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Merits of Archery

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Merits of Archery

  1. 1. V The Virtues Of Target Shooting:Allah, , says: “And prepare against them whatever you are able of power”(Surat Al-Anfal; 60th Ayat)Regarding the meaning of this Ayat, Uqbah bin Aamir  narrated: I heard the Messenger of Allah on the pulpit say: “ ‘And prepare against them whatever you are able of power’ and power is theability to shoot, power is the ability to shoot, power is the ability to shoot”[Muslim]  Khalid bin Zaid  said I used to be good at archery and Uqbah would go out target shooting with me. One day I was reluctant to go out so he told me: “O Khalid, let me tell you what I heard the Messenger of Allah  say. He said: “Allah admits three people into Paradise because of one arrow. The one who makes it, doing so with the intention of good, the one who shoots it and the one who hands it over to the archer. So go out and train in archery and in horseback riding. And I prefer you train in archery. Entertainment is appropriate in only three forms: Training your horse, playing with your wife, and archery. And whoever learns archery and then abandons it has rejected a blessing from Allah” [al Mussanaf – Musnad Abi Awnah – Abu Dawud – al Hakim (Thahabi agreed)]  Salamah bin al Akwa  said: The Messenger of Allah  passed next to boys playing a game of archery. He said: “Shoot children of Ismael, your father was a great archer. Shoot and I will join so and so” and he  joined one of the teams. The Messenger of Allah  then said: “Why did you stop?” They said: “How can we do so when you are with them?” He  said: “Go ahead and shoot, I am with all of you!” [Bukhari]  Uqbah  said: I heard the Messenger of Allah  say: “You will conquer many lands and you will be safe and secure. If that happens don’t fail to play with your arrows!” [Muslim]Trans. Note: [In other words even if the Muslims are safe from war they should still not neglect militarytraining]  Ata bin Rabah  said: I saw Jabir bin Abdullah and Jabir bin Umair al Ansari target shooting while one of them got bored and sat down. The other told him: I heard the Messenger of Allah  say: “Everything that is not remembrance of Allah is in vain except four things: Your walking between your targets, training your horse, playing with your wife, and swimming practice” [Nasa’i – Tabarani]
  2. 2. The scholars have stated that it is recommended to target shoot between two targets on opposite sides. Soyou stand next to one and shoot at the other and then walk towards the other one, pick up the arrows andthen shoot at the first one. The author of al Mughni (Ibn Qudamah Al-Maqdisee) stated that it is Sunnah toshoot at two opposite facing targets since this was how the Sahabah used to practice. It is narrated that theMessenger of Allah  said: “Between the two targets is a garden of Paradise”  Abu Uthman al Nahdi  said: We received a letter from Umar  when we were with Utbah bin Farqad in Azerbaijan. He said: “…Wear the dress of your father Ismael and beware of luxury and the clothes of the non Muslims. Spend time under the sun since it is the bath of the Arabs. Be rough, be coarse, and be prepared. Sometimes walk barefoot, and jump over horsebacks rather than climb them. Shoot targets and walk between them” [Al Sunnan al Kubra by al Bayhaqi with an acceptable chain]  Amr bin Absah  said we were laying siege to al Taif and I heard the Messenger of Allah  say: “Whoever shoots an arrow in the sake of Allah will be rewarded like one who has freed a slave” Amr said I shot 16 arrows on that day. [Al Nasa’i – al Hakim – Tirmithi – Abu Dawud]  Kaab bin Murrah  said: I heard the Messenger of Allah say: “Whoever reaches with his arrow a target among the enemy, Allah will raise him one level in Paradise” Abdullah bin al Naham  said: “And what is a level like?” The Messenger of Allah  said: “Don’t think that a level is like the doorstep of your mothers house. The distance between two levels is a hundred years” [Al Mujtaba (authentic according to the rules of Muslim)]  Amr bin Absah  said: The Messenger of Allah  said: “Whoever shoots an arrow, regardless of whether it reaches the enemy or not, would be like the one who frees a Muslim slave, and that would free him from Hellfire” [Al Nasa’i with an authentic chain]  Abu Umamah  narrated: The Messenger of Allah said: “Whoever grows a gray hair in Islam, it will be light for him on the Day of Judgment, and whoever shoots an arrow in the cause of Allah, whether he hits or misses, will be like the one who frees a slave from the descendents of Ismail” [Al Tabarani]
  3. 3.  Utbah bin Abd al Sulami  narrated: The Messenger of Allah  told his companions: “Stand up and fight!” So a man stood up and shot an arrow. The Messenger of Allah  said: “This man is granted Paradise” [Ahmad]In the past hadith of Amr bin Absah  is evidence that shooting one arrow in the path of Allah savesthat person from Hellfire and Allah  knows best.  Ibrahim al Tamimi  narrates from his father that he said: “I have seen Huthaifah in Mada’in running between his two targets with a bare top.” [Saeed bin Mansoor (authentic)]Trans. Note: [Huthaifah would run rather than walk between the two targets and would not wear clotheson the upper half of his body so as to make training a hardship]  Mujahid  said: “I have seen Abdullah bin Umar running between his two targets and he was saying how can I achieve it! How can I achieve it!” [Saeed bin Mansoor (authentic)]It is the opinion of many that “How can I achieve it” refers to martyrdom since that was their aspiration,although it could possibly be referring to the targets. This shows you the attention the companions gave totarget shooting. They used to celebrate target shooting and they were active in it to the extent that one ofthem would not even walk between the two targets but would run in order to train themselves. This wastheir practice and they are examples of guidance. What they did was the best of actions. It is enough thatAllah  said about them: “Muhammad  is the Messenger of Allah and those with him are severe against the disbelievers, merciful among themselves. You see them bowing and prostrating, seeking bounty from Allah and His pleasure. Their mark is on their faces from the traces of prostration” (Surat Al-Fath; 29th Ayat)The target shooter should leave behind formalities while practicing and should be laid back with theirbrothers when in practice. The intentions should be for Allah  and seeking His reward, and shouldrealize that what they are doing is one of the greatest acts of worship and not merely a form ofentertainment or sport. They should thank Allah  for giving them health and strength to practice andshould praise Allah  for making it beloved to them.
  4. 4. It is acceptable to laugh and play with your brothers while practicing, in fact, it is recommended since itmakes target shooting dearer to you. Bilal bin Saad said: “I have seen men who would run between theirtargets and joke with each other, but when night arrives they would be monks” Bilal was one of them. Hewas one of the great scholars of al Tabi’een and one of their worshipers.Shams al Deen bin al Jawziah stated in his book “Knighthood” that Ibn Taymiyah said: “It is narrated that some men were target shooting when it was told to the Messenger of Allah : “It is time for prayers” He  said: “They are in prayers” So he considered that their target shooting is equivalent to praying”Note: This only indicates the high status of practicing it, not that it is equivalent to the prayer or that it is asubstitute. The Warning Against Whoever Learns Shooting And Then Deserts It:  Faqeem al Lakhmi  told Uqbah bin Amer : “You are running between these two targets and you are at this old age!” Uqbah  said: “If it wasn’t for some words I heard from the Messenger of Allah  I wouldn’t have gone through this” The narrator asked what those words were, he  said: “Whoever learns target shooting and then abandons it is not one of us – or he  said, “has committed a sin” [Muslim]Some of the scholars are of the opinion that learning target shooting and then abandoning it is one of themajor sins based on the rule that whenever the Messenger of Allah  says: “He is not one of us” or astatement similar to that, it is referring to a major sin.
  5. 5. The Rules Of Betting On Target ShootingThe existence of a third person if both archers contribute the money.The similarity of the equipment used. For examples it is not allowed for one party to use abow and arrow while the other is using a spear.The target needs not be impossible to strike nor be too easy, but should be possible to strike.All of the following needs to be specified before the competition: • The amount of money contributed to the betting. • The number of shots to be fired. • The distance in which to shoot from. • The order in which the participants would shoot.The specification of the two competitors prior to the competition.The starting position needs to be specified and it should be equal for both.

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