The other day, I had a discussion with a guy who seems to know a little about Islam and its related laws. I recommended that he box three days a week. He said that boxing was not allowed in Islam because it was dangerous and violent, where the players could get hurt badly. So is boxing really haram?
There are a couple of points to look at when we talk about boxing. One, is that it inflicts harm and allows people to hurt themselves just for fun/sport, and they can injure each other which could lead to brain damage and other things, while at the same time those that watch have fun watching them, sometimes they place bets and so on. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
لَا ضَرَرَ وَلَا ضِرَارَ
There should be neither harming nor reciprocating harm
( See more information about this in this answer )
The other point to look at is, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
إِذَا ضَرَبَ أَحَدُكُمْ فَلْيَتَّقِ الْوَجْهَ
When one of you inflicts a beating, he should avoid striking the face
To hit the face of a person (or animal) is haram, as is clear in the above Hadith and many others like it, so when we look at boxing the face does get hit/punches do reach the face, and that is haram.
So in short conclusion, yes boxing is haram.
I've been training for well over 25 years in mostly martial arts but have trained in boxing, thai-boxing and full contact karate. Hitting the face whether for sport, fun or in aggression is haram. Islam teaches us to look after our body through good health and exercise, not to compete against our fellow brothers for status and arrogance which sadly is the state of boxing.
Folks you need to be a little realistic here. Boxing is NOT haraam. It is an art. A form of fitness. A form of self defence. A form of discipline. If you want to guy by the letter of the law, YOU are not hitting someone in the face. No. There is a set of wraps and thick gloves in between your fist and the opponents face. Also bear in mind, this is a sport in which you have two equally willing participants. If we start calling this like this haraam, we would all need to emigrate to strictly religious countries as you could call living in western countries haraam too.
Guys, boxing is an excellent, tremendously rewarding sport which teaches respect and honour whilst getting you into fantastic shape. You meet many people from many cultures and thoroughly enjoy training together. Notwithstanding the fact that we are keeping youngsters off the streets and assisting them towards being more productive in their lives.
Let's be careful about what we label as haraam.
I run a boxing class at the mosque and not one person had felt the need to tell me it may be haraam!
I believe actions associated with the sport are haram. Actions like people gambling and the consumption of alcohol. The boxer may not partake in such things. The sport itself can not be declared haram according to the Hadeeths quoted. Here is why.
The first hadith simply states that our beloved Prophet said: "There should be neither harming (darar) nor reciprocating harm (dirar). "
however whoever quoted this left out something that our Ummah fails at again and again...context. There should be neither harming nor reciprocating harm in what? I'm sure he is not talking about boxing...since the sport did not exist at that time.
The second hadith gives a context clue that it is about beating as a punishment. So that does not relate to boxing as a sport because trust me people who are in there fighting are not punishing each other by any definition of the word.
Honestly I think the fatwa on boxing and many of the people who say it is haram is because people do not want another influential person like Muhammad Ali to emerge again. Because of Allah's gift to him in that sport he was the biggest voice for Islam in America. Sometimes something that seems bad can do a lot of good.