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There are some hadith listing Mubah actions that involve khayr. These are; flirting with the spouse, horse racing and marksmanship. I would like to know if marksmanship encompasses javelin throwing or not. Maybe someone can find and check the Arabic original of the hadith and share here the meaning(s) of the word used.

This might not look so important, but I believe if we could shift our Mubah activities to the ones mentioned in the hadith, we would kill two birds with one stone.

It has been narrated on the authority of Ibn Amir who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) say-and he was delivering a sermon from the pulpit: Prepare to meet them with as much strength as you can afford. Beware, strength consists in archery. Beware, strength consists in archery. Beware, strength consists in archery. (Muslim, Book #020, Hadith #4711)

Narrated Salama bin Al-Akwa: The Prophet passed by some people of the tribe of Bani Aslam who were practicing archery. The Prophet said, "O Bani Ismail ! Practice archery as your father Isma'il was a great archer. Keep on throwing arrows and I am with Bani so-and-so." So one of the parties ceased throwing. Allah's Apostle said, "Why do you not throw?" They replied, "How should we throw while you are with them (i.e. on their side)?" On that the Prophet said, "Throw, and I am with all of you." (Bukhari, Book #52, Hadith #148)

Narrated Salama bin Al-Akwa: The Prophet passed by some persons of the tribe of Aslam practicing archery (i.e. the throwing of arrows) Allah's Apostle said, "O offspring of Ishmael! Practice archery (i.e. arrow throwing) as your father was a great archer (i.e. arrow-thrower). I am with (on the side of) the son of so-and-so-." Hearing that, one of the two teams stopped throwing. Allah's Apostle asked them, ' Why are you not throwing?" They replied, "O Allah's Apostle! How shall we throw when you are with the opposite team?" He said, "Throw, for I am with you all." (Bukhari, Book #55, Hadith #592)

Narrated Salama: Allah's Apostle passed by some people from the tribe of Aslam practicing archery. He said, "O children of Ishmael! Throw (arrows), for your father was an archer. I am on the side of Bani so-and-so," meaning one of the two teams. The other team stopped throwing, whereupon the Prophet said, "What has happened to them?" They replied, "How shall we throw while you are with Bani so-and-so?" He said, "Throw for I am with all of you." (Bukhari, Book #56, Hadith #710)

Edit: The word "throwing" is used, so I am not sure what exactly it means.

  • Can you include the hadith in question? – System Down Aug 28 '12 at 6:27
  • @SystemDown done – user73 Aug 28 '12 at 6:43
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The Arabic word rimaya رماية literally means throwing, but when it is unqualified it is used as a synonym for shooting, which at the time meant archery. In modern usage this has been extended to marksmanship in firearms.

But getting back to the hadith itself, looking at the context we can deduce that the throwing in question is of the martial kind (i.e. to aid in war). So at the time of the prophet that meant archery, since it was one of the most effective weapons of war at the time.

Applying this hadith in modern times, we find that archery (and javelin throwing) are no longer contemporary battle skills. So we have to assume that it now encompasses their modern equivalent, which is (as I stated earlier) firearm marksmanship.

  • So can we say any kind of missile directed towards a target counts as throwing? – user73 Sep 16 '12 at 22:17
  • @AhmetNoyanKızıltan - Like many things it depends on context. When we're talking general Arabic, then yes, any kind of missile projecting towards a target is rimaya. But in the context of the hadith, I believe that it specifies rimaya as the contemporary martial variety, i.e. arrows in the days of the Prophet and fire arms in this day and age. – System Down Sep 17 '12 at 16:56
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Perhaps it becomes clear if we look at Volume 5, Book 58, Number 156:

Talha was a strong, experienced archer who used to keep his arrow bow strong and well stretched. On that day he broke two or three arrow bows.

This seems to make it clear that this is referring to regular bow-based archery, suggesting that "throw" in the translation is being used simply to describe the flight of the arrow (which might more familiarly termed: to "loose" an arrow).

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