Are Martial Arts Considered Good in Islam?

Answered by Shaykh Mazhar Mahmood


Are arts such as kung-fu allowed in Islām?


Kung-fu is a Chinese term referring to a study, learning, or practice that requires patience, energy and time to complete. Often used in the West to refer to Chinese martial arts. (Wikipedia)

Arts such as kung-fu which build one’s moral and physical strength and bring about great improvement in health are highly encouraged in Islām. This is provided that one abstains from practices which lead to portraying acts of associating partners with Allāh, such as bowing down to the instructor.

Allāh’s Messenger (peace and blessings upon him) would encourage his Companions to practice sports such as wrestling and archery to further progress in strength and bravery. This fact is proven from numerous ahādīth. (See: Majmaʾ al-Zawāid)

ʿAlī bin Abī Tālib (may Allāh be pleased with him) reported, “ I have never heard the Prophet mentioning both of his parents being ransomed for anyone except for Saʾd. On the Day of Uḥud, I heard him saying, “Shoot the arrow Saʾd, may my father and mother be ransomed” for you). A statement in the Arabic language said to show love and reverence to another.)

In fact, looking after one’s physical and moral strength is so important that Allāh’s Messenger (peace and blessings upon him) is reported to have said,

“The strong believer is better and is more beloved to Allāh than the weak believer, although both are virtuous. Strive to attain that which will benefit you and seek Allāh’s help. (Always put your reliance in Allāh) and never be despondent.” (Saḥīḥ Muslim)

Not only did Allāh’s Messenger (peace and blessings upon him) encourage his ummah to hold on to these productive practices, but he also enjoyed spectating them with his family

Āishah (may Allāh be pleased with her) reported, “It was the day of ʿEīd and people were playing with shields and spears. I stood behind Allāh’s Messenger (peace and blessings upon him) with his face parallel to my face (watching the people play), and he said, “O Banū Arfada, be well engaged in playing [your sports]” (Sahīh Muslim)

Allāh Almighty Knows Best.

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