Nike has become one of the most popular clothing and footwear brands in Western society, and they have made a strong push into the Muslim nations. Their marketing campaign featured the infamous incident of placing the name Allah on their shoes, and after a strong rebuke from Islamic authorities, these items were removed from the market. However the incident has had a minimal impact in slowing the growth of their popularity amongst Muslims.
With ever increasing numbers of Muslims wearing the Nike brand of products, many individuals with knowledge of the Nike company and its background have begun to ask whether wearing Nike is haram? The reason behind this questioning is the fact that Nike is actually the Greek Goddess of Victory, and their logo also symbolises her. I’m sure we all know that the belief in or worship of other Gods besides Allah is shirk.
The company Nike, originally known as Blue Ribbon Sports, do not try and hide the background of their name change, and admit that their name came directly from Nike, the Greek Goddess of Victory. This information is readily available on a number of sites on the internet.
Further information of the Goddess Nike is also widely available. She is known as the Winged Goddess of Victory, and has large wings like a swan. There are even ancient coins depicting the Goddess Nike and she is presented on them along with a swan.
The white swan wings of Nike are verified on a number of sources, and these formed the foundation of the Nike swoosh logo. Carolyn Davidson was the original creator of the logo, and it is interesting to hear how she came up with the design. “In a dream, Carolyn smiled at a swan gliding across a lake and, in waking, she thought how gracefully the swan swam, how it moved in space without moving a single feather. Minutes later, the Swoosh was born at the tip of her pencil as the swan in abstract and Blue Ribbon’s primary colour became ‘Swan white’.” There is also an interesting video produced which glorifies this process (please mute the music).
So there is no doubt that the company Nike, along with their logo, are essentially promoting and advertising a false God. But the question remains as to whether or not Nike is haram, and also whether it is haram to wear Nike products. A number of Islamic scholars have looked into the issue and the overwhelming verdict is that Muslims should not wear Nike.
IslamQA issued a fatwa on the subject, and declared that Nike is haram. They stated that both the words and images on the clothing are not permissable, and even called for the organisation of a boycott of Nike products, and the prevention of their import into Muslim nations. In addition to the arguements based on shirk, they introduced an interesting like of questioning to the reader and asked if they wear clothing with the word ‘Christian’ or ‘I am a Christian’ on it, so what is the difference with wearing clothing with the names of other religions or Gods. They do however allow for the clothes to be worn if the logo and name are removed.
There was also a fatwa issued by IslamWeb, who came to the same conclusion and declared it haram to wear Nike products. They used differing arguements such as imitating the kuffar, and presented a hadith from Abu Dawood to show that it is Kufr. In the hadith the Prophet Muhammad questioned a person who vowed to slaughter a camel at Buwanah by asking him if the place contained idols worshipped in pre-Islamic times.
On the other side of the coin, there are those who do not believe that Nike is haram. However, we are yet to see anyone issue a fatwa on the subject declaring it is halal. While these individuals do not deny that Nike is representative of a false God, they based their claims on the fact that the wearers of the clothing items may not be aware of what Nike really stands for.
While this arguement is true, that some people, and maybe most people, will not know that wearing Nike is a form of worshipping false Gods, they lack knowledge to declare it as not being haram. For example, if a Muslim eats pork, but it is unaware of any rulings on it, we can not say that eating pork isn’t haram because the person did not know. Rather, eating pork is still haram, but at best the person will not have committed a sin because they did not have the knowledge of this.
Using another example, lets say a person is wearing a shirt that says “Satan is Awesome” in a language which is no longer used, such as Aramaic. Now the person is not aware of the true meaning, and the people they pass in the streets will not be aware of the true meaning, but you can not deny that the person is still wearing a shirt saying “Satan is Awesome”. This is not to say that nobody will know the true meaning, as there will be scholars who can still read Aramaic, so the message will be progagated by the wearing of the shirt, although unwittingly.
In a case such as the wearing of a shirt with this writing, it is only the wearers lack of knowledge which may save them from punishment for this act. Allah is free to punish or forgive whom he chooses, and it is impossible for us to declare either way what a persons punishment will be. Wilful ignorance can not necessarily be used as an excuse, and there are hadiths which declare we should learn about matters before acting blindly on them. If we are given a shirt with a phrase written in another language, should we not learn for ourselves what it says first?
Regarding the use of symbolism, how many people in Western society are getting tattoos in Japanese or Chinese because they think its cool, and often have no knowledge of what it means, or have been lied to about the true meaning? Have you heard of funny cases, where only years after getting the tattoo the person finds out they have been fooled and they are really walking around with a tattoo which says “I am an idiot”? Should we not also be so ignorant to symbols such as the Nike Swoosh, and other logos and insignia commonly used in society, and find out their true meanings before walking around with them plastered over ourselves.
Indeed this is a deliberate tactic by Satan and his Illuminati pawns. They have flooded the world with Satanic symbols, and the vast majority of the population do not know their true meanings. But in the case of Nike, and the wearing of Nike clothing and footwear, a vast number of scholars in addition to the abovementioned ones have answered the question of ‘Is Nike Haram’, and emphatically declared it as not being permissable to buy or wear.
There is a difference of opinion on what one should do with their Nike products upon hearing this ruling. Some scholars have said it is ok to remove the Nike names and logos from the clothing, while others have advised for the products to be discarded immediately based on the evidence presented in the Abu Dawood hadith above. Allah knows best. However, we do advise that one should seek forgiveness for the act of wearing Nike clothing with the name and symbol of a false God, even though they have done so without full knowledge of the harm in their actions.