Advice to my Sisters Regarding Zumba and Dance Fitness

Asalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu my dear Sisters,
I pray this message reaches you whilst you are in good health and high emaan.

I wish to address an issue which has been troubling me for some time and that is the issue of dance fitness classes, such as zumba, bhangra and belly-dancing which has now become a craze amongst our Muslim sisters.

Before I begin I would like to remind you of the saying of our Beloved Prophet, sall’Allahu alayhi wasalam who said: “Ad-deenu naseeha” (The deen is sincere advice), and today I advise my Muslim sisters sincerely to fear Allah. I ask that you please reflect on my words and not accuse me of being judgemental. Instead think good of me and know that I am only striving to meet the characteristics mentioned by my Lord in Surah Taubah 9:71:

“The believers, men and women, are Auliya (friends, protectors, supporters) of one another, they enjoin al Ma’ruf (all that Allah has commanded of good) and forbid from al Munkar (all that Allah has forbidden)” [Quran 9:71]

If anyone should become offended and angry whilst reading this then know: “Whoever pleases Allah by angering the people, Allah will suffice him, but whoever angers Allah by pleasing the people, Allah will leave him to the people.” [1]

Over the past year or so I have seen many sisters developing a keen interest, almost to the point of obsession with dance fitness classes such as zumba, bhangra and belly-dancing. Our bodies are an amanah and we have a duty to keep ourselves in good health as best we can and we must do this through halaal means such as eating halaal foods bought with halaal money and exercising to keep in shape. We can exercise by attending fitness classes if these classes are halaal environments in accordance with what pleases our Creator. Zumba, bhangra and belly-dance classes are not considered halaal environments for a number of reasons which I will go into now:

MUSIC

All three of these classes are dance classes which most of the time contain music. The majority of the scholars are in agreement that music is haraam based on evidence from Quran and Sunnah.

In Surah Luqman 31:6 Allah says: “And of mankind is he who purchases idle talk (lahwal hadeeth) to mislead from the Path of Allah ...” The companion Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood (rh) commented on this ayah saying: “I swear by Him besides whom there is no other God,that it refers to ghinaa (singing).”

And the Prophet, sall’Allahu alayhi wasalam, said: “There will be people of my Ummah who will seek to make lawful; fornication, wine drinking and the use of ma`aazif (musical instruments)”.

Detailed analysis of the arabic word `ma`aazif ` shows that it refers to musical instruments, the sounds of those musical instruments and singing with the accompaniment of instruments.

This should be sufficient to show the impermissibility of music. The music used in these dance classes is also known in some cases to contain sexually explicit words. Do the Muslimaat attending these classes have no hayaa!? If music in general is haraam, then this is even more so. Yet many sisters are actually taken in by the rhythm, gyrating and whatever else with no shame and even singing along with the obscene lyrics – n'authubillah!

DANCING

Women dancing have been permitted by the scholars according to time, place and certain conditions. Women are not permitted to dance in front of men, except privately for their own husbands, and without the use of music. Women may also dance in front of other women during times of celebration such as weddings and Eid and again this is without the use of musical instruments, only the duff (a hand drum) is permissible. The scholars have said this dancing is only permissible if it does not involve enticing movements that may stir desire with the dancer or those watching her, and may be accompanied by singing if the words are virtuous and clean.

The movements during zumba, banghra and belly-dance classes are, in actual fact, designed to be alluring, enticing and sexual. Explict moves alongside explicit lyrics which stir desire in some women causing them to complement and even touch each others bodies in a manner that is not befitting between women. So how can any of this be considered halaal?

‘AWRAH

There are limits on what parts of the body women may display in front of other women. Allah has listed in Surah An-Noor 24:31 those people that a Muslim woman is allowed to remove her hijaab in front of and He, subhanahu wa ta’ala has said “... or their women...”. The fuqaha are of two opinions with regards to unveiling in front of women. One opinion is that it is only permissible to unveil in front of Muslim women and the other opinion is that permissible for her to unveil in front of any woman among the disbelievers, unless she feels that may lead to something harmful, i.e. that the non-Muslim woman may look at her in a sexual way or she may describe her appearance to others.

There are limits to what a woman may expose of her body to other women. The scholars have agreed that the feet, shins, forearms and neck line are permissible to be seen by other women whilst the thighs, knees, stomach and breasts should be covered.

Clearly belly-dancing in front of other women is haram because this means exposing the stomach. It also contains enticing movements and the use of clothing which exposes the breasts and thighs. Similarly, the outfits worn by those who dance bhangra also expose the ‘awrah.

Exposing ones ‘awrah is not limited to what can be seen of the flesh, some scholars even mention that wearing tight clothing in front of other women such as the tank tops and hot pants/tight pants worn by some women attending zumba classes are not permissible because they reveal ones ‘awrah by defining the shape of the breasts and buttocks.

SUPPORTING THE KUFFAR OVER THE MUSLIMS

Many dances fitness classes are run by non-Muslims and it is apparent that many Muslim women are abandoning the halal environments and Muslim-run gyms and classes to attend dance fitness classes run by non-Muslims, giving their money and support to the kuffar instead of their fellow Muslims.

Some Muslim have good intentions, hoping to be able to give dawah to the non-Muslims, but sadly this is a deception of the Shaytaan. If we want to be successful in our dawah, it must be given through halaal means. Attending these classes whilst disobeying Allah is not dawah, and in actual fact is sending messages to the non-Muslim that dance fitness with music is permissible. If, by the will of Allah they accept Islam, they will see a clear contradiction between the Laws of Islam and the actions of the Muslims.

CHARACTER AND MODESTY

It is apparent that music has an evil affect on ones character and sense of modesty. I have already mentioned how some sisters find no shame is singing the lyrics of the explicit songs and even encouraging one another in that. And after a while they start to pick up these characteristics in their behaviour and speech causing them to sound outlandish and rough. Sometimes termed ‘gangsta’, the ways in which some sisters speak reflect the environment they have immersed themselves in. Amongst themselves it may seem amusing but to those around them it is like the braying of a donkey, and Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, has said in Surah Luqman 31:19:

“...and lower your voice. Verily, the harshest of voices is the braying of the asses”.

Some women attending these dance fitness classes have even become lax in their hijaab, wearing tight trousers or figure-hugging dresses and ‘accessorising’ their hijaabs with colour-coordinated, fancy hijab pins and jewellery.

And worst of all is the fact that some women are even defying their husbands in order to attend these classes, leading to the break-down of marriages. Subhan’Allah, may Allah guide these women. Do you not know that your husband is your key to Jannah?

The Prophet, sall’Allahu alayhi wasalam advised a woman with regards to her husband’s rights, saying:

“Look at where you stand with him, because he is either your Paradise or your Fire.” [2]

So to conclude, I ask you once again to reflect on my words, and take whatever action may be necessary to please your Lord. Insha’Allah, this message has been beneficial to you. If you have found it to be of benefit then please share it with whomsoever you wish and if you feel it has been of no benefit then I warn you as the Prophet, sall'Allahu alayhi wasalam, warned: "If you feel no shame, then do as you wish." [3]

Please make du’a for me for I am only a weak slave in need of my Lord’s guidance and mercy.

Jazakum’Allahu khayran for taking the time to read this.



[1] Narrated by Ibn Hibbaan in his Saheeh, 1/115; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah as-Saheehah, 2311


[2] Collected by An-Nasa’ee in Al Sunan al Kubra from Husayn Ibn Mihsan, also collected by Ahmad (no.19003) and al-Albaani classed it as saheeh in Silsilah as-Saheeh 2612
[3] Recorded in Saheeh Bukhaari, reported on the authority of Abu Mas'ood Uqbah ibn Aamr al-Ansaaree
[I originally wrote and shared this article on my 'Ilm blog back in October 2012]
 

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