Sacred Sports & Arts
Qaseeda / Nasheed – In praise of the Divine
The Qaseeda / Nasheed lessons are a place where children can learn about their faith through singing praise of the their Creator, Allah, their final Prophet, Muhammad (peace be upon him) and their beautiful religion, Islam through a form of a classical and modern Islamic songs, in a fun creative way. Its aim is to encourage young children especially those who have never sang before to experience and identify with their faith in a loving, passionate and uplifting manner.
Bringing together the emotional, informational, and devotional art of singing to celebrate the realities of the spiritual.
Al-Dhahabi (d. 1348 CE), an author of Prophetic Medicine, wrote that “Singing is the soul’s pleasure, the heart’s delight and food for the spirit; it constitutes part of the most exalted spiritual medicine. It is pleasurable even to some animals. Its moderate enjoyment kindles natural warmth, strengthens the activity of the various faculties, slows down aging, and repels many diseases” (al-Dhahabi, 1961, 139-140).
Abu Nu’am (d. 1038), theologian and man of piety, reported the Prophet as saying that “music beautifies and refreshes the body; apart from the beauty of its words, the soul benefits from its lofty idea (Isgandarova, 2005, p. 96)” The Prophet also said, “embellish the Qur’an with your beautiful
voices” (al-Dhahabi, 139).
Arts and Crafts – Transforming Art into Remembrance
It is through art that a child can observe the world, exploring shape, form, texture and balance. To participate in artwork is to appreciate the sheer complexity and beauty of creation, thus witnessing the Artistry and Perfection of the true Artist, Allah. Our Academy has a dedicated art discipline where children will have an opportunity to use a wide variety of materials and experiment with different art forms.
Islamic art is synonymous with sacred art. It is an art, which transmits a Divine message and transcends time and place. It draws its roots from the Spirit and manifests itself in our physical world. The religion of Islam permeates into every aspect of man’s life, leaving nothing untouched by the sacred.
The main influence on this artistic expression is the Quran, in fact the Quran through inscriptions, recitation and prayer sets the rhythm for the life of every Muslim. More exactly the inward beauty, beauty of the soul or of the heart, which necessarily emanates outwards, transforming every human activity into an art and every art into the remembrance of God.
The art of Islam is essentially a contemplative art, which aims to express above all, an encounter with the Divine Presence.
“For the contemplative man a lesson can be learned from everything.”
Sacred Sports: The Wonder of Swimming
Swimming is another blessed sacred sport in which you develop physical conditioning, sportsmanship, team co-operation, mental discipline and other skills that provide immediate and lifelong benefits health and physical benefits. Swimming works practically all of the muscles in the body. Swimming can develop a swimmer’s general strength, cardiovascular fitness and endurance.
A true believer recognises the wonder of the human body and is grateful to the Creator. This gratitude is shown in the care and attention given to
maintaining optimum health. Islam’s holistic approach to health covers all aspects of the mind, body and exercise with the remembrance of God and an intention to fulfill all their religious obligations.
Our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) said, ”Teach your children swimming, archery and horse riding”.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“Every activity that does not contain the remembrance of Allah is falsehood and heedlessness, except for a man doing four things: Walking between two purposeful goals, grooming his horse, playing with his family, or teaching someone to swim.”
 Ahmad and Abu Dawood
It is also reported that our blessed Prophet (peace be upon him) could swim very well in the well of Banu `Ady ibn Al-Najjar. Through this incident, As-Suyuti could prove that the Prophet (peace be upon him) knew how to swim. As-Suyuti also reported that Abu Al-Qasim Al-Baghawi narrated on the authority of Ibn `Abbas that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and some of his Companions once swam in a stream. That day, the Prophet said,“Let everyone among us swim towards his friend.” The Prophet himself swam towards Abu Bakr until he embraced him saying, “Here I am my friend” (see Al-Zurqani’s comment on Al-Mawahib Al-Ladunniyyah, vol. 1, p. 194).
Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “Once, `Umar ibn Al-Khattab may Allah be pleased with him) said to me, ‘Let’s compete in water and see who can hold his breath under water longer than the other.'”
Teaching children sacred sports was encouraged by the companions; ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattaab (may Allah be pleased with him) wrote to Abu ‘Ubaydah Ibn Al-Jarraah (may Allah be pleased with him) instructing: “Teach your children how to swim!”
The Prophet (peace be upon him) advised his followers, to work, to be energetic, and to start their day early, all of which are conditions for a healthy body. He said “O God, make the early morning hours blessed for my nation.”
Respected Islamic scholar Imam Ibn ul-Qayyum stated that movement helped the body get rid of waste food in a very normal way and strengthened the body’s immune system. He also stated that each bodily organ has its own sport (or movement) that suited it and that horse riding, archery, wrestling and racing, were sports that benefitted the whole body. Related in Zad-Al-Ma`aad
Sacred Sports – Wisdom in Archery
In all of the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) directives there is wisdom and benefit, and archery is no exception. For the youth within our school we believe sacred archery will help and nurture them at every level; physical, mental and spiritual. Archery is not a game or play but in fact a means of helping the mind focus, the body breathe, the limbs exercise, the heart connect and the spirit develop.
At a time when our children are struggling to engage with their religion, to get sufficient exercise, to maintain focus and concentration, archery presents itself as a hidden gem buried deep within our very 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).
The physical elements of archery develop all the elements of the body and assists in advancing fit, strong and healthy individuals. 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 (peace be upon him) 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”.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) made camel’s race, watched young people who wrestled and encouraged archery.
“The best kind of entertainment is archery.” (Daylami, Musnadu’l-Firdaws),
“Learn to shoot arrows because it is the best one of your sports.” (Tabarani, Awsaf)
The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) said: “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.”
Sunan Abu Dawud
It was reported that the Prophet had three bows. One was backed (al-mu’aqqabah), called “The sweet smelling” (al-rawha’); another was made of the shawhat wood, called “The white one” (al-bayda’) ; and the third made of the nab` wood, was called “The yellow one” (al-safra’).
Sacred Sports: Majestic Horse Riding
So what makes us, as Muslims, want to venture into this world of horse riding, those majestic, honourable, graceful and mighty horses. Horse riding awakens the spirit and inspires the soul to lofty sacred goals and connects us to our natural state. The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: “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.”
Horse riding is an almost forgotten sunnah of our Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) “And [He created] the horses, mules and donkeys for you to ride and [as] adornment. And He creates that which you do not know.”
Qur’an: Chapter 16, Verse 8
“By the racers, panting, and the producers of sparks [when] striking, and the chargers at dawn, Stirring up thereby [clouds of] dust, arriving thereby
in the center collectively…” [
Qur’an: Chapter 100, Verses 1-5
In these ayaat, Allah (Glorified be He) describes the grace and might of the horses charging into the battlefield, as such loyal warriors in the battles of Islam.
As Muslims, we benefit from horses on three levels: physically, by keeping our bodies fit, as they are an amanah (trust) from Allah; emotionally, as horse riding helps us de-stress, unwind and refocus our minds on our real purpose in life i.e. to live a life pleasing to Allah (Glorfied be He) and eventually attain Jannah, In sha Allah; and lastly, we benefit from it spiritually. With horse riding being a sunnah and if it is done with these intentions, then we are receiving reward for even this enjoyable enriching activity. This in turn, is pleasing to our creator Allah and so any act that is pleasing to Allah (Glorified be He) will bring us closer to Him.
The following hadith, the Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) had said: “There is goodness in the forelocks of horses till the Day of Resurrection.” [ Al-Bukhari]
In Surah Al-Imran, Allah (Glorfied by He) describes the deep hearted love that mankind has for certain things of this world, of which ‘fine branded horses’ (Wa’l Khayl) is mentioned.
Narrated Ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him):
Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “There is always goodness in horses till the Day of Resurrection.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)
It was narrated from Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
“There should be no awards (for victory in a competition) except for arrows, camels or horses.” (Sunan an-Nasa’i)
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Horses are always the source of good, namely, rewards (in the Hereafter) and booty, till the Day of Resurrection.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)
The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was seen wiping the face of his horse with his cloak. He was questioned about it and said, “I was asked in the night about horses.” i.e. taking care of them. (Sahih al-Bukhari)
The Messenger (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah said: “Tie up horses and pass your hand over their forelocks and their humps, and adorn them with belts, and odorn them not with odd belts.” (Abu Dawood, Nisaai)
The Messenger (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah said: ” Don’t cut short the forelocks of horses, nor of their tails, because the tails keep off the flies, and regarding manes, they keep them warm, and blessings are interwoven with the hairs of their foreheads.” (Abu Dawood).
Sacred Sports: Strength through wrestling
Wrestling is another one of the great forgotten sacred sunnah, it requires strength, flexibility, speed, building body mass and develops better posture. It helps develop self-confidence as well as personal discipline, which can improve various aspects of ones life. Wrestlers are the most conditioned sportsmen, both in muscle mass and weight. To increase body mass, you have to perform weightlifting exercises combined with intensive drills in order to improve physical endurance and strength.
It is imperative to develop a certain mindset to prepare for competition (emotions, focus, intensity, attitude, thoughts). There is also visualization training that can help you reprogramme your muscles, emotion and mind for success.
Once the Prophet (peace be upon him) observed his grandsons, hadhrat Hassan and Husayn wrestle. In order to encourage Hassan, he called out, “Come on Hassan! Catch Husayn!” Hadhrat Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) was also there. He said, “O Messenger of Allah! You should support Husayn. Hassan is older.” The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said, “Look! Gabriel says to Husayn, ‘Come on Husayn! Catch him.”
The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) wrestled with a number of men, one of whom was Rukanah ibn `Abd Yazid ibn Hashim ibn `Abdul-Muttalib, who lived in Makkah and was one of the strongest men of Arabia, a skillful and fearless wrestler. People used to come to him from distant territories and challenge him in wrestling. Ibn Ishaq narrated the story of Rukanah:
Once the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) met him in one of the mountain paths of Makkah, whereupon he said to him, “O Rukanah! Will you not fear Allah and accept what I am calling you to?” Rukanah replied, “O Muhammad! Do you have a witness to verify your truthfulness?” So the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said, “If I beat you in wrestling, will you believe in Allah and His Messenger?” The man replied, “Yes.” The Prophet(peace_be_upon_him) wrestled him and defeated him. Rukanah was astonished with that, and he asked the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) to acquit him of their agreement, which is belief, and to have a rematch. So they had a second and a third rematch where the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) also defeated him. Rukanah was astonished and said, “This is very strange indeed!” Then he immediately embraced Islam. Other narrations state that he embraced Islam after the conquest (fath) of Makkah”
(Al-Hakim, Abu Dawud, and At-Tirmidhi).
The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) also wrestled and beat Abu Al-Aswad Al-Jumahi, who was so strong that he would stand on a cowhide, and ten men would pull the hide to take it from under his feet, but in the end, the hide would be torn and he had not moved an inch.
Whenever an army of Mujahidin moved out from Madinah, Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) first inspected them to ensure that nothing was lacking in men and equipment. If anyone was underage, he would send them back to Madinah. While setting out for Uhud, Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) carried out this inspection. He ordered the young boys to go back. Among them were ‘Abdullah bin Umar, Zaid-bin-Thabit, Usamah-bin-Zaid, Zaid-bin-Arqam, Baraa-bin-Aazib, ‘Amr bin-Hazam, Usaid-bin-Zuhair, ‘Urabah-bin-Aus, Abu Said Khudri, Sumurah-bin-Jundub and Raf’e-bin- Khadij.
All of them had just entered their teens. Khadij said to the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam), ‘O Prophet of Allah! My son Rafe’e is a very good archer.’ Rafe’e too stood on his toes to show himself taller than he actual was. Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) permitted him to stay on. When Samrah bin Jundub learnt about this, he complained to his step-father Murrah bin Sanaan saying, ‘Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) has permitted Raf’ee and rejected me, while I am sure to beat him in a wrestling contest and, therefore, I was more deserving of the Prophet’s favour.’ This was reported to Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam), who allowed Samrah to prove his claim by wrestling with Rafe. Samrah did actually beat Rafe in the bout and he too was permitted to stay in the army.
When the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) observed some young people wrestling, he said, “The real wrestler is the one that stops his soul from fury.” Thus, he reminded us that it was necessary to bear in mind an eternal reality while playing sports.
The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said “the strong man is not the good wrestler; the strong man is only the one who controls himself when he is angry.” (Bukhari).