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In the Name of God بسم الله

Attending Mixed MArtial Arts

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Salam Alaykum,

Here is a fatwa from Sayed Sistani regarding attending mixed classes - all kinds of martial arts. Some people seem to think that it is alright for men to attend these classes but female can't.

It is clear from the below fatwa that we can't look or interact with them in the class - which seems close to impossible. 

 

Question: Salam Alaykum,

I have recently signed up for martial arts (boxing) for fitness purposes. Majority of the boxing class has male members, however there are one or two females who also attend. I maintain my distance with them and don't come into contact with them. I want to know whether it is permissible for me to attend the class?

 

In the Name of God, the Most High

 

If you do not have anything to do with them and you do not look at them either, there is no problem.

 

May Allah grant you success.

www.sistani.org

Board of Istifta - Office of His Eminence, Al-Sayyid Ali Al-Sistani

 

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8 minutes ago, ali_fatheroforphans said:

@Diaz There are millions of threads on mixed gyms haha. It is very clear that attending mixed gyms is not allowed at all according to Sayed Sistani even if there is no fear of committing a sin. 

Are there male only gyms in the US?

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Posted (edited)

In the place where I live, there is no mixed gym. Only male gym or female gym, but the problem is the music is very loud and they are disrespectful as well.

 

11 minutes ago, ali_fatheroforphans said:

@Diaz There are millions of threads on mixed gyms haha. It is very clear that attending mixed gyms is not allowed at all according to Sayed Sistani even if there is no fear of committing a sin. 

I know brother, I just wanted someone to say it so that I can show it to other people.

Edited by Diaz
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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, Uni Student said:

Are there male only gyms in the US?

I don't live in the US, but it's rare to find a male only gyms in these Western countries. But in some cities you do have Muslim only gyms - which is  a good thing.

We need to create a spiritual environment for our youth who want can train their bodies but also maintain their spirituality. 

In Sydney there is a gym called "brotherhood gym". It seems like an awesome idea.

Edited by ali_fatheroforphans
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Posted (edited)

For brothers or sisters who want to workout but dislike gym, use one app called “home workout no equipment”. One of the best workout apps tbh. 

Edited by Diaz
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I don't go to the gym to workout. I have an exercise bike that I ride about six miles or so a day in my living room while I listen to podcasts. I'd try to ride longer but doing six miles ends up hurting my butt and I have to get off after that (I should get a gel seat and see if that does any better for me).

I haven't incorporated any pushups or crunches into my routine yet because I'm normally pretty smoked by the time I get off the bike and don't think that I'd have the energy to even be able to bang out a set of 20 each. I'm horrendously out of shape due to years of treating my body like an amusement park and living a sedentary lifestyle, but I'm trying to get in some semblance of shape because you only get one life on this earth and I don't like looking in the mirror at myself due to the weight that my meds have made me gain.

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There is only so much progress that can be made without equipment or weights - a small home gym with enough weights can cost a fortune (just counting a simple squat rack, barbells, and a wide range of weights).

The fact is that at some point, the gym becomes a necessity.

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On 6/30/2021 at 10:50 AM, Abdul-Hadi said:

I haven't incorporated any pushups or crunches into my routine yet because I'm normally pretty smoked by the time I get off the bike and don't think that I'd have the energy to even be able to bang out a set of 20 each.

It may either be due to your age or poor diet.

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Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, Sabrejet said:

There is only so much progress that can be made without equipment or weights - a small home gym with enough weights can cost a fortune (just counting a simple squat rack, barbells, and a wide range of weights).

The fact is that at some point, the gym becomes a necessity.

Not the same thing bro. Group fitness is fun - with all the accountability and people who push you. It's fun being part of a fitness community where everyone has a goal to get in shape.

Unfortunately we're only focusing on building mosques and I see so many health issues in our communities- people getting heart attacks and being overweight. Islam doesn't tell us to just attend the masjid 24/7. We should also focus on recreation and create proper Muslim gyms. 

Edited by ali_fatheroforphans
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If you are gonna workout with bodyweight then you need to keep doing variations to make it harder. So if you can do 15 pushups you need to do diamonds and if you can do that practice doing 1 arm pushups etc. that is the only way you will keep progressing

for weights you just add additional weight so its quiet simple

20 hours ago, Abdul-Hadi said:

I don't go to the gym to workout. I have an exercise bike that I ride about six miles or so a day in my living room while I listen to podcasts. I'd try to ride longer but doing six miles ends up hurting my butt and I have to get off after that (I should get a gel seat and see if that does any better for me).

I haven't incorporated any pushups or crunches into my routine yet because I'm normally pretty smoked by the time I get off the bike and don't think that I'd have the energy to even be able to bang out a set of 20 each. I'm horrendously out of shape due to years of treating my body like an amusement park and living a sedentary lifestyle, but I'm trying to get in some semblance of shape because you only get one life on this earth and I don't like looking in the mirror at myself due to the weight that my meds have made me gain.

do pushups before. I also hit the weights before cardio because if i did cardio first i wouldnt have any energy for weights

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15 minutes ago, Khurasani said:

I also hit the weights before cardio because if i did cardio first i wouldnt have any energy for weights

God, I remember I use to start with cardio for 20-25 min, after that I don’t feel like doing anything XD

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Posted (edited)

Being told to avoid mixed gyms even if you lower your gaze seems so ridiculous to me, no disrespect to the ulama. I can understand about mixed beaches but gyms?? Where the majority of people are men??

Too much emphasis is placed on avoiding this place and that environment, instead of encouraging people to hold themselves to a higher moral standard. People will also dress badly in schools and offices and supermarkets but you have to learn to cope. To me, fatwas like this show a certain level of disconnect between the alims in the middle east and Muslims living in the west. Its easy to make this fatwa when you have thousands of gender segregated gyms in the M.E. but I doubt that most western scholars would tell young men to cancel their memberships outright

Edited by Uni Student
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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, Uni Student said:

Being told to avoid mixed gyms even if you lower your gaze seems so ridiculous to me, no disrespect to the ulama. I can understand about mixed beaches but gyms?? Where the majority of people are men??

Too much emphasis is placed on avoiding this place and that environment, instead of encouraging people to hold themselves to a higher moral standard. People will also dress badly in schools and offices and supermarkets but you have to learn to cope. To me, fatwas like this show a certain level of disconnect between the alims in the middle east and Muslims living in the west. Its easy to make this fatwa when you have thousands of gender segregated gyms in the M.E. but I doubt that most western scholars would tell young men to cancel their memberships outright

There was a video of some sports event in France, the person handing out the medals was accompanied by a couple of women wearing bikinis, there were four guys waiting for medals, one was Muslim. The three other guys didn't even look in the direction of the women but the Muslim guy covered his head with a towel. No one who watched the video could miss the point that the others didn't even look in her direction, they were happy with the medals.

How are we to interpret that? Obviously we can say masha'Allah that the guy has such taqwa, but it really does come back to the whole thing about Muslim men just having no control in any environment, even after a gruelling combat tournament the guy still has women on his mind. Good for him and his wife, but still...

Edited by Ali_Hussain
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2 hours ago, Uni Student said:

Being told to avoid mixed gyms even if you lower your gaze seems so ridiculous to me, no disrespect to the ulama. I can understand about mixed beaches but gyms?

Bro just because we live in the West it doesn't mean our maraja have to change their fatwas to suit our desires and wants. Attending a mixed gym is really not life and death - keep in mind that our maraja will be  held accountable to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) on the day on the judgment. I find that the fatwa makes complete sense.

Attending or signing up for a place where women show their awrah (doesn't matter how many women present there), seems like something a mu'min should stay away from. It's the environment itself which is not decent.

Just ask yourself will any of the Imams (عليه السلام) ever encourage their followers to sign up for these gym where women are almost half naked? It just goes against our intellect to imagine this. would they themselves ever visit such a place (astagfurillah)?

It's extremely hypocritical for men to make justifications. If I use your argument, why don't we hold ourselves to higher moral standards and start allowing our Muslim sisters to go to the gym as well? 

The West has literally desensitized us to something unacceptable.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, ali_fatheroforphans said:

Bro just because we live in the West it doesn't mean our maraja have to change their fatwas to suit our desires and wants. Attending a mixed gym is really not life and death - keep in mind that our maraja will be  held accountable to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) on the day on the judgment. I find that the fatwa makes complete sense.

Attending or signing up for a place where women show their awrah (doesn't matter how many women present there), seems like something a mu'min should stay away from. It's the environment itself which is not decent.

Just ask yourself will any of the Imams (عليه السلام) ever encourage their followers to sign up for these gym where women are almost half naked? It just goes against our intellect to imagine this. would they themselves ever visit such a place (astagfurillah)?

It's extremely hypocritical for men to make justifications. If I use your argument, why don't we hold ourselves to higher moral standards and start allowing our Muslim sisters to go to the gym as well? 

The West has literally desensitized us to something unacceptable.

I understand and agree with you that the religion can't be changed just to make our lives easier but where else are we supposed to work out? "The community should open muslim-only gyms" is an utterly useless statement I don't see it as being something that will pick up traction and even if it does, where do we workout until then? Just do bodyweight exercises? 

Here's a question:

Considering that even with dress codes, many school girls dress indecently, will you be pulling out your children to homeschool them? Or pay tuition for a private Islamic school?

Edited by Uni Student
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Posted (edited)

Where I live, in the US, there are no male only Gyms. All gyms are mixed. So if going to mixed gyms is haram (which they aren't according to the OPs post, according to Sayyid Sistani), then all gyms would be haram. If you look at it from a logical point of view, as long as you 'guard your glance' and don't have physical contact with any non mahram as part of your workout, gyms are just like any other place, and the same rules apply. As long as you can go to the gym and stay within the Sharia, I don't see why they would be haram. If you can't go to the gym and stay within the Sharia, they you shouldn't go and you should find another way to maintain physical fitness.

There is a weird, 'Dearborn' twist on this gym thing. There are a few gyms (like the one I go to) where they have part of the gym that is women only, but there is no part of the gym that is 'male only'. So for the women, this if fine, but for the men, you have random women who will walk into the part of the gym which is mostly men and will start working out. Some of them are even muhajibah, which is even weirder, since they have a section of the gym that is only women. When I go, I try to find a corner, facing walls on at least two side, so I don't have random imagery walking in front of me while I am trying to work out. There is also loud rap or rock music in the gym but I take my own headphones and listen to other things (alot of times Islamic lecture series) which working out. I have lived in the US long enough to know how to create a more positive, Islamic environment directly around myself even when there are non Islamic things going on around me. It is a skill. It takes time to learn. 

 

Edited by Abu Hadi
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On 7/1/2021 at 1:50 AM, Abdul-Hadi said:

I don't go to the gym to workout. I have an exercise bike that I ride about six miles or so a day in my living room while I listen to podcasts. I'd try to ride longer but doing six miles ends up hurting my butt and I have to get off after that (I should get a gel seat and see if that does any better for me).

I think it is a good idea to listen to podcasts and make good use of time while riding the bike. Do you ride on the road?  Do you think it is safe to ride with headphones on?

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12 hours ago, Uni Student said:

Considering that even with dress codes, many school girls dress indecently, will you be pulling out your children to homeschool them? Or pay tuition for a private Islamic school?

From Sistani.org:

Quote

327. Question: Is it permissible for those who reside in the West to send their muhajjaba daughters to co-ed schools (irrespective of whether or not education is compulsory) while there exist non co-ed schools which obviously are expensive, located faraway or of a low academic standard?

Answer: It is not permissible, [even] if it [just] corrupts their character, let alone if it harms their beliefs and commitment to the faith which is what normally happens!
https://www.sistani.org/english/book/46/2056/

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, 313_Waiter said:

From Sistani.org:

 

If you look at this fatwa carefully, it is saying it is not permissible IF it corrupts their character or harms their commitment to the faith. Now if we were able to draw a strait line and come up with the argument that this is the SOLE reason for the girls character being corrupted and her faith being harmed, then yes it would be haram. This is very hard to do in actual practice. There are so many things in the West as well as the East that could have the same effect (indecent movies and tv shows, watching videos or playing computer games which mock the religion or encourage practices which are against Islam, immoral friends in the neighborhood, non religious relatives who allow or encourage haram, etc). 

If the non coed school is a realistic option for the parents, then yes she should go to that school. Like was said as part of the question, this isn't a realistic option for most muslim families who live in the West as most of these school are either far away, extremely expensive, have low academic standard, or a combination of the three. In the old days, you could get away with sending a girl to a school with low academic standards on the understanding that your daughter would get married and her husband would support her so she doesn't have to actually utilize her education in a career. This is not reality anymore. In the West, the majority of muslim women work, mostly out of necessity, either because she is divorced, her husband refuses to support her financially, or her husband doesn't make enough money to give the family a decent lifestyle in the West where most things, even normal things like a house, are expensive. So we should be just as concerned about the academic performance of our girls and the standards they are held to as we are with the boys. This is reality, as of today, 2021. 

As an example, in Dearborn we have a school which is run by Hasanain Rajabali, i.e. Wise Academy. It is a good school ,not too far away, they have good academic standards. The only issue is that the tuition is more than $10,000 a year per child. Now being as the average income in the US is approx $40,000 per year, for a normal family this school tuition, even if they have only 2 kids, would be more than half their income with the other half of their income going to pay for everything else (housing, cloths, food, insurance, utilities, taxes, etc). So this is only an option for wealthy families, which represent about 5% of the Muslim population. So for those kids, who already had alot of options, they have one more option. For the kids who don't have any good options, there is still no good options. So what did this school really accomplish. I don't know, actually. 

Edited by Abu Hadi
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1 hour ago, Abu Hadi said:

If you look at it from a logical point of view, as long as you 'guard your glance' and don't have physical contact with any non mahram as part of your workout, gyms are just like any other place, and the same rules apply.

I would say that it's not exactly the same. For example going to the mall for shopping is necessary, we need to buy food and get all our groceries. Even in this scenario it is recommended for us to just get it done with and leave, not for us to randomly be walking around and passing time.

However, going to the gym with all these facilities is not life and death, it's a luxury. There are other means to workout as well - such as going for a jog, playing sports with other men etc. This is why visiting mixed swimming pools, gyms etc. seem to have different rules than going to other places in public where women may also be dressed immodestly. I also find that in the gym - it's also the movements especially from the non-mahram which just makes it indecent. 

It may be different for some martial arts classes, such as attending traditional martial arts where women are actually wearing loose clothing. Regardless, it seems from the fatwa of Sayed Sistani that even if we can prevent ourselves from sin, it is still impermissible as an obligatory preauction. I feel it has more to do with attending a facility which has allowed and given women the opportunity to expose their awrah to men. As a matter of precaution it's best to stay away from it.

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Posted (edited)
On 7/2/2021 at 9:43 PM, Abu Hadi said:

Regular exercise is as much a part of maintaining our health as is regular eating and drinking

I agree with this. But if someone has to temporarily sacrifice luxury for the sake of maintaining their faith it is worth it. Luxury as in the convenience we find by going to any local gym.

If someone has the means to pay for gym membership, they should have the ability to buy the gym equipment and there are so many ways in which we can get our hearts pumping - skipping in the backyard, going for a jog, using the treadmill, hiring a personal trainer etc.  It is very hard for me to see how someone would have no other options. 

Edited by ali_fatheroforphans
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48 minutes ago, ali_fatheroforphans said:

If someone has the means to pay for gym membership, they should have the ability to buy the gym equipment and there are so many ways in which we can get our hearts pumping - skipping in the backyard, going for a jog, using the treadmill, hiring a personal trainer etc.  It is very hard for me to see how someone would have no other options. 

Sometimes there are  people who find it easier to exercise around people or friends, as a way of motivation if that makes sense. Whereas if they spent their time at home alone they'd be less motivated and get tired more. I don't know , this is just a personal experience. 

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9 hours ago, 3wliya_maryam said:

Sometimes there are  people who find it easier to exercise around people or friends, as a way of motivation if that makes sense. Whereas if they spent their time at home alone they'd be less motivated and get tired more. I don't know , this is just a personal experience. 

Yes agreed, but the question is are Muslim women also allowed to go to a mixed gym? 

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4 hours ago, ali_fatheroforphans said:

Yes agreed, but the question is are Muslim women also allowed to go to a mixed gym? 

I think it depends. Why is a Muslim male allowed to go to a mixed gym even if there are a few females whereas a Muslim woman can’t do the same (according to sistani)? I’m sorry but that does sound prejudiced. Even if there are women and he tries to make the effort not to ‘look’ he’s still gonna look. Unless there’s a ruling by the same marja or another that permits women to enter a mixed gym under the same circumstances.

But if one lives where there are segregated gyms for women , then obviously it would be preferred for Muslim women to go there. I think it just really depends. 
I’ve been to a mixed gym before because there was a free trial and it was near my uni. It was in the morning and there was hardly anyone there. So I just personally think it depends. 

 

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On 7/5/2021 at 3:00 PM, ali_fatheroforphans said:

I agree with this. But if someone has to temporarily sacrifice luxury for the sake of maintaining their faith it is worth it. Luxury as in the convenience we find by going to any local gym.

If someone has the means to pay for gym membership, they should have the ability to buy the gym equipment and there are so many ways in which we can get our hearts pumping - skipping in the backyard, going for a jog, using the treadmill, hiring a personal trainer etc.  It is very hard for me to see how someone would have no other options. 

not everyone has enough space in their home to have a home gym.

On 7/6/2021 at 6:02 AM, 3wliya_maryam said:

I think it depends. Why is a Muslim male allowed to go to a mixed gym even if there are a few females whereas a Muslim woman can’t do the same (according to sistani)? I’m sorry but that does sound prejudiced. Even if there are women and he tries to make the effort not to ‘look’ he’s still gonna look. Unless there’s a ruling by the same marja or another that permits women to enter a mixed gym under the same circumstances.

But if one lives where there are segregated gyms for women , then obviously it would be preferred for Muslim women to go there. I think it just really depends. 
I’ve been to a mixed gym before because there was a free trial and it was near my uni. It was in the morning and there was hardly anyone there. So I just personally think it depends. 

 

I think the haram in the gym for women is that many men would stare at them in a lustful way. I do think this can be avoided though if she dresses in loose clothes but most people in the gym wear really tight stuff. Aswell as that some women (not near the amount of men) also stare at the oposite sex in the gym in a lustful way. Its not only men but mostly men who do it. 

On 7/5/2021 at 3:51 PM, 3wliya_maryam said:

Sometimes there are  people who find it easier to exercise around people or friends, as a way of motivation if that makes sense. Whereas if they spent their time at home alone they'd be less motivated and get tired more. I don't know , this is just a personal experience. 

Yeah training with friends can be fun i have done it many times but tbh if you have the option of a home gym that is just a luxury to me. I workout alone in the gym because i cant afford the time do it with a friend and if i could workout at home i would because of how much time it saves. 

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