Ruling on Martial Arts
Fatwa No: 82646


What is the status of practising Martial Arts like Boxing, and all the sports of aggression?


All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

Boxing is an ancient sport that involves corporal combat between two players with bare hands and during a given number of rounds. Then this sport developed and now the two players wear gloves specially made for this purpose. The objective of each of the players is to beat his opponent and knock him out. This dangerous game has bad effects mainly on the face and head. It can leave the face with permanent deformation. So, there are voices everywhere in the world calling for the elimination of this monstrous game. The Islamic fundamentals forbid this kind of ugly and dishonorable game. Boxing includes hitting the opponent in the face with the fist as hard as possible. A fist in the face is even considered as a good point. Such a practice is against the Islamic teachings. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “When you fight anyone avoid (hitting) his face.” [Al-Bukhari]

It is also narrated that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) ordered his companions not to hit the woman who committed adultery in her face. He  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “Throw (the stones) but avoid the face.” [Abu Daawood]

If this is the ruling about a person who is condemned to death, any other person is more entitled to have his face respected. Disfigurement of the face is an ugly feature of this sport. But it is not the only problem with boxing. Boxing attracts millions of people wasting their precious time in nonsense. It is also a means of eating people's money without legal right. Add to this that it causes disputes between people. So, it is undoubtedly forbidden and so is any similar game.

The above-mentioned ruling is for the one who learns boxing or those martial arts in order to show-off, to earn money, or to harm others without any legal reason. But the one who learns them to defend himself, or his right, or to prove the power of Muslims, then learning them is permissible for him or even desirable depending on his intention.

For more benefit on the prohibition of boxing, please refer to Fataawa 329518 and 83261.

Allah knows best.

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