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Muslim at the Beach

Keeping it fun and Halal!We too can feel the excitement and exertion of swimming, which is an important life skill every Muslim should possess. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your trip to the beach (or pool) by organizing, planning ahead, and playing it smart. There are two goals, however, that we should keep in mind on a beach trip. The smaller of the two is to avoid ruining your trip with unforeseen expenses, painful sunburns, and wasted opportunities. The bigger goal is to walk away with an incredible and memorable experience that enhances and refreshes your soul, ultimately reminding you of Allah.

Keeping it fun and Halal!

It is not an oxymoron. Muslims need not be held back from one of the most popular summer vacation destinations. We too can take our family and friends and crash into the waves, watch the crabs scuttle around, fill our clothes with sand and shells, swim next to dolphins, and fall asleep to the sound of the ocean. We too can feel the excitement and exertion of swimming, which is an important life skill every Muslim should possess. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your trip to the beach (or pool) by organizing, planning ahead, and playing it smart.

There are two goals, however, that we should keep in mind on a beach trip. The smaller of the two is to avoid ruining your trip with unforeseen expenses, painful sunburns, and wasted opportunities. The bigger goal is to walk away with an incredible and memorable experience that enhances and refreshes your soul, ultimately reminding you of Allah.

Below, I’ve included some advice that would be especially helpful for those who rent beach-houses as a group by the ocean, and advice for those who take day-trips to the pool.

Book Early, Avoid the Peak of Summer

The main conflict Muslim families are faced with is the unwholesome atmosphere created by immodest coverings. Many people flocked to the beach for the Independence Day weekend and other holidays; but the best time to go in order to avoid the partial nudity is late spring, early and late summer, as well as early fall. This is a perfect opportunity to enjoy the sand and waves without the crowds. This year consider a post-Ramadan celebration at the beach, when other visitors will be less inclined to worship the sun gods in their 2-pieces due to cooler weather.

Consider a Burkini

It hasn’t always been easy for Muslim women to both observe complete hijab AND enjoy the water. Lack of Islamic swimwear may even have prevented many sisters from learning to swim in the first place. Well, ladies, our excuses are over! No more wet scarves trapping water in your ears or bulges of fabric weighing you down. Burkinis are designed to repel water, cover your curves, and move easily through the water. Of course, you have the option of purchasing individual pieces like a loose exercise shirt, pants, and a long top to go underneath – but you might end up paying the same price without the benefit of a cap that won’t slip off in the water.

Convenient for all-ladies swimming or for those who rent beach-houses in secluded areas, these burkinis look good and can make you feel good. Read about praise for the burkini and then begin your search – more companies have been producing them, and they ship to various countries.

Water Increases Sun Exposure

Make sure to use sunscreen on your face, hands, wrists, and anything else that might get exposed in the water. Swimming in the pool or in the ocean is the most important time to be protected since the water reflects more light rays towards your skin, and this is the biggest potential for sun burn – ouch! Don’t be fooled by cloudy days either, because you can still get burned. Use a water resistant sun block and reapply often.

Sun Protection for Men

Brothers, consider a surf shirt to protect shoulders and modesty, and a hat for the sensitive tops of ears and back of neck. Look for these ahead of time so you can compare prices rather than succumb to the tourist price tag at the specialty beach stores.

Eat the Right Food

Don’t short-change your trip by being too drained or weak for swimming and sandcastle building. Plan healthy breakfasts and lunches that give you plenty of protein and complex carbs. Wraps with lean meat and grilled veggies would be ideal to take down and eat by the water. And especially remember to stay hydrated!

Purify Your Space

If you are renting a beach house, there are some key items you should remember to take with you that will help maintain cleanliness and avoid contamination for both health and spiritual reasons. Don’t forget to bring flip flops/sandals to walk in around the house, flip flops for the bathroom and shower, prayer rugs that can cover the entire floor if you are a big crowd, and watering cans for the bathroom.

Essentials to Bring

When renting a beach house, you don’t want to pack as though you are moving – but you do want to bring some essential items so you don’t find yourself buying everything you already have at home. With some organization and foresight you can prevent unnecessary purchases and just enjoy your trip. One idea is to make several kits and assign them to each person so that no single individual is responsible to bring everything on the list below:

First-Aid Kit: include hydrogen peroxide, sun burn relief creams or gels, ointments for cuts, bandages, and tweezers for splinters

Cooking Kit: include cooking oil, salt and pepper, spices for meals, salad dressing, and condiments

Beverage Person: don’t forget tea, sugar, coffee, hot chocolate, juices, lemonade, a cooler and (reusable) water bottles if you want to take your drinks down to the beach

Meat Person: the last thing you want to do is to go to an unfamiliar place and find that you don’t have enough burgers for everyone, especially if there are no halal meat shops nearby

Produce Person: buy sturdy staples like onions, potatoes, and apples in bulk items since more delicate fruits and veggies can be bought from local farm stands and nearby grocers

Snack/Dessert Person: best to buy in bulk for a smaller price instead of paying a lot for the only available cookies at the local grocery store

Soap Kit: buy hand soap for each bathroom, laundry and dish detergents, and sponges for washing dishes

Grill Master: include lighters, matches, charcoal, lighter fluid, aluminum foil, grill brushes, and all grilling utensils

Working as a Team

Everyone deserves to be on vacation, which means if everyone works together they can share the responsibility instead of dumping it all on the shoulders of a few. Involve the youth in meal preparations and small chores by giving them small tasks like shucking corn, washing fruits and vegetables, setting the plates, and simply cleaning up after themselves.

De-plug

Switch your TV with the waves of the ocean, the scuttling of crabs, the rising of the sun, and the brighter night sky. Switch your iPod for the powerful sound of the waves crashing down. What better chance to reflect on the immense beauty of Allah’s creations? Traveling to the ocean can very well be an act of worship, as any act in our lives can be when it brings out God-consciousness. Speaking of which – don’t forget to pray on time, together!

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6 comments

  1. I missed the part where you teach me how to avoid all the naked people as they will be there all year around. 🙁

  2. Very good article. Many thanks for the information, just another follow up question
    question:
    is it ok for us to be in the water with a burqini on if other men are in the water too?

  3. Yeah, I don’t know about the burqini. Most or all leave feet uncovered and when wet can indeed become a bit form-fitting. It is definitely better than other swimwear options, I am just not totally sure it is good enough to really meet hijab requirements. I have worn them before so experienced the issues first hand. I think the problem of Muslim ladies and swimming is not completely solved yet. I really think more options for women-only or family-divided water sports should be explored. Also, while low-crowd days may have fewer people dressed inappropriately, they are certainly still there, and the rulings I know of seem to say mixed pools/beach are out altogether. Ayat. Sistani’s ruling as far as I know is: Question: What is the Islamic opinion of swimming in unisex environments such as the beach, swimming pools, and other areas?
    Answer: It is not permissible.
    (for males and females both!)

  4. I was a little scared to buy a burkini because I thought it might not work, but its awesome!! Hey my ultra conservative husband has no problem with it, what more do I need to say. Sure its expensive but so are bathing suits, just compare the material sold its a steal and an investment for years to come. I first thought hey I can buy it and not go all the way in the water, just play with my kids at the edge of the beach. And I know how to swim better than my husband what if my child needs me, I would jump in the water and save her. But really I got in the water and swam. It was an amazing feeling. As a convert I felt I would be deprived of swimming forever but its not so anymore. I get out of the water slowly though, pulling it and allowing it to dry. It dryes fast and Im ready to go. If you are worried about your feet you can wear bathing slippers that cover the feet. I dont work for the company just want to help more ladies enjoy the beach. We sit at the far edge make sand castles and walk a while to get to the shore but thats how we avoid nakedness and music from others. Hey still there are sacrifices but we can still enjoy Allah’s creation 🙂

  5. La haula wa la quata ila Billah Al-Ali Al-Azim!!!

    Astakhfurullah Rabbi wa atub Ileyh…

    Sister, please… Have you ever tried to wear a “burkini” and swimming? It surely will stick on your whole body and show the forms of it… What kind of a hijab is that, please tell me?!!

    And as brother Saman said, did you forget to mention the solution of the naked people there… wearing eye patch, maybe??

    This article, only conflictes with the idea of hijab for both men and women, if any.

    Jihad is not only battling in wars… the BIGGEST JIHAD, according to The Messenger of God (peace be upon him and his pruified progeny) is JIHAD-E-NEFS.

    Jihad-e-nefs, for those who haven’t heard of it before, means struggling against “yourself” – your NEFS. Which means that when you see all these things you are forbidden to do accoridng to Islam (but would like to do), you have to protect yourself by avoiding it in the best way, for example: When you feel like listening to music (rap) and you know that is HARAM, you try to avoid that feeling by listening to Quran.

    The solutions you sister have named above is just like listening to Quran by someone who recites it in a way like rapping…!!!
    What have we done then? The same thing as listening to real rap? No – worse, we have had the dare to recite the Quran just like the way of kuffars (atheists) rapping…

    We are resembling the shamelessly people who walks around, naked on the beach, by wearing that funny burkini.

    Please, muslims, do not make fun of yourself and your religion by trying to adapt to every single thing until we degrade,lower and CONTEMPT ourselves and most important – our religion.

  6. Continue:

    Oh Muslims – be aware of how long you can go for your hobbies. If it outfight your religion, then just forget it and hate it from the whole of your hearts. Be sure that Allah (SWT) only then will be pleased with you. Hating the things Allah hates, and loving what he loves are muslim features
    Fi Aman Allah wa hefzeh. Salamun Aleykum.

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