KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) – One of Malaysia’s highest Islamic bodies was under fire Sunday after its chairman said yoga was forbidden for Muslims because the practice would weaken religious faith.
Devotees of yoga and moderate Muslim groups criticised the ruling by Abdul Shukor Husin, chairman of the government-backed National Fatwa Council. Yoga is hugely popular in mostly-Muslim Malaysia.
“I don’t think it had caused any Muslim to convert to Hinduism, neither has it weakened their faith,” said Norhayati Kaprawi, an official with Sisters of Islam, a private group which champions the rights of Muslim women.
“It is just an exercise like tai chi, which has its roots in Buddism,” she told the Sunday Star newspaper. She said her group’s staff had been holding yoga classes for the past year and that they would continue.
Rulings by the Fatwa Council are not legally binding on the country’s Muslims, and there are no laws to punish those who ignore Council decisions — but it is an enormously influential body.
Abdul Shukor decreed that yoga was forbidden because it involves the recitation of mantras and that it encourages a union with God that is considered blasphemy in Islam.
“The practice will erode their faith in the religion,” he said on Saturday. “It does not conform with Islam.”
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Musn't give them time to think!
Keeping the flock herded together is what it’s all about in fundamentalist religions, because exposure to anything different, or anything that allows or even encourages time to clear the mind (meditation and relaxation) threatens the weak beliefs they have been taught to maintain. It’s interesting that the most “devout” are the most fearful of losing their beliefs at the influence of others. And so what does that say about their god/gods?