Is boxing Haram?

ⓘ Supported by Al Medina 313.



Islamic Text

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In the Name of Allah Most Merciful Most Kind

Short Answer

According to many scholars boxing is Haram. This is because there is too much emphasis on striking the face in boxing. Hitting the face without a necessity is prohibited in an authentic Hadith.

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، قَالَ: إِذَا قَاتَلَ أَحَدُكُمْ أَخَاهُ، فَلْيَتَّقِ الْوَجْهَ

Abu Hurairah (May Allah Most High be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet ﷺ said: If one of you fights his brother, then he must avoid the face. (Sahih Muslim, 2612 – 113).

In the Hadith above the Prophet ﷺ warned against striking the face. Therefore, there is a general prohibition upon striking the face in Shariah (Islamic law). Since boxing has a particular focus on striking the face, many scholars said that boxing is Haram.

Undoubtedly, this prohibition is only applicable when an individual is striking another person’s face. If anyone trains by hitting a punch bag or the like, then the prohibition is not applicable. It is important to highlight that the sport of boxing was not prohibited. Rather striking the face was prohibited.

Thus, if a person is involved in an aspect of boxing, like striking a punch bag, but not hitting another person’s face, then the prohibition is not applicable. Also, any other sport or martial art that has a particular focus on striking the face will also be prohibited.

Learning self defense

This issue should not be misunderstood. Just because scholars say that boxing is Haram, it does not mean that all forms of self-defense or martial arts are Haram. On the contrary, it is very important for Muslims to learn self-defense. However, one must be aware of which forms are permissible and which are not.
It is also important to highlight that the prohibition upon striking the face is not applicable to situations of necessity. So, if a person is being attacked and striking the attacker’s face will help one escape, then it is permitted.

Danger of striking the face

In the Nass (text) below, Imam Ali al-Qari mentions some of the dangers of striking the face.

فَلْيَجْتَنِبِ الْوَجْهَ ; فَإِنَّهُ تَعَالَى كَرَّمَهُ وَشَرَّفَهُ بِأَحْسَنِ صُورَةٍ، وَجَمَعَ فِيهِ الْمَحَاسِنَ وَالْحَوَاسَّ وَالْإِدْرَاكَاتِ، وَالضَّرْبُ فِي الْوَجْهِ قَدْ يَنْقُصُهَا وَيُشَوِّهُ الْحُسْنَ وَيُظْهِرُ الشَّيْنَ الْفَاحِشَ وَلَا يُمْكِنُ سَتْرُهُ. (مرقاة المفاتيح شرح مشكاة المصابيح)

He must avoid the face. This is because Allah (Most High) honored and ennobled him with the best appearance. He (Most High) gathered beauty, the senses, and discernment in it. Striking the face may diminish that. It may also distort beauty and cause disfigurement which cannot be covered. (Imam Ali al-Qari, Mirqaat al-Mafateeh).

As the Imam explained, the face is where the senses are centered. Striking the face can damage the senses. It also impacts the intellect. Since, a strike on the face often impacts the head. The Imam also spoke about how it can distort a person’s features. Allah Most High made people beautiful. We must not do anything to distort that natural beauty.


Many scholars hold that boxing is Haram. That is due to the focus it has on striking the face. Since the Prophet ﷺ has prohibited striking the face in authentic Hadith narrations. However, this does not mean Muslims should not learn martial arts or self-defense. Rather, it is essential for Muslims to be able to defend themselves. But the Muslim must learn an acceptable form of self-defense.

And Allah Most High Knows Best.

Answered by Shaykh Noorud-deen Rashid (08.04.24)