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Fasting on Arafat Day / Mustahab Fast

Question 455: Salam alaikom. Is it compulsory to fast on the day of Arafah? Can you please tell us those days on which we have been strongly recommended to fast?

Answer 455: There are no restrictions limiting the times of fasting to a particular day, unless it is considered as haram on the day of Eid ul-Fitr and Qurban. It is recommended to fast on the Day of Arafa. But, if it is not possible for one to recite the Duas of ‘Arafa due to weakness caused by fasting, it is considered as Makruh to fast on that day. [1] Read More

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The Virtues of the Day of Arafat / Fast on this Day

Question 155: What are the virtues of the day of Arafat? Is it haram to fast on this Day?

Answer 155: There are numerous virtues claimed for the 9th of Dhu ’l-Hijjah which is known as yawm al-‘Arafah. This is the day where the pilgrims assemble on the plain of ‘Arafah to complete one of the essential rituals of the Hajj. Read More

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Sheltering in shade while you tied Ihram for Umrah

Question 385: Aslammuelakum, shaikh (Allah bless you Ameen) I have a question regarding Umrah, If Someone is traveling to Makkah for doing Umrah, If it is Day time, So is it necessary to travel on a roofless conveyance( car or bus). There should not be any shade on the car or bus while traveling in day time? What is the ruling on Sheltering in shade? Jazakllah khayr.

Answer 385: One of the certain things that is forbidden during the period a person has tied Ihram is as follows: Read More

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Permissibility of doing Matam for those passed away

Question 051: According to the hadith in the attached meme, from how I understand it, a person was killed and the Prophet Muhammad (saws) saw women doing matam due to the person being killed and he said for them to stop doing matam and only ghum and crying are accepted. So, is matam really allowed?

Rough translation of the attached meme, “One time the Prophet (saws) was passing from near Sham and saw women doing matam on a killed person. The Prophet (saws) called the owner of that qabila and asked him, why have you not told them that they cant do this; only weep and ghum a lot. Go and tell them to stop.”

Answer 051: There are many traditions narrated from our Infallibles (pbuth) in which we are allowed to do matam. Like what has been mentioned in Dua Abu Hamza Thumali.[1]

Given the supposition made in your questions, this Hadith is narrated from Imam Ali (A.S) not the Holy Prophet (PBUH). The following is the hadith I have translated it:

The tribe of Hamdan was one of the three tribes having the largest number of combatants in the army of Hadrat Ali (as). In one of the encounters in Siffin, members of this tribe, being on the right flank, had shown their unique firmness especially eight hundred from among their youth who remained steadfast till their last breath. One hundred and eighty of them were martyred and wounded; eleven among those who attained martyrdom were commanders.

When the Imam (as) was passing from Hamdan, He asked why they are mourning? Nasr replied: they are mourning for those of their family killed in Siffin Battle. Imam (as) has said, “I witness (and guarantee) that every one of them who were killed, were very patient and his Shahada (martyrdom) is accepted”. Then. Imam Ali (as) was passing from Sham (Syria) and heard some women mourning loudly. Harb Bin Syurahbil approached Imam Ali (as). The Imam has said to him: “Do your wives overcome to you? You cannot prevent them from mourning? Harb replied, “O Amir al-Momenin, if it was one, two or three persons we could do so, but one hundred and eighty of this tribe were martyred.” Imam Ali (as) said to him, “May Allah bless your martyrs.”[2]

The Arabic version of this hadith is as follows:

نصر عن عمر قال حدثني عبد الله بن عاصم الفائشي قال لما مر علي بالثوريين يعني ثور همدان سمع البكاء فقال ما هذه الأصوات قيل هذا البكاء على من قتل بصفين فقال أما إني أشهد لمن قتل منهم صابرا محتسبا بالشهادة ثم مر بالفائشيين فسمع الأصوات فقال مثل ذلك ثم مر بالشباميين فسمع رنة شديدة و صوتا مرتفعا عاليا فخرج إليه حرب بن شرحبيل الشبامي فقال علي أ يغلبكم نساؤكم أ لا تنهونهن عن هذا الصياح و الرنين قال يا أمير المؤمنين لو كانت دارا أو دارين أو ثلاثا قدرنا على ذلك و لكن من هذا الحي ثمانون و مائة قتيل فليس من دار إلا و فيها بكاء

The following verses of the Holy Qur’an tell us there is no problem to do matam for those who have passed away or have been killed.

In the Holy Qur’an Allah (SWT) says: And he turned away from them, and said, “Alas! My grief is great for Yusuf!” And his eyes turned white due to weeping [and he kept his anger within Himself.” They said, “By Allah! You will go on remembering Joseph until you wreck your health or perish.” He said, “I complain of my anguish and grief only to Allah. I know from Allah what you do not know.”[3] Thus, according to the Holy Qur’an, there is no problem to do matam.

For further information regarding other traditions in which such mourning is considered as makruh, please refer to:

– Mustadrak al-Wasael wa Mustanbit al-Masael Vol. 2, Chapter Mourning, Pgs. 456-457 & ….

Index: Mourning for Imam Hussain (as) while you are grieving, answer 047.

[1] . Mafatih al-Jinan, Dua Abu Hamza Thumali.

[2] . Biharul Anwar, Vol. 79, Pg, 89, Chapter 16.

[3] . Surah Yousef, verses 84-85 &86.

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Enemies killed by Imam Hussain (as) in Karbala on the Day of Ashura

Question 598: Salam. How many zio-Muslim pagans from the army of satan (yazeed son of Moawia) were sent to hell by Imam Hussain a.s before embracing martyrdom? How many Enemies killed by Imam Hussain (as) in Karbala on the Day of Ashura?

Answer 598: Some narrators said: when Imam Hussain became alone on the Day of Ashura, we, the narrators swore  by Allah that there was no one braver than him, because his children, families and companions have been killed, but when the enemies attacked Him He attacked them all too. He himself attacked the whole enemies in a way that they were all running away from Him like locust, He then came back to his military base saying: La Hawla wa la Quwwata illa billah al-Ali al-Adhim. Read More

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Ask Islam: The Punishment of committing suicide

Question 331: What do the hadiths of the Ahlulbayt (a.s) say about ‘Suicide’? What if one who kills himself doesn’t abandon the belief in all encompassing ‘Rahmah’ of الله? What’s the Punishment of committing suicide?

Answer 331: After creating man, Allah has declared some acts forbidden and mentioned that if such acts are committed, Hell will be the destiny of the sinners.

We know that some sins are like spoiled food whose long term consumption is a threat to one’s health, but others are like devastating explosions which destroy and demolish one’s spiritual life in an instant.

At the same time due to Allah’s great mercy there are many paths, which by taking them, people have the opportunity to nullify some of their heavy and severe punishments or at least reduce them to some extent.

Making up for unjust damages, asking forgiveness from those affected from the damages of certain sins, and finally, repenting to Allah are the steps of compensating for a sin.

Obviously these compensating steps and specifically repenting should be done before one’s death and while he is still alive and consequently, a repentance that is delayed to the final moments prior to death or after death will have no effect.[1]

In the light of what was explained we will return to the sin of suicide that was mentioned in your question.
In a hadith by Imam Baqir, he says: “A Mu’min (believer) may suffer from catastrophes of all kinds or die by various incidents, but he will never commit suicide.”[2]

In this regard Imam Sadiq says: “Whoever commits suicide deliberately will remain in Hell forever.”[3]

In some ways it is correct to say that committing suicide is a sin that automatically entails one to be taken to Hell, but why?

1- As we mentioned above there is an opportunity to nullify or reduce the punishment of sins through repenting to Allah and the repentance should be done before one’s death, but committing suicide is a sin that denies one the opportunity to repent. In other words, by committing this sin one has declined his last chance to nullify or reduce his punishment, thus, naturally entering Hell.

2- Life is a precious gift that Allah has granted to man. This gift is actually an opportunity with the help of which one can achieve the greatest levels of perfection. The person who commits suicide is virtually blowing his precious opportunity and being punished in Hell will be the direct consequence of declining this opportunity. The same way if someone all of a sudden throws himself into fire; his body will burn as the direct result of his inappropriate action.

Also, the same way committing suicide is an unforgivable sin, taking away others’ opportunity to live will entail an inevitable punishment.

Regarding this issue Imam Sadiq says: “A Mu’min (believer) will have the chance to make up for his behavior and conduct, unless he takes part in killing another believer unrightfully, and one who kills a Mu’min, (even though it seems that he has the chance to repent but certain events will take place that he) will not actually repent.”[4]

Despite the fact that some sins do not completely take away the chance to repent, but they reduce the possibility of repentance. Let’s examine the following hadith:

Imam Sadiq (as) was asked about an individual that consumes alcoholic beverages and what his (spiritual) situation would be like? The Imam responded: “His Salat (prayer) and also his repenting will not be accepted for 40 days and if he passes away in this period of time he will enter Hell.”[5]

The Imam (as) has also said: “Whosoever purposely commits suicide, will remain in the hellfire forever.”[6]

In closing, one can conclude that some sins do cause people to enter Hell automatically, but this should not be understood in a way that leads to belief in Jabr (Force and predetermination) and one should not take the responsibility of the sinner in regard to his sins lightly. In fact, this automatic entering is the direct result of the sinner’s actions, the same way the automatic demolishment of a person’s body who throws himself from a height does not contradict his responsibility for his act. However, according to the viewpoint which suggests the manifestation of actions or the unity of action and reward/punishment, Hell and Heaven are the manifestations of our own actions, meaning that it is the person who creates Heaven or Hell through his actions, not that he has done an act and according to an arrangement (with Allah) he will now be rewarded or punished by going to Heaven or Hell. From this point of view the term “automatically” will lose all meaning regarding sins.

For further information in this regards, please refer to the following answers:

Index:  Ask Islam: Ruling on committing suicide, answer 122.

Index: Offering prayer for the dead over one’s body who committed suicide, answer 597.

[1] . Nisa: 18.

[2] . Koleini, Muhammad ibn Ya’qub, vol. 3, pg. 112, hadith 8.

[3] . Ibid, vol. 7, pg. 45, hadith 1.

[4] . Ibid, vol. 7, pg. 272, hadith 7.

[5] . Sheikh Saduq, Thawabul-A’mal, pg. 244.

[6] . Man-La Yahduruhul-Faqih, vol. 4, pg. 95.

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Offering prayer for the dead over one’s body who committed suicide

Question 597: Salaamun Alaykum, Is offering prayer for the dead over one’s body who committed suicide permissible? What about reciting Surah Al Fatiha or Namaz e Wahshat for a those who committed suicide?

Answer 597: It is obligatory to offer prayer for every Muslim (dead person), even if he belongs to the opposite (non-Shiah) sect. However, if he is an infidel of any category whatsoever, even if he is an apostate, or one who is declared a non-Muslim even if he unduly assumes the title of Islam like Nawasib (openly hostile to Ahl-i Bayt) or Khawãrij (.i.e, those who oppose Imam Ali), it is not permissible to offer prayers on their dead[1]. Read More

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Ask Islam: Ruling on committing suicide

Question 122: Is suicide a sin and can it be forgiven? What is the ruling on committing suicide?

Answer 122:  Some sins, due to their quality, leave no opportunity to repent and will lead their committers to the irreversible path of Hell, the same way falling from heights without employing a parachute or landing equipment will lead to the disintegration of the body or the same way falling into a deep sea without possessing the ability to swim will naturally lead to drowning and in both examples there is no way back. Of course we must realize that the term “automatically” is not precise in this regard, because we all know that such a punishment is the direct result of such a decision.

After creating man, Allah has declared some acts forbidden and mentioned that if such acts are committed, Hell will be the destiny of the sinners.

We know that some sins are like spoiled food whose long term consumption is a threat to one’s health, but others are like devastating explosions which destroy and demolish one’s spiritual life in an instant.

At the same time due to Allah’s great mercy there are many paths, which by taking them, people have the opportunity to nullify some of their heavy and severe punishments or at least reduce them to some extent.

Making up for unjust damages, asking forgiveness from those affected from the damages of certain sins, and finally, repenting to Allah are the steps of compensating for a sin.

Obviously these compensating steps and specifically repenting should be done before one’s death and while he is still alive and consequently, a repentance that is delayed to the final moments prior to death or after death will have no effect.[1]

In the light of what was explained we will return to the sin of suicide that was mentioned in your question.

In a hadith by Imam Baqir, he says: “A Mu’min (believer) may suffer from catastrophes of all kinds or die by various incidents, but he will never commit suicide.”[2]

In this regard Imam Sadiq says: “Whoever commits suicide deliberately will remain in Hell forever.”[3]

In some ways it is correct to say that committing suicide is a sin that automatically entails one to be taken to Hell, but why?

1- As we mentioned above there is an opportunity to nullify or reduce the punishment of sins through repenting to Allah and the repentance should be done before one’s death, but committing suicide is a sin that denies one the opportunity to repent. In other words, by committing this sin one has declined his last chance to nullify or reduce his punishment, thus, naturally entering Hell.

2- Life is a precious gift that Allah has granted to man. This gift is actually an opportunity with the help of which one can achieve the greatest levels of perfection. The person who commits suicide is virtually blowing his precious opportunity and being punished in Hell will be the direct consequence of declining this opportunity. The same way if someone all of a sudden throws himself into fire; his body will burn as the direct result of his inappropriate action.

Also, the same way committing suicide is an unforgivable sin, taking away others’ opportunity to live will entail an inevitable punishment.

Regarding this issue Imam Sadiq says: “A Mu’min (believer) will have the chance to make up for his behavior and conduct, unless he takes part in killing another believer unrightfully, and one who kills a Mu’min, (even though it seems that he has the chance to repent but certain events will take place that he) will not actually repent.”[4]

Despite the fact that some sins do not completely take away the chance to repent, but they reduce the possibility of repentance. Let’s examine the following hadith: Imam Sadiq was asked about an individual that consumes alcoholic beverages and what his (spiritual) situation would be like? The Imam responded: “His Salat (prayer) and also his repenting will not be accepted for 40 days and if he passes away in this period of time he will enter Hell.”[5]

In closing, one can conclude that some sins do cause people to enter Hell automatically, but this should not be understood in a way that leads to belief in Jabr (Force and predetermination) and one should not take the responsibility of the sinner in regard to his sins lightly.

In fact, this automatic entering is the direct result of the sinner’s actions, the same way the automatic demolishment of a person’s body who throws himself from a height does not contradict his responsibility for his act. However, according to the viewpoint which suggests the manifestation of actions or the unity of action and reward/punishment, Hell and Heaven are the manifestations of our own actions, meaning that it is the person who creates Heaven or Hell through his actions, not that he has done an act and according to an arrangement (with Allah) he will now be rewarded or punished by going to Heaven or Hell. From this point of view the term “automatically” will lose all meaning regarding sins.

[1] . Nisa:18.

[2] . Kuleini, Muhammad ibn Ya’qub, vol. 3, pg. 112, hadith 8.

[3] . Ibid, vol. 7, pg. 45, hadith 1.

[4] . Ibid, vol. 7, pg. 272, hadith 7.

[5] . Sheikh Saduq, Thawabul-A’mal, pg. 244.

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The difference between Trial and Punishment

Question 517: The Difference between Trial and Punishment. As-Salamu `Alaykum. I have asked this question of many scholars but no one has been able to give me a satisfactory answer. I hope you can clarify it for me. I know that man has to go through a lot of problems and afflictions throughout his life. Now these sufferings could be a punishment from God or it could be that God wants to test his faith and raise his ranks in the Hereafter. But how can we tell the difference between punishment from God or tests and trials by God?

Brief answer 517: Imam Ali (a) says, “Calamities are designed to punish the unbeliever, to test the believer, and for prophets, it is to raise them up in rank and degree.

Detailed answer 517: To see whether unpleasant natural happenings are God’s punishment or not, we should consider the following points:

  1. Living in indulgence and laziness are not the end goals in the creation of human beings. The end goal of human beings is to achieve true happiness, which cannot be gained except through praying and gaining proximity to God.
  2. Natural disasters also have some intrinsic benefits in the sense that they help human beings reach their end goal. It can be said that the harm that these incidents deliver can be considered relative. This means that we consider these things as disasters only when we look through the eyes of those who have been affected. For example a snake’s poison is harmful for a person or an animal that is bitten, but in reality it is good for the snake itself as it protects it from danger and harm.

These catastrophic incidents which occur have invaluable effects when gauged in proportion to the whole universe and the life of the creatures therein.

Some of these effects are as follows:

1- Flourishing talents:  Due to the nature of human beings and the general conditions of the world, whenever human beings are facing hardships and are struggling to overcome these hardships, their internal talents, whether material or mental, are forced to manifest themselves. For instance, many scientific discoveries and innovations have taken place due to the needs of human beings. The Holy Quran has underlined this fact that whenever there is difficulty and suffering it is followed soon after by comfort and ease.[1]

From the Holy Quran’s point of view, one of God’s methods is to test human beings by putting them through difficulties[2] at various stages in their lives in order to draw out and manifest their hidden talents. Imam Ali (a) describes the effects of difficulties on drawing out people’s intrinsic talents in the form of a very beautiful simile:

“Know that the desert trees have stronger branches, while trees planted near water have thinner (and weaker) barks.”[3]

2- Enlightenment:  One of the most important consequences of calamities is that they awaken human beings from the ignorance caused by the material blessings of this world. These calamities remind humans of their important responsibilities before God and replace arrogance with humbleness. Regarding this issue, the Holy Quran says that various Prophets have had their people tested with different types of hardships in order to dissolve any feeling of resistance in them and to help them to submit to the truth.

“And We sent no prophet to any town, unless We seized its people with suffering and harshness.”[4]

3- Appreciation for God’s bounties:  Another benefit that natural disasters bring is recognition of the importance of God’s bounties by human beings. “One who knows the value of being healthy is the one who has suffered formerly.”

In a Hadith, Imam Sadiq (a) says, “Calamities are for both good people and bad people; God uses them to improve both groups. When calamities occur for good people it reminds them of the bounties they used to have and teaches them how to be patient and grateful.”[5]

c- The proportion of what human beings know to what they don’t is similar to the proportion of a drop of water to an ocean. There are many unknown secrets, not only in the outside world, but also contained inside of human beings. Since the knowledge of human beings is limited, we cannot claim to know every secret about the incident which we call ‘evil’. It is likely that there are many benefits in these incidents which we are unaware of and unable to fathom. It’s evident that we cannot say something does not exist simply because we cannot recognize it ourselves. Therefore, careful judgment is a key requirement of wisdom. It is very easy to think of something as evil while its reality may be the complete opposite. The Holy Quran beautifully uncovers this through the verse which says, “It may be that you dislike a thing while it is good for you…”[6]

  1. Another important point is the effect of people’s acts on the occurrence of disasters. The human being is a creature with free will. However, based on the law of causation, the wrong decisions that people make might lead to calamites and sufferings.[7]

The Holy Quran says, “And if people of the towns had believed and had had piety, then certainly, We should have opened for them the blessings of the heaven and the earth, but they disbelieved. So We took them (with punishment) for what they used to earn. “[8]

Imam Ali (a) has said in this regard, “God punishes his servants for their evil behaviors by decreasing the fruits of trees, and bringing a lack of rain, etc …, until they repent and stop committing sins, and take heed. “[9]

The way that people’s ethical behavior can create the causation of natural disasters and the kind of relationship that exists between them is a detailed issue itself, which will be discussed later.

With the help of science, some of the destructive effects of natural disasters are prevented in developed countries. With this in mind it should be realized that it’s not possible to completely evade the sufferings that are caused by people’s evil actions. This is an issue that cannot be decided easily; for instance, we can see that the same developed countries passed through a period of suffering and pain in the second World War that was much greater than any natural disasters that have occurred throughout history. The source of such wars and calamities is directly linked to evil actions and the misconducts of the authorities in those countries. In addition, they are now suffering from other calamities such as social corruption, various diseases and a lack of moral and mental security, and various other issues which will be discussed later.

The most important thing is that in these natural disasters, God has set different goals for different people. These happenings are a blessing for believers, because they are either expiations for sins, for which the individual concerned would have been punished in the next world., In some traditions they have even been considered as valuable as martyrdom in the way of God[10], This is because it is something which can awaken people from ignorance and remind them of God’s blessings, whereas the unbeliever is not welcomed by these blessings. He may spend his life in pleasure and welfare, but in the other world, he will be seized by painful sufferings much greater than the ones in this world.

Imam Ali (a) says, “Calamities are designed to punish the unbeliever, to test the believer, and for prophets, it is to raise them up in rank and degree.”[11]

  1. It should be pointed out that calamities are blessings when a human being can benefit from them and makes his soul perfect through patience. However, if he chooses to evade and escape from difficulties, the difficulties he faces will become very harsh for him (Not that one shouldn’t try to avoid difficulty, but one shouldn’t think that they should never take place for him, and if they do, he can complain and question everything). The fact is that like calamities, blessings can also lead to either happiness or misery. Therefore, whether an occurance is a blessing or not depends on the reaction shown by human beings, i.e. whether they are grateful or ungrateful towards God. In addition, it depends on their level of patience.
  2. A calamity is something that is God’s punishment, which is a consequence of the evil behavior of human beings. These are the true calamities by definition because firstly, they are under the control of human beings and secondly, they don’t lead to goodness and perfection. For example, cruelty is a calamity for human beings as is narrated in traditions.

“Cruelty is God’s harshest punishment.”[12] This is because the punishment of cruelty cannot be felt and it does not awaken the human being so as to bring God’s grace upon him.[13]

  1. Finally, natural occurrences are the results of various causes. Some causes stand in one line and some side by side. This means that the causes themselves are consequences of other causes. Anyway, there are material and non-material causes (in some cases the acts of human beings) that form an adequate cause for natural disasters, which are all subject to the general order of the universe which is materialized by God’s will. Therefore, natural disasters happen by divine will, and are prevented by God as well. God can punish any group of people whenever He wishes. In most cases, He does this via natural causes. Natural occurrences and their prevention are both based on divine will, and are not necessarily in contradiction with the fact that they are used to punish.

For further information in this regards, please refer to the following answer:

Index: Reasons why Allah immerses us in the sea of hardships, answer 474.

[1] Shahid Mutahhari, Adle Elahi, pp. 130-134.

[2] “فان مع العسر یسراً ان مع العسر یسراً” Inshirah:5-6.

[3] Anbiya:25; Baqarah:155.

[4] Nahjul-Balaghah, Letter 45.

[5] A’raf:94

[6] Biharul-Anwar, vol. 3, pg. 139

[7] “و عسی ان تکرهوا شیئاً و هو خیر لکم” Baqarah:216.

[8] Ma’arefe Eslami, vol. 1, pp. 81-85.

[9]  “وَ لَوْ أَنَّ أَهْلَ الْقُرَى ءَامَنُوا وَ اتَّقَوْا لَفَتَحْنَا عَلَيهِم بَرَكَتٍ مِّنَ السمَاءِ وَ الأَرْضِ وَ لَكِن كَذَّبُوا فَأَخَذْنَهُم بِمَا كانُوا يَكْسِبُونَ” A’raf:96. For further explanation see:Tafsir Nemouneh, vol. 6, pp. 265-274 and vol.1, pg.53, under verse 7 of surah Baqarah.

[10] Nahjul-Balaghah, Sermon 143.

[11] Kafi, vol. 1, pg. 353.

[12] Mustadrakul-Wasa’el, vol. 2, pg. 438.

[13] “ما ضرب الله عبراً بعقوبة اشد من قسوة القلب” Mustadrakul-Wasa’el, vol. 13, pg. 93.

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Mixing between men and women at Fitness Centers in College

Question 595: 1. To stay healthy is it alright to participate in a college class where women and men are exercising together, playing a sport (i.e. basketball, soccer, volleyball) ? All the Fitness Centers in College are male/female mixed and expensive, you have to travel very far to participate with other Muslim brothers to exercise in a halal way, and cannot afford equipment of your own. What should you do to prevent disease, laziness, and lethargy in this case.

Answer 595: Firstly, these sports you named are not necessary for a person to exercise. Secondly, in order that you want to stay healthy and prevent disease and laziness you can do other sports like walking. But, if those females participated in such sports have at least observed Islamic hijab in some cases and you are also completely sure that you don’t engage in a forbidden act and this doesn’t harms your beliefs and commitment to the faith (which is what normally happens) nor entails any harãm act you would be allowed to participate in such sports.

According to Sayyid Sistani (ha), one must refrain from going to such places where people go about half-naked is if it entails a harãm act. Based on obligatory precaution, one must refrain from going to such places, even if it does not entail a harãm act like looking with lust and the like.[1]

[1] . For more information, please refer to: The official website of the office of Sayyid Sistani (ha), Youth’s issues » General Rules.