Is Gymnastics Haram for Women?

While gymnastics is a hugely popular sport in countries on every continent of the planet, some Muslims, have raised concerns about its permissibility in Islam, especially with regard to the wearing of revealing leotards. Therefore the question arises, is gymnastics haram for women? In this article, we will explore this topic and provide a comprehensive answer.

muslim gymnast

Table of Contents

What is Haram in Islam?

Before discussing the permissibility of gymnastics in Islam, it is essential to understand what is haram in Islam. Haram is an Arabic term that means forbidden or prohibited. It refers to anything that goes against the teachings of Islam or violates Islamic law. Haram can be in the form of actions, behaviors, or practices that are considered sinful or unethical in Islam.

The Importance of Physical Activity in Islam

Islam places great importance on physical activity and encourages Muslims to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “A strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than a weak one, although both are good” (Muslim). Therefore, it is not haram to engage in physical activities as long as they do not go against the principles of Islam.

The Permissibility of Gymnastics in Islam

Based on the above discussion, it can be concluded that gymnastics is not haram for women in Islam as it is a physical activity that promotes a healthy lifestyle. However, there are certain conditions that need to be considered when it comes to practicing gymnastics in Islam.

Dress Code

One of the conditions is the dress code for women. In Islam, women are required to dress modestly and cover their bodies appropriately. When practicing gymnastics, women need to ensure that they are dressed in a way that covers their aurah (parts of the body that must be covered in Islam), such as the head, arms, legs, and chest. They can wear loose-fitting clothing that does not reveal the shape of their bodies and cover their hair with a hijab.

Competitive gymnastics, however, insists that female gymnasts wear tight-fitting leotards that usually reveal legs and thighs. Leotards are worn by gymnasts so that judges and coaches can analyze, score and support gymnasts as they perform. Some coaches will make allowances for Muslim girls to wear baggy clothing in training sessions but they have to balance this out with the need to keep the gymnasts safe when performing more advanced skills.

It’s a very difficult balance to achieve.

Interacting with Men

Another condition is that women should not practice gymnastics in front of men who are not their mahram (a male relative whom a woman cannot marry, such as her father, brother, or son). In Islam, men and women are required to observe certain guidelines when interacting with each other to avoid any inappropriate behavior. Therefore, women should practice gymnastics in a women-only environment or in front of their mahram.

Competing in Front of Men

If women compete in gymnastics events, they should do so in front of other women or in front of men who are their mahram. Competing in front of non-mahram men is not permissible in Islam.

Benefits of Gymnastics for Women

Gymnastics has numerous benefits for women. It helps in building strength, flexibility, and endurance. It also promotes a healthy lifestyle and helps in maintaining a healthy weight. Moreover, gymnastics can boost self-confidence and enhance social skills as it requires teamwork and communication.


In conclusion, gymnastics is not haram for women in Islam as long as certain conditions are met, such as observing the appropriate dress code, practicing in a women-only environment or in front of mahram men, and competing in front of women or mahram men only. Gymnastics is a beneficial sport that can promote a healthy lifestyle and boost self-confidence. Therefore, women can engage in gymnastics while following Islamic guidelines.


Can Muslim women wear leotards when practicing gymnastics?

Muslim women should wear loose-fitting clothing that covers their bodies appropriately, such as long-sleeved shirts and pants, and a hijab

Is it haram for women to compete in gymnastics events?

Women can compete in gymnastics events as long as they do so in front of other women or mahram men.

Can women practice gymnastics in a mixed environment?

No, women should practice gymnastics in a women-only environment or in front of their mahram.

What are the benefits of gymnastics for women?

Gymnastics can help in building strength, flexibility, endurance, promoting a healthy lifestyle, boosting self-confidence, and enhancing social skills.

Is it haram to engage in any physical activity in Islam?

No, physical activity is encouraged in Islam as long as it does not go against the principles of Islam and the guidelines set by the religion.