Friday, April 21, 2017

Eleven Islamic blog posts on swimming

I have changed original bolding which may be different in web source. Bolding here is mine. I have edited out the Islamic statements of praise to God and Mohammed. Sorry for some inconsistencies of text. Despite numerous times changing font size and colour, this blog service is not updating those changes. It may have something to do with the websites copied and pasted which were a bit troublesome


Islamic Workplace
Enabling Muslims and Non-Muslims To Work More Effectively and Harmoniously Together

Follow the Sunna of the Prophets: How exercise benefits the brain and overall performance
By Rafik Beekun

"In a hadith narrated from Hazrat Ibn Umar in which our beloved Prophet said ”Teach your children swimming, archery and horse riding”. In Sahih Muslim, the Prophet said, “Practice archery and horseback riding.” The Prophet said “Any action without the remembrance of Allah is either a diversion or heedlessness except four acts: walking from target to target (during archery practice), training a horse, . . . , and learning to swim.” (Reported by al Tabarani on good authority)   Finally, the Prophet (s) also allowed spear practice in the masjid, and also acted as a barrier for his wife Aisha (rah) when she was watching the Abyssinians practice sports."

If I understand correctly the missing section is 'playing with one's family', according to a later quote from al tabari in the same article.

This reminds me of the prohibition in the early days of ISKCON (Hare Krishnas) against 'frivolous activity'

Aisha was Mohammed's third wife.

Men and unisex swimming

"Q: Is it permissible for a Muslim man to go to unisex swimming pools and other similar places where people go about half-naked?

A: It is not permissible for a Muslim man to go to unisex swimming pools and other similar places if it entails a haram act. Based on obligatory precaution, according to Ayatullah Sistani, he must refrain from going to such places even if it does not entail a haram act."
So, based on this fatwa (pronouncement of an interpretation of Islamic law) after women only swims we should expect to see Muslim MEN only swims too. I give it ten years in Canada if Trudeau gets his way. This could be presented as 'men's modest swimwear only' events. Nothing Muslim about it of course...

Imam Ali Foundation [Shia?]
A Code of Practice For Muslims in the West
by Ayatullah Sayyid Ali Hussaini Sistani
I have downloaded this 148-page document and will study it in depth at another time. It shows how Muslims are less likely to integrate than members of other religions, and in my assessment even antagonistic.

3. EShayk

A girl, apparently from Turkish controlled Northern Cyprus, writes...

"In summer I go swimming almost every day in rivers, lakes or the ocean. I usually wear long (knee-length) swim trunks, but recently bought a basketball jersey to wear in the water as well. Is this necessary? If not in public or if no women are present, is this still necessary?"

Imam Senad Agic (originally from Bosnia) from the American Islamic Center in Chicago replies...

"The Messenger of Allah (saws) said: Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day must not enter the public bath without a lower garment, and whoever believes in Allah and the last Day must not let his wife go to the public bath.(En-Nasa’i, Et-Tirmidhi)
The minimum for a Muslim man is to always be covered (even when being given the last bath – ghusl – before going to be buried) from the navel to the knee. The more he is covered the better it is. In light of this it is better for him to wear a t-shirt when going swimming to avoid fitna (exposing attractive parts of the body)."
* According to my preliminary reading Tirmidhi was an Uzbek Sufi scholar during the Abbasid Caliphate (9th c. B.C.E.) His Hadith is considered one of the six canonical works of Sunni Islam. He collected the recollections in what is now Iraq and also what was Hijaz.
So, again, body shame is not just a female thing. It is both genders in Islam.



Q: "My husband recently joined a club which provides all facilities... Given that there is a lack and limited access to physical activity while staying in today's apartment complexes and also to teach our boys swimming which is Sunnah, we've decided to use the club facilities. However, there is no separate says for men but there are days in which women are allowed to use the indoor pool and accompanying gym separately. So is it wrong for my husband to swim in a pool that has women in it? I have to clarify that it's a very big pool and usually, there are very few swimmers (men and women) at the time we have chosen to attend."

I know it sounds like a joke but I have no reason to believe that the scholar isn't being serious.

A: There is no doubt that mixed swimming pools where both men and women swim at the same time are a great evil; a Muslim should avoid it, let alone swim in it while both men and women are present.
It is inconceivable that the pool in the club is so big that one does not see others in it, and does not see women. Even if it were assumed that this was the case (a swimmer does not see another in the pool because it’s too wide), the presence of your husband in such a place when it is attended by women is a door to temptation. Hence, it is better for him to close that door because a Muslim is ordained in Islam to protect himself and his family from temptation and its causes. Allaah says (what means): {O you who have believed, protect yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones, over which are [appointed] angels, harsh and severe; they do not disobey Allaah in what He commands them but do what they are commanded.}[Quran 66:6]

Indeed, there is nothing equal being on the safe side when it comes to one's religion, and your husband should not endanger it for the sake of swimming there. Indeed, he may practice other sports instead of swimming.
Allaah Knows best."

Every fatwa on this website ends with 'Allaah knows best', I left the one above intact.



"Q: What should woman wear in front of other women in swimming pool?

A: Visiting swimming pool is a permissible matter if it is in the limits of Sharia. Some of the limits of Sharia that should be considered are as follows:

1.A woman should cover her Aurah; from navel to knee in front of Muslim women and whole body in front of non-Muslim women save her face and hands till wrists and what could be unveiled at work.
2.There should be no mixing with opposite sex.
3.The other women at that place, more likely, should be covering their Awrah.
4.The place should be safe in such a manner that men cannot see what is inside.
5.Permission of a husband is must for a married woman since his obedience is an obligation and going to swimming pool is only a permitted act. So, the obligation should be given the priority.

As for the Hadith your referred to, it is that the Prophet said:"If a woman puts off her clothes in a place other than her husband's house, she tears the veil between her and Allah" [hadith sources I omit here]. This Hadith means any place where a woman is not sure of being covered from men.

Therefore, many scholars have permitted women to enter the Sauna peculiar to women if they put the above conditions into effect."

Ok, I am learning something here. The company of non-Muslim women is taboo company to devout Muslim *women*! So, I will watch for *Muslim* women only swims - no kuffars!



"Q: Swimming allowed for girls, even if they're covered from shoulders to ankle?

A: Swimming is lawful for females if the following conditions are met

1. The Awrah is completely covered.
2. There is no fear that alien men could see them.
3. That their going to the swimming pool does not lead to neglecting the rights of their husbands or children.
4. That there is no mixing between males and females in the swimming pool.
5. That the swimming itself does not cause them any harm."



"Q: I am worried about Muslim girls sport activities at schools. Especially swimming, which is obligation to know. For example, there are so many Muslim women unable to swim, because they do not know how and cause of this not able to save they drowning children in the water. So - I have a question now, does Islam tolerate this. In the schools are these swimming lectures obliged to follow, but most of the schools have mixed lectures. Most of the school are getting tired of excuses due to the religion and then the big demonstration exposes, that all Muslim girls shall change the schools, if they want to apply they religion... but the problem is, in Europe, where we as Muslims are more respected commonly, as in Arab countries, have no Islamic schools.

A: As regards your saying that it is an obligation to learn to swim, if you mean that the school obliges girls to attend these mixed swimming classes, then it is not permissible for these girls to attend these classes or to remain in these schools. They have to move to another school where religious prohibitions are respected. Otherwise, they have to remain at home as Allaah will hold them accountable for not wearing Hijab and for exposing themselves, and He will not hold them accountable for studies and swimming classes.

Saying that they have to attend these mixed classes because they need to learn to swim in order to save their children is not a valid excuse. Such an excuse does not permit them to commit such a forbidden act.

So we advise all the sisters to fear Allaah and to know that they will stand before Him in a Day equal to 50,000 years. It is only on that Day that you will know the evil consequences of learning to swim in mixed swimming classes."



"Q: I want to ask a question about swimming, if I can swim in a swimming pool were there is non-Muslim women are looking after us? I am not showing my 'Awrah.

A: Among these conditions is that a woman should not see other women's 'Awrah (parts of the body that must be covered in Islam - in case of women, it is all their body except their face and hands) and we think that you will be seeing other women's 'Awrah. So in this case it is not permissible for you to go even if you are covering your 'Awrah. Some scholars are of the view that a non-Muslim woman can only see the face and hands of a Muslim woman as all her body is an 'Awrah in front of non-Muslim women except her face and hands. This is the view of the Maaliki school; their evidence is the Saying of Allaah (which means): {...and not reveal their adornment except to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husbands fathers, or their sons, or their husbands’ sons, or their brothers, or their brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons, or their (Muslim) women (i.e., their sisters in Islam),..}[Quran 24:31]. This means that a Muslim woman should not reveal her beauty to a non-Muslim woman, so you have to be cautious about this as a non-Muslim woman could describe you to her husband and the like."

Let's take this to its logical conclusion - a Muslim woman should not even be in the house of a woman who has been to the city of a woman who has been to a swimming pool where non-Muslim women swim. Absurdity 101. Somebody needs a wake up call. And it's not Muslims, it's non-Muslims who are probably not aware that such thinking and behaviour goes on in Canada. I sued to think that some Hindus and Sikhs were ultra-conservative, but Islam is downright ridiculous.



"Q: I live in USA and i have 2 daughters 6 and 3. I started letting them have swiming [sic] lessons for the last 2 months, their female instructor is a non-muslim and she doesn't cover her Awra (she wears the usuall [sic] swimming suits they have here). Usually when it's time for the swimming classes only the kids and the instructors are in the pool, a friend told me may be it's haram to let my kids go to learn how to swim because of the instructors' swimming suit ? So is it really haram or not? taking into consideration any where we go here the non-muslims doesn't cover their Awra (in the mall, work.....) So please tell me exactly what to do.

A: [After three Koranic verses] Therefore, if you send your daughters to this non-Muslim female instructor, you are exposing their creed and moral conduct to danger, as it is most likely that your daughters will be emotionally attached to her especially if she treats them well, as a result, they will love her. Consequently, they will try to imitate her in her behaviour and probably in her creed, and then it will be a catastrophe. It is only then that you will regret but it will be already too late. [two quote by Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim] In addition to this, there is no necessity in teaching your daughters how to swim."



Islamic Center of Beverly Hills


According to this website while children should be taught to swim at an early age, it must be a private family event.
Immediately after swimming lessons are finished the children should wear their regular long, loose, modest Islamic clothing.”
Swimming should not be at public beaches or swimming pools, for walking around in swimwear “gradually eliminates the child's shame, modesty (Sharm or Haya) or shyness.” The author(s) claim that, “it becomes natural for these children to walk with short pants and a bra.” He/she take a jab at Southern France for toplessness.

Children must be taught shame and remorse. With bralessness, tank-tops and bikinis, “shame goes out the window.” Skimpy clothing leads to “premarital sex, sexually transmitted diseases, teenage pregnancy and extra marital sex even when they are married... then the divorce rate goes up to 90% and traditional family values become meaningless.”

Among the list of five things to do to teach and keep alive body-shame even in small children are... “Avoid going to the beach or public swimming or vacation cities with water sports,” and “boys or girls should be ashamed to get undressed in front of others, even their close family members.” The cause and effect logic I find amazing, something out of 1920...

Once your children are used to cover from age 1 to 13, then at the age 13, you do not have to fight them for wearing a short skirt, going out without bra and tank top clothing. Then you do not have to worry about dating, tattoos, dying their hair purple, premarital sex, teenage pregnancy, drug and alcohol addiction.”



Question: "I am a Muslim woman aged twenty-eight years, and I want to go swimming so that I can lose [sic] some weight. Can I go swimming in a swimming pool wearing clothes that cover me from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet? There are special clothes for Muslim women who want to swim and they cover the entire body, but they cling to the body when wet. What does Islam have to say about this? What if I wear a towel over these clothes and cover myself beforehand and straight after coming out of the pool? Is it permissible for me to swim in this case? Is it permissible for me to swim if there are some men present?"

Answer: "Islam enjoins women to stay at home and not go out unnecessarily, so as to preserve their chastity, maintain their dignity and protect them from all evil.
Muslim women going out to public centres and swimming pools is something that is emphatically forbidden, because it involves a number of evils and negative consequences.

If these swimming pools are in public centres that are frequented by men and women, this is a great evil. Abu Dawood (4010) and at-Tirmidhi (2803), who classed the report as hasan, narrated from Abu Maleeh al-Hudhali that some women from Syria entered upon ‘Aa’ishah and she said: Perhaps you are the people whose women enter bathhouses? They said: Yes. She said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) say: “There is no woman who removes her clothes anywhere other than her house, but she has torn (the screen) that is between her and Allaah.” Classed as saheeh [authentic, reliable source] by al-Albaani in Saheeh at-Tirmidhi."

The author says that even bathing with other women is a sin And an engineer designing swimming pools that are not Islamic -- that is a sin too.

Further along we learn the ruling of Shaykh Ibn 'Uthaymeen (born in 1925, a respected Sunni scholar of the Salafi school of islamic jurisprudence in Saudi Arabia -- yes, I looked him up)...

"My advice to my brothers is not to let their women go to swimming pools and sports clubs because the Prophet.. encouraged women to stay at home. Moreover, if a woman becomes accustomed to that she will become very attached to it because she is subject to her emotions, and in that case she will become distracted from her religious or worldly duties and she will always be talking about these activities in gatherings. And if the woman does such things that will be a cause of her losing sense of shame and modesty, and if a woman loses her sense of shame and modesty do not ask about the evil consequences..." 

I learned a lot from this article including the context, that hamaams (bathhouses) at the time of the hadiths being collected were not both genders, therefore the Islamic rulings concern women mixing semi-dressed with fellow women!

BTW, 'hasan' means not as well-established as 'shahih' (literally 'good'). There are three categories of individual hadiths: good, strong and weak with respective reliability. For the first two centuries of Islam (after hadiths started to be collected presumably), there was no middle category. Or so I read. I am certainly no expert.

What amazes me how subjugated women (and even men) are to religious authorities in Islam. This is like something out of Europe of the Middle Ages. Why aren't Muslims rebelling? Why is there no social and scientific enlightenment like 16th century Europe? Clearly, Islam is a mindset totally alien to modern western values.

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