Are there any narrations indicating that swimming is virtuous in Islam?
There are numerous narrations explaining the virtue of swimming. In fact ‘Allamah Suyuti (rahimahullah) has authored a booklet on this topic.
Among these narrations is the following:
Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Any action which is void of the remembrance of Allah Ta’ala is futile (lahw) except for four actions.
a) Walking between two targets, ie. practicing with a bow an arrow/spear
b) Training one’s horse
c) Playing with one’s wife
d) Learning how to swim
(Sunan Nasai, Hadith: 8940 and Tabarani, Hadith: 1785)
Hafiz Mundhiri and Hafiz Haythami (rahimahumallah) have authenticated the above narration.
(Targhib, vol. 2 pg. 279, Majma’uz Zawaid, vol. 5 pg. 269. Also see Al Maqasidul Hasanah, Hadith: 708 for other Hadiths that encourage swimming)
And Allah Ta’ala Knows best.
Answered by: Moulana Suhail Motala
Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar
Checked by: Moulana Haroon Abasoomar