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In the Name of God بسم الله

Swimming modestly in North Carolina

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Maryaam

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Swimming in modesty: Muslim women head to secluded pool

By Yonat Shimron, newsobserver.com

Jan 08, 2009, 15:11

Salman Sheikh was organizing a swim class for his two sons last summer when fellow Muslim parents approached him about starting a class for girls.

Sheikh told them he would ask the Curran Aquatic Centre in Cary, N.C., whether it could accommodate a group of Muslims who preferred a women-only pool.

Yes, of course, the leaders of the aquatic centre said, and showed him a 15-yard pool that could be rented for $170 an hour.

Problem was, the small pool overlooked a larger, Olympic-size pool, and Sheikh wondered whether the centre could provide blinds to cover the windows and shield the women from onlookers.

Sure, the centre�s leaders said, but it would cost $3,000 for custom-made blinds. Sheikh was ready to drop the idea. But the Muslim community in Raleigh, N.C., and Cary wouldn't let him.

Within a month, Sheikh, a native of Pakistan who works as a project manager for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, raised the money and signed up 35 women for the first class.

Last month, a group of women of all ages dipped their toes into the water for the first time.

This type of accommodation to the religious requirements of their faith is something Muslims are seeing more. All-Muslim Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops have cropped up across the country. Muslims are entering politics, studying Islam at major American universities, even finding Halal, or ritually slaughtered foods, at local stores.

"I see this as sign of Muslims learning to operate within American civic institutions," said Omid Safi, a professor of Islamic studies at UNC-Chapel Hill.

For many of the women who signed up for the first class, learning to swim had been a long-deferred wish.

"I didn't ever want to be in a situation where I fall in the water and can't help myself," said Tarannum Khan, 30, who signed up for the class in Cary.

Many devout Muslim women adhere to their faith's requirements to guard their modesty, which for them means covering their hair and bodies in the presence of men who aren't their relatives. By doing so, they believe they are deflecting the desires and gazes of the opposite sex and living the kind of life the Prophet Muhammad might have approved.

In mostly Muslim countries, it is common to have separate pools for men and women. But in the United States that's virtually unheard of, and as a result many Muslim women grow up not knowing how to swim.

Saleha Bhatti of Raleigh, who accompanied her 16-year-old daughter, Sanaa, to the swim class, said that was the case in her family. Had she stayed in Pakistan, she might have taken lessons at a women's pool, but in the United States, it wasn't an option.

"We never had the chance to learn," Bhatti said.

Jenny Jaber, a convert to Islam who lives in Raleigh, said learning to swim should not be a luxury. Indeed, she said, learning to swim is encouraged in the oral sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, known as the Hadith.

"I've wanted to waterproof this community for a long time," said Jaber, who worked as a water safety instructor until she converted. "We're around water all the time, and it unnerves me to see these women standing on piers."

The first swimming class for Muslim women focused mostly on the fundamentals of water safety: wading, learning to float, and learning to breathe.

Many of the women came dressed in full-length Burkinis, swimming costumes that looks much like a scuba-diving suit but are made of water-protected polyester rather than rubber. Designed for Muslim women, they cover the entire body except for the hands, feet and face.

Huma Sheikh, the wife of Salman, said she considers herself a pioneer among Triangle Muslim women who have learned to swim. She is proud that her husband and her two boys, Hamza, 9, and Mohhid, 7, can swim. And proud that she can, too.

"I've learned all the strokes," she said, "but I'm best at the breast stroke."

The first class ended last month, and the Sheikhs are planning another one in March or April.

"It's created a lot of excitement," said Doracy Harrison, program manager at the Curran Aquatic Centre. "It's been really neat."

For the Sheikhs, the success of the class is a lesson in cultural adjustment. "It makes sense for business and service providers to accommodate the needs of the community," Salman Sheikh said. "All it takes is dialogue to make it happen."

http://www.halaljournal.com/index2.php?pag...=2&pid=2875

Edited by Maryaam
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(bismillah)

Awwww this is very nice to hear, even though I am envious! I love to swim, and I recently thought I had found somewhere that was appropriate. They even had female lifeguards during the ladies swimming session which seems to be quite unusual here. Anyhow I soon realised that it was not a guranteed all female environment when a male lifeguard walks on pool side to have a chat with his female collegues. :squeez:

I'm pretty peeved that for just 1 hour, the centre could not guarantee an all female environment. It's not just a muslim female thing, its a gender thing. Many non-muslim women don't want men around when they swim because they feel self-conscious. People in non-muslim countries seemed to have caught on to that fact if they put all ladies swimming sessions on, but then why they go on to ruin it by having male lifeguards or gym full of males overlooking the pool etc is just MEAN!

My plan is to inherit alot of money (not sure from who yet) and build a pool in my own back garden and liberate myself from this oppression. :angry:

Edited by keys2paradise
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(bismillah)

Alhamdulillah, this is good news. I also feel so lucky that for one hour a week we have a local swimming pool in Edinburgh that caters for Moslem women. Blinds are drawn, spectator gallery closed and it is strictly women only - so we can splash away in our bathing costumes. All the lifeguards are female and spend time instructing the women who cannot swim.

I really wish it were more than once a week, but for the moment I am truly grateful for this one hour. There are several other female only sessions, but as mentioned above they cannot guarantee male lifeguards or the odd spectator don't pop in.

Allah hafez

Fatimeh

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At my local Leisure Centre, they have a women's only evening once a week, and there are no male attendants. I'm surprised that the Residents of Raliegh didn't just to that instead of investing in those rip off blinds, and $170 dollars an hour?? It costs £4.50 (approx $2.45) to swim all evening at our place.

My only concern is the fact that non-muslim women also attend these classes and I'm not sure whether it's permissable, in terms of muslim hygiene to share a pool with non muslims. Anyone know?

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(bismillah)

My only concern is the fact that non-muslim women also attend these classes and I'm not sure whether it's permissable, in terms of muslim hygiene to share a pool with non muslims.

Salaam

I think this is making things way too difficult to think like that. Who is to say the Moslem women at the pool are 'practising'.

Just cause someone goes to the Moslem women's swim session does not meant they practise or abide by the rules of cleanliness they should. On the other hand, non-Moslems may be perfectly clean.

And in any case, we shower before and after the swim session, so I don't see a problem.

Let's not make Islam complicated.

Allah hafez

Fatimeh

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I don't get your point. How is it making it complicated by questioning whether we can get in a pool with non muslim ladies?

If those who attend the sessions aren't practicing then why would they bother to go to the trouble of attending a women's only class?

Also, if they profess to be muslim then I must give them the benefit of the doubt and presume that they are clean as deemed by our faith. On the other hand if they have no affiliation with Islam then they may be najis. I know many muslim girls who aren't 'practising' but still keep clean as is required by Islam.

I don't see how this could be considered a complexity when keeping clean is considered half of a persons imaan. We can't just avoid asking important questions just because a few people think it's too complicated!!

NB- if a person does not adhere to the Islamic rules on cleanliness they can't be considered 'clean'!!

Edited by Lisa_Mafia
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Salaamu-ya-Haq Chaar Baap-o-Jai Shri Krishna Madad was Salaam

Well first the thing is we must realise that at times those trivial issues out of which we in our egotistikness make assume proportion from Mere Mole Hills to towering Mountains in the process of which we shed rivers of blood across the Dharti Maa. Well let me tell you I have been swimming in Mixed Pools my self & I have talked with girls in Bikinis & Ive looked them straight in the eye without feeling any thing odd or infirm or to do with desires. What really matters is people their feelings their emotions & sentiments which are the real things which we so callously trample in our queast to satisfy our egoes.

I can describe my self well height is 6 feet, Eye colour Hazel brown with hair of auburn Shade age 23 yrs weight 78 kgs approx gender Male , complexion weatish, well sorry I cant give a picture but many people tell me I look very Beautifull. Got a problem any one. I didnt boast of my self when I have given these personal details. So do any of you find me attractive?

Also to calm your hearts down I sujjest you guys need is to do ZIarat of the Beautifull Seyedna Vidhy Balan (ra)

http://www.vidyabalan.net/vidya-balan-photos.asp

As a beautifull woman like her has played a strong role in Parineeta & earned Sifaat-e-Kamali which also happened to be her first film therefore continuing & extending in the SUnnat of the British Government I have conferred the title of (ra) to her. Got a Problem with that. At least she is much better than that overgrown Firangi Karantina (L.A.)

Bombay Shareef

Bombay Shareef

Bombay Shareef

Seyedna Vidhya Balan (ra)

Besides Shame is really in the eyes & not just confined to dress issues alone

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I don't get your point. How is it making it complicated by questioning whether we can get in a pool with non muslim ladies?

If those who attend the sessions aren't practicing then why would they bother to go to the trouble of attending a women's only class?

Also, if they profess to be muslim then I must give them the benefit of the doubt and presume that they are clean as deemed by our faith. On the other hand if they have no affiliation with Islam then they may be najis. I know many muslim girls who aren't 'practising' but still keep clean as is required by Islam.

I don't see how this could be considered a complexity when keeping clean is considered half of a persons imaan. We can't just avoid asking important questions just because a few people think it's too complicated!!

NB- if a person does not adhere to the Islamic rules on cleanliness they can't be considered 'clean'!!

(bismillah)

Firstly, there are many non-practising Moslems attend women only sessions. They may not practice but don't want or parents won't allow them to attend mixed sessions. And don't even get me started on presuming Moslems are clean 'as deemed by our faith'!!!!! This is what I used to naively think many, many years ago, until I visited Moslem community centres and even mosques and had the mis-fortune to need to use the bathroom (toilets in churches are usually clean, unlike many mosques) or even seen hygiene in the food preparation and delivery. You cannot presume that Moslems are going to be cleaner than non-Moslems. Supposed to be YES, in practice NO.

Secondly, What I mean is .... you can't avoid non-Muslims - this will make your life very difficult in a non-Moslem society. How can you travel on public transport? Swimming is not a problem because you shower immediately afterwards don't you with the showers by the pool, so you will be completely clean before dressing. And also there are Moslem children, what is to say that even if their parents keep them clean, they don't have an 'accident' in the water, even in a completely Moslem pool? Yes some people may enter the pool room in an unclean state, but you are supposed to shower at the showers by the pool before entering at most pools I have been to (and people do this), so surely this would clean them to some extent!

I think we should welcome these sessions, and to start thinking along these lines is seeing problems where there aren't any. I have often wondered about sitting on buses and trains - as people have sat there who have dogs and there may be dog hair or they put their shoes on the seats, but what can you do? stand up for a 6 hour train journey or even a half hour bus journey? At least at the swim centre, however clean or unclean the pool water is, you shower off immediately afterwards and none of your clothes are contaminated. Also I think there are rulings on the amount of water in a pool/pond compared to amount of najessat. If the area is so great, which I presume the pool is, then it cancels it out doesn't it? as with a lake or the sea.

may Allah guide us

Fatimeh

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Like I said People Matter more along with their feelings , their emotions & their sentiments & not these 2 Pence trivial issues on hich we flaunt our petty egoisticness.

Who is better a Hijabi who is Rude & Hypocritical or a Bikini clad swimmer who has a good heart & good intentions & neither harms nor hurts any body?

Also shame is in the eye & not entirely an issue of dress also 1st the Quran speaks of Hijaab for men prior to women.

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I can describe my self well height is 6 feet,

Eye colour Hazel brown

with hair of auburn Shade

age 23 yrs

weight 78 kgs approx

gender Male ,

complexion weatish,

well sorry I cant give a picture but many people tell me I look very Beautifull. Got a problem any one. I didnt boast of my self when I have given these personal details. So do any of you find me attractive?

looks like the sisters didn't reply... maybe you need to post a picture so they can tell if you're attractive or not

:lol:

Also to calm your hearts down I sujjest you guys need is to do ZIarat of the Beautifull Seyedna Vidhy Balan (ra)

http://www.vidyabalan.net/vidya-balan-photos.asp

oh heart calming for sure thank u

Edited by Alhumdolilllah
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looks like the sisters didn't reply... maybe you need to post a picture so they can tell if you're attractive or not

:lol:

oh heart calming for sure thank u

Thats right La la la la la :D

(Felt like Playing Musik) & sorry to be frank with regard to my eyes they are actually Chest Nut Brown not Hazel I made an error thats all. But I am attractive none the less. :blush: Chestnut is more darker shade than Hazel if I am not mistaken. ;)

But any ways I shure hope we all get a direction in life to chanellise our energies & evolve accoring to our own genius. :) :lol:

Edited by Masjid-e-Tulsi
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