Yoga Fatwa! Muslims in Malaysia just made yoga illegal:
Millions of people in Malaysia have been banned from doing yoga because of fears it could corrupt Muslims.
The Islamic authorities have issued a ruling, known as a fatwa, instructing the country’s Muslims to avoid yoga because of its Hindu roots.
To most people yoga is simply a sport – a stress-busting start to the day.
Malaysia’s National Fatwa Council said it goes further than that and that elements of the Indian religion are inherent in yoga.
Announcing the decision, the council chairman Abdul Shukor Husin said practices like chanting and what he called worshipping were inappropriate and they could “destroy the faith of a Muslim”.
The ruling is not legally binding but many of Malaysia’s Muslims abide by fatwas.
Yoga classes here are filled with mostly non-Muslim Malaysians of Chinese or Indian descent, but in the major cities it is not uncommon to see several Muslim women at classes.
Prayers and gym
For Muslims across Malaysia the day starts at 5.30 in the morning, as the call to prayer goes out.
A handful of the most devout arrive at a mosque in the western outskirts of Kuala Lumpur…for more, click here.
Before you go agreeing with your Republican friends, all y’all liberal yuppie hippies out there, and thinking Muslims have gone crazy—not just extreme Muslims, but their mainstream, at least in Malaysia—remember that the teaching of yoga’s been banned from some schools in the US for precisely the same reason.
Funny thing is, Muslims and US yoga-banners ain’t wrong—yoga is more than a great exercise + a little New Agey good vibes—it’s an ancient path intended, much like Buddhism, to help ‘still the waves of the mind.’ But, again like Buddhism, is it a religion or can it, stripped of its esoteric rituals and roots, still be presented in schools in the Middle America or the Middle East in a helpful, non-religious manner?
Think alla this is a spiritual tempest in a tea cup? Click here, or here for the good news on folks working to teach yoga, minus the esoteric yin yang but with the fundamental integrity of the tradition intact. Or, watch this early elephant journal ‘elevision’ talk show video with Debbie Huttner.
hot on elephant
A letter to the Anger that refuses to Leave Me. 64 shares A Relationship will only be as Good as the Sex. 10,078 shares The Most Powerful Moon of the Year: New Moon & Solar Eclipse in Pisces. 25,148 shares Welcome to Pisces Season: A Love there is no Coming Back From. 12,404 shares How Women ruin Good Men. 3,307 shares If You have to “Think About It,” then I’m Not the One for You. 4,016 shares What Rumi had to Say about Unhappy Love. 225 shares Not sure I thought I’d ever say this, but Ashton Kutcher is about to inspire you to tears. 2,224 shares A Cure for our Single Status. 514 shares How we can go to Heaven without Dragging Others with Us. 109 shares