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Byline: Aniza Damis
TO practise yoga or not? For Muslims, that choice may not exist any more.
The most recent fatwa by the National Fatwa Council has decided that yoga is 'haram' (forbidden). This has created waves in the public sphere, and a little confusion. ANIZA DAMIS speaks to Islamic Theology and Philosophy professor Dr Abdulfatah Haron Ibrahim, who is a Department of Islamic Development (Jakim) aqidah (faith) research panel member.
Q: Do you agree with the way the fatwa has been worded, or what the fatwa makes haram? A: When the fatwa council announced that yoga was haram, I was very surprised. Why didn't they tell me? I am a member of Jakim's (Department of Islamic Development) Aqidah (faith) research panel, but I wasn't consulted.
But, since the fatwa councillors are scholars appointed by our government, we have to respect them.
From their perspective, any action, verbal utterance or thinking that belongs to another religion other than Islam is considered haram. That is the fatwa council's view. Many ulama will follow this.
Q: And do you agree with it? A: Whether I agree or disagree, this is the fatwa council's decision.
I have written about yoga and Islam before. I know something about yoga. I'm not an expert but I know a little bit because I've read books and tried it myself.
I prefer to write about it but not say haram or not haram. I just describe the situation. If people happen to read my article, maybe …