Muslim Travel Attire – The Burqini
The end of the year holidays are near and almost every family has been anticipating vacation time together. Preparation is usually done in advance and many families select a warm climate for vacationing during the winter months.If the beach is one of the target tourist sites that you will visit, then you will need to determine what clothes to wear, especially because of the need to be veiled.
The beach is a popular tourist destination. Blue skies and vast seas attract many people to visit but sea water and high winds on the coast are often the main point of concern for veiled women. Muslimahs want to be comfortable with their clothing that is worn during vacation, even if exposed to water and gusts of wind on the beach. The beautiful ocean atmosphere makes us want to swim or just sit and enjoy the beach and view while we take a breath of fresh air and relax. To make ourselves comfortable on the beach, we can choose a hijab (headscarf) which does not change the position of the veil or a plain veil with different colors can be customized to match our clothes so that we can still look attractive, even on the beach. A tunic made of soft material can be worn, such as cotton which can absorb sweat and which is comfortable to wear, but avoid white as it will appear transparent in wet conditions.
When we see the clear water, the blue sea makes us want to swim, even in the swimming pool as a sport or just to play in the warm water when on vacation.
Our Prophet (pbuh) through the verified hadith, said: (Teach your children : Javelin throwing, Swimming, and Horse Riding). The hadith in Arabic uses the word “Awlad” which has the literal translation of children. It did not talk about “boys” alone, so both men and women are included.
Women of the early Sahaba took part in pilgrimage and war; crossing mountains, valleys, rivers, oases, and eventually seas, oceans, and continents as Islam expanded beyond the Arabian Peninsula. Certainly, they must have learned how to swim, to cross the water and to avoid dangers. They must have worn clothing that covered their bodies – their Awra – and there were no special clothes for swimming like there is nowadays.
As Muslim women, can we swim in public places? How can we enjoy swimming during vacation? Is there a muslim woman’s swimsuit?
Most woman wear swimsuits (bikinis) when they swim, but the Muslim woman can choose a burqini as her swim suit.
A burqini (or burkini;Arabic: بوركيني) swimsuit is a type of swimsuit for women designed by Lebanese Australian Aheda Zanetti under the company name Ahiida.The suit covers the whole body except the face, the hands and the feet, whilst being light enough to enable swimming. The burqini is usually completed by a head covering or dive hood made of elastic material that sticks to the head so that you do not have to worry about your hair becoming uncovered and the leggings can be layered with shorts or skirts in nice colors.
We can enjoy swimming during our vacation with some supporting factors such as: polite swimsuits, maximizing coverage and preserving modesty, in which the Awra concept is taken into account (like as burqini); it’s better to swim in separate pool; and permission from your husband/wali should be sought.
The Scholars have said that a woman’s awra (aurat) in the presence of women is between the navel and the knee, but it does not mean that a Muslim woman can show their body in front of other women. A Muslim should maintain a sense of modesty and honor in front of other woman when dressed in such a way, just as when she is among her mahram.
One answer for Muslim families who want to play in the water are to swim together and is considered Halal tourism. Many tourism services now provide hotels and facilities with separate pools, spas and leisure facilities for men and women, as well as family oriented facilities. There are private women only beach areas, and also mixed beach areas for families with Islamic swimming dress codes. Some locations also provide prayer facilities on site.
In addition, Islamic Heritage tours are available for exploring and discovering the history and culture of Islamic Civilisation. All activities are geared towards maintaining the values and modesty of Muslims desiring to follow the Quranic encouragement to travel throughout the Earth to see Allah’s signs and patterns everywhere.
Some countries like Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Spain, Turkey, and Malaysia offer women clubs where Awra (aurat) concepts still apply between women with its separated pools in which women and children can be entertained freely. So Muslimah women can feel safe and comfortable in this environment while enjoying their vacation.
Similarly, countries which didn’t cater to Muslim travellers needs are now beginning to do so and a good example is Japan. Visa requirements have been relaxed for travellers from Malaysia and Indonesia (the most populous Muslim country in the world) when travelling to Japan and Japan has also held the Japan Halal Expo 2014 in November for determining how the country can go further in addressing the needs of its visitors.
So, put your burqini in your suitcase and enjoy a private beach and private swimming pool when on your vacation!