By Mohammed Khaku
Qatar faced a barrage of criticism in its pre-tournament for hosting the World Cup 2022. ASIZM had gone into overdrive before the start of the World Cup 2022.
Despite the initial outcry of alcohol all has come to halt after a wonderful job done by Qatar with hospitality, safer environment, and true presentation of Islam in positive manner.
The world cup in Qatar has blown of the lid of negativity of Islam by the media. No wolf whistles or sexism of any kind
Ayman Mohyeldin, an MSNBC host said, “the depth of Western prejudice, performative moral outrage and, perhaps most significantly, gross double standards.” It is hypocritical of the West to give lessons on morality to others.
The world’s most viewed sporting event happens every four years know as FIFA Soccer (football) World Cup. It is estimated that over 4 billion will view the games.
Qatar has taken advantage of the World Cup to reach out to the hundreds of thousands of visiting fans to learn and enlighten the people of the misconceptions of Islam.
Qatar first Muslim nation to stage a soccer world cup with an array of grand mosques and the call for prayer – Azan to the curiosity of visitors to learn about Islam.
Blue Mosque has brought thousands of visitors including soccer players from Argentina and Brazil. Outside the mosque there are booklets in different languages explaining Islam and the Prophet Mohammed.
Arabic coffee and dates are served to visitors. Islamic scholars explain the “misconceptions” about Islam and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that many in the West link Islam to radicalism.
The booklet explains to people more about ethics, the importance of family bonding, and the respect of Mother, neighbors, and non-Muslims.
Numerous videos on social media show where many of the visitors admit that their views on Islam and Muslims was tainted by unjustified prejudice by the media.
Qatar has countered Islamophobia competently and many according to the social media post have changed faith. However, Islam does not accept conversion through coercion.
Moreover, many Muslims’ residing in Western countries have reverted to Islam while attending the games in Qatar.
These games are not about conversion or re-verting back to Islam but rather of those who change their opinion about Islam.
Qatar got lots of flak for sticking to the Islamic principle of no alcohol sales as soccer fans around the world took center stage in Qatar.
Four weeks have pass two more weeks remaining, the atmosphere is friendlier, calm and peaceful without the hostility or violence associated with alcohol.
Qatar is a Muslim country; however, its system of governance is not Islamic. It is a hereditary monarchy, but the world cup is not about alcohol.
Alcohol, it is largely a western addiction or obsession, and it is not the part of the sport. There are many countries that ban alcohol in stadiums, like France.
Alcohol consumption contributes significantly to anti-social conduct of vandalism mischief, and harm which has been experienced in Europe following every soccer games.
What captured the world and mesmerized the spectators was the recitation of verses from the Holy Quran at the opening ceremonies. The verse recited was the 13th verse of Surah (chapter) Hujarat. Its translation is:
“O humanity! We have created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and we have divided you into races and tribes so that you may know each other. Surely the noblest of you in the sight of Allah is the one who is the most righteous of you. And Allah is All-Knowing, Aware.”
Sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (PBHU) and their English translations were hung on boards at various points around stadium, shopping malls and commercial centers of Qatar.
The billboard saying, “Every good deed is a charity” and “Save yourself from Hellfire, even with half a date-fruit in charity, were displayed on the billboards.
And every seat in the stadium had a bag containing materials about Islamic culture and Qatar. It was smart and wise for Qatar to use one of the world’s largest events to promote the message of Islam.
Africa has ‘bled’ soccer talent to Europe
After the US. was eliminated. I preferred either Senegal or Morocco to win the next round. My next choices were the Asian countries like Korea and Japan.
Born in Mombasa, Kenya, Africa I’m certain that one day an African team, will win the World Cup, however because of infrastructure, budget, organization and soccer talent being bled to Europe, an African country winning is many years away.
European clubs have benefited from talented players of African descent which has been detrimental to creating a professional football league in Africa like Europe.
Not only has Europe bled Africa of its sports talent, but historically the continent has suffered a brain drain of African professionals, including doctors and engineers immigrating to Europe and USA.
In addition, predatory soccer agents and inadequate compensation for African soccer players has encouraged the talented soccer players to leave the continent for Europe.
Some estimates say at least 15,000 young soccer players are annually settled in Europe to play for the European clubs.
Normalization’ of relations with Israel:
Many Arab countries that have normalized relations with Zionist Israel, however the soccer fan and Muslims are openly showing it to the entire world by carrying Palestinian flag and wearing armband that they are with the Palestinians in their struggle against Apartheid/Zionist Israel occupation.
The outpouring of solidarity by different ethnicity and nationality with the Palestinians seen in Qatar raises much hope that the world has not abandoned the Palestinian cause by singing “with spirit and blood we will redeem you O’ Palestine.”
This sympathy and support throws egg and pours cold water over Abraham Accords. There can be no normalization while Palestinians are killed by the occupying forces, their houses demolished, and they face daily humiliations.
Brazil’s coach Tite gets emotional when talking to an Arab man, draped in a Palestinian flag, offered to carry his sleeping grandson to the metro. The Arab says, “He sympathized with us and showed us humanity.”
How Morocco lost its bid to host the 2026 World Cup, win against Spain and look forward to hosting in 2030.
Morocco, having lost the 2026 bid, won the game against Spain to reach the quarter finals. Morocco also plans to bid for the 2030 world cup games. It will be its fifth attempt to host the world cup.
The South African Football Association (SAFA) had pledged its unqualified support for Morocco’s bid to host the 2030 World Cup as it supported for 2026.
I expect a lot of Islamophobia and an old myth that Africa does not have the capacity and naysayers should stop using the political argument, Morocco can emulate South Africa.
Morocco the first Muslim nation to reach the World Cup Semifinals.
The celebration of Moroccan players and fans by waving Palestinian flags shows the solidarity for Palestinians.
This is a matter of pride for all Muslims. Playing against Portugal, no problem brings on Ronaldo. I am sure if Morocco can beat Spain & Portugal, the world champions, then they can handle Cristiano Ronaldo.
After the win by Morocco, players fell into prostration on the pitch of the Al Thumama Stadium in Qatar, celebrating their victory.
The scenes of the players falling into sajdah (prostration) spread like wildfire and were discussed across social media. Many Westerners questioned.
Why are Muslim players celebrating in this way?
It is common to see football players celebrate their goal with great enthusiasm, either by sliding, some dance (Samba Brazil dance); and some players throng together over each other, while Cristiano Ronaldo, along with Lionel Messi, are known for their “Siu” celebration to connect with fans.
However, Muslim players often fall into prostration and decide to connect with God as they score or gain victory. Prostration is the pinnacle of humility and grace.
The Moroccan players attribute all their success to Allah, for they believe it is He the Almighty who bestows man with the victory.
This was the tradition of the Holy prophet who after years of exile, returned to Mecca, instead of holding his head high as some might do during such a triumph, the Holy Prophet was seen prostrating out of humility.
This is true humility and the realization that victory is from God alone and 2.5 billion Muslims practice this humility every day five times by performing their daily prayers (Salaat).
The various postures of the Salat demonstrate obedience by standing straight (Qiyam), humility by bowing (Ruku), and submissiveness by prostration (Sajdah).
I saw many soccer players make the sign of the cross on oneself acknowledging the presence of God or belief in the Trinity (Neither the word “Trinity” nor the explicit doctrine appears in the New Testament).
So, whenever you see Muslim players celebrating their victory in prostration, know it is how Muslims connect with Allah and attribute all success to Him.