Islam and the Quran

Is it permitted to dance with the opposite sex for the purpose of personal development?

Question: I go to a school of Latin dance as an activity for personal development. I do salsa with other girls, but I do not experience a sexual desire while doing this. Is it lawful? And what about dancing alone like in hip-hop style?

Allah the Almighty says:

“I created the jinn and mankind for nothing else except that they may serve Me.” (Al-Dhariyat/ The Winnowing Winds 51:56)

“(He is) who created death and life for that He may test you as to which of you is better in deed. He is the Most Mighty, the Most Forgiving.” (Al-Mulk/ The Sovereignty 67:2)

According to these verses, Allah created mankind for them to serve Him. Serving means obeying orders and avoiding bans. He also states that every human is going to be tested in his/her lifetime.

One of the bans of Allah is as follows:

“Do not approach unlawful sexual intercourse. Indeed, it is an outrageous act and an evil way.” (Al-Isra / The Night Journey 17:32)

Please be aware of the phrase “Do not approach…” in the verse. Because of the unlawful intercourse (Zina) is one of the great crimes, even approaching to it is considered illegal.

What you do in dance school is considered by all of the scholars as “approaching”, whether you are sexually charmed from it or not. Therefore, it is not lawful to dance with the opposite sex. Also it is not lawful for a man to watch women dancing. Acts like hugging, kissing, walking hand by hand and staying in an indoor area with an opposite sex[1] are all considered “approaching” in this context.

As a Muslim, you should change your perception about personal development. A Muslim cannot behave like he/she is not being watched by Allah.

About dancing on one’s own:

There’s nothing wrong for a man to dance by himself like in hip-hop style. However, a woman can only dance in an area of which there are no strangers[2] to watch her from opposite sex.

[1] The phrase “opposite sex” here, refers to those that are lawful for someone to marry with. The relatives who are banned to marry with in verses 4:22-23 are excluded.

[2] “Strangers” mean the members of opposite sex that are lawful for a woman to marry with.

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