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a question that concerns any muslim who wishes to join a martial arts school
Just Passing Through
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hi,

i am a devout muslim and i have done various forms of martial arts in the past, including ninjutsu.
i have not trained for many years, but wish to start martial arts training again, inshaa'llaah.
my question involves a few things really and demands that i first divulge a certain amount of information that relates to it...

firstly, i was not a muslim until a few years ago when i accepted islaam and began to study islamic law seriously in order to further my knowledge of islaam and ensure that i do not get lead astray by deviant groups or individuals with agendas other than striving to earn the pleasure of allaah, our One and ONLY Lord and Creator.
from my studies i have learned to recognise, (amoungst many other things), the actions, beliefs and speech that can cause one to exit the fold of islaam. i remember, from my past, many things that take place in martial arts classes that can take one out of the fold of islaam and i do not wish to engage in such activities, such as bowing, prostrating to people or other than allaah, invoking prayers that have nothing to do with islaam, philosophies that are contrary to the teachings within the qur'aan and the sunnah, etc. and the ninjutsu classes i used to attend as a young boy involved invoking buddhist prayers and prostrating to the teacher (definitely something which would undoubtably cause one to exit the fold of islaam straight away).

during my life as a muslim i have heard many stories of devout muslims who wanted to enter a martial arts training class and were shouted at and told to leave the dojo/bujinkan for "disrespecting" them just because they refused to bow or prostrate or invoke such prayers or take part in anything that pertained to exiting them from the fold of islaam and i have no doubt in my righteous, upright and truthful muslim brothers who have informed me of this.

my question is:

are there any authentic ninjutsu classes in london which would accept me as a student and overlook my refusal to bow, prostrate, invoke prayers that have nothing to do with islaam, and avoid all things that would either result in me exiting the fold of islaam or jeapordising my religous practises in other ways such as grappling with or touching females in the class (a very disliked thing in my religion)?

i am a fundamental muslim, ie. i stick to the fundamental teachings of my religion and do not wish to act, speak or believe in ways contrary to islaam. i will NEVER sacrifice any part of my religion no matter what, (and certainly not for worldly gain).
if there is a bujinkan in london that would accommodate me as a serious student and respect my religious rights, please let me know as soon as possible inshaa'llaah!

i am not the type of person who will be a trouble causer for the school and i am dedicated to whatever i do as long as it doesn't mean that i act or believe in things or say things contrary to my religion.
i am a fast learner and hard worker and i wish to train on a regular basis with a serious school and i recognise hatsumi masaaki as a true ninja and seriously dispute the intellect of anybody who attempts to shine doubt on his authenticity.

this being said, i think i have made myself clear and have provided enough information on my stance connected to my question both before and after having asked the question
(i prepared my post like this deliberately in order to present it in a way in which i could seperate certain issues and categorise things in a particular order i felt necessary to make things clear and because what comes after the question contains things that are additional thoughts that were not needed in order for somebody to answer my question, but add to it an extra dimension)!

Posted on: 2007/12/29 15:59
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Re: a question that concerns any muslim who wishes to join a martial arts school
Village Old Timer
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I can't imagine that the all knowing and gracious god of the Muslim religion would be concerned if you nodded in mutual respect to a dojo training partner that you are about to lend your body to (and vice versa).

There are alot of traditions in martial arts but they are just that. The concept of "spirits" is very different in the east and really shouldn't threaten any reasonable religion.

I know of many teachers that would have no problem with someone not bowing for religious reasons as long as they participate equally in class and follow the rules of the bujinkan. I also know of teachers that would say that if your personal belief is that inflexible to see the difference between bowing to a god and bowing to a training partner, then you would not be welcome there.

Look around and I'm sure you can find someone to train with, but remember that flexibility is very important in any martial art!

Marty

Posted on: 2007/12/29 18:04
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Re: a question that concerns any muslim who wishes to join a martial arts school
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From Hamina, Finland
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Quote:

musa-shi wrote:
are there any authentic ninjutsu classes in london which would accept me as a student and overlook my refusal to bow, prostrate, invoke prayers that have nothing to do with islaam, and avoid all things that would either result in me exiting the fold of islaam or jeapordising my religous practises in other ways such as grappling with or touching females in the class (a very disliked thing in my religion)?


First off I apologize for not answering from the right direction as I'm in Finland, but as this issue has risen here, too, every once in a while I thought I'd drop a line or two...

In my personal take there is nothing one MUST do, especially if it is against a religious belief.

Looking at the things you listed as possible problems:

* bowing; I take this means in the Japanese manner, not nodding for accepting a point given which is common courtesy and am sure most of us do it every day anyway (no need to bow to the floor, or bending from the waist to a certain degree)

* going prostrate; if this includes falling down, then.... other than that I don't see an issue in this...

* prayers; no need for praying in the training as far as I can tell

As I said we've had similar issues here in Finland, though not from Islamic faith but from Christian faith. But it all comes to how you, the trainee, perceive the things, how much meaning you give the things...

In my humble opinion.

Posted on: 2007/12/29 18:18
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Ari Julku
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Re: a question that concerns any muslim who wishes to join a martial arts school
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Perhaps you should find a Muslim martial art to practice if you truly anticipate having as many problems in the Bujinkan as you appear to.

Posted on: 2007/12/29 18:23
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Re: a question that concerns any muslim who wishes to join a martial arts school
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Just came to my mind - considering the name of the school (per Kanji) Bu-shin-kan... This refers to a godly manifestation if read as per Kanji...

Posted on: 2007/12/29 19:59
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Ari Julku
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(Bujinkan Budōka since 1985)
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Re: a question that concerns any muslim who wishes to join a martial arts school
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Bowing to the shrine may look like an religious act but it really isn't! You just pay your respects to the ancestors of our art (living or dead), and then to the instructor leading the class. This is part of the Japanese tradition and etiquette that was created to show respect for each other and eliminate misunderstandings.

Mr musa-shi if you can't show me as an instructor or trainig partner (and my teachers) respect by following the dojo traditions and salute with a bow. How can you show the same kind of mutual respect without it inflicting of your religion?

Posted on: 2007/12/30 0:34
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Re: a question that concerns any muslim who wishes to join a martial arts school
Kutaki Postmaster
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I have several Muslim students in my school, and they don't see any contradictions between the practice of Islam and training in the Bujinkan. Since these students were all born and raised Muslim, they're perfectly aware of what their boundaries are and don't cross them. But in that sense, they're no different than any other student, regardless of religion. I have strict Christians in my class who have their own concerns. Same thing with the Jews, Buddhists, and atheists in my class.

Your question may not pertain to "any muslim who wants to join a martial arts school," but perhaps specifically to you and under what conditions YOU want to train in a martial arts school. I would also question whether training in a traditional Japanese martial art is necessarily the right choice for what you're looking for.

Posted on: 2007/12/30 1:13
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Jeff Christian
Muzosa Bujinkan Dojo of NYC
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Re: a question that concerns any muslim who wishes to join a martial arts school
Village Old Timer
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Dear Musa-shi,
I am a Muslim and a Bujinkan Shidoshi.I also try to follow and practice Islam. I want to give answers to some of your questions in my own understanding. I know that when I was younger I did not go to the Aikido club because of the same reasons
Bowing is just giving 'Selam' but in Japanese way. When you bow you do not touch your forehead like when you do the 'secde' so it is not a worshipping. It is only a respect given to each other. When you bow the Kamisa you can pray what ever you want. I pray my way and nobody pushes you to make a Budhist prayer and Shikin Haramitsu Daikomyo is not a really prayer like we understand in Islam or Christianity or Judaism. This prayer is more like educating your self.
I never had a problem training Bujinkan as a Muslim and my belief helped me a lot as this is a divine warrior way . I also enjoyed to see other beliefs and try to see good parts and similar parts, do not forget that if you are close to Allah, you are divine. Do not worry and do not forget that belief is in your heart and Allah is closer to you than your aorta!
Gambatte

Posted on: 2007/12/30 1:14
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Ercan SARBAT
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Re: a question that concerns any muslim who wishes to join a martial arts school
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There are tons of people here in the States that I train with that don't bow, don't have a kamiza and hell don't even have a dojo.

I'm of the opinion that if you went through such a life changing situation situation as changing religions that should come first for you. If a school makes you do things that are uncomfortable to you, then you should not do them.

I don't bow unless I'm in Japan or at a seminar with Japanese instructors (If I'm in someones country, I respect their customs). I'm an American and bowing is NOT a part of our culture, I shake hands, call instructors and older practicioners Sir. Most people bowing are doing so because they see others doing it. Most people say the little Shinto prayers because other people do it.

If you read the guidelines of the Bujinkan at http://www.bujinkan.com/guidelines.htm I see nothing about being forced to bow, pray or prostrate yourself. If a teacher is attempting to make you do that, and continues to do so after you explain that it makes you uncomfortable then you should not train again with that person. In addition I would find out who their Shihan is and contact them, and if that is not possible contact one of the administrative guys in Japan and let them know that you are being persecuted.

In summation:

There is no rule saying you have to bow to anything or anyone in the Bujinkan

Anyone who would try to make you do so after you explaining your issues with it is a twit.

For those that are giving this guy a hard time, and saying that bowing and the other stuff is not religious in nature just get off it. If God tells this guy not to do something, then he should not do it.

Posted on: 2007/12/30 1:20
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Re: a question that concerns any muslim who wishes to join a martial arts school
Kutaki Postmaster
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Quote:

Boggs wrote:

For those that are giving this guy a hard time, and saying that bowing and the other stuff is not religious in nature just get off it. If God tells this guy not to do something, then he should not do it.


Um, how is trying to clear up a potential misconception "giving him a hard time"? I agree with your last sentence as long as theres no misunderstanding between him and God. That situation has led to lots of bad things to be carried out quite zealosly. The underlying uncertainty of the original posters dilemma will affect him and how he conducts himself in far more situations than merely the dojo. This seems like a great opportunity for him to develop the eyes that see beyond just the surface, for one way or the other. Do you mean that the bowing and stuff IS religious and the people that said otherwise are ignorant/misinformed/maliciously misguiding him?Thanks.

~ju an

Z a zueta


PS. Musa-Shi, way to go for having the wherewithall to ask about this sort of thing. A lot of people would see it as compromising their faith, instead of fortifying it. Having info to act on is usually better than just feelings. Thanks.

Posted on: 2007/12/30 3:11
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