Good Deed: #114 Learn archery

  • The Prophet (peace be on him) once passed by a group of his Companions who were competing in archery. He encouraged them, saying, “Shoot, and I am with you”.(al-Bukhari )
  • The Prophet Muhammad(SAW) said: “Learn the throwing of arrows, and do not be averse to it, for the areas between the two targets holds a garden of the gardens of paradise”
  • Uqbah bin Aamir Radiya-allahu anhu narrated: I heard the Messenger of Allah (SAW) on the pulpit say: ” ‘And prepare against them whatever you are able of power’ and power is the ability to shoot, power is the ability to shoot, power is the ability to shoot” [Muslim]
  • Khalid bin Zaid Radiya-allahu anhu said I used to be good at archery and Uqbah would go out target shooting with me. One day I was reluctant to go out so he told me: “O Khalid, let me tell you what I heard the Messenger of Allah(SAW) say. He said: “Allah admits three people into Paradise because of one arrow. The one who makes it, doing so with the intention of good, the one who shoots it and the one who hands it over to the archer. So go out and train in archery and in horseback riding. And I prefer you train in archery. Entertainment is appropriate in only three forms: Training your horse, playing with your wife, and archery. And whoever learns archery and then abandons it has rejected a blessing from Allah” [al Mussanaf – Musnad Abi Awnah – Abu Dawud – al Hakim (Thahabi agreed)]
  • The Prophet (peace be on him) said, “Practice archery; that is good for you.” (Reported by al-Bazzar and by al-Tabarani on good authority.)
  • Salamah bin al Akwa Subhanahu wa ta’ala said: The Messenger of Allah passed next to boys playing a game of archery. He said: “Shoot children of Ismael, your father was a great archer. Shoot and I will join so and so” and he joined one of the teams. The Messenger of Allah then said: “Why did you stop?” They said: “How can we do so when you are with them?” He said: “Go ahead and shoot, I am with all of you!” [Bukhari]
  • Uqbah Radiya-allahu anhu said: I heard the Messenger of Allah say: “You will conquer many lands and you will be safe and secure. If that happens don’t fail to play with your arrows!” [Muslim]
  • Ata bin Rabah Radiya-allahu anhu said: I saw Jabir bin Abdullah and Jabir bin Umair al Ansari target shooting while one of them got bored and sat down. The other told him: I heard the Messenger of Allah say: “Everything that is not remembrance of Allah is in vain except four things: Your walking between your targets, training your horse, playing with your wife, and swimming practice” [Nasa’i – Tabarani]
  • Abu Uthman al Nahdi Radiya-allahu anhu said: We received a letter from Umar Radiya-allahu anhu when we were with Utbah bin Farqad in Azerbaijan. He said: “…Wear the dress of your father Ismael and beware of luxury and the clothes of the non Muslims. Spend time under the sun since it is the bath of the Arabs. Be rough, be coarse, and be prepared. Sometimes walk barefoot, and jump over horsebacks rather than climb them. Shoot targets and walk between them” [Al Sunnan al Kubra by al Bayhaqi with an acceptable chain]
  • Amr bin Absah Radiya-allahu anhu said we were laying siege to al Taif and I heard the Messenger of Allah say: “Whoever shoots an arrow in the sake of Allah will be rewarded like one who has freed a slave” Amr said I shot 16 arrows on that day. [Al Nasa’i – al Hakim – Tirmithi – Abu Dawud]
  • Utbah bin Abd al Sulami Radiya-allahu anhu narrated: The Messenger of Allah told his companions: “Stand up and fight!” So a man stood up and shot an arrow. The Messenger of Allah said: “This man is granted Paradise” [Ahmad]
  • Faqeem al Lakhmi Radiya-allahu anhu told Uqbah bin Amer Radiya-allahu anhu: “You are running between these two targets and you are at this old age!” Uqbah(RA) said: “If it wasn’t for some words I heard from the Messenger of Allah I wouldn’t have gone through this” The narrator asked what those words were, he Radiya-allahu anhu said: “Whoever learns target shooting and then abandons it is not one of us – or he said, “has committed a sin” [Muslim]

Beginners archery

Action Plan

Before you begin – Select a bow that fits you. It is best to get an experienced archer to help you select your first bow. No matter what type of bow you choose, you want one that is the correct draw length and draw weight for you.

Start with recurve bows. If you can shoot a recurve you can shoot a compound bow, but not necessarily the other way around. It’s kind of like learning to ride a motorcycle. It helps if you already know how to ride a bicycle.

8 tips for better shooting:

1. Grip (Bow Hand) – The main thing here is that you want a loose grip. If you are right handed, you will hold the bow in your left hand and vice versa. Form a V with your thumb and index finger. Now allow the bow handle to rest deep in the V and lightly wrap your thumb and fingers around the handle. Curve your fingers so they are not sticking out in the way of the arrow. You need a slight bend in the elbow of your grip hand. Do not lock your elbow.

2. Grip (String Hand) – There is more than one grip that works, but I teach two fingers on the string below the arrow nock and one finger on the string above the knock. This is of course if you are shooting without the aid of a release. I do not recommend a release for beginners. Learn the basics first. Make sure your pinky stays back out of the way. You can use your thumb to hold it down. Look at your fingers…You will want the string to come across your fingers half way between the tips and the first joint. Many people use too much of their finger on the string which prevents a smooth release. As you begin to draw the bow, you will want to keep your fingers in the same position on the string. A common problem is that people curl their fingers as they draw the bow string. This causes the arrow to come off the rest.

3. Drawing the Bow – As you draw the bowstring, your elbow on your string hand should be pointed directly out away from your body and parallel to the ground. I always take in a breath as I draw.

4. Anchor Point – As you reach full draw, there will be a spot on your face where the string naturally comes to. I place my finger against the corner of my mouth. Every time I draw, I go to this same spot. This ensures consistency in my draw length. Find an anchor point that works for you. Once at my anchor point, I hold my breath momentarily.

5. Relax – Try to relax as much as possible. The more uptight you are the more likely you are to jerk as you release. A smooth release is essential to accuracy.

6. Aim – Again, there are different methods that work for different folks. I close one eye and look down the arrow at my target. Some people shoot with both eyes open. Either way, you should really focus on your target, mentally visualizing where you want the arrow to go. Pick out a specific spot and stare a hole through it. Once you are at full draw, do not hold your arrow for more than about 3 seconds. The longer you hold your bow at full draw, the more you will shake and the less accurate you will be. One to two seconds is plenty of time to take aim. By the same token, do not rush your shot.

7. Release – Allow your string fingers to relax. No sudden release is required. As you release, let out your breath. Relax.

8. Follow Through – This is very important as with most sports. Do NOT drop your hand. It is a common tendency for archers to drop their bow hand in an effort to see over or around the bow to watch their arrow strike the target. Concentrate on the target and where you want the arrow to strike, not so much the flight of the arrow. Only after your arrow strikes the target should you drop your bow hand. If you drop your bow hand even slightly in an effort to watch your arrow, your arrow will miss the target low.

Make sure if you are shooting at a range or with other people that all is clear before you go retrieve your arrows. Have fun out there, and be safe!

Article Source: Archery for beginners

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