The wrestler/martial artist is fully aware of his surroundings – as soon as he/she loses self-control in a fight, it becomes all too easy for the opponent to overcome him/her; though if one is able to control their anger when someone is physically trying to harm him/her then controlling it in other situations will naturally be much easier.
In a famous Prophetic tradition, the Companions of the Prophet ﷺ spoke about the “strong” person as “the one who has mastered the art of wrestling” to which the Prophet ﷺ responded,
“The strong person is not the one who easily takes down his opponent; rather, the strong one is the one who can control himself when he is angry.” [al-Bukhari]
This doesn’t negate the significance of wrestling as a means of attaining inner strength; rather, there is an inextricable link between the two, in that wrestling can facilitate the controlling and commanding of one’s desires. The Companions would wrestle inside the Masjid of the Prophet ﷺ itself after their congregational prayers, implying the significance of this discipline.
Rukāna b. Abī Yazīd al-Qurashi was from those who accepted Islam upon the conquering of Makka. Infamously known amongst the Arabs as the Champion Wrestler, he was undefeated, until the Prophet ﷺ offered to wrestle him in the outskirts of Makka. The Prophet ﷺ took him down three times altogether, which left Rukāna perplexed. When the Conquest of Makka took place, Rukāna accepted Islam, no doubt due to his previous engagements with the Messenger of Allah ﷺ.
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