Malaysia’s top Islamic body has banned Muslims from practicing yoga, saying that yoga can corrupt Muslims and introduce them to elements of Hinduism. The decision was made by the National Fatwa Council, which says that yoga is based on elements of Hindu worship and chanting.
I am as impressed by the fact that Malaysia issues so many fatwas that it is has a National Fatwa Council.
Council chairman Abdul Shukor Husin explained the decision this week:”We are of the view that yoga, which originates from Hinduism, combines physical exercise, religious elements, chanting and worshipping for the purpose of achieving inner peace and ultimately to be one with god. It is inappropriate. It can destroy the faith of a Muslim.”
That is a pretty low estimation of the resilience of one’s religion that a couple Seated Side Twist Yoga Positions will bring down Islam. Of course, the council appears to be struggling to find anti-Islamic elements. Recently, the council issued an edict banning tomboys, ruling that girls who act like boys violate the tenets of Islam.
After yoga, I expect the next fatwa to focus on Jazzercise Aerobic Fitness as based on corrupting American culture music. The only exercise that is approved is throwing stones in Sharia executions for adulterers. It is both good for cardiovascular benefits and good for the soul. Indeed, a morning “Work-Out with the Sharia Stoning Squad Show” is planned for morning television. (Tomboys are of course banned from participation except as the subject of the stoning).
2 thoughts on “Staying Fat With Fatwas: Muslim Clerics Embrace Rigidity in Ban on Yoga”
The problem of Yoga and religion seems not to be limited to Muslims: although nobody rely noticed, the clerics in Malaysia have recycled, for political reasons linked to the political changes in their country, a debate which started among evangelical Christian in 2003 and has developed increasingly since then (included the request to band Yoga in US schools).
For more information about this kind of Christian theological views concerning Yoga, and the similarity with the fatwa, see
This is a case of the Islamic clerics being concerned that having a flexible body and a relaxed mind might lead to some unhealhy consequences. Why is it that religions always seem to want to control your actions and thoughts to the point of arrogance and stupidity? Would God not want people to use their minds to improve their health or to improve their situation? The tomboy ban is especially strange. What is their exact definition of being a tomboy? What about a tomgirl(is there such a thing?)? I am being sarcastic in order to control my disgust at these arbitrary attempts to control the believers for no other reason but to control them even more. Maybe if the people put the clerics in a stadium and threatened them with stonings, they might see the error in their ways. On second thought, I doubt that would work.
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