Monday, November 24, 2008

yoga is haram (prohibited) ?!

Last week, the government said:

yoga is haram (prohibited).

PUTRAJAYA: The National Fatwa Council has declared that yoga is haram (prohibited) in Islam and Muslims are banned from practising it.

Its chairman Datuk Dr Abdul Shukor Husin said yoga had been practised by the Hindu community for thousands of years and incorporated physical movements, religious elements together with chants and worshipping, with the aim of “being one with God”.

“Because of this, we believe that it is inappropriate for Muslims to do yoga. The council is declaring that practising yoga, when it comes together with the three elements, is haram,” he told a press conference here yesterday.

He noted that while merely doing the physical movements of yoga without the worshipping and chanting might not be against religious beliefs, Muslims should avoid practising it altogether as “doing one part of yoga would lead to another”.

Muslims, he said, were discouraged from practising yoga even as a form of exercise as it would ultimately lead to worshipping and chanting, which is against Islam.

Inappropriate for Muslims?: A yoga practitioner going through the ‘crow’ asana, one of the more advanced postures, at a yoga centre in Kuala Lumpur Saturday. Malaysia’s top Islamic body has ruled that because the physical exercise contained elements of Hinduism, it could corrupt Muslims. — AP

“In Islam, a believer must not do things that can erode one’s aqidah or faith. Doing yoga, even just the physical movements, is a step towards erosion of one’s faith in the religion, hence Muslims should avoid it,” he said.

Shukor said that once the fatwa was gazetted, it would be up to the state governments to implement and enforce the ruling as religious affairs come under their purview.

“Malaysia is not the only country which prohibits Muslims from doing yoga. Singapore and Egypt have come out with the same edict,” he pointed out.

The council, he said, came up with an edict on yoga as the matter was referred to it following growing concerns whether it would be against the religion if Muslims continued with the exercise.

Recently, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s Islamic Studies Centre lecturer Prof Zakaria Stapa advised Muslims who had taken up yoga to stop practising it for fear that they could deviate from the teachings of Islam.

Shukor said the declaration of yoga as haram was done after serious and in-depth discussions among the council members who met last month.

He said that after studying the matter, including the history and purpose of yoga, the council decided that it was inappropriate for Muslims as it could affect one’s faith.

Asked if the decision would draw flak within the Malaysian community, including the non-Muslims, he said the ruling was only meant for Muslims. The rest were free to practise yoga.

He said Muslims must be careful not to do anything that could erode their faith, adding the religion strongly advocates “prevention is better than cure”.

“There are many other forms of exercise that Muslims can partake in, especially when the religion promotes healthy living and lifestyle. Performing prayers, for example, is a good form of exercise,” he said.

then the peoples reaction said:

PETALING JAYA: Sisters in Islam (SIS) and several yoga practitioners have expressed disappointment with the National Fatwa Council’s edict yesterday prohibiting Muslims from practising yoga.

They maintained that yoga was just a form of exercise.

Other individuals, however, said they would adhere to the edict.

Sisters in Islam (SIS) programme manager Norhayati Kaprawi said many Muslims in Malaysia practised it as a form of exercise to stay healthy.

“I don’t think it has caused any Muslim to convert to Hinduism, neither has it weakened their faith. It’s just an exercise like qigong or taichi which has its roots in Buddhism.

Healthy living: Siti Suheila conducting a yoga class.

Norhayati said that by issuing the edict, the council had acted as if yoga was a widespread threat to Islam.

“I hope they can focus their attention on bigger and more pressing issues, such as money politics and corruption. Isn’t that more serious?” she asked.

She noted that SIS had been holding weekly yoga classes for their staff for the past year, adding that it had no problems continuing with it.

The council declared that yoga, which involves elements of physical movements, worshipping and chanting as haram in Islam and Muslims are banned from practising it.

Yoga teacher Datin Siti Suheila Merican agreed that while yoga practice should not involve worshipping and chanting, the physical movements were good for improving health.

Siti Suheila, who has been teaching yoga for the past 30 years, said the issue should not be blown out of proportion as many Muslims in the Middle East were doing it without any fuss.

“Worldwide it has been accepted as an exercise for health benefits.

“It is a science of health that is time-tested and proven scientifically to be extremely effective. Many doctors in the West recommend yoga as an alternative therapy to medication,” she said.

M. Revathi, 40, who has been teaching yoga part-time for about 10 years, said some people mistook the names of the asanas (postures) as religious verses as they were in Sanskrit “but there’s nothing religious about the names.”

“As for the meditation part, it’s not religious either. I tell my students to relax and free their minds, and they can meditate in whatever language they like,” she said.

A doctor, who only wanted to be identified as Rafidah, said she had been attending yoga lessons once or twice a week for the past six months but would quit her classes now to adhere to the edict.

“I still don’t feel that it has changed my faith in Islam at all. My faith as a Muslim is the same as before,” the disappointed 27-year-old said.

However, she believed that the council had conducted the necessary research and knew more about Islam than she did.

Another yoga practitioner, who only identified herself as Siti, said she would stop doing yoga.

“I think it’s fine for beginners but as I went for more advanced classes, I did not feel comfortable. I think I’ll take up pilates now instead as it is purely exercise,” she said.

Then today i read the newspaper:

No yoga for Muslims in Perak

IPOH: Muslims in Perak will be barred from practising yoga following the National Fatwa Council’s edict that the practice is haram (prohibited).

Perak Religious Department director Datuk Jamry Sury said the state would abide by the decision of the council to disallow Muslims from practising yoga.

“We will be meeting on Dec 9 to make a formal announcement on the matter,” said Jamry who is also Perak Malay Customs and Religious Council secretary.

However, the department has not identified any Muslim in Perak who practises yoga, he said yesterday.

In Petaling Jaya, Malaysia Hindu Sangam president Datuk A. Vaithilingam said the council must respect the sensitivities and feelings of people of other religions in Malaysia while giving guidance to Muslims.

“Many Hindus have been deeply disturbed by the council’s announcement. To declare this ancient practice haram and say that it can ‘corrupt’ a person is very hurtful and demeaning,” he said in a statement yesterday.

The council on Saturday issued an edict banning Muslims from practising yoga on the grounds that it was inappropriate for Muslims as it involved chants and acts of worship of the god of another religion.

i speechless after read those news.
isit all Bumiputra can't do whatever activity from others country?
unless the activity is from islamic country?
example mat rempit?
note: no offense to all my malay friend, just curious why the government want to do this to us

So, what else on newspaper tomorrow?

Source from here


KY Yap said...

malaysia can come out with any funny reason just to stop something, example like avril lavigne concert but luckily they cancel their plan and now this...

Yoga has been around for so many years now only say is prohibited, maybe they are too free and want to find something to do, haha


Anonymous said...

yes.. sudah haram..
i hav a malay fren who told me tat she nits to do yoga like everyday..
so she doesnt care..
she goes in and b herself..
as she looks like a chinese.. haha

Anonymous said...

As a Muslim myself, I have to say that this time the Fatwa Council have gone bonkers. Maybe not all, but most of the council members. The Perlis mufti for one, didn't vote for this new ruling. I personally think that Yoga, without the chanting (or find alternative, non religious chant), poses no threat to Islam.

For non-Muslims who don't get it, let me ask an easy question that will help you understand the Muslim's concern in this matter. Wouldn't you be concerned if people, especially those you know, of your religion start doing exercises that chants "Allahuakbar" as you perform it?

Although, the fatwa is over a bit lah. Like I said, just remove/change the Hindu chanting part and it should be OK for Muslims to perform yoga themselves. They're just too lazy to think of a more refined solution to this.

BTW, the fatwa is only for Muslims, so there's no reason for the over reactions from non Muslim right? Also, this ruling is from the Fatwa Council, not the Government.