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Islamic Chivalry | Sufitum | Muslim Archery




Archery and Horse Riding - a Forgotten Sunnah

Narrated Uqbah ibn Amir:

I heard the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) say: Allah, Most High, will cause three persons to enter Paradise for one arrow: the maker when he has a good motive in making it, the one who shoots it, and the one who hands it; so shoot and ride, but your shooting is dearer to me than your riding. Everything with which a man amuses himself is vain except three (things): a man's training of his horse, his playing with his wife, and his shooting with his bow and arrow. If anyone abandons archery after becoming an adept through distaste for it, it is a blessing he has abandoned; or he said: for which he has been ungrateful.

Abu Dawud: Book Number: 14, Hadith Number: 2507

The modern era brings us pressures, images, messages, whispers, desires and wants that divert our attention from what really is important. Among the many medicines left to us by The Prophet of Islam (s.a.w) to help us maintain clarify of vision and purpose is that of archery, a Sunnah with an illustrious past.

The Prophet (s.a.w) is known to have encouraged his companions to learn and practice archery. In fact there are many hadith in which he mentions archery as one of the sports men must teach their sons. It was this love of archery and love for the Sunnah of The Prophet (s.a.w) that led to many of the successful victories by Muslim armies. This great art was then protected and perfected by The Ottomans who took it to its highest pinnacle embodied in the Guild of Archers.

Sultan Selim III is said to still hold the record for the longest shot ever of 972 yards; a feat witnessed in 1798 by may dignitaries in attendance including Sir Robert Ainslie, from Great Britain. In 1835 Mahmud II, Selim’s nephew, with the intention of formalising and preserving archery commanded his courtier Mustafa Kani to set down in writing all available information about archery. He wanted this done, he announced, "so that under my royal patronage novices may acquire complete knowledge of the Sunnah of the Prophet, and by diligence come to possess the degrees of both worlds." The result was “Abstracts and Treatise on Casting Arrows” printed in 1847. We have a lot to thank this far-sighted Sultan for as today the Sheikhs of archery are no more and archery has all but become a forgotten Sunnah.

In all of The Prophet’s (s.a.w) directives there is wisdom and archery is no different. For the youth within our schools and madrassas today we believe archery can offer a hitherto ignored sporting activity to help them at all levels; physical, mental and spiritual. Archery is not game and play but in fact a means of helping the mind focus, the body breathe, the limbs exercise, the heart connect and the spirit develop.

The physical elements of archery use all parts of the body and assist in developing fit, strong and robust athletes. The act of aiming helps the mind ignore distractions, set one’s sites and have clarity of purpose. Releasing the arrow reconnects the heart and soul to the concept La hawla wa la quwatta illah billah (there is no strength nor force but Allah) where one’s trust is in their Lord. The very act of shooting is of huge unseen benefits as not only is one practicing a Sunnah but also The Prophet (s.a.w) is narrated to have stated, “Whoever removes his wrap from his shoulder and walks between the two targets of the archery field, will receive the reward for the freeing of a believing slave for every single step”.

At a time when our children are struggling to engage with their religion, to get sufficient exercise, to maintain focus and concentration, does archery not present itself as a hidden gem buried deep within our own history?

"At the time of corruption, if one revives the Sunnah, one will be rewarded to the equivalent of one hundred martyrs in Islam" (Baihiqi & Targhib)

If you are interested, please contact us directly as we cannot give a fixed program and fixed prices. It all dpends on your wishes and how long you intend to stay in Germany at what time of the year. It also depends on your personal skills, if you have already experience in riding and archery or not. In general, no previous experience is needed!


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