Could you please verify if the following is a Hadith or a statement of Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radiyallahu ‘anhu):
“Teach your children swimming, archery and horse riding”
The narration as appears in your question is recorded by Imam Abu Ya’qub Ishaq ibn Abi Ishaq Al Qarrab (Demise 429 A.H) as the statement of Sayyiduna ‘Umar ibn Al Khattab (radiyallahu ‘anhu).
(Fadailur Ramyi Fi Sabilillah, Hadith: 15)
Imam Ahmad, Imam Ibn Hibban (rahimahullah) and others have also recorded this statement of Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radiyallahu ‘anhu) with slightly different wording and without the mention of ‘horse riding’.
(Musnad Ahmad, vol. 1 pg. 46, Sahih Ibn Hibban; Al Ihsan, Hadith: 6037 and Musannaf ‘Abdur Razzaq, Hadith: 16198. Also see Talkhisul Habir, vol. 4 pg. 304)
These words ‘Teach your children swimming and archery’ have also been reported as a Hadith of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) with very weak chains. Imam Bayhaqi (rahimahullah) has also pointed out the weakness of one chain.
(Refer: Shu’abul Iman, Hadith: 8297 and Faydul Qadir, Hadith: 5477 and 5478)
However, there are many authentic narrations wherein Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) placed great emphasis on learning archery as well as swimming.
See here for one such example.
In summary, The Hadith in question should be quoted as the statement of Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radiyallahu ‘anhu) together with keeping in mind that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) also encouraged taking up these activities in other authentic narrations.
And Allah Ta’ala Knows best.
Answered by: Moulana Suhail Motala
Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar
Checked by: Moulana Haroon Abasoomar