Questions Regarding Recreational Facility

By Mufti Ebrahim Desai

Q.) The Muslims of Atlanta, Georgia area have purchased a recreational center that was on sale, for the use of the Muslim community. The recreational center consists of an Olympic size swimming pool, a small wading pool for children under 5 years of age, two tennis courts and a picnic shelter. The whole facility is surrounded by trees and is in a very secluded area. Additionally we have put up a 6-foot wooden fence around the swimming area to ensure further privacy.

We would like this facility to be used by our children that are growing up in USA. We have designated 4 days out of the week for exclusive use of women and three days for exclusive use of men. We have the following questions:

1. Is a facility like the one stated above in accordance with Islamic principles? If not can something material be done to make it confirm to Islamic principles?

2. Assuming the answer to item 1 is yes,

a) Can this facility be utilized by Muslims and non-Muslims at the same time (keeping in mind the gender specific days, wherein only women will be present on women's day and men would be present on men's days.

b) What is the proper attire for Muslim women who are swimming in a Muslim swimming pool in presence of only Muslim women (no men are present).

c) Would the Muslim women's swimming attire change if Muslim women along with non-Muslim women were present (still no men are present).

d) What should be the attire of Non-Muslim women who may be swimming along with Muslim women in the same swimming pool (still no men are present). Would the non-Muslim women be bound by our swimming attire code? [Khalid Rashied]

A.) We do not see any apparent violations of Shari'ah in the proposed procedure of using the recreational center. However, the responsible persons should ensure strict implementation of the proposals of non-intermingling, etc. Females (Muslims and non-Muslims) must not wear any swimming costume which leaves private portions of the body, breasts, legs, etc. uncovered. Since the garments will be soaked with water and sticks to the body, females should be advised to use dark colors to avoid revealing their bodies to the best of their abilities. We advise a female, who is conscious of the laws of Hijaab and proper code of conduct, be appointed to strictly supervise the use of the facility.

And Allah Taala Knows Best.