Byline: Aniza Damis
A new fatwa has been issued, and Yoga may soon be haram (forbidden) for Muslims in Malaysia. But why is it haram, and what is it about yoga that is so objectionable to Islam? ANIZA DAMIS looks into a study done by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Professor of Islamic Theology and Philosophy Professor Dr Abdulfatah Haron Ibrahim IT WAS a simple one-page article in a local daily that drew Islamic Theology and Philosophy professor Dr Abdulfatah Haron Ibrahim's attention to the incompatibility of the philosophy of Yoga to Islam.
The article discussed a new movie about the commercialisation of Yoga in the West, and the irony of the ancient practice - which was supposed to denounce all worldly matters - being transformed by Western capitalism.
"Look, the article says it's a practice 'rooted in renunciation'," says Abdulfatah.
"A person is supposed to renounce everything. All material things, all worldly things." This didn't seem quite as innocent as the yoga exercises he had done as a young man studying in the United States in the '70s "As a young man, of course I wanted to be healthy. So, in my free time and with a bit of curiosity, I found the books at a bookshop, read them and tried the postures.
"I know how to make my head touch my toes, and I can put my legs behind my head.
"I liked it very much, though some of the positions were quite complicated, and it's …