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Jakim wants meeting over yoga ban

IPOH, 25 Nov 2008: The Islamic Development Department Malaysia (Jakim) is asking each state fatwa committee to meet over the decision to ban the systematic practice of yoga for Muslims before the fatwa (edict) is presented to the Malay Rulers for consent.

Jakim director-general Datuk Wan Mohamad Datuk Sheikh Abdul Aziz said the implementation of the fatwa must follow the legal process before it could be gazetted in each state.

“There are no differences in opinion over the fatwa (among the Islamic religious authorities) but we need to see how it can be implemented. Therefore, the state fatwa committees should discuss the matter before it is presented to the Sultans and Malay Rulers,” he told reporters after chairing the Conference of Chief Executives of State Islamic Religious Councils, here, today.

The National Fatwa Council had, on 22 Nov, issued a fatwa to ban systematic yoga practice for Muslims as chanting of mantra and oneness with God are part of the physical regime, and are therefore against Islamic teachings.

The fatwa, however, has not been enforced in any of the states.

In Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah said yesterday that the fatwa had not been enforced in the state as it had not been brought before the State Fatwa Committee for discussion.

The Sultan also suggested that in future, any decision on fatwa that involved a public matter should be referred to the Conference of Malay Rulers for consent before being announced to the public to avoid confusion or controversy.

The Selangor State Fatwa Committee’s decision will be presented to the Sultan for consent before the fatwa is gazetted and implemented in accordance with the procedures provided in the Islamic Religious Administration Enactment (Selangor State) 2003.

Asked about the opposing views from non-Muslim groups on the yoga ban, Wan Mohamad said the fatwa was only meant for Muslims and that non-Muslims should respect the sanctity of Islam.

Meanwhile, Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin said the state government would accept whatever decision consented by the Perak Sultan on the fatwa.

He, however, added that the fatwa and related matters would be brought to the Perak State Fatwa Committee for discussion and decision, and then to the Perak Islamic Religious and Malay Customs Council (MAIAMP) before being presented to the Sultan.

He said MAIAMP would hold a meeting on 9 Dec and a decision on the issue was expected to be made on the same day. — Bernama


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