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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Malaysia Islamic body bans Yoga for Muslims

Yoga is a form of exercise that has found many fans and devoted practitioners all over the world. It has developed many variants as well, and the number of people practising Yoga all over the world would number in the 10's of millions. However, Yoga has derived from Hindu practices (or more accurately, Yoga developed at the same time as the early Hindu religion, and has been seen as linked together). However, this is not necessarily so, and a number of people have shown how one can enjoy the benefits of Yoga without seeming to undergo the Hindu practices. However, this has not stopped Islamic and Christian denominations from rejecting Yoga, as this Malaysian Islamic body did:


Malaysia's top Islamic body on Saturday ruled against Muslims practicing yoga, saying it had elements of other religions that could corrupt Muslims. The National Fatwa Council's non-binding edict said yoga involves not just physical exercise but also includes Hindu spiritual elements, chanting and worship.
The Malaysia fatwa reflects the growing strain of conservatism in Malaysia, which has always taken pride in its multi-ethnic population. About 25 percent of Malaysians are ethnic Chinese and 8 percent ethnic Indians, mostly Hindus. The Fatwa Council took up the yoga issue after an Islamic scholar last month expressed an opinion at a seminar that it was un-Islamic. But yoga teacher Suleiha Merican, who has been practicing yoga for 40 years, called yoga "a great health science" and said there is no religion involved. "We don't do chanting and meditation. There is no conflict because yoga is not religion based," Merican, 56, told The Associated Press.


This is another example where a religious opinion has prevented something beneficial from happening. There is no logical reason, instead, it is more about some apprehensions.

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