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Recreation and Fitness in Islam



By: Justin Ducote

As Muslims, we believe Islam is a complete way of life, providing a foundation and framework for all its aspects. In a time when increasing emphasis is being placed upon physical fitness and recreation, we should know how to maximize our benefit from these pursuits in accordance with our Islamic values.


Recreation has always been a part of human existence. It can be a natural break which allows people time for refreshment and clearing the mind. We read in the Qur’ân how the brothers of Prophet Yûsuf used it as a way to appeal to their father:

“Send him with us tomorrow that he may eat well and play” (12:12).

We have many examples from the time of the Prophet during which the companions participated in many different forms of lawful entertainment and play. They engaged in sports like footraces, horseracing, wrestling, and archery. They spent time telling jokes and in lighthearted conversation. One of the Companions, Abû al-Dardâ’ is reported to have said:

“I seek recreation in something that is neither useful nor unlawful, and this makes me stronger on the truth.”

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Become physically active in any sport that exercises the entire body. Pick a sport with aerobic, flexibility, and resistance type of training, especially ones with pre- and post-game stretching. A good way to tell that a specific sport is working for you is when you feel physically exhausted; pushing yourself just above or at your limit.
  • This will not only improve your fitness, but make you accustomed to learning new positions and make you ‘looser’ and more flexible. It will be easier to adjust how you sit when you can easily adjust into that pose.

When you sit at a computer desk it is important that you have proper posture.It is very disconcerting to make this type of statement to someone that does not understand or has never experienced proper posture: This natural posture feels good!

  • You will probably have to adjust the following things: Desk height, monitor height, and chair height. Getting the proper height of these three things just right takes trial and error.
Make sure your chair fits you. The most comfortable position is when your legs are in a perfect 90 degree angle and almost in a hovering position over the floor. The weight of your feet will feel light because the majority of weight is distributed through your upper legs or onto the chair.

Have a desk that is the proper height; your arms should be at a perfect 90 degree angle when typing. It feels like the majority of weight is distributed through your back instead of it feeling like you’re leaning your weight onto the desk through your hands or wrists. 

Make sure your monitors you are using for your computer are at the best height. Your eyes, when looking straight, should be pointed at the top half of the monitor 75-80% from bottom. They also need to be at the right distance. You can damage your eyes if you squint to see the computer. Stay at least two feet away: If you cannot see from that distance, adjust the screen resolution or see your optometrist.

  • When your body is accustomed to leaning forward or slouching when at your computer desk, it becomes even more difficult to correct your posture because you have become accustomed to that position (your muscles shorten in your chest, etc.). The aforementioned physical activity will help you with this.
  • The only thing that makes it difficult in correcting your posture is overcoming what you are accustomed to. By taking breaks regularly at set intervals and stretching periodically you may be able to overcome bad posture.

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