Being-Muslim and Doing-Islam: Narratives that Influence Physical Activity of Muslim Women in New Zealand


  • Nargis Ali Auckland University of Technology
  • Deborah Payne Auckland University of Technology
  • Erica Hinckson Auckland University of Technology



Physical activity, Muslim women, activity, religious stipulations, religion, Islam


Muslim women in New Zealand form an ethnic and religious minority. Research related to the physical activity levels of these women and their health status is sparse, particularly in the New Zealand context. International literature shows that Muslim women are at risk of various diseases related to inactivity. Islam, the religion followed by Muslims, is perceived by many Muslims as a way of life that influences almost all aspects of their lives. Particular understandings of Islam and women’s roles within Islam influence the norms and expectations about health beliefs and physical activity. This study explored the role religion plays in shaping the physical activity of Muslim women in New Zealand. Findings revealed that the women in this study related to Islam in different ways and practised the religion in ways which either facilitated or hindered physical activity.

Author Biographies

Nargis Ali, Auckland University of Technology

I have recently graduated from Auckland University of Technology with a Doctor of Health Science degree. My research areas are Muslim women, health, physical activity and intercultural communication

Deborah Payne, Auckland University of Technology

Associate Professor Co-Director - Centre for Midwifery & Women's Health Research / Paper Coordinator within the Doctor of Health Science programme and the Master in Health Science programme

Erica Hinckson, Auckland University of Technology

Associate Dean (Postgraduate) - Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences




How to Cite

Ali, N., Payne, D., & Hinckson, E. (2015). Being-Muslim and Doing-Islam: Narratives that Influence Physical Activity of Muslim Women in New Zealand. Sites: A Journal of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies, 12(2), 106–132.