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Tuesday, November 25, 2008


The National Fatwa Council recently issued a ban for Muslims to practise Yoga, arguing that yoga has taken its roots in Hinduism and its ultimate aim is to be one with god, and therefore it is against the Islamic faith to practise yoga.

Although this edict does not have a legal binding, it has nevertheless triggered an outburst of controversies: whether yoga is purely a form of exercise or is carrying some religious elements.

Malaysia is not the first country in the world to have triggered religiously inspired objections to yoga. Egypt banned the practice of yoga back in 2004, and we have also heard that conservative Christians in the United States strongly opposed to the inclusion of yoga in school PE classes.

Frankly speaking, there are a few branches in yoga, part of which actually entailing religion. In Hinduism, Jainism or Buddhism, we see believers practising yoga as a means of training in their pursuit of spiritual uplifting.
"Religion never comes into play in the practice of yoga for most people. To them, "one with the universe or heavens" is an excessive state way too remote or lofty to be accessible."

However, in actual fact, yoga is not altogether identical to religion. Yoga was born long before major religions and ancient Indians saw yoga as superior to religion, and the ultimate approach to pursue reality.

It has been said that the highest state in yoga is the unison of an individual's consciousness with the universe, which to some extent resembles the "one with the heavens" philosophy of ancient China.

Having said that, religion never comes into play in the practice of yoga for most people. To them, "one with the universe" or "one with the heavens" is an excessive state way too remote or lofty to be accessible.

Jack learns yoga for spiritual enlightenment and to reduce stress; John takes up yoga to strengthen his body and relieve pains and illnesses; while Jane practises yoga purely to shed a few pounds and make herself look slimmer and more attractive.

While we have a thousand and one reasons to practise yoga, these reasons are, and always remain, just that simple.

Yoga has become a lifestyle today. Just as Sisters In Islam (SIS) has said, the yoga which has gained popularity in our cities and towns today has shed many of its religious elements to become a simplistic form of stylish health-promoting exercise.

Where history is concerned, sports has never been completely weaned from politics, and to the dismay of many, sports is also now entangled into the ramification of religious controversies.

As a matter of fact, the origins of ancient Olympics were also shrouded in a thick, mysterious religious veil. From the many magnificent legends depicting the origins of the games, we could see that they were all rooted in Zeus, the God of all gods in Greek mythology, as well as His relatives.

In other words, Zeus was the spiritual commander of ancient Olympics. The torch lighting ceremony in modern Olympics, meanwhile, has also taken root in an ancient religious ceremony of worshipping.

While we respect the National Fatwa Council's edict, we are keen to find out, based on the same argument, whether it should also be deemed inappropriate for Muslims to take part in the Olympics.

(By LIM MUN FAH/Translated by DOMINIC LOH/Sin Chew Daily) a muslim im ok with " NO MORE YOGA FOR MUSLIM "...there are still many practices outhere which is even more more more better than YOGA such as " how to get 6 pax abs in 2 months"...YOGA IS Too SLOW LAA BROTHER!!

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