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’.