ولعب) ذكره في الجامع الصغير برمز النسائي، ووضع عليه علامة الحسن… ان اللهو المجرد لا طائل تحته، وليس له غرض صحيح مفيد في المعاش ولا لمعاد: حرام، او مكروه تحريما، وهذا امر مجمع عليه في الامة ، متفق عليه بين الأئمة… وعلى هذا الأصل فالألعاب التي يقصد بها الرياضة الأبدان اوالأذهان جائزة في نفسها، ما لم تشتمل على معصية اخرى، وما الم يؤد الانهماك فيها الى الإخلال بواجب الإنسان في دينه ودنياه، والله سبحانه أعلم.

www.selfgrowth.co//FantasyFootball

www.bleacherreport.com//FantasyFootball

www.psychologytoday.com//gamblingsystems

www.entertainment.howstuffworks.com//howfantasyfootballworks

www.futureoffantasy.com

www.money.cnn.com//fantasysports

www.profsdopop.com/fantasy-football-a-billion-dollar-industry-of-ego

www.financialramblings.com/the-economic-impact-of-fantasy-football

www.qz.com/298042/the-bizarre-multi-billion-dollar-industry-of-american-fantasy-sports

www.rookieroad.com/football/fantasy/who-made-it

www.thepunterspage.com/sky-sports-fantasy-football

www.wikihow.com/Play-Fantasy-Football

www.telegraph.co.uk/fantasy-sports/fantasy-football/10-reasons-to-play

www.espn.com/fantasy-football-how-play-fantasy-football-espn-fantasy-football-101

 

 

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