We have often discussed the plight of women in Muslim nations as they fight virtual chattel status in some areas and religiously based discrimination. However, even with this long history of abuse of woman, Farah Ann Abdul Hadi, 21, could be forgiven for being a tad confused. Hadi wowed the audience at the Southeast Asia games with an amazing performance that garnered her nation six medals, including two gold medals. She was then denounced by a chorus of clerics and others for wearing a “revealing” leotard.
Cleric Harussani Zakaria is quoted as saying “Gymnastics is not for Muslim women. It is clear that exposing one’s aurat and the shape of one’s body is haram (forbidden in Islam). . . If Muslim women want to participate in gymnastics, they have to find outfits which cover the aurat and this, in turn, might not be suitable for the sport.” “Aurat” is generally used to refer to female genitalia and other parts of the body that are supposed to be covered. However, doing gymnastic in a burqa could be slightly difficult.
However, Roszida Kamaruddin, head of the female wing of the National Muslim Youth Association, supported the cleric and insisted that women can play sport but “must prioritize the Islamic codes in sports” and that “many Muslim female athletes who succeed even by covering their aurat.”
Even the government has chimed in to condemn their champion’s wearing of a standard leotard.
So congratulations Hadi but cover your aurat.
Here is one of her incredible performances: