by Nisar Shaikh
“An excellent translation of a necessary work whose great benefit is that it shows Muslims who naturally (like myself) love and practise martial sports that they integrate them into their religious life and indeed benefit from them spiritually.”
—HRH Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad
Sport has been a hallmark of every culture throughout history, and Islamic civilisation was no exception. At the time of the Messenger of God g, noble arts such as Archery, Swordsmanship, Equitation and Wrestling were the established sports of the day. But how were these sports practised and what purpose did they serve? What emphasis does Islam place on martial arts?
Drawing on hadith literature and classical texts, this short work looks at the art of wrestling as practised by early Muslims, including:
- A brief history of wrestling in Arabia and amongst the Companions
- A translation and commentary on the short treatise by the great 9th century Imam Jalaluddin as-Suyuti’s al-Musar‘ah ila al-Musar‘ah (‘Swiftly to Wrestling’). This is a short collection of eighteen traditions (hadith) and sayings (athar) of the Messenger of God ﷺ and his blessed Companions, mentioning his ﷺ encouragement of and engagement in the art of wrestling.
- A discussion on the objectives of sports in Islam with excerpts from Silat al-Riyadati bil-Din wa-Dawruha (‘The Relation Between Exercise and Religion’) by the late Shaykh Muhammad ibn Alawi al-Maliki (1944-2004).
In a time when sport is heavily commercialised, Prophetic Grappling hopes to inspire a new generation to turn to the noble example of the Messenger of God ﷺ and use traditional martial arts as a means of spiritual, as well as physical, growth.