Is it permissible to bow in Martial Arts?

Is it permissible to bow in Martial Arts

The great Muhaddith Imam Tirmidhi (Allah have mercy on him) narrates:


Anas ibn Maalik (Allah be pleased with him) said: A man said: O Messenger of Allah, when one of us meets his brother or friend, should he bow to him? He said: “No.” He said: Should he embrace him and kiss him? He said: “No.” He said: Should he shake hands with him? He said: “Yes.”(Tirmidhi, Hadith No:2728)


It is clear from the above narration that the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) prohibited from bowing in front of a brother or friend. Therefore, to bow down to another will also be prohibited.


One may argue that it can also be deduced from the above narration that to embrace another is prohibited too, so why are we allowed to embrace others? The answer to this is that from other narrations it is clear that to embrace another is permissible (as long as it is done within and according to the dictates of Sharia) therefore to embrace another will be permissible. Conversely, this is not the case for bowing down in front of another because there are no other narrations that clearly permit bowing down in front of another. Besides, bowing is something done exclusively for Allah, the Almighty.


Additionally, the Jurists (fuqaha) also state that it is prohibitively disliked (makruh tahreeman) to bow down in front of another because it resembles the acts of fire worshippers.


Even after the above detail, If anyone is still adamant on bowing and as some people argue and say that the martial arts bow is not a deep, ninety degree angle bow like in ruku’, rather, it is a relatively shallow bow, which may be true, to some extent, but judging on the above narrations and detail, there is no elaboration on how deep the bow must be or whether it be out of respect or not for it to be deemed prohibited. Therefore, all bows will be deemed prohibited regardless of whether they are shallow or not and whether done out of respect or not.


Furthermore, bowing in martial arts like mentioned in the question has connotations of revering and thus must be avoided. We are better off away from polytheism and anything which might slightly resemble polytheism in the slightest manner. Moreover, it is always best to leave what leads to doubt in its permissibility for what creates no doubt for you at all. In addition to this, by avoiding such bowing there should be no hindrance in learning the actual martial arts.



Allah, the Almighty knows best

Sufyan Ibn Yakub


 عن أنس بن مالك، قال: قال رجل: يا رسول الله الرجل منا يلقى أخاه أو صديقه أينحني له؟ قال: «لا» ، قال: أفيلتزمه ويقبله؟ قال: «لا» ، قال: أفيأخذ بيده ويصافحه؟ قال: «نعم» (سنن الترمذي،2728،ج:5،ص:75،طبع:شركة مكتبة ومطبعة مصطفى البابي الحلبي – مصر)

الانحناء للسلطان أو لغيره، وإنه مكروه؛ لأنه تشبه بفعل المجوس(المحيط البرهاني في الفقه النعماني،ج:5،ص:396،طبع: دار الكتب العلمية، بيروت – لبنان)

کذا فی حاشية ابن عابدين (رد المحتار)،ج:6،ص:383،طبع:موافق للمطبوع

وأما الانحناء عند الملاقاة فمكروه تحريماً كما في فتاوى الحنفية، وأما التقبيل فمتحمل، والمعانقة جائزة بشرط الأمن عن الوقوع في الفتنة.(العرف الشذي شرح سنن الترمذي،ج:4،ص:151،طبع: دار التراث العربي -بيروت، لبنان)


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