When Runnism and Religion Come So Close – Running in a Hijab
Sometimes we chose Running and Sometimes Running chooses us. Either ways, it changes us. If you are a runner reading this, you know there is a reason I am glorifying running. It deserves the glory. In a very special and strange way, Running brings out the best in all of us. Running stories are always special. This blog has happened because I have never seen running and religion come so close.
Mumbai’s ace Sports Photographer Chetan Gusaini had recently uploaded his latest pictures of a couple who ran a certain race together. Interestingly the wife wore a Hijab and ran. It was shocking for me because the first thing that hit my brain was – doesn’t she get breathless while running in a hijab???
The next quick thought – Wow – she will inspire so many! I had to find out more about her.
As always, Chetan was kind enough to put me in touch with the couple. Here I am with an interview with Asjad and his wife, Shahidah. I spoke to 31 years old Shaheda first, who is a housewife and a cooking enthusiast!
Me: When and why did you start running?
Shahidah: In january 2019 for fitness and as support to my kids who love running.
Me: Would you like to run a half marathon or a full marathon someday?
Shahidah: Actually no…. as running with hijab is a tough thing which I think would not be easy as 5 or 10k.
Me: Why do you run in a hijab? Isn’t it uncomfortable while running? Don’t you feel breathlessness?
Shahidah: Hijab in Islam is a must for a woman to cover her body & face, as a woman is very special and she deserves not to be shown to everybody but to her family, women and her husband even though everyone doesn’t follow every rule of their religion. However I am very adamant about my hijab with my own will and without force of anybody. Even though I feel uncomfortable but am very happy with it & if you make up your mind you feel ok even if there is little bit of breathlessness.
Me: What are your other passions and hobbies?
Shahidah: My main passion is cooking and I love to make new dishes and present them very nicely. I also have my own cooking channel on YouTube named SHAHUS COOK BOOK (I would love to make my channel famous). I do love my hijab, my 4 kids and love to look after my family.
Me: What is the true meaning of fit and active lifestyle according to you?
Shahidah: You should be active and fit enough to face your daily life routines and ready to bear any physical or mental problems you face. God forbid you don’t need anybody’s help (physically).
Me: Would you encourage other women of your religion to run? What is your message to them?
Shahidah: Yes definitely I would encourage all the women of all religion to run as it is a very good source to stay fit and specially go run as the support of people you get in it is a very special feeling which u can’t get anywhere else.
This blog will be incomplete without Shahidah’s husband Asjad’s interview. His running journey is interesting to say the least:
Asjad,30, a businessman, is the first Aalim (Master in Islamic Theology) in the world to have participated in full and half marathons in India and internationally. His fitness journey started at being 100 kgs and very inactive. It was after he fell sick, he lost some weight, he started feeling lighter and then gradually joined a gym to bring strength to his body. He has not looked back. He has been awarded the Mumbai Heroes Award for being extremely focused on fitness and running and inspiring others being an Islamic Scholar, himself.
Me: How do you feel about your wife running?
Asjad: It’s a nice feeling that your better half is also enjoying the same sport as you do. Everybody doesn’t get same kind of life partner.
Me: How do you feel about your wife running in a Hijab?
Asjad: I feel very very happy as I don’t think anyone would have the courage to run with hijab (maybe I am wrong) as it is a bit uncomfortable to run with it as you also feel breathlessness…. but am very proud that my wife does it, that too out of her own will.
Me: What is your message to other men in your religion about letting their wives have an active lifestyle?
Asjad: I would like all the men in all religions to give their wives the freedom of everything they want & specially encourage them towards fitness as in today’s world you need to be fit to face your daily life challenges.
Me: Do you encourage your kids to run. Tell me a bit about it.
Asjad: Yes I have 4 kids and they all are automatically encouraged to run after seeing me and my wife run at events and otherwise. They take initiative from their own side to join me from runs at events. They have done 3k runs and that is hugely rewarding for me as a parent.
Well done Asjad and Shahidah for doing what you do and also talking about it. You could change mindsets. We need inspiration everyday. Thanks to Chetan whose every picture on social media is a story by itself!