Archery, horseback riding and swimming: the Prophetic sports might be difficult to learn, but they’re extremely rewarding once mastered.
In the past, these activities helped people to survive; today, they’re enjoyed as sports that can help with our fitness and wellbeing.
There was a hadith where the Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wassallam) is believed to have said: “Teach my children how to swim because they can find someone who will write for them any time, but they cannot find anyone to swim for them at the moment of danger.”
I personally find this to be really powerful and it is the only sport mentioned out of the three that would be considered “common” in our day and age.
One cannot help but take learnings from the hadith and potentially extend that to other applications in life.
There are situations where we can learn a skill that may help us in a time of difficulty, whether that be physical or mental, however, we often rely on others to “swim for… [us]”.
Back in the time of the Prophet, archery had applications in all aspects of life such as hunting and defending oneself – however, one of the benefits that I would like to touch on is the mental aspect of the sport.
The Prophet is believed to have said: “When one of you feels bored and troubled, the only thing he can do is to take his bow and arrows and to be relaxed by shooting arrows.”
Archery, for those who have tried it, can be a satisfying and calming sport.
When you start to take aim, you will fall into your stance, nock (attach the arrow to the bow) pull back, breathe in and look down the sights.
At that moment, the world around you has stopped and your focus is completely on the target and your breathing. Nothing else matters.
In the space of minutes from loading the arrow to firing it, you have practised meditation.
Not to mention, firing arrows is a workout on your shoulders. Plus, there’s the excitement you get when you hit the target.
As you can see, there are many benefits to archery from application to mental fortitude. Once you dig a little deeper into it, you can appreciate and understand why it is a Prophetic sport.
Since horse riding has the weaker narration of the three, there isn’t too much here that can be said with certainty, however, to be able to ride a horse or camel has obvious benefits.
Travelling distances, transporting goods, being the medieval rideshare and more!
This was a skill that was encouraged for people from a young age to take up and learn.
One question I’ll leave with is: is horse-riding akin to driving in the modern world? 🚘
I think as I’m writing this, it’s become quite clear that archery is my favourite of all three.
I’m not sure if it was the delicious breakfast we had before going to the range, or the sun that was usually shining, or the fact I could shoot 40-50 metres and actually hit the target!
JUST DO IT. Find trial classes or programs and test out the sport, but give it a fair crack.
Don’t just try it once, not do so well, and just give up on it.
Give it a few sessions and really get to know the sport, it’s only until then can you fairly say if you like it or not.
Being active is really important and it helps on so many levels.
For more stories on self-improvement, mental health and physical wellbeing, check out some of these: Martial arts helps young Australians wrestle modern life, Why exercise is the key to getting a good night’s sleep, How controlled breathing can help you stay in control.