Is it permissible for women to do sports in places where men are present?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

In Islam, all kinds of sports activities that are beneficial to health and that improve the body are encouraged. In particular, young people are asked to develop and strengthen their physical and spiritual structures.

The Prophet (pbuh) said, "Teach your children to shoot arrows, ride horses and swim." (Fathul-Kabir, 2/231) There is no difference between men and women in this regard.

However, all deeds and behaviors of a Muslim, whether male or female, must comply with basic Islamic rules. Worship and business life should not be hindered due to sports, and the rules of hijab (tasattur) should not be violated. Women should do swimming and one of the other sports in indoor swimming places or private swimming pools and gyms that are only for women.

As for your question:

It is good to have loose-fitting dresses and it is fard for a woman to cover her head. In addition, it is not appropriate to do somersaults and different movements in the presence of men there.

As a general rule, the deeds and attitudes that provoke men's feelings and do not show respect to the distance necessary between men and women in terms of Islam are not suitable according to Islam.

From this point of view, we need to know that there are some parts of a woman that she cannot show to men who are mahram and non-mahram and even to women; there are also dressing styles and even movements that she needs to avoid. We should remember that she was forbidden to stamp her feet on the ground for the purpose of attracting attention. (an-Nur, 24/31)

According to the religion of Islam, women can both work and do sports in appropriate environments. There is nothing wrong with it. In this regard, there are three basic rules that women should observe. Firstly, the woman should observe the rules of hijab in the presence of non-mahram men. Secondly, she should not do deeds and attitudes that evoke sexuality. Thirdly, she should not be alone with a non-mahram man in a place where others cannot enter without their permission. Within the framework of those rules, there is no religious obstacle to women working, participating in sports activities, acquiring a profession in a sport, establishing their own business, having job interviews and going out for it.

It is a definite order of our religion for Muslim women who have reached puberty to cover the parts of the body other than their hands, face and feet with a dress (covering) that will not show their body outlines and color in the presence of non-mahram men. The religion of Islam did not introduce a decree about the form of garments (covering); it was left to the custom and traditions.

Accordingly, it is permissible for a woman to do sports provided that she does it in accordance with Islamic conditions and in an environment suitable for Islam.

To sum up:

a. Sport is not an end in Islam, but it can be used as a means for legitimate goals. There is no difference between men and women in this regard.

b. It is permissible for a woman to do sports by observing the limits of hijab (tasattur) and privacy in order to gain vitality and vigor, to lose weight, and to have fun with her husband.

c. There is no drawback to women doing sports that build their bodies and enable them to gain self-confidence such as karate and taekwondo in a closed place where men cannot see them in a way that will not disrupt their obligatory duties. However, it should be carefully considered whether it is necessary not.

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