Volleyball Attire at the Olympics and the Koran

Which of the two players – the hijab wearing Egyptian player on the left or the German player on the right – is dressed according to Koranic standards?

Both, with the German player slightly more so if her visible hair is taken into account. It all has to do with what Allah considers a "woman's finery" and keeping a man guessing.

24:31 And tell the believing women to cast down their eyes and guard their private parts and not show their finery, except the outward part of it. And let them drape their bosoms with their veils and not show their finery, except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, the sons of their husbands, their brothers, the sons of their brothers, the sons of their sisters, their women, their maid-servants, the men-followers who have no sexual desire, or infants who have no knowledge of women’s sexual parts yet. Let them, also, not stamp their feet, so that what they have concealed of their finery might be known. Repent to Allah, all of you, O believers, that perchance you may prosper.

What is a woman's finery?

It is her breasts and pubic area. Not only must they always be covered but the breasts must not be seen to jiggle (the German player's taut top more than meets this demanding celestial fashion statement) and invite speculation, the reason for His decree that "women not stamp their feet."

When Allah communicated His instructions, the bra had yet to be invented. Women kept men guessing about their bosoms by wearing loosed fitting clothing. Allah, to be safe, added another layer, the veil.

And let them drape their bosoms with their veils.

What about the buttocks?

Neither the Prophet nor His Mentor mentioned anything about this part of a woman's anatomy being part of her finery.

Considering what Allah had to say about sodomy, even if it was sex between two men, it is unlikely that when the Prophet insisted on a clause in all marriage contracts which guaranteed a husband unfettered access to a wife's "private parts" he also meant her behind.

What about the hair?

Yes, the German's is not completely covered like her opponent.

It is not because God's Messenger, as some have argued, including yours truly, believed that a single strand of a woman’s hair blowing in the breeze could cause a man to experience a Pavlovian-like reaction, an uncontrollable urge to hump the owner of the stray hair then and there.

In fact, the Prophet considered hair a turn-off. In a hadith, God's Messenger counseled a returning holy warrior to delay his arrival so that his wife will have time to make herself beautiful by shaving her pubic region, which she first did when she became a bride if she was old enough to have any hair down there.

The Prophet made the veil a means for a woman to conceal her identity when answering the call of nature in nature – for privacy, not piety. God's Messenger, and definitely not His Mentor, did not expect women to cover their hair at all times.

It is impossible to play volleyball with eyes downcast as demonstrated by both players. Therefore, aren’t believing women who participate in games at the Olympics where they are required to look up or ahead committing a grave sin?

Not necessarily.

A grave sin in Islam, one punishable by an eternity burning in Hell, is not doing what the Koran tells you to do; a minor sin is the creation of a holy man or a scholar based on an implied proscription in Islamic Scriptures.

When Allah told His greatest and last spokesperson, the Prophet Muhammad, to insist "believing women cast down their eyes" he meant women who encounter men other than their husband or close male relative or males they have not suckled when let out of the house, so that they won't misinterpret their looking at them in the eye as an invitation to fun and games that have nothing to do with the games of an Olympiad.

Believing female athletes, if they are careful to stare at their feet when encountering a male Olympian or an opposite-sex spectator or being interviewed by a male, I doubt very much Allah will find them guilty of anything except perhaps the minor sin of having fun.

There are no jokes in Islam. There is no humor in Islam. There is no fun in Islam. There can be no fun and joy in whatever is serious.

Ayatollah Khomeini

One final observation: the young Egyptian player is already showing symptoms ordinarily associated with middle age and older women who have kept the sun at bay for most of their lives and that is weight gain due to a lack of vitamin D.

Bernard Payeur, August 10, 2016