Women pro-athletes in hijab

by Naomi Clark-Shen

Islam is the second most common religion in the world, practiced in more than 200 countries from Asia to the Middle East. The religion highlights the importance of sports for human wellbeing through the Shari’ah, Qu’ran, and Hadith, yet social and cultural barriers sometimes limit Muslim women’s participation. But over the last few decades, female participation in athletics has been rising in Muslim nations. What challenges have these trailblazing athletes faced—and what does the future hold?

Despite these challenges, many women from Muslim nations have persevered.

Figure skater Zahra Lari from the United Arab Emirates. Sourced from a video on YouTube.

Weightlifter Sara Ahmed from Egypt. Sourced from a video on YouTube.

Zeina Nassar, German boxer and Nike Pro Hijab ambassador. Sourced from a video on YouTube.


With Muslims representing 24 percent of the world’s population, the unlocked athletic potential is huge.
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