The 2022 FIFA World Cup that took place in Qatar was spectacular in many respects, none the least the celebration of Messi with his team as he grasped the one trophy he had ever won. But what won the hearts of many above the winning of Argentina was Qatar’s outstanding hosting and the display of Islamic values on a world stage.
Hailed as the ‘Best World Cup Ever’ by FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, the smallest country in the world proved that the success of a tournament this big lies in respect, honour and effective altruism.
Whilst Qatar may not be known for football ancestry, the small country has been remarkable in organising a world tournament watched by millions around the world. Despite the initial longueurs, the Qatar World Cup 2022 won the hearts of football fans time after time.
So, with the great drama of Argentina’s win aside, what can we learn from the extraordinary World Cup of 2022 that ended on such a high note?
Morocco Won Our Hearts
It is without a doubt that Morocco as a team has won the hearts of Muslims and non-Muslims around the world! Not only did the team’s outstanding performance and panache allow them to excel to the last four, but their display of Islamic values also revived the love of Islam for many around the world.
Morocco sure did make their mark by proving that Africa has a bright future in world football. By going further than any African team in history, the talent of the players spectacularly captured the attention of millions across the globe. By beating three of the best teams in the world – Belgium, Spain and Portugal – Morocco has now been recorded in World Cup history as the first African and Muslim nation to reach the semi-finals.
But it was not just their performance that made noise. The Moroccan players were time after time witnessed raising the Palestinian flags, making sujood on the pitch and honouring their parents after their games. With the entire world watching, fans witnessed Moroccan players display a series of actions in line with true Islamic values.
Morocco’s pride in practising Islam has revived the love of Islam for many Muslims around the world. Never before has the world witnessed mothers involved in a world cup as heavily as they have been in this World Cup. From Sofiane Boufal hugging his mother to Achraf Hakimi kissing his mother, the world has been shaken by their display of love and affection.
Prior to their games, Moroccan players were also seen reciting Surah al-Fatiha before their penalty shootout against Spain. They were further seen prostrating after securing their position in the quarter-finals. These small yet impactful acts inspired many Muslims around the world and caused huge celebrations.
Qatar As Hosts
Qatar has also been in the spotlight for its immense effort behind materialising what has only been described as The Best World Cup Ever!
Does Qatar have the gravitas to pull off something this huge? This was the exact question going through the minds of the masses months before the World Cup took place. But the world fast realised the significance of hosting the games in a region that is feared by many. By hosting the games in Qatar, it afforded many to attend without feeling foreign, such as those from Morocco, Ghana and Japan. The small island country transformed into one large melting pot of cultures, religions and cuisines as people from different nationalities sat at one table dining on diverse foods in Souq Waqif.
Whilst the experience of attending such a country for the World Cup was appreciated by the masses, criticism was expected. But I guess that is the exact point Qatar is making; let’s unite and embrace our differences.
Alcohol Bans Made People Feel Safer
Despite the initial outrage, alcohol bans proved to be a huge positive. From teaching others to respect a particular culture to women and families feeling safer, alcohol bans in Qatar proved that football can be enjoyed the same without a pint! Hooliganism was at an all-time low, and many women, children and families were seen strolling the streets late at night with no fear of being harassed.
The FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar was a game-changing moment in the history of the World Cup. Despite initial outrage and inconsequential protests, this World Cup has united strangers, sparked interest in Islam, and revived our love for some of Islam’s most valuable teachings. We thank Qatar for hosting such a tournament, and for allowing Islam and Muslims to shine on a World stage at a time when Muslims face daily hardship, simply for adopting a particular faith.
Image Credit: NPR (Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)