Please note: The answers on constitute friendly advice rather than fatwas. Where relevant, we translate the opinions and fatwas of respected scholars and present them in our answers.

Learning martial arts in mixed-sex company

Assalamu'alaykum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh. Hello, I'm a South East Asian Muslim women. I have a question, and hopefully you'd answer. Is it okay for me to learn martial arts? If so, then would it be permitted for a male teacher to teach me (side note: we learn it in group, not private one-on-one), while martial arts is a full physical thing and, one thing for sure, that we will come in contact with non-mahrams? Also, I have contacted a sunna-based martial arts teacher (Aikido, with Islamic principle of male and female not able to train or spar due to avoid physical contact with the opposite sexes), but they replied that the female teacher is currently not available. It is rare to have a female martial arts teacher. Due to such matter, can I just choose whatever martial arts dojo (place for training) regardless of the principle? The general manner of the people in my country is welcoming and caring, both men and women, so my personal opinion is that I'm safe enough to learn from male teachers. but I'm still unsure. What do you reckon? Pardon the long explanation and thank you very much for taking your time and I respect whatever opinion you have to offer regarding this.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

There are no strict rules in Islam regarding the mixing of the sexes in public spaces. If the atmosphere of the dojo is respectful and dignified, then there is no reason why you cannot join it as a woman provided that this is something socially acceptable in your culture and approved by your parents and relatives.

Regarding touching between the sexes during lessons, this should be avoided.

And God knows best.

2 thoughts on “Learning martial arts in mixed-sex company

  1. Anonymous

    Alhamdulillah. Thank you for your answer. Also, two follow-up questions.

    You said that contact between the sexes should be avoided, but what if it’s for the sake of training or sparring, will it still be not permitted?

    And if in real life I were to face a tight situation and have to fight against a delinquent to defend myself, is it okay to touch them (unintentionally or due to being in that situation)?

    Thank you.

    1. Ikram Hawramani Post author

      We do not have any strict legal texts on prohibiting touching the opposite sex in cases of necessity. There are hadiths that tell us the Prophet PBUH never touched a non-mahram woman’s hand, so the scholars take their cue from this.

      As for touching during training, most scholars would dislike it, and I believe it goes against Islamic manners to engage in that. The necessity is not great enough to override this.

      As for touching during self-defense, there is no problem with that.


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