Monday, 24 November 2008

YOGA HARAM IS AN INSULT TO MUSLIMS

I woke up to the aroma of Nescafe. Nothing beats a good morning coffee. It is 4:30am and the hot Nescafe is my wake up call. My maid is punctual to prepare my morning coffee. I crawled to my study room with my eye half open, and sipped my hot Nescafe while picking up today newspaper.

The usual caffeine did not wake up me but instead the headlines of most papers today that read YOGA is haram according to the National Fatwa Council. According to the fatwa, Yoga can deviate the muslims belief or aqidah.

i am a strong believer in my religion, Islam. I have even performed my pilgrim in 2006 but I am flabbergasted by the Fatwa issued by the Malaysian National Fatwa Council. I am an active gym-goer and have taken part in most yoga, tai chi, qi qong, silat, muay thai etc…. My belief in Islam is as strong if not stronger, in fact, my aqidah or belief was never tainted by hinduism in yoga or Buddhism in moay thai or tai chi, whatever or whichever exercise practiced is purely for health benefits.

Fatwa is issued as a clarification on issues that is unclear. Being ‘unclear’ means there is no definite answer except for the answers interpreted by the ‘the expert and intellect’ which makes up the so called ‘council’. The pronouncement by this council will be gazetted as the law and should not be question or it is said as questioning Gods ruling.

It puzzles me how can an interpretation by ‘expert’ be deemed as God’s rule HARAM. Even the process of passing a Fatwa is unknown and is not transparent or maybe it is done by democratic voting process but HARAM….? I could not understand the process and how thorough and detail a research the ‘expert’ did before issuing a Fatwa but Haram is a strong ruling to be issued by anybody. Islam is not just a religion but it is also a way of living. We live in the name of Allah swt and we do everything, from work to even exercise in the name of Allah swt. Certainly the ‘Nawaitu’ or NIAT or Intention for practicing Yoga for health benefits means something…. But Haram?

Partaking in Yoga is purely for exercise purpose, even if there is any hindu chanting (which I never notice when I was in the many Yoga classes for years), how many Muslims actually understand any hindu words (chanting) for their aqidah to be affected. Nonetheless, nobody that I know actually partake Yoga for religious activity nor belief. Unless, Muslim yoga practitioner began chanting and worshipping hindu (which no muslim did), then I do not see how a Muslim faith, belief or aqidah can be affected.

Are we Muslims are so weak and vulnerable that partaking in a Yoga exercise class can deviated our religious belief? Why didn’t the christians, catholic, buddhist or other religion felt threatens too with Yoga?

The Haram fatwa against Yoga for Muslim is an insult to Muslims. It is an insult because Muslims are a strong believer in our Quran, faith and Allah swt. It is despicable to think that our faith and belief can be easily affected and deviated by Yoga the least. Issuing a Fatwa against Yoga for Muslims is akin of saying Muslims faith and belief are so fragile and vulnerable and needed constant ruling or risk having lesser good Muslims soon if the fatwa is not issued. I felt sorry for the ‘expert’ that they are so vulnerable and fragile to Yoga as a threat for Muslims faith and belief. Although I am not the expert, I know and my conscience is clear that Yoga or no other source can affect my belief in my religion, Islam.

Perhaps, the ‘expert’ needed to have more 'confident' in their faith. This is how Islam is taught in Malaysia, that everything we do, is a fear-journey to hell. We need to change this methodology. Islam is indeed a beautiful religion…. ALLAH HUAKBAR.

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