Indonesia has banned the practice of Yoga among Muslims if it contains Hindu religious rituals.
According to Maruf Amin of the Council of Ulimas (MUI) ‘The Yoga practice that contains religious rituals of Hinduism including the recitation of mantras
is‘haram’ (forbidden in Islam)’.
‘Muslims should not practice other religious rituals as it will erode and weaken their Islamic faith’, he added.
But Amin said that Indonesian Muslims were still allowed to do Yoga strictly as exercise. If it is strictly physical exercise or sport, it is not considered as ‘haram’ he added.
Similarly in Malaysia late last year, Muslims have been banned from practicing Yoga by the National Fatwa Council. They claimed that the Indian inspired mental and physical exercise contains elements of Hinduism that could corrupt Muslims.
‘It is inappropriate. It can destroy the faith of the Muslim, said Abdul Shukor Husin, Chairman of the National Fatwa Council in an interview with reporters adding that clerics in Egypt also issued similar edicts in 2004 that says ‘the practice of Yoga is an ‘aberration’.
Abdul said many Muslims who practice the globally popular Yoga failed to understand that its ultimate aim was to be one with a god of a different religion.
Inquirer.net: ‘Religious edicts issued by MUI are not legally binding on Muslims but it is considered sinful to ignore them.’
‘If Muslims refuse to follow these clerics ‘fatwa, it means that they commit a sin’, Amin said.
‘Yoga, an ancient Indian aid to meditation dating back thousand of years, is a popular stress buster in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta’.
‘Nearly ninety per cent of Indonesia’s 234 million people are Muslim, most of whom practice a moderate strain of religion.’