Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Is figure skating haram?

Is Figure Skating Allowed in Islam?

Salam,

I'm 14 years old and I love figure skating. I only feel at home when I'm on ice. To me, it's a sport and it helps my mind relax...

it's not dance or trying to attract guys (it's not like guys even come to watch figure skating). My dad doesn't understand this. He thinks if I spin or do a jump, it's not sport, I'm certainly trying to be sexy.

It doesn't even make sense! I wear modest clothes, long shirt with loose pants and hijab (NOT a tight short dress) and I never even perform. I never even do tests because my dad thinks the judges (usually all women) will be attracted to me or something.

He says I can't buy new skates or take lessons this year because if I wanted to do sport I could just skate around the rink without lifting my leg or spinning or jumping. But it's not the same. Plain skating is barely even fun, it's like walking but easier.

The only males who could possibly see me are the coach (they're getting a new one this year though... hopefully a woman) and one male student who is gay anyways. Or a father of a student could come to pick them up and happen to see me walking off the ice or carrying my skates.

I love skating and clearly have a talent for it. Gymnastics and figure skating are the only sports I like, and I can't do gymnastics because there are boys in it. Now I can't figure skate. My dad keeps complaining that I don't exercise enough, but he just doesn't realize that I'm not a soccer player or weight-lifter. I'm a figure skater.

Is he right? If not, what can I do to change his mind?

~ young_muslimah


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8 Responses »

  1. Dear sister
    Assalamualikum!
    You may not understand your fathers concern because you are a girl(woman) You have a different mid set towards sexuality. Even a woman passing by will arouse a man that's why we have hijab. you do not no whats in the mind of the other people , we have a incident where prophet Mohammed (peace be up on him)ordered his two wives (may Allah be pleased with them) to veil themselves in-front of a BLIND SAHABI. Do one thing stand in front of a big mirror and lift your leg and see it your self how it looks. And why do you think skating is int dancing its a form of dancing and its haram .Even Disobeying you parents is a Major sin(GUnah E kabira).A muslimah should love Allah above any thing else (even more than our selves) the greater the sacrifice you make for Allah the greater will be the reward from him.Remember the best of jihad is against the evil (desires) with in us.
    MAY ALLAH GUIDE US ALL

  2. Salaams,

    I used to watch figure skating a lot when I was growing up. I loved the artistic aspects of it, and although I can't skate (ice or otherwise) worth a lick, I can imagine how free and invigorating it must feel to be able to execute those moves skillfully.

    From what I remember, there were two components to figure skating, especially in a competitive setting:

    1. The technical aspects, such as proper execution of a jump or spin,
    2. The creative aspects, such as costume, theme, and improvisation incorporated into the performance.

    If all you had to do in figure skating is skate around in full hijab and do a few spins and jumps, I would say it's no big deal. Jumping is not dancing, because we can do that in the park trying to catch a frisbee. Spinning I don't think is considered dancing. I don't think anyone would walk up and see someone spinning in circles in the middle of the room and at once think "wow, she/he is dancing".

    What makes figure skating border on dancing is the moves (usually set to music) that are shown between the more technical aspects. Shaking of the shoulders, waving the arms around, swaying the hips, moving the feet quickly, etc. Granted, you can figure skate without doing anything that would necessitate this, but chances are it wouldn't be as much fun experientally.

    As far as I can see, the only way you would be able to indulge your passion with a clear conscience is to do it when there are only females around. Like you were saying, some of the other skaters' fathers come, there are male coaches, and sometimes boys will participate (it doesn't matter what their sexual orientation is). Even though that's a lot less men than might be present if you were doing another type of sport, it's still too many.

    There are lots of sports that women should be free to do, but can't because of this type of predicament. As you mentioned, gymnastics is one. Martial arts can be another, because sometimes the men and women are paired for sparring (not to mention some of the kicks are leg-lifters too lol). Truly, off the top of my head I can't think of any sport that is guaranteed to only have female coaches.

    I really don't want to see you have to give this up, but in the end it's going to be your dad's decision if you are still under his care. Is it possible to see if there are times the ice rink is available for private rental, where you can have the rink entirely to yourself? Maybe your father would be willing to help you reserve it on some type of regular basis so you can practice without anyone else around. If it's possible to do that, I would also suggest inviting him to watch you so he can see how much it means to you and how good you are at it, and maybe find other ways to help you to continue this form of exercise and fulfillment.

    If it can't be done, you might just have to hold off a few years until you are on your own. Maybe when you grow up, you can start a female-only class or league, and lay the groundwork for other women (Muslims aren't the only ones in the world that values modesty and having women separate from men in athletic activities) to have a venue to enact their passion in a halal way. I know I for one would sign up; but you would have to teach me how to skate first!

    -Amy
    IslamicAnswers.com Editor

    • i loved your reply =)

    • Thank you for your replies sisters Amy and Sara!

      Like you said, it is 2 parts, ice dance (creative dance stuff) and skills (technical). I am only interested in skills anyways.

      I do admit, however, that moving your arms and hips are sometimes necessary for getting speed, height, balance, etc.

      I like your idea about the womens only league, maybe someday i will consider it inshallah 🙂

      I can't rent out the ice regularly because that would be waaaaaaaay too expensive. Just the lessons and skates alone are around $1000 a year. I don't even want to ask my parents to spend more for me.

      The other replier said a lot of things that I don't agree with. Yes, a woman passing by will arouse a man and that's why we have hijab. We assume that hijab will limit their arousal. And I am skating WITH hijab. The point is, I don't see how skating should arouse them more than just passing by.

      Also, when I lift my leg there isn't much to see. There are long flowy layers of fabric that cover everything almost down to my knees, then loose-ish pants under that. And I do not think that, like Amy said, jumping in the air is dancing (otherwise even skateboarders would be dancers) or spinning is dancing, or gliding on ice (similar to walking) is dancing.

      In addition to this, I am not disobeying my parents. I'm not driving myself to the skating rink or anything.

  3. I do agree sister that especially if your father has reservations about it then you should keep away from it - as there is definitely some validity in his concerns.
    Think of it this way - you are making a sacrifice for Allah (swt). Think it through and make your choice. If you choose to stay away from it because men are present and to obey your father that is one thing - but do it to please Allah and you will get so so much reward. InshaAllah you can come back to it one day if you can either find/make a group that can figure skate in a halal male-free environment.

    I also agree that there is a serious gap on the market when it comes to sisters only sports and activities and if it was available I would definitely consider doing it as well provided it was sisters only and in a halal safe environment. It is possible. I personally know of a few sisters who loved performing arts but were hijabis so we had the problem that we didn't want to perform in front of non-mahram etc. Do you know what we did. We started a girl group and performed for girls only. It certainly helped keep the youth busy - they could pursue their hobbies away from non-mahram and it strengthened islamic sisterhood.
    P.S. I know how to skate so hopefully I can be level 2
    Sara
    IslamicAnswers.com Editor

    • Thanks for your suggestions!

      That is an idea we will have to consider for all sports basically. And it should probably be for all females, not just muslim, because there are no professional muslim figure skating coaches that I know of.

      Personally, it would be a bit more difficult for me to start such a group as the muslim community in my area is very small (we are the only muslim family in my town and nearby towns) and the resources are limited but it is a great idea for some sisters in bigger cities to think about!

      • It is not just Muslims - I know a several non-Muslim females who prefer to do sports with women only. It's awkward when there are men around even if you are allowed to do sports and are covered. One cannot be completely free. It doesn't necessarily have to be you who starts it - but it is certainly a good idea you can consider one day. We do need such resources.

        I have had the same problem with a lot of sports - especially martial arts. It's difficult for sisters as there are so few ladies only sports aside from the really girly sports. And the really girly sports tend to be done in inappropriate clothing so even if it's girls only its still something we shouldn't do.

        Sara
        IslamicAnswers.com Editor

  4. I honestly can't believe anyone thinks ice skating is evil or too sexy. I know the Olympic skaters, and trust me, the only thing on their minds is the technicalities. Do yourselves a big favor, stay in the public sessions and skate around the edge holding on to the rail where you won't get hurt. Stay off the freestyles.

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