Sound Mind in a Sound Body: The Sunnah of Exercise

I am starting to prepare my presentation for the RIS Convention and I couldn’t help but sit back and reflect with a smile how far the Muslim community has come since I started this mission of bringing awareness of how physical fitness effect spiritual wellness as Muslims.  When I began getting my first certifications over 14 yrs ago no one … and I mean…no one even mentioned health at a Muslim conference, workshop or even a Jummah Kutbah.  Now it’s being a featured workshop topic on it’s own by influential Imams like Imam Zaid Shakir, who is my co-presenter.  I am so proud of how far we have come and so honored to have been a pioneer in this effort.

Inshallah, I hope to see you there.  If not please follow our fan page and twitter for the journey 🙂


Session 18 – 10:00AM – 10:45AM

Sound Mind in a Sound Body: The Sunnah of Exercise

Imam Zaid Shakir/ Sister Mubarakah Ibrahim

While we know that the Prophet (God’s peace and blessings upon him) was gifted with a perfect intellect, many Muslims don’t know that he was also a master wrestler, a marksman with the bow and arrow, an accomplished horseman, a swimmer, and a runner. He lived an active physical life, milking animals, walking to the market, and leading armies, even into the sixth decade of his life. His companions noted that he had a sinewy muscular body and never developed a paunch but maintained a flat stomach all his life. He also encouraged his companions to keep horses, to practice archery, to swim, and to teach these skills to the youth.

Exercise is a neglected Sunnah: many Muslims today are out of shape and have poor eating habits. In Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, John Ratey, a Harvard mental health expert, argues that regular exercise is more powerful than any anti-depressant on the market. With so many mental health issues confronting the Muslim community, should our imams, teachers, and leaders be practicing and promoting better exercise and sound dietary habits?

This session will examine the physical aspect of the Prophet’s life as well as his dietary practices and the importance of wholesome and healthful eating.

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