Sisters-Only Swimming: What is the Proper Swim Attire to Wear Around Others?


Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari Abdul-Razacq

Question: We have sisters-only swimming here and I am wondering what is best to wear. What do women need to cover around other women in the Shafi`i school?  I am aware that the awrah (nakedness) is from the navel to the knee, but I have seen some fatwas (religious edict) that state that we should be more shy than this and cover more.

Answer: In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. May the peace and blessings of Allah descend on the Prophet Muhammad, his family, his companions, and their followers.

Dear Sister,

Assalamu alaikum,

Thank you for your question. I pray you are in good health and strong faith.

According to the Shafi’i school, a woman’s awrah around other Muslim women is from her navel to her knee. The fact that the breasts are not considered awrah around other Muslim women is particularly helpful for women who are breastfeeding.

As for women who are not nursing, the general rule is that modesty is preferred, given that one of the innate characteristics of Islam, as mentioned by our beloved Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, is modesty.

You have a number of options for swimwear, including the “burkini,” or a simple one-piece swimsuit worn with leggings.

I’m happy to hear the sisters are getting some exercise!

May Allah reward you,

Zaynab Ansari Abdul-Razacq

August 18, 2010/Ramadan 7, 1431

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Zaynab Ansari Abdul-Razacq is a wife and mother residing in the southeastern United States. She graduated from Abu Nour University’s precollege program in 2000 and has remained active in teaching and studying sacred knowledge through SunniPath and SeekersGuidance. She holds undergraduate degrees in history and Middle Eastern Studies and is a certified public speaker.