Tuesday, 09 Rajab 1444 | 2023/01/31
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بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

 News Right Now: Give Them Circuses

Every four years loyal adherents and fans of the sport, in their millions, participate in this international spectacle. Many prepare to attend in person for this four year pilgrimage, and those who do not have the means stay in their home nations and watch with equal excitement from afar. The 2022 tournament is in full swing at the time if writing and for Muslims around the world there is a prevailing sentiment shown on social media, one of pride and excitement as this is the first time in World Cup history that the host is in a Muslim country, Qatar 2022. Surely this is an opportunity of a lifetime!

At just 4,471 square miles, Qatar is smaller than the state of Connecticut ,USA by about 20%. Much of the country is a barren sandy plain, and most of its 2.8 million residents live in the area around the capital Doha. When it won selection in 2010, Qatar lacked many of the stadiums, hotels and highways needed to stage the tournament. To build them, the country turned to its massive population of migrant workers, who make up 90% or more of its labor force. (Only about 300,000 of Qatar's residents are Qatari citizens. Far outnumbering them are migrant workers whose visas are tied to their employment, a system that is common in the Middle East.)

The working and living conditions for those migrant workers were frequently exploitative and dangerous. A 2021 investigation by the Guardian found that more than 6,500 migrant workers from five south Asian countries had died in Qatar since 2010 from all causes – workplace accidents, car crashes, suicides and deaths from other causes, including the heat. "Some of them include workers who collapsed on the stadium construction site and died after they were taken off it. Others died in road traffic accidents on their way to work in a company bus. And many others died suddenly in an unexplained way in their labor camps," said Pete Pattison, one of the reporters on the investigation, in an interview last year with NPR.

There is no doubt that Qatar is a racist, oppressive dictatorship that exploits migrant workers and keeps them in modern slavery, resulting in over 6,500 deaths. And it continues to do so! However, the Western, self-aggrandizing and hypocritical morality police have no right to blame Qatar. The West, steeped in the blood of colonialism, selling arms to despotic regimes and causing death and destruction in Afghanistan and Iraq, has no right to lecture other nations about the inviolability of human life.

This is the height of hypocrisy and double standards. It’s like polishing the halo in circles while covering their devil horns! Be it naivete or finally an opportunity for the world to see a Muslim nation that is considered amongst many to be ‘thriving’, one could argue that it is a golden opportunity for Dawah to non- Muslims. It is true that many fans and pundits have posted on social media accounts their disgust with the hypocrisy of their home nations, the false media narrative and the warm hospitality of the Qatari’s. Many preferring the restrictions resulting in feeling safe from the debauchery that often accompanies such tournaments. Reports of people entering Islam have also been shared.

However, how do we navigate the blatant contradictions including: Qatar’s treacherous agreement allowing brutal Zionist occupiers of Palestine to fly-in and enjoy the world cup festival. Though it is heartening to see Muslims reject Zionist journalists, their media channels and instead chanting support for their brother and sisters under occupation - shouldn’t the question be - why is an aggressor able to enter considering their decades of oppression? An astonishing $200 billion and more was spent on preparing for the world cup; the regime uses its vast oil revenues, which belong to the Islamic nation, to promote itself while populations in Yemen, Somalia, Syria and elsewhere plunge into further poverty and starvation in times of dire crisis.

Qatar’s Al Udeid airbase hosts UK and US planes from where they fly bombing missions in the region. The complicity in the many Muslims killed in Iraq or Afghanistan by British and American planes and drones from Al Udeid. Is that ‘OK’ because those Muslims are not Qataris?

حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ عُمَرَ، قَالَ رَأَيْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ يَطُوفُ بِالْكَعْبَةِ وَيَقُولُ " مَا أَطْيَبَكِ وَأَطْيَبَ رِيحَكِ مَا أَعْظَمَكِ وَأَعْظَمَ حُرْمَتَكِ وَالَّذِي نَفْسُ مُحَمَّدٍ بِيَدِهِ لَحُرْمَةُ الْمُؤْمِنِ أَعْظَمُ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ حُرْمَةً مِنْكِ مَالِهِ وَدَمِهِ وَأَنْ نَظُنَّ بِهِ إِلاَّ خَيْرًا "

Abdulla bin Umar said – I saw the Prophet (ﷺ) doing tawwaf around the Ka’aba saying “How sweet/ good are you and how sweet is your scent. How great are you and how great is your sanctity? By the One who the soul of Mohammad is in His Hand, the sanctity of a believer is greater with Allah than your sanctity” (Ibn Maja)

The hosting of the World Cup in Qatar is in many ways a historical disgrace. Today, our so-called rulers are at the forefront of trying to impose secular capitalist values on Muslim societies and a version of Islam palatable to it’s masters. In the time of the Khilafah, Muslims carried the Dawah of Islam to the world. Munzir ibn Sawa Al Tamimi, the ruler of Bahrain, which extended from the coast of Kuwait to the south of Qatar, embraced Islam after Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) sent Al-Ala’a Al-Hadrami (ra) to carry Islam to the region. The people became part of the Islamic Ummah. They left idolatry and embraced Islamic values; governors (walis) implemented the Shariah over the society, aiding the Ummah and sending men to convey Islam as part of the Dawah and Jihad of the Islamic Khilafah State.

Like before, Qatar will one day again be part of the Islamic Khilafah state when it returns soon, InshaAllah. Its men and women will once again be part of that vanguard that carries Islam to the world. The wealth found in Qatar will again be used for the benefit of the Ummah and mankind at large. May Allah (swt) protect us from accepting what is displeasing to Him when it is wrapped up as ‘entertainment’. May Allah (swt) enable us to hold on to Islamic values and demand their implementation in Muslim societies by the return of the Islamic Khilafah state. Ameen!

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