“Learn the casting of arrows and do no be averse to it, for the area between the two targets holds a garden of the gardens of paradise.” The Prophet Muhammad
The Sacred Archery Society, a UK based organisation established in 2005 with the intention to promote, preserve and practice the Islamic methods and principles of Islamic archery, is hosting a groundbreaking archery event in April 2006.
It is not common knowledge within Muslim and non-Muslim circles that the practice of archery was highly encouraged by the Prophet of Islam. For hundreds of years fathers had mentored sons in this art, heeding the words of their Prophet who asked his followers to “Teach your sons the shooting of arrows”. Sadly within the last 100 years the Islamic traditions of archery have slowly disappeared.
The society has been working hard on building awareness and reigniting this tradition both within the Muslim and non-Muslim community over the past year. In 2005 it commissioned the translation of a vital Ottoman book written by Katib Abdullah, the Sheikh of the Archers Field – the ‘Ok Meydani’ in Istanbul. The book, named “Sacred Archery – the Forty Prophetic Traditions”, is now on general sale (sacred-archery.com/shop.htm). Again in 2005 a day event in Croydon, Surrey was held which attracted over 200 people from across the UK. As a result it now has two clubs established in Glastonbury and Croydon.
Building on their success and in response to demand, the Society is now holding a weekend event in Glastonbury, Somerset that will become the first modern day event dedicated to Islamic archery. Expecting participants from as far as the USA and Europe, the event will offer participants with a comprehensive insight into the fundamentals of Islamic archery.
Included in the weekend will be camping, presentations of the history of archery in Islam, practice of archery (both target and flight archery), the chance to experience real Turkish bows, arrow-making, a presentation of horseback archery and a competition on the final day.
“We see this as the first of many similar events that will take place across the world. Our aim is to realise the words of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who placed a special emphasis on archery,” explained the society’s event manager Neil Payne.