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National Fatwa Council rules yoga to be haram

PUTRAJAYA, 22 Nov 2008: The National Fatwa Council has ruled that yoga is ‘haram” for Muslims.

Its chairman, Datuk Dr Abdul Shukor Husin said only the physical aspect of yoga, without the mantras and elements of worshipping outwardly, was not wrong (in Islam).

However, he said, yoga was not to be encouraged among Muslims for fear that it could erode their Islamic faith since the physical part was a component of yoga practice as a whole.

He said there were three stages to yoga practice, which originated from the Hindus: first, the physical aspect which is the exercise part; second the mantras and worshipping; and third the unification of oneself with God.

“Therefore, members of the council reached a consensus that any practice, regardless of type and in whatever form that have such elements, contradict Islamic teachings,” he told a press conference here.

Abdul Shukor said the matter was decided at the 83rd National Fatwa Council meeting held in Kota Baru from 22 to 24 Oct and that the decision would be conveyed to the respective state religious councils for gazetting.  

He said yoga practice among Muslims had also been banned in Singapore and Egypt.

Abdul Shukor said various programmes would be carried out by the Islamic Development Department (Jakim) to enlighten Muslims on yoga.

He also advised Muslims to get information on any exercise programme before practising them to ensure that they would not affect their religious faith.

He said there were many other ways in which Muslims could exercise for health, like praying.

Yoga has been practised since 3000 BC and is said to be able to slow down the ageing process, reduce the risk of diabetes, asthma and heart-related diseases. — Bernama


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