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Sports can be defined as an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature, as racing, baseball, tennis, wrestling, boxing, hunting, fishing to name a few. Sports has been favoured by many especially males in the past until the current time. In Islam, sports are encouraged by Allah since it brings benefits to human. For an instance, sports can strengthen our body physically and mentally as well as reducing stress and makes us a healthier person. The physically fit of a person is strongly preferred by Allah. This can be proven in a Hadith, The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, while there is good in both. (Reported by Muslim). Apart from that, there is plenty Sunnah in which the Prophet recommended certain martial arts to maintain the health and prepare the believers for situations of offensive attacks. Therefore, Umar has said: the Prophet has said: Teach your children swimming and archery and order them to ride horses well. These were the known sports during their time. In general, Islam promotes good health and fitness and encourages both men and women to engage in physical activity to maintain healthy lifestyles. However, there are aspects of the religion which affect how sports can be practised, for example, women following their faith cannot engage in mixed gender sports and the environment and dress code also requires consideration. Islam permits its followers to play sports since it gives many advantages as we have discussed above. Hence, there are rules that Muslims should observe when conducting or practising sports. Firstly, it is compulsory for a Muslim man and woman to dress appropriately while exercising, being sure to cover his or her `aurah (nakedness) and to not wear revealing and tight clothing like spandex (Souza, 2011). Other than that, Souza also states in his article, in term of the sports that are not allowed, (and Allah knows best) that boxing is not lawful because a Muslim should not hit in the face, for sport. In addition, Muslims must be careful that their exercise programs do not jeopardise their good companionship and do not take them to indecent places. A strong body is more capable of performing the obligations of life and religion. Anything that may weaken the body to the extent that one cannot perform these obligations is not allowed in Islam, yet it reduced some of these obligations in order to keep the body healthy. Islam allowed praying while sitting to those who cannot stand, it also allowed those who cannot fast to eat, and it dropped pilgrimage, jihad and other obligation to those who could not perform them (Hamiche, 2013).

To sum up, sports are allowed in Islam, however, Muslims should follow and obey the guidelines provide by Islam. Sports in Islam is not as many believe restricted to men. Due to religious misinterpretations or simply lack of awareness, many Muslim women have been prevented or not felt able to participate in sports. This misconception is absolutely wrong. Muslims women can also practice sports, but with legitimate limitations and rules. If we want to teach women sports, it should be done in clubs limited for women (Hamiche, n.d). On the other hand, the fat and flabby woman is no longer desired in our time, and she is not the desired woman by Islam. Islam desires a strong woman who is capable of serving her home, husband, children, society and religion whenever needed. That is why Islam encourages women to practice sports too. It helps women to be healthy and strong. Nowhere in the history of Islam can we find any example which implies prohibition of sport activities for women. It is as vital for women to take care of their health as it is for men. In fact, we find certain traditions from the life of Holy Prophet (PBUH) where he played along with the Mother of Muslims Syeda Ayesha (R.A.). Thus, women too, is encouraged to practise sports in order to maintain their physically fit bodies to assure that there will be no difficulties in leading their daily life. Next, the teaching in Islam is comprehensive and just. It concerns all aspects of life in the details. This also applies in practising sport. Apart from following and obeying the rules and guidelines in sports, there are also ethics and moral value that must be adhered when practising sports. Islams ethics in sports disallow uttering improper words against the other teams, and disapproves abnormal behaviours that are not worthy of a human being with dignity, but a person who encourages an act that is good for creating a strong citizen with good morals. Islam also does not accept collective sports that involve men and women, expose, and include forbidden behaviours. It also does not accept sports that provoke desire and cause immorality (Hamiche, 2013). Hence, Islam provides Muslims such guidelines in ethical matter in sports to restrain Muslims from disadvantages and consequences, so, Muslims should practise sports within these limits. That is stated in the Holy Quran: O ye who believe! Make not unlawful the good things which Allah has made lawful for you, but commit no excess: for Allah love not those given to excess. (Quran 5:87). In a nutshell, sports gives us numerous benefits and whoever practices it gains health, social and emotional benefits. It teaches us to socialize in a harmonious and healthy way and it also helps us to keep our state of mind at a balance condition. It should be kept in mind that every Muslim is not restricted to involve in sports as long as we observe the

prerequisites and guidelines provided to us in Islam. The most important element is whatever we do especially in sports, must be in moderation because Islam itself is a foundation of moderation and implies this characteristic in its teaching.