The goal celebration of Beşiktaş’s Senegalese national Demba Ba, who kneels down to prostrate before God after goal, has stirred a religious debate in Turkey, with a popular televangelist declaring it a sin to perform the action in a random direction instead of toward the Kaaba.
“Our qibla is the Masjid al-Haram until doomsday,” said Ahmet Mahmut Ünlü, known as “Cüppeli” (Robed) Ahmet Hoca among his followers, in reference to the mosque which also hosts the Kaaba.
Muslims worship turning their faces to qibla wherever they are.
“Such random prostrations wrong. This is something dangerous,” the controversial scholar said in an interview on broadcaster CNNTürk.
“We would appreciate any Islamic signs by artists, sports people or celebrities. This would bring Islam forward. Kids would wonder what this person is doing. But qibla is obligatory in glorifying prostration.”
But random prostration is “unappreciated and sinful,” he said, speaking of the risks of becoming a “heretic.”