What is the Ruling Regarding Watching Sports Events?


Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch 

Question Summary

What is the ruling regarding watching sports events that are commonly sponsored by alcohol or gambling organizations?

Question Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

It is permissible to watch sports events even though they made be sponsored by companies involved in prohibited (haram) activities.

This is because your assistance or patronage of these companies, in this case, is indirect – and indirect assistance is not strictly prohibited (haram), even though it may be disliked. [Zayla’i; Tabyin al-Haqa’iq Sharh Kanz al-Daqa’iq]

Assistance in Sin

Allah Most High tells us in the Qur’an, “…Cooperate with one another in goodness and righteousness, and do not cooperate in sin and transgression. And be mindful of Allah. Surely Allah is severe in punishment.” [Qur’an; 5:2]

From this verse, it is clear that assisting others in sin is strictly prohibited (haram). That said, the scholars made a clear distinguishment between direct assistance in sin and indirect assistance.

Direct assistance is strictly prohibited by consensus. However, indirect assistance, although not ideal and encouraged to perform caution therein, is not strictly prohibited, according to Imam Abu Hanifa. [Zayla’i; Tabyin al-Haqaiq Sharh Kanz al-Daqaiq]

Indirect Assistance

Your watching the sports event that is sponsored by sinful corporations is in some way assisting them in spreading and continuing to spread their sinful activities. For this reason, to the extent one can, one is recommended to abstain therefrom and look for more wholesome avenues of entertainment. [Ibid.]

However, since you are not directly assisting these corporations in their sin by investing in them, buying their stocks, encouraging their behavior, etc…, you are not directly accountable for their actions. This is called indirect assistance. [Ibid.]

Hope this helps
Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he then completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York, where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Qur’an and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Qur’anic exegesis, Islamic history, and a number of texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.