I’ve spoken a lot about connecting with Allah’s creation and nature as an act of worship. And no better way to do this than to go for a hiking trip! Not only is it a great sport, but the experience will be both mentally and spiritually rejuvenating especially if you choose some great hiking spots. Leave your lecture halls and cubicles behind and spend a few days breathing fresh air and sitting around a campfire. And of course, for true bonding experience with your friends, go on a hiking trip together; the laughs, shouts, (and near death experience at times), can only bring you closer! Look up online for hiking trails nearby you and plan/equip yourself properly for a stress-free hiking experience.
18. Write letters
When was the last time you wrote a letter to a friend, a teacher, your parents, or someone you didn’t know? Unfortunately with the advent of internet communication we’ve lost the sentimental art of letter writing. I can guarantee to you, nothing strikes a chord with people’s hearts than receiving a hand written letter. Do me a favour, and spend the weekend to send a bunch of letters to your family and friends (Ok, you might need to e-mail/facebook them for their addresses, but at least gets the process going ;)). At least one will write you back and you can begin a lifetime correspondence with them and inshaAllah this becomes a means for you to maintain ties of kinship with your family. Earn even more good deeds with your letter writing and make them really count by writing to an orphan perhaps via an Islamic charity organisation and establishing a friendship with them (orphans and the poor don’t just need money, they need your moral support, “and a good word is charity”). Some Dawah organisations even have letter writing service to non-Muslims who constantly write to them asking for Qurans and more information about Islam, volunteer for that, or even start such a program! Follow the Sunnah of the Prophet who sent letters – written by His companions since he was illiterate – for dawah purposes.
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”.(Reported by al-Bukhari ).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.)
However, word of warning, don’t go around torturing birds and animals with your new hobby. The Prophet (peace be on him) warned archers against using chickens and the like as targets for practice, as the Arabs of jahiliyyah used to do. Once ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar saw a group of peoples doing this and he told them, “The Prophet (peace be on him) cursed the one who takes anything possessing life as a target.”(Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim.)
Archery allows you to connect with one of the most primitive of weapons; It’s the kind of quiet, repetitive, focused activity that can truly settle your mind. It’s a hobby you can start trying right away in your backyard (makes sure it’s a safe area!) There are also archery parks you can try at, where 3-d targets are scattered in the woods. Cool.
20. Horseback Riding
Allah Ta’ala says, “And (He created) horses, mules, and donkeys for you to ride and as adornment….” (Quran Chapter 16 Verse 8), and the Prophet (peace be on him) said, “There is blessing in the forelocks of horses.”(Reported by Ahmad.) He also said, “Practice archery and horseback riding.” (Reported by Muslim.) And again, “Any action without the remembrance of Allah is either a diversion or heedlessness excepting four acts: walking from target to target (during archery practice), training a horse, playing with one’s family, and learning to swim”. (Reported by al-Tabarani on good authority.)
Umar – May Allah be pleased with him said -, “Teach your children swimming and archery, and tell them to jump on the horse’s back.” Ibn ‘Umar reported that the Prophet (peace be on him) organized horse races and gave a prize to the winner. (Reported by Ahmad.) All this was done by the Prophet (peace be on him) to encourage competition in sports involving physical exercise and discipline
21. Swimming/Scuba Diving
As the hadeeth of Prophet Muhammad above and Umar’s saying indicate – swimming is also another noble hobby and sport to pursue. It builds your strength, teaches you a vital skill (you never know when you’ll need to swim for your life!) and is an excellent relaxing hobby as well. A step up from swimming would be Scuba Diving! The only reason I bring it here is because truly, this one just shoots your eman to the top! Trust me, when you’re under the sea, you see a completely new world and all you can say is “SubhanaAllah!”. The corals, fish, and landscape of the world underneath the sea is beautiful and breath-taking. Try it!
I hope I’ve inspired you to start a new hobby from any of the list above, these are always fun and exciting to start with, but remember consistency is key. That’s where your hobby becomes a “serious hobby”. Let me know your thoughts on the above.. did I miss anything, did you try any of the above hobbies?