Yoga for Muslims?

Paloma Chavez

DC_yoga-for-muslims.jpgRemember how we recently talked about how certain churches and schools will not allow yoga to be taught in their centers because they believe that yoga has certain spiritual aspects that contradict their religious practices?

Well, that issue is causing an ongoing debate in Malaysia, where clerics are discussing whether Muslims should be allowed to practice yoga.

Since Yoga has its roots in Hinduism, many Muslims feel strongly that it violates their beliefs, while others feel that this reaction is due to ignorance of what the practice of yoga really encompasses.

Discussions about yoga and religion can often lead to heated debates and opposing viewpoints, so naturally many individuals are weighing in with their differing opinions.

On the one hand, we have the opinion of Zakaria Stapa, a professor at the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s Islamic Studies Centre, who states, “I do not understand why Muslims would want to practice yoga for the purpose of finding serenity when Islam, through its teachings, enables its followers to do just that.

Then we have the opinion of social activist Marina Mahathir, who writes in her blog, “Yoga may have spiritual roots but most of us do it for the exercise, both for the mind and body.

The National Fatwa Council has conducted an in-depth study on this issue and, although a ruling has recently been made, it has yet to be officially released because the Council chairman is still analyzing the draft.

Whatever the ruling is, this sensitive issue is bound to generate further discussion from both sides.

Do your religious beliefs affect how you view or practice yoga?

For a more detailed account of this current debate, refer to the following websites: Yoga for Muslims

[tags]religious and yoga, Hinduism, Muslims, religious conflict with yoga practice[/tags]

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