Fatwa No : 84964
Bowing in martial arts
Fatwa Date : Sha'baan 1, 1423 / 7-10-2002
Is it permissible for a Muslim martial arts student to bow as part of a martial arts class, if the bow is intended as a sign of respect, and not as a religious act?
Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the World; and may His blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his Family and Companions.
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.