Saudi Arabia’s “SPORTS JIHAD” – the Da’wah Game Changer

By M. Ramirez – August 12, 2023

For those unfamiliar with the Islamic word “Da’wah,” it is the act of proselytizing when Muslims invite non-Muslims to accept Islam as the only true religion. Da’wah is a religious obligation placed upon all Muslims in the effort to establish the global governance of Islam over all nations and bring control of the world’s population under the strict rule of Sharia, Islamic law. Da’wah must occur at every opportunity. One Islamic website explains it like this: “…it becomes each and every Muslim’s duty to assume the duty of Da’wah to Islam and to spread its teaching among people. So, bearers of the Islamic Message are required to convey this message to all people and to state the universality of Islam.” obligations for inviting others to Islam  The Islamic religion was founded in the year 610 in Mecca, Saudi Arabia by Muhammad, whom Muslims believe was the last and final prophet to mankind.

This brings us to the recent entry into various international sports categories by Saudi Arabia. Reportedly, the Saudi Kingdom has been investing heavily in attracting top-name players for the Saudi Arabian soccer league 1, golf tournaments 2, recruiting drivers for motorsport events and even luring NASCAR to the kingdom.3

The Saudi Minister of Sports, Prince Abdulaziz, said, “We’re really investing in a lot of sports within the kingdom,..The government understands that sport has a very important role to play for the future of the youth… We’re definitely looking forward to hosting a lot more events in the future. And we would like to welcome everyone from around the world to come and visit Saudi Arabia, and to see Saudi Arabia for what it is. Everyone is welcome.” 4

Could there be an Ulterior Motive?

While it is commendable for any nation to establish sports leagues that compete internationally in different categories, it is possible that Saudi Arabia sees a perfect opportunity to engage in the Da’wah act of presenting Islam to the millions of sports fans in the audience, whether watching on television or attending the events at sports venues.

Using sports entertainment to diminish the tarnished image of Saudi Arabia’s authoritarian ideology of demoting women to second-class status, inflicting cruel and inhumane punishments, even death, upon gays, apostates, and non-Muslims who do not conform to Islamic ways falls into the category of “Sportswashing.”

“Sportswashing refers to sponsorship by authoritarian regimes over major sporting teams and events in order to elevate their image.” 5

Reference this article: Saudi Arabia’s Newest Sportswashing Strategy: Sponsorship Of Women’s World Cup: “FIFA’s decision to award Saudi Arabia’s state tourism authority sponsorship of the 2023 Women’s World Cup shows shocking disregard for suffering and repression of Saudi’s courageous women’s rights defenders.” 6

Another example of using sports to promote Islam is last year’s 2022 FIFA World Cup Tournament in Qatar where murals with quotes from the Islamic prophet, Muhammad, were placed in street corners throughout the country.

“According to several local media, the murals on display aim to introduce Islam to football fans who will come to watch the football tournament held every four years.” 7

Finally, there is no doubt that Da’wah has become a game changer for promoting the Islamic ideology to the millions of international sports fans who follow favorite teams and favorite sports heroes. Muslim groups will undoubtedly be at each event handing out tracts and literature promoting Islam. The question is: Will non-Muslim fans be even more intrigued and easily swayed into accepting Islam when they see Muslim players of winning teams raise their hand with the index finger pointed to the sky and proclaim with a shout, “Allahu Akbar”?

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Some examples of Da’wah in the Qur’an: 002:143 003:104 012:108

( Christopher Logan of Logan’s Warning contributed research links for this article. )