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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Yoga Haram : What Next?

It is perplexing that religions become suspicious of activities purportedly from other beliefs. Despite yoga originating from Hinduism, it has no doubt evolved into an exercise regime, for which individuals of various faiths practise. Yoga lessons are offered even in fitness centers and when one participates in its activites, will realise that there are no religious elements involved.

The recent fatwa against the practice of yoga could result in a domino effect involving other forms of exercises as well. Taekwando and other martial arts originate from the monks in temples. Should we then not forbid these martial art practices in Islam as well?

Islam is not the sole religion banning its followers from participating in activities related to other religions. Christianity too is equally guilty of this conduct. Each religion forming concrete borders segregating themselves from the 'impurities' of others. I guess in part, religion itself does advocate its followers to dissociate themselves from indulging in perceived uncleanliness.

So in Malaysia, if we are not demarcated by race, we are certainly demarcated by religion. We continue to find it hard to transcend racial and religious confines.

So what next on the menu to omit?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is interesting but at the end we should ask ourselves, isn't this FATWA to be expected from Malaysian religious authorities?

I feel sorry for my Muslim friends who practice yoga. I being a Hindu myself have very little knowledge about Yoga. I was quite surprised that so many non Hindus have applied Yoga as an exercise form, and I am impressed.

The question now is, what will our friends do next? I believe in this: There is a solution to every problem. The answer will come to us in due time. Patience and understanding are great virtues.

I remember my classmates in Manipal, who were from Palestine. They were the happiest, happy go lucky people and they would dance at the slightest hint of Middle Eastern music. Always smiling, laughing and joking away and they didn't even have a home. The moderate Islam they belong to is a source of great joy that they and many Muslims in India, UAE, Dubai, Turkey, UK and the US experience everyday.

Perhaps all that happens is a journey of discovery for all of us. The quest for peace and joy is always full of challenges. We should help our friends meet these challenges with friendship, understanding and just being there for them.

I shall now go and wipe away me tears.


10:49 AM  

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