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Embracing Active Lifestyles: Sports and the Hijab


Abayas – the modest wear for Muslim women, is often observed as an oppressive culture by foreign religions. However, if anything, it’s exactly the contrary.

Hijabs, in Islam, allow women to embrace their modesty while also strengthening their religious beliefs. Muslim women of all industries are now embracing their modesty whilst also progressing in their work field.

An active lifestyle, like sports, is one of the most prominent areas in the present world, where we see various Muslim women gaining success and moving forward while maintaining a modest connection with their religion.

In this blog, we will discuss the connection between sports and hijab. We’ll talk about common misunderstandings people have about hijabs in sports and how these women are proving them wrong. We’ll also explore the hurdles they face and how they overcome them. Plus, we’ll give practical tips for women who want to enjoy sports while wearing a hijab.

Breaking Stereotypes and Overcoming Challenges

Misconceptions about hijab and sports have long persisted, but they are being shattered every day. One common misconception is that wearing a hijab during sports is uncomfortable and restricts movement. In reality, with the right sportswear designed for hijabis, comfort and performance go hand in hand. Modern sports hijabs are made with breathable, moisture-wicking fabric that ensures freedom of movement.

Inspiring Muslim athletes are breaking stereotypes and excelling in various sports. Take Ibtihaj Muhammad, an Olympic fencer who not only won medals but also challenged norms. Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, a basketball player, scored points and made history while wearing her hijab. Their stories are beacons of inspiration.

Challenges still exist, from limited access to suitable sportswear to potential discrimination. However, organizations and individuals are actively working to overcome these barriers, advocating for inclusivity and providing support for hijabi athletes. The future of sports is diverse, inclusive, and breaking stereotypes one game at a time.

Choosing the Right Sportswear

If you’re a hijabi sports individual, ensuring that you have the right sportswear is not only essential for peak performance but also for maintaining your modesty and ensuring your safety while engaging in physical activities. To make the best choice when it comes to sportswear for hijabis, there are three key areas you need to consider: Fabric, Safety, and Design.

 Fabric Matters

Selecting the right fabric for your sportswear is a crucial first step. The fabric you choose can significantly impact your comfort and performance. Here are some fabric-related factors to consider:

Moisture-Wicking Fabric:

 Look for sportswear made from moisture-wicking fabric. These materials have the remarkable ability to wick moisture and sweat away from your skin, allowing it to evaporate quickly. Most moisture-wicking fabrics are composed of a polyester blend. Traditional cotton, on the other hand, tends to absorb moisture and sweat, making you uncomfortable during workouts. While there is moisture-wicking cotton designed for sports, it can be more expensive.


Consider whether you need a more breathable fabric. Mesh fabrics, with their small ventilation holes, are excellent for ensuring adequate airflow. However, some fabrics come with different pattern textures, such as pique, waffle, and stripe pique, which not only add a unique look to your sportswear but also provide some level of breathability. In contrast, interlock fabric is smooth and soft but doesn’t offer the same level of breathability as mesh.

Thickness and Weight:

Depending on the temperature and humidity of your workout environment, you should choose a fabric thickness that suits your needs. Thicker fabric tends to be heavier, so it’s essential to balance between staying warm and not overheating. For performance sports hijab, it’s advisable to opt for lightweight, fast-drying fabrics. However, if personal preference leads you towards heavier fabrics, that’s perfectly fine. Some individuals prefer heavier fabric as it doesn’t get easily blown around by the wind, preventing any unwanted flipping during workouts.

Wet or Dry:

If you intend to engage in swimming or other water sports, ensure that the fabric is suitable for both wet and dry conditions. Some polyester and nylon fabrics are fast-drying and elastic, making them versatile for various activities.

 Prioritize Safety Features

Safety is a critical consideration when selecting sportswear, especially for hijabis. Here are some safety features you should keep in mind:

Easily Detachable:

The level of intensity in your workout can vary, so choose a sports hijab that is secure yet easily detachable. This prevents any accidents from occurring if your hijab gets snagged or pulled during exercise.

Avoid Pins or Brooches:

For sporting activities, it’s best to avoid wearing pins or brooches on your hijab. Whether safety pins, sewing pins, or scarf pins, these accessories can be a danger not only to yourself but also to those exercising around you. Brooches with sharp edges and pins may cause unnecessary injuries.

Avoid Wrap Arounds:

Long scarves that require wrapping around your neck are not safe, as they may lead to injuries if the scarf gets stuck or snagged during movement. A simple, secure design is preferable.

Consider Reflectors:

If you’re planning on engaging in activities such as caving, hiking, or running and cycling at night, investing in a sports hijab with reflectors can enhance your safety. Reflectors make you more visible, reducing the risk of accidents in low-light conditions.

 Design Choices

The design of your sports hijab not only impacts its performance but also allows you to express your personal style. Here are some design considerations:

Sporty vs. Conventional:

Sporty designs often feature vivid lines around the head and front. However, if you prefer a more understated look, there are simple and conventional designs available. Some sports hijabs are suitable for both wet and dry activities, providing versatility.

Length and Width:

Depending on your dressing preference and comfort, you can choose between short and long hijabs. Short sports hijabs offer better hand movement and less obstruction around the chest area. Some individuals find it comfortable to tuck their short sports hijabs into their shirts. If you prefer a longer sports hijab for better chest coverage, ensure that the sides do not obstruct hand and shoulder movement.

Color Selection:

While black, white, and grey are common and universal colors, be aware that black absorbs heat, which can affect your sporting experience, especially outdoors and during the daytime. To add a vibrant touch to your look, consider incorporating hints of bright colors into your sports hijab.

Specific Designs for Activities:

Depending on the type of sporting activity you’re engaged in, certain designs may be more suitable. For activities like obstacle runs, yoga, netball, or volleyball, where jumping and rolling are common, look for a hijab that does not flip or invert easily. On the other hand, if you’re a competitive athlete, opt for performance sports hijabs made of lightweight, super-breathable fabric that doesn’t obstruct your movements during competition. You may want to invest a bit more in performance hijabs and use longer, heavier ones for training.

Practical Tips for Sports with a Hijab

Engaging in sports with a hijab is not only achievable but can be highly enjoyable with a few practical tips to keep in mind. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you select the right sports, secure your hijab, and address visibility concerns:

  1. Choose Suitable Sports:

When it comes to participating in sports while wearing a hijab, it’s essential to choose activities that not only resonate with your personal comfort level but also complement your preferred hijab style. The key is to select a sport that resonates with your interests and aligns with your hijab style. Let’s delve into various sports and how they can align seamlessly with your hijab:

1. Swimming: Swimming is an excellent choice for hijabis due to the availability of specially designed swim hijabs. These innovative hijabs are crafted to stay securely in place even in the water, ensuring that you can enjoy your aquatic workouts without any worry. They provide the necessary coverage and security while you glide through the water.

2. Yoga: Yoga is a versatile and inclusive activity that welcomes individuals of all backgrounds, including hijabis. It allows for freedom of movement and flexibility in hijab selection. Whether you prefer a snug-fitting cap or a lightweight wrap, yoga accommodates various hijab styles, ensuring comfort and focus during your practice.

3. Weightlifting: Weightlifting is another sport that offers flexibility in hijab choice and movements. You can opt for a lightweight, breathable hijab that won’t hinder your performance. The key is to choose a style that allows you to move freely and comfortably while lifting weights.

4. Running: Running is a popular choice for many individuals, including hijabis. To ensure your hijab stays securely in place during your runs, consider wearing an under scarf beneath it. This added layer can help prevent any slipping or discomfort, allowing you to fully enjoy your run.

5. Martial Arts: Many hijabi athletes excel in martial arts. For this sport, you might want to explore sports hijabs that are designed to be secure, lightweight, and breathable. These hijabs provide the right balance of comfort and functionality for rigorous training sessions.

  1. Securing Your Hijab:

Securing your hijab during sports is essential for a hassle-free and comfortable experience. Regardless of the sport you choose, there are a few universal pointers to ensure your hijab stays in place:

1. Utilize Under Scarves: Under scarves or under scarves are invaluable accessories for securing your hijab during various sports. They act as an additional layer, preventing your hijab from slipping or shifting. Under scarves are available in different materials and styles, allowing you to choose one that suits your comfort and sport-specific needs.

2. Choose the Right Material: The material of your hijab plays a significant role in its stability during sports. Lightweight, breathable fabrics are ideal, as they reduce the chances of your hijab coming undone due to sweat or movement. Look for sports hijabs designed with moisture-wicking materials that can help keep you dry.

3. Experiment with Accessories: To enhance hijab security, experiment with adjustable pins, magnets, and clips. These tools can be real game-changers, especially during high-intensity activities. You can strategically use these accessories to secure different parts of your hijab. For example, pins can keep the sides in place, while clips can add extra support to the back. Magnetic clips are discreet and efficient in holding your hijab securely.

4. Tactics for Extra Security: Tying your hijab in a way that minimizes excess fabric and provides a snug fit can be a helpful tactic. You might also consider folding the back of your hijab and pinning it for extra stability. Additionally, ensure that your under scarf is securely fastened, as it forms the foundation for the hijab layers above it.

Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to sports and hijabs. It may take some trial and error to find the perfect combination that suits your preferences and activity level.

Mental and Physical Benefits of Sports for Hijab-Wearing Women

Engaging in sports offers numerous benefits for hijab-wearing women:

Physical Benefits:

1. Improved cardiovascular health, promoting a strong heart and lower risk of diseases.

2. Enhanced strength, agility, and overall fitness, leading to increased energy levels.

3. Better endurance and muscle development, contributing to long-term health.

4. Weight management and improved metabolism.

5. Enhanced flexibility and balance, reducing the risk of injuries.

6. Holistic well-being through regular physical activity.

Mental Benefits:

1. Boosted self-confidence and self-esteem by overcoming physical challenges.

2. Sense of accomplishment from achieving personal sports goals.

3. Stress and anxiety reduction through the release of endorphins during exercise.

4. Mental clarity and emotional well-being, leading to improved focus and concentration.

5. Social interaction and teamwork, fostering a sense of belonging and community.

6. Empowerment to break free from societal stereotypes and misconceptions.

Spiritual Benefits:

1. An opportunity to connect the mind, body, and soul through disciplined physical activity.

2. Reflection and meditation during sports, aligning with spiritual practices.

3. The parallel between sports principles and faith emphasizes dedication and commitment.

4. Holistic well-being that strengthens not only the body but also the spirit.

5. A pathway to inner peace, allowing hijab-wearing women to unwind and clear their minds.

6. A means to challenge stereotypes, break barriers, and lead active, fulfilling lives that honor both their faith and personal well-being.

Empowerment and Inspiration

These remarkable women are not just athletes; they are trailblazers who have shattered stereotypes and paved the way for countless hijabi women in sports. Their stories are both empowering and inspiring:

1. Ibtihaj Muhammad, Fencing:

  • Competing in saber fencing, Ibtihaj Muhammad made history as the first American athlete to wear a hijab during the Olympics. She won a bronze medal in the team event, showing that hijabi athletes can excel on the world stage.

2. Sara Ahmed, Weightlifting:

  • Egyptian weightlifter Sara Ahmed earned a bronze medal in the 69kg category at the Rio Olympics, becoming the first woman from an Arab country to win an Olympic weightlifting medal. Her achievement defied stereotypes and showcased her remarkable strength.

3. Kimia Alizadeh Zenoorin, Taekwondo:

  • Kimia Alizadeh Zenoorin, at just 18, made history as the first female athlete from Iran to win an Olympic medal. Despite challenges, including the requirement to wear a headscarf, she secured a bronze medal in taekwondo at the Rio Olympics.

4. Hedaya Wahba, Taekwondo:

  • Hedaya Wahba represented Egypt in taekwondo at both the London and Rio Olympics. She clinched a bronze medal in the 57 kg category in Rio, demonstrating her commitment to her sport.

5. Zahra Lari, Figure Skating:

  • Zahra Lari, from the UAE, defied the scorching heat of her homeland to pursue figure skating. She aims to become the first athlete to represent the UAE at the Winter Olympics, inspiring others to pursue their dreams regardless of climate.

6. Sarah Attar, Athletics:

  • Sarah Attar made history by becoming the first female Saudi Arabian athlete to compete in track and field at the London 2012 Olympics. Her participation challenged Saudi Arabia’s ban on women competing and sent a powerful message of inclusivity.

Onyx Abaya- The Best Choice For Your Modest Wear

If you are also a sports individual and are looking for simple and empowering modest wear that embraces your modesty and empowers your sports- strength, then Onyx Abaya is the best choice for you!

Onyx Abaya stands out as the leading choice for modest wear in Dubai, known for its exquisite designs and unparalleled quality. Offering a diverse range of designer abayas and modest clothing, Onyx Abaya has carved a niche for itself in the world of fashion. Our abayas are a perfect blend of tradition and modernity, reflecting the rich cultural heritage of the region while embracing contemporary aesthetics.

What sets Onyx Abaya apart is its commitment to both style and comfort. Each piece is meticulously crafted, using the finest materials, ensuring not only exceptional quality but also a luxurious feel.

With Onyx Abaya, you’re not just wearing clothing; you’re adorning elegance, sophistication, and confidence.

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