For Muslims, leading a balanced life is important for physical and mental well-being. While prayer, fasting, and other acts of worship are paramount, incorporating exercise can strengthen our connection to Allah (SWT). Exercise and Islam are intertwined because Allah (SWT) likes a strong believer.
A Divine Trust: Exercise and Islam
The Quran reminds us that our bodies are a divine trust bestowed upon us by Allah (SWT).
Then We made the sperm-drop into a clinging clot, and We made the clot into a lump [of flesh], and We made [from] the lump, bones, and We covered the bones with flesh; then We developed him into another creation. So blessed is Allāh, the best of creators. Quran 23:14
We should gratitude to Allah (SWT) for giving us this precious gift and fulfil our responsibility as stewards of ourselves.
Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) Encouragement for Fitness
Prophet Muhammad (SAW) emphasized the importance of physical fitness. Several hadith show the importance of Exercise and Islam:
- “A strong believer is better and is more lovable to Allah than a weak believer, and there is good in everyone, (but) cherish that which gives you benefit (in the Hereafter) and seek help from Allah and do not lose heart, and if anything (in the form of trouble) comes to you, don’t say: If I had not done that, it would not have happened so and so, but say: Allah did that what He had ordained to do and your” if” opens the (gate) for the Satan.'” (Sahih Muslim 2664)
- “Umar wrote to AbuʼUbaidah bin al-Jarrah [saying]: Teach your children swimming and teach your fighters archery. After that they used to practise archery frequently.” (Musnad Ahmad 323)
As you can see, these hadith encourage developing strength and physical resilience. Increasing our physical capabilities has a positive impact on our faith and well-being.
The Many Benefits of Exercise for Muslims:
Engaging in regular exercise offers a multitude of benefits for Muslims, encompassing both physical and spiritual aspects:
- Improved Physical Health: Exercise strengthens the body, reducing the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart problems, and obesity. This allows us to fulfill our responsibilities more effectively and engage in ibadah with greater vigor.
- Enhanced Mental Wellbeing: Physical activity reduces stress, anxiety, and depression, promoting emotional balance and clarity. This creates a more receptive state for deeper connection with Allah (SWT) and spiritual practices.
- Increased Energy Levels: Regular exercise boosts energy levels, allowing us to be more productive in our daily lives and devote more time to acts of worship.
- Building Discipline and Perseverance: Sticking to an exercise routine instills discipline and perseverance, valuable qualities that translate into strengthening our commitment to prayer, fasting, and other Islamic practices.
- Appreciating Allah’s Creation: Engaging in outdoor activities like hiking or swimming allows us to appreciate the beauty and complexity of Allah’s (SWT) creation, fostering awe and gratitude.
It’s important to consult with a doctor before starting any new exercise program, especially if you have any underlying health conditions. Additionally, ensure your chosen activities align with Islamic principles regarding modesty and gender etiquette.
By incorporating exercise into our lives, we can fulfill our responsibility as caretakers of our bodies, enhance our physical and mental wellbeing, and cultivate positive qualities that support our spiritual growth. Remember, a strong and healthy body is a vessel for a stronger and more devoted connection with Allah (SWT). So, let us embrace exercise not just as a physical activity, but as an act of faith and gratitude.
Start your journey towards a healthier and more fulfilling life today! But do not forget the importance of developing our Quranic skills. Improve your Tajweed. Start a Hifz Program. Learn Arabic. Do these things to develop the mental connection with the Quran so you can be closer to Allah (SWT).