Bowing in Martial Arts – Shaykh Ali Laraki

Answered by Shaykh Ali Laraki al-Husaini


If one wants to train in an Asian Martial Art is it then permissible to bow, like it is done in Karate for instance?


Assalamu alaikum

This is a matter that has concern me as a karate student and teacher[1]. What is haram is to do ruku’. The Japanese bowing is not ruku’ because the angle of bowing is less pronounced than the one needed for ruku’. I have also found in a commentary of the Risala (al-Fawakih ad-Dawani by an-Nafrawi) that some ulama are of the opinion that bowing (inhina’) is allowed if it does not reach the level of ruku’.

And Allah knows best.

Shaykh Ali

[1] Besides being an Islamic (Maliki) scholar Shaykh ‘Ali Laraki al-Husaini (hafidhahullāh) is also a Sensei, a black belt in Shotokan Karate and Judo.

This Q&A is also available in Danish here

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