Why Zumba ain't Haram

So apparently, Zumba has been added to the list of prohibited (aka haram) things within Islam. Alongside eating pork, drinking alcohol, and gambling. 

Well, that's the word among some Muslim families, as parents continue to tell their daughters that they can't participate in Zumba class with other females because it's haram. And when you dig a little deeper, it's because the class encourages girls to "shake it" and the music elicits emotions that should otherwise remain suppressed.

Wait, are we talking about Zumba?

I've done a few Zumba classes so far, and it does everything BUT elicit emotions. The class is so fast paced, cardio-packed, and thinking on your feet and trying not bump into your neighbour choreography infused...there's no time or space to think or do anything else. And you're in a class full of women. By the end of our class last night, we were drenched in sweat, rosy cheeked, and trying to catch our breath. We then quickly did wudu and prayed in the same space.

Is this haram?

I constantly remember the phrase "people are scared of what they don't know". And of course parents would freak about their daughter asking to join a Zumba class. It has music and dancing wrapped into one little package. One haram plus another haram makes one BIG haram!

But what parents don't know are the benefits of Zumba. First of all, all women classes are being offered (all MUSLIM women classes at that!), so the fear of exposing their daughters to the opposite genders are gone. Second, it's an intense workout and you don't even realize you're working out. Time flies as song after song with new choreography is stepped out, and it's only when you're huffing and puffing and sweating that you realize it's a workout. Third, it's a lotta fun! I've never laughed as much while working out as during Zumba. Whether it's because of friends making exaggerated facial expressions, or looking at my grasshopper extremities in the mirror as they try to follow the choreography, it's hilarious. And lastly (but perhaps the most importantly), all of us need to let loose once in a while. In a good way! Life is stressful and sometimes, so just letting loose to some music around other women is not a bad thing. And again, Islam takes into account our intentions.

So I encourage and challenge parents to not take the easy way and call something haram for the sake of preventing their children from wanting to take part in it. Especially in this day and age when "no, that's haram!" doesn't work. If parents aren't sure what something is, before they Google it, they should ask someone they trust if they know anything about it. And then moms themselves should perhaps give it a shot and see for themselves what an all women's Zumba class is.

Dare I say "cha-cha-cha!"


  1. Even some truth can be found in the ahadith literature, with regards to music:

    Narrated by Aisha: That once Abu Bakr came to her on the day of 'Id-ul-Fitr or 'Id ul Adha while the Prophet was with her and there were two girl singers with her, singing songs of the Ansar about the day of Buath. Abu Bakr said twice. "Musical instrument of Satan!" But the Prophet said, "Leave them Abu Bakr, for every nation has an 'Id and this day is our 'Id." [Bukhari Volume 5, Book 58, Number 268]

    I don't see the hurt in Zumba for getting fit. During the Prophet's time, there was no digital music, but they probably rather did chin-ups on trees, archery, river-swimming, etc. Music is not forbidden, especially when used for a good cause:

    Narrated Abu Musa: "That the Prophet said to him 'O Abu Musa! You have been given one of the musical wind-instruments of the family of David.'
    (Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 61, Number 568)

    Noble Verse 17:55 "And it is your Lord that knoweth best all beings that are in the heavens and on earth: We did bestow on some prophets more gifts than on others: and We gave to David [the gift of] the Psalms."

    The Quran states that the angels and David sing the praises of God.

    Furthermore, even if we believe every hadith to be "truth", including the music-forbidding ones taken out of context, we must remember that the Prophet did make mistakes in which Allah corrected him through revelation:

    [066:001] Oh prophet! Why did you, in order to please your wives, forbid yourself that which Allah has deemed lawful for you? Allah is all-Forgiving, the most Merciful!

    Therefore, the Quran is the final determination for what is lawful and what is not. The Prophet followed Allah's revelations, practiced them, and that was his Message. He would only forbid us what was revealed to him in the Quran.

    Allah ordered the Prophet to say:

    "Do you see what things God has sent down to you for sustenance? Yet you hold forbidden some things thereof and (some things) lawful." Say: "Has God indeed permitted you, or do you invent (things) to attribute to God?" [010:059]

    And finally, for the music and zumba haters, let us remember:

    [016:116] But say not - for any false thing that your tongues may put forth,- "This is lawful, and this is forbidden," so as to ascribe false things to God. For those who ascribe false things to God, will never prosper.


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