Islamic school principal banned running so girls would not 'lose virginity': reports mentions allegations that a Principal banned girls from running because it could cause them to lose their virginity.

I assume that he thinks that vigorous exercise could cause a girl's hymen to be damaged (I don't know whether it's true or not, but it's a common belief), and that means that the girl isn't a virgin any more.

Is virginity defined in terms of an intact hymen in Islam?

(Side question: is virginity only defined as a concept for women, or is it also a concept for men?)

1 Answer 1


I think this is primarily a question about language. In Arabic there are two commonly used words for “virgin”, namely batūl بتول and ʻadhrāʼ عذراء. Both refer only to women (not men) and designate a woman who has not had sexual relations. Another word that is sometimes translated as “virgin” is bikr بكر which can refer either to a man or a woman; it actually means “unmarried” or “not previously married” (at least as it is used in Islamic law). To say that a man is bikr means that he is not married now, and has not been married in the past.

As for this mullah in Australia: one is tempted to remark only that stupidity is not the monopoly of any one religion or any one nation. The most generous interpretation would be that he does not speak very good English, or that he is using “virgin” to mean “having an undamaged hymen” out of prudery or euphemism.

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