[Productive Hobbies] Horses and Horse Riding

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[Productive Hobbies] Horses and Horse Riding | Productive Muslim
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“And [He created] the horses, mules and donkeys for you to ride and [as] adornment. And He creates that which you do not know.” [Qur’an: Chapter 16, Verse 8]

“By the racers, panting, and the producers of sparks [when] striking, and the chargers at dawn, Stirring up thereby [clouds of] dust, Arriving thereby in the center collectively…” [Qur’an: Chapter 100, Verses 1-5

In these ayaat, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) describes the grace and might of the horses charging into the battle field … such loyal warriors in the battles of Islam.

The Wonderful World of Horses

In Surah Al-Imran, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) describes the deep hearted love that mankind has for certain things of this world, of which ‘fine branded horses’ (Wa’l Khayl) is mentioned.

Yes, we are talking about the majestic, honourable, graceful and mighty horses. Those very creatures that have walked beside man as a loyal companion, from the beginning of time, up until today, and will stand loyal to its master until the end of time.

When the average person thinks about a horse, to some, it is a fluffy four-legged creature that simply eats all day and allows for the occasional pony ride, or maybe just some animal that you see on the fields near the road, on the way to your holiday destination. To others, the thought of a scary large beast, with a loud “Neigh!” may come to mind, but to us horse enthusiasts, the image of love, respect, nobility, relaxation and dreams is what comes to our minds.

For those who are new to horses, we introduce to you a loyal companion, which is not just best friend of man, but one who is subservient to its master. When we hear of the word ‘master’, sometimes the image of a man with a whip comes to mind. However, in the relationship we have with our horses, we, as humans are their leaders, both working as a team to achieve certain goals. To excel, a horse and its rider need to form a bond to become one.

For those who have been on the occasional horse trail or have been riding for a while, you might have seen a different side of things. From having your foot stood on, being thrown over a fence or having had a loving horse slobber all over you in your kind efforts to feed it a carrot. Or perhaps, you have experienced the warmth of a horse hug on a cold winter’s day and sometimes, the smell of horse may just be all the aromatherapy you need.

Understanding the Basics

Nevertheless, for both newcomers and oldies in the horse world, there are a few ground rules when it comes to horses, all of which stem from respect. Respect for the horse, respect for yourself and for the horse to respect you. The last one takes a fair amount of years to achieve.

They say, “Horses lend us the wings we lack” and “The word horse is synonymous with love, freedom and dreams.” Every horse lover would agree. Except the one who eagerly attempted taking a trail ride for the first time in the Drakensberg (South Africa) and half way through, miserably met the ground and had to walk back to the stables with a sore bottom or a broken limb.

To them, we say, you will learn to love it. Being an equestrian and horse lover is all about fun, falls and fails, but the essential ingredient is to pick yourself up because your horse sure is not going to. Learn from your mistakes and have courage; the courage to get back on and ride with the same kind of bravery you had before your unexpected landing.

Horse Riding in Islam

So what makes us, as Muslims, want to venture into this world of horse riding? The Prophet Muhammed ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “Everything with which a man amuses himself is vain except three (things): a man’s training of his horse, his playing with his wife and his shooting with his bow and arrow.” [Abu Dawud]

Horse riding is an almost forgotten sunnah of our Prophet Muhammed ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). Yes, it is agreed that city life makes it difficult to access a little space to keep a horse or ride. However, Alhamdulillah we are fortunate to have riding venues on most outskirts of our cities that can accommodate us and get us learning more about this wacky, wonderful world of horses!

The Benefits of Horse Riding

So let us talk about riding. If you are not the one on the horse, riding may look like ‘just sitting’ and all the rider has to do is give the horse some simple instructions like ‘go’, ‘whoa’ and turn. In carrying the rider, the horse is doing all the work, right …? Wrong! There is far more to horseback riding than the casual observer might expect. The benefits are beyond simple enjoyment. It affects one physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Some of the physical benefits include increased fitness, balance and co ordination. Riding a horse at a walk stimulates the internal organs, just as walking on foot does. This aids in liver function and digestion, making riding a great therapy option for those who cannot walk or are in a wheelchair. You will be burning calories while receiving all the other benefits that horseback riding has to offer. Riding a horse uses a large amount of muscles all over the body.

Riding a horse out in a natural environment relaxes the mind, creating an overall feeling of well-being and peace. Reconnecting with nature on this level is a must for every human being, at some point or the other, in our busy lives. We are so caught up in the rat race of life in our concrete jungles that we do not even realise there is another, more peaceful side to life that we are missing out on. We need to go back to nature and recharge!

As Muslims, we benefit from horses on three levels: physically, by keeping our bodies fit, as they are an amanah (trust) from Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He); emotionally, as horse riding helps us de-stress, unwind and refocus our minds on our real purpose in life i.e. to live a life pleasing to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and eventually attain Jannah, In sha Allah; and lastly, we benefit from it spiritually. With horse riding being a sunnah and if it is done with these intentions, then we are receiving reward for even this fun activity. This in turn, is pleasing to our creator Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and so any act that is pleasing to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) will bring us closer to Him. Subhan Allah, have you ever thought of it this way? We can actually turn a hobby of horse riding into eternal rewards!

Horse riding has numerous benefits for people of all ages and those with mental and physical disabilities. Even children with abnormalities and those who are visually impaired may benefit.

At the end of the day or a long school term, there is nothing more relaxing than to wind down by taking a long ride or just being with a horse.

We conclude with the following hadith, the Prophet Muhammed ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) had said: “There is goodness in the forelocks of horses till the Day of Resurrection.” [Al-Bukhari]

Let us take advantage of this beautiful gift from Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), the horse and revive this amazing sunnah of horse riding in our lives, In sha Allah. Each and every one of us can benefit from it in more ways than one. Feel free to contact us for more info on riding venues in your location or subscribe to our free monthly E-Newsletters at www.mueqsa.co.za.

About the Author:

Muslim Equestrians South Africa (MUEQSA) is non-profit organisation whose goal is solely to revive and grow the activity of horse riding , as it is a sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and a great, healthy way to keep fit, de-stress and keep our children and teenagers out of trouble. We try our best to ensure that all aspects of MUEQSA are kept in accordance with Shariah and seek advice regarding Shar’ee matters from reputable Ulema on a regular basis. In the history of Islam, we find that horses have played an important role all round and will play an important role until the end of time. On this note, MUEQSA hopes ​ to enlighten, educate and inspire one and all who join our community and wish to share knowledge or learn more about horses and riding! In sha Allah. Kindly forward all questions and queries to mueqsa@gmail.com as questions will not be answered via the comments section. Jazakallahu khair.


14 thoughts on “[Productive Hobbies] Horses and Horse Riding

  1. Assalaam Alaikum,I am very intrigued by what you consider to be hobbies,but I am most intrigued by the version of the Qu’ran (translation) that you are using.Could you please forward the information about how to obtain a copy for my personal use?I would be most grateful.I am also a owner of you Productive Muslim App & find it quote useful.May Allah reward you all for your efforts.

    1. @Robert – Wa alaikumussalaam warahmatullah,

      Thank you very much for your comments. We’re glad you’re finding our app useful!

      The translation (more accurately, the interpretation) of the Qur’anic verses being used here is of Sahih International. You can read the entire Qur’an on this site with this translation if you choose Sahih International from the provided options:

      http://quran.com/16/8

      I hope this helps. Let us know if you need anything else. :)

      1. Assalaam Alaikum rahmatallahi barakatu !Thank you for your promo response to my inquire.As a soon to be returning college student,practicing Muslim and Productive Muslim I am amazed at the depth of your website and In Shah Allah when time permits this fall I desire with Allah’s mercy to attend one of your online productivity seminars.Could you please forward the link or class schedule or place me on your awaiting list.Thank you once again and May Allah Preserve you all & bless your efforts!Have a wonderful day.I am touched.:-)

        1. @Robert – Wa alaikumussalaam warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

          Alhamdulillah, we’re humbled with your appreciation and we’re really happy to hear our work is helpful to you. To ensure you don’t miss any notifications of our upcoming courses, please do sign up to our Productive Muslim Academy mailing list here: http://pages.productivemuslim.com/academy/

          We look forward to having you in our courses. :)

  2. just wondering when are you going to release tips for high school and university students – especially managing spirituality and school
    using your colorful diagrams :)

    1. @Abir – Will share your suggestion with our Content Team so they can add it to their pool of ideas for content to develop. ;)

  3. SubhanAllah ! Great article. My daughter since she was 3 years old wanted to do horse back ridding and always wanted to buy a horse . Long story short now she is 20 years old and still want to learn horse back riding , but I always use to be scared by listinning to horror accidents while taking lessons or while riding. We still take her some time to time to farms to pet them, she always goes to kids party where they have poney rides and she enjoyes walking them . I think after reading this Article that our Prophet RA use to love them and there are so many benifits to it inshallah I will try to put her in lessons now if some place is close to home in Raleigh NC. Once again jazak Allah for great work and Salam

  4. I take riding lessons every week! Horses are a part of my life that I practically can’t live without! I’m going to be starting Dressage training soon to, so Inshallah may Allah(SWT) help us succeed in our plans. Jazakallah khair.

  5. Hi in this Sura, why Allah mentioned the horses, mules and donkeys,here my thought is , Mole is derived from the Male donkey and female hourse, so is there any lesson like cross breading , genitical science?.Please correct me if iam wrong

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