PM: Yoga for Exercise can go ahead

yoga_indiaKUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA – Muslims can continue practising yoga as long as no elements of worship or mantras are involved, said Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today.

Furthermore, the premier underscored the fact that yoga is good for health.

He also urged all quarters to understand the content of the yoga fatwa issued by the National Fatwa Council and not twist facts which could cause confusion among the public.

“I wish to state that a physical regime with no elements of worship can continue, meaning, it is not banned. I believe that Muslims are not easily swayed into polytheism,” he told Bernama.

Abdullah was asked to comment on the yoga fatwa issue following the opposing views expressed by various quarters and the confusion that arose after the council ruled that yoga was haram (prohibited in Islam) for Muslims as it involved chanting of mantra and acts of worship which are against Islamic teachings.

Don’t feel slighted

On the same note, Abdullah said non-Muslims should not feel hurt or slighted by the announcement of the yoga fatwa as it was only applicable to Muslims.

“What I understand from the decision of the National Fatwa Council is that it was aimed at explaining to Muslims the implications of yoga practice.”

Abdullah said he was also aware that the yoga fatwa would only be implemented after getting the consent of the Conference of Malay Rulers.

Once a state gazettes the fatwa, it will become part of the law.

Devotees of yoga and moderate Muslim groups have criticised the weekend ruling by the government-backed National Fatwa Council, which said that the ancient practice could erode Muslims’ faith.

In an unusual intervention, Selangor’s Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah reportedly said the yoga ban could not be implemented before his state’s fatwa committee had a chance to consider the matter.

Sharafuddin said the issue had to be investigated “in greater detail so that a decision is not made hastily,” according to the Star newspaper.

The Islamic religious department in Perak has also revoked an earlier decision to adopt the ruling, saying that the Perak sultan’s consent was not sought.