Will Muslims be Banned from Yoga?

Yet again, there is controversy over the practice of Yoga. This time it is in Malaysia, where a professor of Islamic studies has called for a ban on the practice of yoga. In Islam, this ban is known as a Fatwa, and the professor, Zakaria Stapa, opposes its practices because of its origins in Hinduism and the possibility it may cause some Muslims to deviate from the teachings of Islam.

A fatwa in the Muslim culture is a religious ruling issued by an Islamic authority on issues that can be deemed contradictory to Islamic law. Traditionally, only a Muslim scholar could issue this decree. He would have to provide extensive proof to support the judgment, and show that it is coming from a place of genuine concern without regard for personal or political agenda.

The potential Fatwa had received some intense criticism from the local Muslim population, like the Malaysia Muslim Solidarity Movement who see yoga as an acceptable practice when pursued as a form of exercise. Muslims all over the country have spoken out about the benefits of practicing yoga without affecting their religious beliefs.

A decision on the fatwa is expected from the council this week. It is still unclear whether it will rule in favor or opposition to the practice of yoga. Muslims in Malaysia will be strongly urged to follow the ruling of the council, but unlike the laws of the state, it will be up to each individual whether they abide by it.

What would you do if your faith banned the practice of yoga?

Comments 7

  1. Wow. I don’t know why Islam (or any other religion for that matter) would want this practice eliminated. I think this has to do with fear. If you believed that your religion was the only or the best way, why try to hinder the education of your followers? As in yoga when resistance is encountered it needs to be explored.

  2. NJThief,

    I think the post explains what a Fatwa is…and the link added is a report on the final Ruling.
    Hope this helps clarify.

  3. As a Muslim im sadden by the thought of the ban. Yoga has made me more spiritual than I
    have ever been and has impacted my life in ways i never thought possible. I really do
    think most Muslim are not in support of such a ban, but what can i say politics
    will be politics.

  4. Many willingly closed minded people, as well as those that are unaware that this what they are when they concerned to keep their own religious beliefs unchallenged, are against the benefits of yoga teachings. I soeak as the first person to successfully bring yoga in to classes at the YMCA in London who where deag set against having it …We are a CHRISTIAN Organization…

    Hopefully, with sensitive and inspiring example we will find we can reach out to benefit other relious too

  5. We hope that we can break free of this intolerance and move towards a better world. The Islamic countries and their narrow minded thinking has done nothing but damage to themselves by becoming global outcasts and our world through terrorism. People must open their eyes, and see that Nirvana, right here right now, is possible. I hope that the eternal energy of Om can bring openness to their hearts and an end to their internal “Jihad” which is causing them to act out the external “Jihad”.

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