You know, I saw this picture and was like, aha! See…being covered and modest shouldn’t keep a sister from being active and exercising!!! I really loath the “faulty” belief that a covered Muslimah can not be active and in good shape!
Several thoughts popped in my mind. First…I didnt know they have the exercise parks in Turkey-hehehhee, I thought they were just in Iran! Generally the main park in every city has a exercise area/garden with free to use exercise equipment. On more than one occasion I’ve been picnicking at a park, got bored, took a walk, found the exercise area and got into the groove! LOL, yes, chador and all! But, I wasnt the only one! These places are a boon to kids…they go there and burn off a LOT of energy while their parents are relaxing and its also a ncie way to stay in shape when you take your evening stroll through the park. I miss how parks here in the US don’t generally have this type of equipment!
Then, another thought…more in line with the anti-sister exercising thing is like…okay, in Saudi we lived on a compound. It was a old and huge compound but its facilities were run down and slowly being upgraded. When we arrived the pool had just been reopened. Now, I *LOVE* to swim and jog and do loooongggggg walks. Its relaxing and healthy. OK. So I saw the pool and was like…yippe! Awesome! I ran out, had dh buy me a suitable muhajabah worthy swimsuit and I was able to take my son swimming by day and in the evening go alone or with them and do laps in the deep end. It was great!!! BUT, I did now and again run into problems with some of the MUSLIM men who lived on the compound.Some of them thought the pool and its surrounding area was like some mens majlis or something-and so sometimes in the evening when I figrued other families and women would be swimming, I’d show up at the pool in my burqini with my abayaah ra’as on top and my towel and googles only to find the thing full of guys! ugh! Obviously i’d just go back home. Then…once I came to know the times when the pool would generally be empty or mostly families swimming (western families) and would try to go then…to do laps and stuff…but then sometimes…those MUSLIM men, yes the ones with families themselves would show up, see my doing laps -yes in my burquini and hejab and immediately swim over to the deep end and try to swim around me! I would get sooo disgusted and usually just ended up leaving the pool! Instead of having some hayah and staying away from my area of the deepn end or waiting 20min until I leave…nope! Eventually dh started to hear via the compound grapevine about how some of the families were tisking me at my inappropriate swimming! LOL-um?!?! – Which left me having to swim late-late-late at night when it wasnt very safe….OR during the daY…when most people were gone at work and just some of the SAHM moms where on the compound. Most wouldnt swim, now and again you’d see a western expat mom swimming but otherwise it was generally empty-UNTIL these Pakistani workers started to do work around the area and then suddenly…there went any chance to swim…because once I was swimming with my son at around noon when it was empty and sunny and they came to the area around the pool to work and saw me and literally stood there GAWKING with my mouths opened…like shocked to me a Muslim woman, in a burquini swimming! Yah…needless to say I managed to modestly swim to the side, get my overhead abaya up and around me and scoot outta there.
But form that point…I gave up swimming-well, not entirely, I attempted a few times to swim right after fajr but found that didnt work out too well either as Id generally not wanna get up, pray and then swim. LOL, Then a bit later winter arrived and though it wasnt too cold weather wise, the temperature of the pool water really got cold and it was just not do-able anyway! It broke my heart. It was the ONE real fitness and fun activity I had on that dang compound! Ah maybe you ask…well, why didnt your husband swim with you or go with you? Because my husband really didnt/doesnt know how to swim, I tried a few times to teach him but generally unless I really made a huge fuss about us going and swimming as a family he preferred if I swam alone and then he would take our son and go socialize with one of his buddies elsewhere on the compound. Hence i’d get a much needed break!
So now you ask…what about running? So yah, I tried that…in my hejab and a long, long, long tunic and baggy pants one late evening when you often see the western expats out running/walking on the compound but frankly…the looks, stares and creepy attitudes from yes-again, the MUSLIM men who were also out running/walking was just too much, so I stuck to walking-slooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwly. Yah…pointless. Eventiually I gave up!
I remember, one of my close friends, Deema…mom of 4, from Jordan…she would wait till her husband was home and then at 5pm go and walk with alllllllllll 4 kids…but eventually she stopped too as her husband heard-yes, via the compound grapevine, some people complaining at how immodest his wife was for walking briskly around the compound while her kids ran their bikes along side her and she pushed the baby in a stroller.
UM…thats sooo jacked up! Why is there such a distrust of women being active and healthy?