Understanding Mental Health is an ongoing challenge in our community. One of the challenges many people struggle with is the idea of self-care. Self-care appears as an indulgence that would relinquish the control we must have over our nafs. However, We are blessed with the Holy Quran as a framework and the Sunnah as a practice, as both delicately interweave wellbeing into the fabric of society. Our scholars have said, “You cannot walk on Sirat Al Mustaqim with a Nafs that has been killed.”
Self-care is about honouring the body, mind and soul gifted to us by Allah (s.w.t). All our elements have their haqq. Their due. However, none can be indulged fully. We honour ourselves and our religion by developing this self-awareness and understanding. By caring for and prioritising our holistic wellbeing and attending to our needs so that our body, mind and soul, can continue to assist us along our journey in this life.
Imagine a Rider with a Bow and a Horse. The Rider is the soul, The saddle is the Heart, The Weapon is the Mind and the Horse is his body. For the rider, he has a responsibility to maintain all his equipment and care for his animal. He also has to make sure he can direct his animal (His body) towards his goal, instead of his animal steering him away. He needs to ensure his mind (The weapon) is attuned, and he has the know-how and the ability to wield it as he wishes. As for the Rider he only needs Allah. We are reminded of the importance and need for nourishment of the Soul, “For verily in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest (Quran 13:28)
At Archery Ascension we then teach Archery, as a way of nurturing our mind. As discussed in our last article, we learn the art of embodied mindfulness. Now, working with horses becomes more than just riding. It becomes the art of learning to be connected to our body and those around us.
The same way we pay attention to our horse; by caring for it’s every physical need through feeding it nutritious food and drink, bonding with it, establishing boundaries with it and finally training it; we owe ourselves the same level of care on our journey to Allah. The believer’s body, mind and soul is much more worthy of being attended to. Through reviving the “Sunnah sports” not only do we engage in ibadah we learn to practice self-care and care of others.
May your arrows fly true and your dua be answered.