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Am I allowed to bow in martial arts?

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  • Am I allowed to bow in martial arts?

    Assalaam Alikum.

    Next month I start training in the martial art of Bujinkan. However, there's something that is conflicting. Before and after class, they bow towards the kamidana or kamiza (Bujinkan dojo emphasize traditional training for combat. At the beginning and end of every class, traditional rei-ho, bowing in and out to the kamidana is performed. The kamidana or kamiza, is the spiritual seat of the traditional martial arts school and consists of a small house holding a calligraphy, photo or sculpture by or of the art's founder. This is purely a sign of reverence for the tradition of our art, not a form of worship)

    Am I allowed to bow towards the kamidana? It's not worship, it's just showing respect. People in Japan show respect by bowing.


    Anyone have any insight?
    Dreams feel real while we're in them. It's only when we wake up do we realize something was actually strange.

  • #2
    Re: Am I allowed to bow in martial arts?

    Bowing is an act reserved for Allah Ta?ala. Martial arts is not confined to simply physical training. It has a spiritual dimension to it, such as meditation and obedience to the teacher. It can be likened in one way to a religion.

    Thus, there is all the more reason that one should abstain from this type of bowing, which at times even resembles Sajdah. Try and find a Muslim instructor and explain to him that bowing in this manner is against the teachings of Islam, hence, you will not bow.

    and Allah Ta'ala Knows Best

    Moulana Imraan Vawda
    FATWA DEPT
    It is not permissible to bow in these circumstances. Although it may not have any religious significance to the art, however, as a Muslim it is an empathetically prohibited act for you. It is an act reserved for Allah alone, and doing it for other than Allah is either unlawful, or can leads one to kufr if done with intention to worship. If it had been permissible, even as to honor someone, it would have been permissible to do it for the Prophet (upon him be peace) or one's elders, which is not the case.


    The Messenger (upon him be peace said) "If I were to command anyone to prostrate before anyone I would command the wife to prostrate before the husband" (Mishkat al-Masabih).


    My son is in a karate class and his teachers respects the fact that as a Muslim he is not allowed to bow, and hence makes sure that he does not bow. Perform two rak'ats prayer and then go and discuss the issue with your instructor, and it is hoped that he will be understanding of your situation.

    Wassalam
    It is not permissible to bow to anyone when greeting them, whether in the context of sports or otherwise. The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him) forbade that.
    There is consensus among Muslim scholars that one's bowing to another creature, as a form of glorification as human beings do glorify Allah, The Exalted, constitutes disbelief and apostasy.
    As for bowing as a form of respect, the majority of Muslim scholars prohibit such a bow. Other scholars believe it is strongly detested. A third party believes it is permissible. The above-stated opinion is mentioned by Ibn Muflih in his book 'al-Adaab al-Shar'iyah' and 'al-Ramly' in his Fatwas.
    When Ibn Hajar al-Haitamy was asked about bowing, he answered: 'It is bad innovation since we are required to avoid imitating disbelievers' . al-Buhooti al-Hanbali said in his book 'Kashshaf al-Qinaa': 'It is disliked to bow while greeting' and Ibn al-Qayyim said: 'It is Haram' .
    Then, there is no disagreement among scholars that it is better to avoid bowing.
    Allah knows best.
    ...
    Secure few moments, everyday, to reflect upon the innumerable blessings of Allah and thank Him for bestowing them upon you.

    "A person who is blessed with the ability to be grateful, shall never be deprived of barakah and increase in blessings."
    - Rasulullah (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم)‎

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    • #3
      Re: Am I allowed to bow in martial arts?

      Originally posted by .mirror. View Post
      ...
      Ah, okay.

      What exactly should I tell my instructor? I don't want to cause problems or anything
      Dreams feel real while we're in them. It's only when we wake up do we realize something was actually strange.

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      • #4
        From what I have read in Islam there shouldn't be a problem, like you said it's a form of respect not worship. I think there will only be a problem if your prostrating, we should only prostrate to Allah (swt).

        The bowing that takes place in martial arts is not a form of glorification that the scholars in the above post were referring to, it's a sign of mutual respect.

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        • #5
          Re: Am I allowed to bow in martial arts?

          Originally posted by HeartofIslam View Post
          From what I have read in Islam there shouldn't be a problem, like you said it's a form of respect not worship. I think there will only be a problem if your prostrating, we should only prostrate to Allah (swt).
          Read where, though?
          Secure few moments, everyday, to reflect upon the innumerable blessings of Allah and thank Him for bestowing them upon you.

          "A person who is blessed with the ability to be grateful, shall never be deprived of barakah and increase in blessings."
          - Rasulullah (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم)‎

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          • #6
            Re: Am I allowed to bow in martial arts?

            Originally posted by Wolfn View Post
            Ah, okay.

            What exactly should I tell my instructor? I don't want to cause problems or anything
            Tell him bowing is reserved for God alone.
            Secure few moments, everyday, to reflect upon the innumerable blessings of Allah and thank Him for bestowing them upon you.

            "A person who is blessed with the ability to be grateful, shall never be deprived of barakah and increase in blessings."
            - Rasulullah (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم)‎

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            • #7
              Re: Am I allowed to bow in martial arts?

              Originally posted by Wolfn View Post
              Ah, okay.

              What exactly should I tell my instructor? I don't want to cause problems or anything
              salaams to all
              as others said, tell him that islam does not permit you to bow to anyone other than your creator, Allah ta'ala.
              insha allah, that should be sufficient.
              jazakallah
              Sufyaan Thawri "Whoever is very popular with his relations and neighbours, we suspect him to be compromising in preaching the true teachings of religion."
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              • #8
                Re: Am I allowed to bow in martial arts?

                Originally posted by Wolfn View Post
                Ah, okay.

                What exactly should I tell my instructor? I don't want to cause problems or anything
                warn him that hes going to hell if he doesnt convert to Islam in a subtle tone



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                • #9
                  Re: Am I allowed to bow in martial arts?

                  We can't bow but to Allah, even small bows.

                  Thing is, Wolfn, it sounds like there's weird stuff going on in your dojo. Why don't they just teach the martial arts itself instead of going into buddhist-shinto practices?
                  I know Japanese and you mentioned Kamidana? Kamidana literally means God-shelf astaghfirullah in Japanese, it's written like this: 神棚.
                  Bro, Kamidana means God-Shelf, we cannot bow to this. Bowing to an idol is kufr and kamidana-I know what it looks like, they put white pieces of paper on there and this is like a japanese Shinto religious prayer thing-so don't bow to the kamidana!
                  Bow only to the Kami (God), Allah.

                  If your teacher is Japanese, tell him like this:
                  申し訳ございませんが、神棚にお辞儀が全くできません。僕の宗教だと、唯一の神様以外にお辞儀することは禁 止です。
                  Roman: Moushiwake-gozaimasenga, kami-dana ni ojigi ga mattaku dekimasen. Boku no shuukyou da to, Yu-itsu no Kami-sama igai ni ojigi suru no wa kinshi desu.
                  Translation: I am very sorry,but I cannot bow to the kami-dana whatsoever. According to my religion, bowing to other than the One God is not allowed.

                  Yeah Japanese people bow out of respect but even in Japan muslims don't bow back to them because it's still bowing, close to ruku. Also, if you say that to him in Japanese (if he is Japanese or speaks it since its a Japanese martial art) he will be blown away, so don't worry about his reaction.
                  Last edited by Abdullah_Yusuf; 20-02-11, 11:44 PM.
                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2o7d8e6Ovbs
                  黒い涙 流す
                  私には何もなくて 悲しすぎて
                  言葉にさえならなくて

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by .mirror. View Post
                    Read where, though?
                    If I knew I certainly would have quoted it. Thank you brother for reminding me of an important lesson. Never give advice when you don't know the answer yourself. May Allah guide me.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Am I allowed to bow in martial arts?

                      maybe offer your teacher an alternative, like to just place your hand to your chest in respect, rather than to bow. There are many martial arts groups here who use this method instead of bowing, as it conflicts with the faith.
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                      Does the eagle want to swim in the sea,
                      Restricted by the sky?

                      Does the fish want to dance on the wind,
                      Not enough river to explore?

                      Yet the sky is freedom for the bird
                      but death for the fish,

                      The sea is wide for the fish
                      but will engulf the bird.

                      We ask for freedom but freedom to do what?
                      We can only express our nature as it was created.

                      The prayer mat of the earth is freedom,
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                      and a horizon that extends to the next life,
                      Yet we chose the prison and call it freedom.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Am I allowed to bow in martial arts?

                        Ever read into the martial arts of the hui muslims? If you haven't then do. Huis were generally the hired guns of the various chinese dynasties and have some on-point styles. One of my buddy's fathers trained with them when he was a young beta, he speaks highly of them.
                        "The Jew cries out as he strikes you."

                        Remove matzo

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                        • #13
                          Re: Am I allowed to bow in martial arts?

                          Originally posted by ze leetle elper View Post
                          maybe offer your teacher an alternative, like to just place your hand to your chest in respect, rather than to bow. There are many martial arts groups here who use this method instead of bowing, as it conflicts with the faith.
                          It's a religious altar in a way...why even do that?
                          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2o7d8e6Ovbs
                          黒い涙 流す
                          私には何もなくて 悲しすぎて
                          言葉にさえならなくて

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                          • #14
                            Re: Am I allowed to bow in martial arts?

                            Why not get some of the people who you worked well with that used to go to your old school and start having informal workouts? Get together anywhere that is availible, and work on what you already know? Take turns running the class. If you were in it fir 5 years you at least know the basics right? This way not only will you have your workout you want but you will be activly training again. I have worked out with people in their garage, basement, living room, and one time ata rest area on a road trip. Martial Arts can be practiced anywhere you have the room, it doesn't have to be in a school.




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                            • #15
                              Re: Am I allowed to bow in martial arts?

                              Ruling on doing martial arts which involve bowing and shirk

                              I am in a Kung fu school, and I have been training with the same teacher for over 4 years. I am now a close student to the teacher which means he teaches me more of the style and chinese medicine. In my position I must help the school grow by trying to get more people at the school. My intention is to get the people in the school so they can learn self defense. The problem is that in this school there are two types of (major)shirk that go on regularly, but the teacher does not force the student to perform these things if he doesn't want to. Is it haram that I bring people to the school knowing they might engage in these activities. What about children?.

                              Praise be to Allaah.

                              Practising sports of various kinds that do not go against the rulings of sharee’ah and that fulfil the aim of worshipping Allaah is one of the things that are encouraged by Islam, so as to attain physical strength and mental health. The evidence of the Qur’aan and Sunnah indicates that this is allowed in sharee’ah and is in fact encouraged.

                              But in some cases these sports may be haraam, not in and of themselves, but because they include some haraam things. This applies to what you have mentioned in your question.

                              An example of the haraam things that may happen is bowing to someone other than Allaah.

                              It was narrated that Anas ibn Maalik (may Allaah be pleased with him) said:

                              “A man said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, when one of us meets his friend, can he bow to him?’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘Can he hug him and kiss him?’ He said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘Can he shake hands with him?’ He said, ‘Yes, if he wishes.’”


                              (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 2728; he said it is a hasan hadeeth. Also narrated by Ibn Maajah. 3702. The hadeeth was classed as hasan by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, 160).

                              Ibn Taymiyah said: “With regard to bowing in greeting, this is forbidden as narrated in al-Tirmidhi from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), that they asked him about a man who meets his brother and bows to him, and he said no to that. That is because it is not permitted to bow or prostrate for anyone except Allaah.” (Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 1/377).

                              If you know that the person whom you invite to join will do something haraam or something that is a kind of shirk, then you should not do that, whether the one whom you invite is a child or an adult, because that is a kind of cooperating in sin, and Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

                              “Help you one another in Al‑Birr and At‑Taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression”

                              [al-Maa'idah 5:2]

                              May Allaah help us and you to do that which He loves and which pleases Him. May Allaah send blessings and peace upon our Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions.
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                              The Prophet :saw: said:

                              "Whosoever leaves off obedience and separates from the Jamaa'ah and dies, he dies a death of jaahiliyyah. Whoever fights under the banner of the blind, becoming angry for 'asabiyyah (nationalism/tribalism/partisanship) or calling to 'asabiyyah, or assisting 'asabiyyah, then dies, he dies a death of jaahiliyyah."

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                              The Prophet, said, "Abusing a Muslim is Fusuq (evil doing) and killing him is Kufr (disbelief)." sahih bukhari


                              "Creeping upon you is the diseases of those people before you: envy and hatred. And hatred is the thing that shaves. I do not say it shaves the hair but it shaves the religion!

                              By the One in whose Hand is my soul, you will not enter paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another. Certainly, let me inform you of that which may establish such things: spread the greetings and peace among yourselves."

                              [Recorded by Imam Ahmad and Al-Tirmidhi]

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