Is it permissible to engage in martial arts that have remnants of Buddhist culture/religion?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate
In general, martial arts falls under physical exercise and training that proves beneficial for the Believer. The Companions of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace), as well as the Prophet himself, engaged in wrestling, sword-fighting training, and other physical activities that afforded them beneficial skills in their battles.
As for martial arts that people of other religions predominantly established, they remain permissible due to the above reasons. Certain matters and actions that are done within that are merely cultural and not religious in nature are not prohibited. However, one should refrain from any acts that are specific to other religions or that go against Islam.
The Muslim must not perform acts such as prostrating to one’s sensei, wearing clothing that exposes one’s nakedness, physical contact with the opposite gender, praying to idols or other than Allah. These acts are sinful, and some are tantamount to disbelief.
However, acts such as showing respect to one’s sensei, wearing a specific type of clothing (that is non-religious in nature and covers one’s nakedness), following the cultural etiquettes, etc… are permissible.
Hope this helps
Allah knows best
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he then completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York, where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Qur’an and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Quranic exegesis, Islamic history, and some texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.