Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas
Question: I practice Thai Boxing. As part of the training we have to spar with fellow Muslims. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said that fighting with a Muslim is disbelief. Does this sparring come under the ruling of this hadith?
Answer: assalamu alaykum
Thai boxing would not fall into the warnings of this prophetic tradition.
What Is “Qital”?
The word referred to in the prophetic tradition is “qital”, which has the connotation of waging war and raising arms against one another. It does not refer to merely sparring for purposes of training and the like. This is clear from the fact that the Prophet (God bless him) engaged in wrestling. [Abu Dawud; al-Tirmidhi]
Additionally, the disbelief (kufr) referred to in the prophetic tradition is not to be understood as one the type that renders one a non-Muslim. Rather, many prophetic traditions mention particular actions as entailing disbelief but only to indicate the enormity of the act, among other potential interpretations. [Nawawi, Sharh Sahih Muslim]
It should be pointed out, however, that sparring and wrestling have certain considerations attached to them in order to be deemed valid. These include: (a) not being violent such that real harm is caused (b) not being of the type where the face is struck. Moderate forms of sparring for the purposes of gaining physical strength would be permitted.
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani