The Dandelions

.. the mutual admiration and bashing society.

Fatwa on yoga? What next?

Posted by barbie on October 29, 2008

Fatwa on yoga soon

The National Fatwa Council will come out with a ruling relating to yoga exercise soon.

The announcement would be made by the council’s chairman, Prof Datuk Dr Abdul Shukor Husin, said Deputy Director-General (Operations) of the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) Othman Mustapha.

He told reporters this after opening the two-day seminar on Islamic Jurisprudence and Eternal Islamic Thinking at Universiti Sains Malaysia jointly organised by the Islamic Studies Division of the university’s Human Knowledge Study Centre and Jakim here today.

Yesterday, lecturer Prof Zakaria Stapa of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s Islamic Studies Centre advised Muslims who have taken up yoga to stop practising it for fear that it could deviate their belief.


Yoga was banned in Egypt (not sure about now), where where clerics say the 5,000-year-old practice violates Islamic law and decribed yoga as an “ascetic Hindu practice that should not be used in any manner of exercise or worship”, “an aberration” and said mimicking it is “forbidden religiously.” Is Malaysia going to follow this example?

It is hillarious to the point of ridiculous, because yoga is neither a religion nor claims to be a substitute for any religion in the world. Why can’t anyone does Yoga or Kung Fu or anything that was based off some other faiths, as long as they do not accept the belief system that goes with it?

Yoga originally stems from polytheist beliefs and worship rituals and intimately connected to the religious beliefs and practices of the Hinduism. However, many martial arts, languages, foods and other cultural acts have some sort of background to them. Likewise Yoga is done by many people all over the world regardless of their beliefs. It is done as a form of excercise and is very beneficial for that. As long as you do not compromise any of your own beliefs and also you seperate any of the nonsensical meanings to some of the forms then it is fine, no? Er, perhaps in future we should have a fatwa on Tai Chi exersize for its close link to Taoism as well? It may corrupt your belief.. yeah right. I wonder if one’s faith is so fragile that it is so easy to waver everytime it faces challenges? Then is it worth saving one’s faith to the religion by imposing certain rules to avoid the person from going ‘ashtray?’ God cannot be that desperate, since He’s so magnanimous.

Jakim seems to be quite efficient in focusing on petty issues when there are better things to do. Instead of playing moral guardian cum police, Jakim should……. nevermind, I am not a Muslim and I am sure it is none of my business to tell Jakim what it should do. Why should I care, right? Let these religious bigots bask in their self glorified shallow interpretations and tunnel vision. Christianity, Islam, what ever religion out there, seems to impress people on making life more difficult by imposing many rules instead of making life easier, all in the name of God, heavenly rewards and hell destined punishments.

ps: I wonder if they are aware that the act of performing Islamic prayer itself involving several movements itself can be considered as yoga. The Muslim prayer has five positions (as well as the recitations we make while performing the prayer), and each of the five prayer positions has a corresponding ‘yoga position’.


29 Responses to “Fatwa on yoga? What next?”

  1. MC said

    They better not start being stoooopid-ridicooolous by saying, oh it’s not wise either to send Muslim kids to Chinese schools cos, er, they may get influenced to eat pork and drink alcohol… who knows, this govt is capable of anything! I would like to see PAS’ reaction to this.

  2. anotherkate said

    Just read your blog on this topic and found it interesting because I have heard lots of Christian speakers stand up and denounce yoga saying that Christians should not practise it because it has its roots in Eastern religions.
    According to these people, practising yoga and some martial arts leaves people open to influence by powers other than God.
    All sounds a bit extreme really doesn’t it?
    Never having had the deisre to do yoga, I haven never really given it too much thought. I just thought I would make a comment because it seems that Muslims and Christians (at least at the more fundamental ends of the spectrum) seem to agree on something!!!
    Isn’t that refreshing!!

  3. Ju said


    This is so funny. Malaysia is just like a Borat show.

  4. […] Fatwa on yoga? What next? By barbie Yoga originally stems from polytheist beliefs and worship rituals and intimately connected to the religious beliefs and practices of the Hinduism. However, many martial arts, languages, foods and other cultural acts have some sort of … The Dandelions – […]

  5. fool me twice said

    Next is possibly prayer.

    Because of the difficulty in determining who is actually being prayed to.
    People might all call on the designated name(s), but there’s no telling on who’s really listening.
    Therefore, to avoid summoning the questionable unknown, it makes sense to at least issue a cautionary reminder, if not an outright ban.

  6. James said

    ponco-ponco pun indah boleh

  7. […] bookmarks tagged beliefs Fatwa on yoga? What next? saved by 13 others     josette54 bookmarked on 10/29/08 | […]

  8. Madame said

    Barbie….why am I not surprised really?! This world seems hell-bent on religious extremism….sigh

    Anotherkate….yep, that is refreshing and funny 😀

  9. I was absolutely flabbergasted when I read this! How they came up with this conclusion I have no idea. I’m eagerly anticipating just what else they would put a fatwa on.

  10. Pandu said

    “Yoga originally stems from polytheist beliefs and worship rituals and intimately connected to the religious beliefs and practices of the Hinduism.”

    There are so many common misconceptions in that statement. First of all, yoga literally means to connect with the Supreme. Supreme means the Personality of Godhead. Specifically, yoga is the soul and the form of the Lord meeting in the heart. The process of yoga is to purify the mind first by regulating the behaviors (yama, niyama), then by physical practices including sitting (asana) and breath control (pranayama), then withdrawing the mind from material objects (pratyahara), concentrating the mind on the Lord’s bodily features (dharana), releasing other mental engagements (dhyana), and absorbing oneself in remembering the Lord always (samadhi.) That is the 8-fold process of yogic mysticism. Actual yoga is impossible with a polytheistic mentality. The Supreme means God.

    Second, yoga is completely different from ritualistic activity. It is a scientific practice whereby one practices a step-by-step process and experiences the results.

    Third, the process of astanga yoga (not to be confused with the trademarked “Astanga Yoga,” which is a completely different process) originates in the Vedas, whereas “Hinduism” is a geographical and cultural label given by Muslims on the Northwest side of the Indus river to the people on the other side. “Hindu” is not a Sanskrit word, and modern Hinduism has no consistent philosophy. Nobody really knows what “Hinduism” means in a religious context. Some believe in one God, some in many gods, and some in no God or gods, and some believe there is nothing at all. However, yoga originates in the Veda as the prescribed method of spiritual realization for a long ago age, and the Vedic conclusion is that the Absolute Truth is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

    It should be obvious at this point that what passes for yoga in modern “yoga studios” has little to do with authentic yoga.

  11. erniejean said

    Maybe the Fatwa Council folks want to pass that fatwa against Yoga bcos most of them can’t do it for lack of bodily flexibility and due to jealousy, decided to ban Yoga 😛

    Btw, have you noticed how hardworking these Fatwa folks have been lately? Must be working hard for their year-end bonus.

    No worries folks, they passed that fatwa on tomboys, but our Tomboy Minister is still a tomboy……so it proves no one is paying any attention lah.

  12. barbie said


    I stand corrected. Thanks for the explanations.

  13. gunnfan said

    Muslim issue. Let our Muslim Bros and Sisters handle it.

    You ain’t helping folks. You know you’re not.

  14. mauryaII said

    The higher hierarchies in most regulated and structured religions such as Islam and Christianity have over the centuries entrenched themselves as the spokesmen of God.

    They have come up with the form and the way their religion should be practised and have claimed (as the true and chosen messengers of God) all who have been converted and brainwashed with their dogma should not follow any other teaching or what their conscience or intellect tells them to.

    They have claimed the Maker as theirs and this possessiveness has clouded their pronoucements,judgements, the fatwas and their continued persecution of other faiths.

    Their claim that only through them and their religion one can become religiously and morally upright to be eligible to enter the heavenly abode of God is fraught with ridiculous and hagemonic logic.

    If one persists in questioning these mortals in the hierachies, they are expelled, excomunicated or worse put to death in a most reprehensible way.

    What they have assumed in their fanatical belief that they are the most educated, intellectual and morally upright beings is capablity of interpreting what the Almighty expects of human beings. As such they claim the right to demonise other religious practices.

    It is perfectly alright for these self-styled high priests to idolize their god or prophets or even pay homage and obeisance to them in any number of movements, recital of verses from their holy books. On the contrary they claim, it is morally wrong and blasphemous for others to pray according to the teachings of their religious faith.

    One of my Hindu learned friends says according to their holy book, the Bhagvad Gita, one may follow any path but whatever path they take will lead ultimately to Him. It is this philosophy and belief that makes a Hindu tolerant of other religions. Whether you are a Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist or an atheist, you will ultimately reach Him.

    Hindus do not proselytize. They do not find any need for it. It is up to the individual to approach his Maker in his own way. The pracice of Yoga in its spritual aspect is to attain enlightenment through service to mankind.

    Yoga as a physical activity follows set exercises in breath control and co-ordination of the muscles of the various parts of the body to achieve good health and wellbeing. It does not involve prayer but meditation to focus ones wavering thought process to achieve ones goal.

  15. gunnfan said

    *sigh* anytime someone gets too carried away with how super-duper-awesome Hinduism is…I’d have to remind them about their darling cute caste system. Its just so darn adorable. And just such a sweet joy for one and all. :p

  16. jonathan said

    WTF(What The Fatwa) ruling are they trying to do? Gosh it shows we are realing trying to follow one Aryan race trying to purify it’s race and we know what that lead to!
    see ‘On WTF Ruling’

  17. missjolie said

    This is OUTRAGEOUS! We are now a laughing stock to the rest of the world YET again.

    A friend mentioned last night, a malay lady friend of hers who is a yoga teacher now probably has to quit and find a new job.

    uuurgh, I am ASHAMED …

  18. Cherubim said

    Stupid Islamists. Buat malu orang Islam je. It’s a form of exercise lah.

  19. Mohd Masri said

    Assalamualaikum wbt.

    I have written something related to your posting, and I have pasted part of your writing. Read it here:

  20. Mohd Masri said

    Assalamualaikum wbt.

    Do visit my weblog, I’ve copied part of your writing and give some comments in my weblog

  21. Mohd Masri said

    Here it is

  22. MuiChoy said

    As usual, the Muslim religion leaders never fails to amuse me. Wonder who are the bigots who sit in the council? Waiting in anticipation for the next hilarious fatwa! LOL

  23. MuiChoy said

    Hi Mohd Masri, I think it’s save to say that Muslims should all go to a cave. Even though the fatwa on yoga has not been decreed but the mere idea that your Fatwa Council is toying with that idea is already bad enough. Be a MAN, use your intelligence (if you got any)to determine right from wrong. Why has Egypt’s ban on yoga got to do with you here? Do not follow blindly. Muslims seems not be going forward with their thinkings, although we’re now in the 21st century.

  24. Laksamana Sunan said

    The fatwa is nothing for non muslim. They are our schollars who following the Al Quran & As sunnah. Please do not comment on something that you are not expert. We never insults other religion even though they a really unlogical. How could you say an animal is GOD (cow and etc), so ridicoulous. Dringking cow urine is good?? Are you so stupid! How u can pray to an Idol? Even a fly, the idol could not do nothing.. Please be reasonable, practical, logical, open minded ???

  25. Cherubim said

    I am a Muslim and I find it highly, HIGHLY stupid.

    The Olympics were originally dedicated to the God of Mount Olympus Zeus. What next? Muslims can’t join the Olynmpics because it was originally dedicated to a pagan God? Such hypocrisy.

  26. barbie said

    Laksamana Sunan,

    Logical? Practical? Reasonable? Open minded?


  27. Barbat said

    > The fatwa is nothing for non muslim… (plus all the other stuff on idol worship)

    So that means, if you’re a Muslim, you can stop thinking and just follow what these fatwa-givers say? Chill bro… if it’s ridiculous, it really is ridiculous.

  28. Madame said

    Yoga does have its origins in Hinduism, I agree….but do ppl who practice Yoga as a form of exercise and relaxation always chant mantras invoking the Hindu dieties whilst practising it? Definitely not!

    Non-Hindus who practice Yoga, choose it as their own personal choice of exercise and relaxation. It is a ‘personal freedom’. Does religion have to dictate everything we do in life? Are we to be allowed no ‘personal’ choices at all?

    The Malaysian Islamic spiritual leaders need to issue fatwas against the blatant corruption practised by this govt. An individual’s ‘personal’ choice of doing Yoga has no bearing on anyone else….corruption does!!!

    Wake up, O Holy Ones and smell the crap arnd you….

  29. Laksamana Sunan said

    Thank for your comment. FYI muslim scholars will not impose fatwa without deep research and should be based from Islamic traditions the Al Quran & As sunnah. Yes we could think and I’m thinking but as muslim, we need to obey Al Quran teachings.

    Yes corruption is against Islam and deeply agree. But anything which could deviate muslim faith is also important! Without faith muslim is not a muslim. In Islam, nothing is considered personal.Islam is the way of life. We are not secular.

    And for Idol worshipper… please ask yourself.. is it logic? May you find the truth someday. Amin…

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