Q&A: Going to the Gym


Thursday, 29 November 2007 07:01


I attend the local gym with some friends. Our purpose is purely to keep fit. We are purdah conscious and ensure that the rules of purdah are not compromised. An Aalim in our town has criticised the practice of Muslim women attending the gym. Please advise us whether what we are doing is wrong.



From your question it appears that you are one who has some concern for upholding Islamic values. You therefore will be addressed in this light. Those who have little or no concern for Deen, who prefer the immoral ways of the West over the pure ways of Islam and whose object is the pleasures of this world rather than the pleasure of Allah Ta’ala, are addressed differently.


While you are concerned about your physical health, as a Mu’minah (Believing Woman), you are surely more concerned for the health of your soul. Hence while trying to burn off the excess fat from your physical self, you should never go near anything that will pile on the “fat” of sin. If one does not sincerely repent, this “fat” will then be burnt off in the fire of Jahannum, Allah forbid!


Keeping this in mind, consider just two aspects that apply to going to the gym. Firstly, Allah Ta’ala declares to every Mu’minah: “And remain firmly within your homes” (S33:V32). Thus a Mu’minah should only emerge from her home for a genuine necessity, and only after adopting the dress code and other laws of purdah that have been prescribed by Shariah. Going to the gym is not necessary at all. The gym is more often used by those who have more excess wealth to burn rather than excess fat. Maintaining a healthy diet and exercising in the privacy of one’s home is sufficient to keep healthy. Millions of people keep fit without ever going to a gym. You can also do the same.


Secondly, the environment of most gyms is extremely detrimental to one’s Imaan. Let alone women, even men should strictly avoid such places. One can never totally escape the effects of a sinful environment. Many people   ventured into such environments without the slightest intention of committing any wrong. In a short while the “heat” of the environment ignited their own passions and desires. The end result was destruction of Deen and dunya. While western “liberated” minds will wonder what is wrong with attending the gym, one who observes through the spectacles of the Qur’an and Sunnah will know how dangerous such environments are for one’s Deen. In fact, attending the gym has indeed broken down some marriages and led to other severe problems. An environment of nudity and shamelessness, of music and other vices is not an environment for any Mu’minah, let alone one who is purdah conscious.


Furthermore, when marriages have been rocked by issues stemming from one of the spouses attending the gym, can you afford to go there at the risk of  some doubt being cast on your character and integrity? In such places even an unintentional action (such as mistakenly bumping into somebody) could result in suspicions and doubts being created. These are real life situations!!! Can you afford such a risk?


The above should be sufficient for you. If you still have any doubts in this regard, you may forward them so that they could be answered as well.