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Preacher recommends beach, sun for Muslims

Muslims should go to the beach and pray: Qaradawi

Bearded men and veiled women should live it up and go to the beach, a top Muslim preacher said Sunday, urging Muslims to instill fun and joy in their lives besides being religious.

Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi said beach walks and enjoying outdoor activities are not only for the non-religious and urged Muslims to make recreational activities part of their lifestyles.

For Muslims, modesty is the best policy and that makes many faithful shy away from going for a swim or getting a suntan. But Qaradawi refuted the common held belief that beach-going is forbidden, stressing instead that "it is their [Muslims] right to enjoy the fresh air of the beach."

In an interview with the Egyptian oppositional paper al-Shuruq, Qaradawi said leisure outdoor activities were part of the Sunna, habits and actions, of the Prophet who always spent time with his wives outdoors in the desert and by the oasis.

But besides the psychological benefits of outdoor recreational activities, Qaradawi said going to the beach and praying the daily prayers allows Muslims to prove to the world that being religious does not conflict with leading a fun life.

Qaradawi did not specify whether swimsuits were forbidden yet in their efforts to align the Islamic principle of modesty with the urge to swim, Muslims have come up with various swimsuit such as the burkini, which covers the whole body.