Wa `alaykum as-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All thanks and praise are due to Allah and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
1- Visiting beaches in summer for the very aim of recreation is permissible. Permissible acts, so as to be accepted in the Shari`ah, must meet certain conditions, the main part of which is avoiding unlawful things.
2- Visiting such places may be obligatory if the purpose is to command good and forbid evil, especially as such places are known for violation of sanctities.
3- Going to such places is considered permissible if the purpose is just to have a peaceful recreation.
4- However, visiting beaches is considered haram or unlawful if it involves free mixing and looking at semi-naked women and men.
5- A husband is permitted to take his wife to the beach so long as they stick to the Islamic teachings and guidance given in this regard.
Answering your question, the prominent Muslim scholar, Sheikh `Atiyya Saqr, former Head of Al-Azhar Fatwa Committee, states:
Almighty Allah permits Muslims to enjoy the lawful things he gave to them. Among these lawful things is sightseeing and enjoying the beauty of the universe. Almighty Allah says: “Say: Who has forbidden the adornment of Allah which He has brought forth for His bondmen, and the good things of His providing?” (Al-A`raf 7:32) But this should be within the prescribed limits, not to fall into that which is haram.
Beaches are the favorite places for many persons to have recreation and enjoy fresh air. As actions are judged according to the intention behind them, the intention here is lawful. Thus, if women stick to the Islamic code of dress and men abide by the dictates of morality, there is no objection to them visiting the beach. The lion’s share of responsibility is placed on the shoulders of husbands and fathers, for it is they who can guide their daughters, sons and wives to the proper way of behaving.
In fact, it is important to stress the fact that visiting beaches is not a necessary matter that we are asked to overlook some of the acts that happen during it; rather, it is just a complementary matter. While carrying it out, we should take utmost precautions so as to keep ourselves far from extravagance, corruption and wickedness, all this is to keep us immune from Allah’s wrath.
Sheikh Muhammad Husein `Isa, a prominent Muslim scholar, concludes:
Almighty Allah permits every husband and wife to lead a happy and natural life. Muslim couples are urged to renew the fountains that maintain love between them. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to go out to green places and waterfalls. He (peace and blessings be upon him) used to take his wife `A’ishah to open places. Visiting various places is very effective for refreshment and remembering the good memories of the past. This makes life go smoothly.
However, we have to stress that this injunction should not be construed as a license to go to places where Allah’s prohibitions are violated and free mixing is the norm; it is unlawful to go to such places.
Almighty Allah knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.