Fatwa: # 45487
Category: Jurisprudence and Rulings...
Date: 15th September 2020


Is Pilates permissible?


According to Wikipedia it seems Pilates (as an physical fitness, health/wellness method) and Yoga are not related to each other (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pilates), but so happen to have similarities. It is unclear if Mr. Pilates who is credited with having invented the Pilates Method was in any influenced by Yoga; where as Yoga is a religious/idolatry based spiritual practice that Westerners have adopted as a health and wellness method, and clear rulings against Yoga have been issued.

With this in mind my 16 year old daughter has asked me if Pilates are permissible for a Muslim (and Muslim Woman) to egage in/practice?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

Pilates was created by Joseph Pilates in the early 1920s while he was at an internment camp on the Isle of Man (UK). Pilates focused entirely on muscle and strength building exercises. The exercise program was initially aimed at helping soldiers returning from WWI recover from their injuries.

Pilates borrows from several different sources, including the natural movements of animals. Although Joseph Pilates studied yoga and qigong, Pilates adopts these movements and breathing techniques without including teachings about chi or energy fields. The exercises concentrate on the core and how all body movement is ultimately powered by the muscles in the torso. Controlled breathing is used to efficiently transport oxygen to the muscles.

There is nothing inherently spiritual or mystical about Pilates. The poses adopted from yoga are used strictly for physical fitness, not the alignment of so-called energy fields. Often, Pilates is said to be for those looking to practice yoga minus its spiritual side. This is further corroborated by the fact that Pilates does not put any focus on the meditation or spiritual awareness that yoga is known for.

In light of the above, practicing Pilates as an exercise for one’s health will be permissible as Pilates does not contain any religious connotations.[1] However, it will not be permissible to attend Pilate classes if there is anything unIslamic in the lessons, especially the issue of segregation of genders, hijab etc.


And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Bilal Yusuf Pandor

Student Darul Iftaa

Lusaka, Zambia

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai


[1] Aap ke Masaa’il aur unka Haal. V 7, Page 334


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