Monday, November 24, 2008

Yoga Ban: A Right Royal Concern

Yesterday's NST online front page headline, here, says it: "Yoga Ban: Don't question fatwa, says Council" referring to the recent ban by the National Fatwa Council on the practice of yoga, a form of Indian exercise, breathing technique and mind control popular worldwide, by Malaysian Muslims.

But in a breaking news today, Singapore's The Straits Times headline screamed: "Sultan questions yoga ban" when it reports, here, that HRH Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah of Selangor has made an 'unprecedented comment bordering on rebuke' when he said that "Before banning Muslims from performing yoga, Malaysia's top Islamic body should have first consulted the country's nine hereditary rulers who are considered upholders of Islam here".

In his statement, HRH said he hopes that in future, any fatwa decision that touches on issues involving the general public should be referred to the Conference of Rulers to be approved first before it is announced. "This is to ensure that the process of channeling the fatwa decision is implemented wisely to avoid any confusion and controversy," he said.

HRH also said that the fatwa or religious edict on yoga is still not enforceable in Selangor because it has not been brought to the state's Fatwa Committee. "The committee will meet to discuss this matter in greater detail regarding yoga activities in Selangor so that a decision is not made hastily," he said.

None of the other rulers - including Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin of Terengganu, the current Yang Di Pertuan Agong - have commented publicly on the yoga ban since the Council gleefully went on a fatwa issuing spree recently which also include one for tomboys or 'girls who act like boys' or whatever ...

So how about a fatwa on the ISA then, eh?


  1. I can think of a lot of things that can be fatwa-ed but yoga certainly is not one of them. How on earth did this council arrive at the conclusion that fatwa will detract Muslims from their beliefs? Surely that is an insult to Muslims that they can be so easily detracted? I practise yoga and I agree with the millions of practitioners that it is indeed beneficial to one's health, and for us that is the sole reason for doing it.

  2. Dear Ancient Mariner,
    To the Fatwa spree ulamak,they think Malays Muslim's akidah is shielded by a glass case.

  3. Captain,

    they way I see it, it's amazing how these fatwa people try to interpret the words of God.

    Better not get carried away, nanti kena label "jahil" pulak.

    See you soon

  4. be positive.yes,that's the way i see it.

    at first the thought of having fatwa on Yoga might be laughable..but think again.this fatwa helps any Muslims to excercise yoga without any doubt when they know it's the right thing to do the physical part of yoga.

    some people argue on "why you go yoga when you can also exercise your body through solat?".solat is the business between Allah and his,dont make the assumption that those who takeup yoga as their fitness regime aren't adhere to the teaching of Islam.

  5. sebenarnya takde masalah untuk beryoga.sebab kalau kita faham betul-betul akan fatwa ni kita akan tahu yang haram untuk mengamalkan yoga yang ada unsur syirik/bukan Islam tetapi yoga yang cuma mengambil hanya aspek fizikal tanpa unsur ritual masih dibolehkan.

    jadi fatwa sebegini membantu golongan Muslim untuk mengamalkan yoga bagi menyihatkan tubuh badan tanpa perasaan was-was.

    yang tak faham fatwa tu yang akan mempersoalkan kenapa fatwa sebegitu diwujudkan.bila tak faham yang mula wujud kontroversi.contoh mcm Sisters in Islam.mereka tak faham sepenuhnya fatwa tu dan kemudian buat kenyataan yang hanya menambahkan kekeliruan masyarakat.

  6. The ban on yoga for muslims is intended to protect them from losing their faith in Islam and probably becoming Hindus. This is a terrible insult to the Muslims in Malaysia - its as though they dont have a mind of their own and need fatwaists to guide them in everything they do. It only exposes the narrow-mindedness of religious scholars or if they are doing this just to secure their own existence then banning yoga as haram will send the wsrong message to open-minded or even conservative muslims.

    The fatwaists failed that the yoga that is commercially spreading worlwide has no Hindu religious practices - there is no n=known case of a person or persons of another religion having converted to Hinduism because of practising yoga, instead the practice of the physical and meditative processes are actually meant to make the practioner to improve or strengthen his or her own religious belief. One last thing needs to be carefully understood - there is no conversion in Hinduism whilst Hindus are free to convert to any religion they like - so to right-thinking muslims they should have no fear.

    To the Fatwaists - pse refrain from trying to make the Muslims not to use their own brains and instead focus on the several ills that are decaying the moral standard

  7. Notice the usual warning? "Don't question!!!" Clearly this fatwa is a result of shallow myopic mentality and a demonstration of the total lack of confidence and respect of the maturity of the muslims here. The reasoning behind this fatwa is stupid and they don't allow it to be questioned. How did we get ourselves in this situation? We cannot even question stupidity. Sigh...

  8. Captain

    You are my hero! I really like the conclusion of your posting:

    So how about a fatwa on the ISA then, eh?

    Here is my point:

    a) It is already hard being a Muslim living in a knowledge-based 21st Century with all the restrictions imposed by the syariah law and enforced stupidly by the moral policement of Jakim.

    b) Now we have UMNO-appointed NATIONAL FATWA COUNCIL, a bunch of characters whose knowledge of the world is as good as you and I and whose interpretation of Islam as good as the next muslim, making FATWAS that might be binding to muslims if endorsed by the other UMNO-appointed characters in JAKIM.

    Why should characters like Abdul Shukor Hj Husin and his ilk make rulings affecting the freedom of Muslims.

    Religion is a personal is a spiritual contract between God and man/woman.

    Islam,like Christianity, historically, had Judaism as its fountainhead.

    The Judaeo-Christian-Islamic religion had its core is built around a framework of relationship between an individual and God/Allah.

    Authority on Islam by the National Fatwa Council is a vested one, and vested with political undertones.

    Malaysian Muslims are more intelligent than some of these characters sitting in the National Fatwa Council.

  9. Hi Dad,'s becoming embarassing to claim one's self to be Malaysian these days. You can almost hear the snickerings going around the world.

    I can appreciate the reason behind such fatwa but the way they deliver the message is confusing and unclear.

    They should hire themselves a good PR agency to do the work.

    But wait...if they did that, it would mean they were actually thinking before doing anything...

    ooooohhh...that would really be something.

  10. Think before they do anything? Of course they do think. Except, the quality of the thoughts are not so good la. Can't fault them for not trying to think. You can only squeeze that much from low IQ. Kesian.

  11. Hi all,

    You guys seem to make a religion issue here.
    This Fatwa not insulting anyone.They just do their job, as a reminder, to make it clear, it is what Islam suppose to.
    Its seem you guys try to make comment without knowing (detail) what Islam is.
    You can practice Yoga or any exercises as long as NOT contradicting Islamic Teaching.

    To a Muslim, Allah is the Almighty, Creator and Sustainer of the universe, Who is similar to nothing and nothing is comparable to Him. The Prophet Muhammad was asked by his contemporaries about Allah; the answer came directly from God Himself in the form of a short chapter of the Quran, which is considered the essence of the unity or the motto of monotheism. This is chapter 112 which reads:

    "In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. Say (O Muhammad) He is God the One God, the Everlasting Refuge, who has not begotten, nor has been begotten, and equal to Him is not anyone."

    To remind is not insulting.
    So if u are non-Muslim so just do what you can do.
    These fatwa to tell/remind only to Muslim.
    Islam refer to Quran & Hadis.

    More understanding about Islam:

    Thanks you,


Dear Reader,

This blog promotes freedom of speech and I invite fair comment. This is not a chat room and I would appreciate if you could identify yourself. However, if you prefer to remain anonymous please note that remarks that are deemed grossly inappropriate, maliciously defamatory, extremely vulgar or ad hominem attacks (against my person) will be deleted.

Thank you for visiting and commenting.

The Ancient Mariner