Mubarakah Ibrahim, a personal trainer and owner of BALANCE fitness studio for women in New Haven, Connecticut is bringing something very unique to Atlanta this weekend. She is founder of Fit Muslimah, an internet site dedicated to the health and physical wellness of Muslim women. This weekend, she will play host to the Fit Muslimah Summit, a weekend retreat featuring health workshops and fitness classes.
Fitness is often a challenge for Muslim women if they adhere to certain religious modest dress codes, or if they feel uncomfortable working out in coed gyms due to Islam's focus on segregation between men and women outside of marriage. However, abstaining from exercise can be dangerous for health and in such cases, Islamic law decrees permissible that which would result in better health and prevent injury. For some women who don't like to choose between religious law and personal wellness, the idea for Fit Muslimah was conceived.
The Fit Muslimah Summit will kick off Saturday February 13, and end February 14th. It features two days of lectures by Muslim women, and fitness classes made up of only women students. Fit Muslimah claims to host the only events in North America exclusively for Muslim Women hoping to better themselves through health and fitness. However, they are also unique in that they are possibly one of the only conferences in America and maybe the world, which is put on solely by and for Muslim women.
The classes and lectures will feature an Islamic perspective on issues of fitness and health. Examples of the lectures include "How to exercise outdoors and maintain hijab" (hijab is the Islamic headscarf worn by some Muslim women) and "Yoga from an Islamic perspective." The fitness classes will also feature "Halal" music - that which is compliant with Islamic law.
Ms. Ibrahim's Fit Muslimah organization currently organizes two retreats a year: one in Atlanta and another in her home state of Connecticut, with more planned for California and Michigan. In an article for the New York Times, Ms. Ibrahim stated that she "would like to see exercise become as natural a part of a Muslim woman’s life as praying." With her plans for expansion, she just may see her dream become a reality.
The Summit will be taking place this Saturday at Sheraton Gateway Hotel in Atlanta, GA. Registration which is available online, is open to all women and is $80. The event is co-sponsored by Azizah Magazine, which is magazine published regarding Muslim women's experiences and perspectives in North America.