Islamic leaders in Malaysia have banned yoga, claiming the practice combines physical exercise with chanting and spiritual elements that are at odds with Islam.
The fatwa, or edict, angered some Muslims, including a Malay sultan.
A post at “Islam Web” explains the reasons for the fatwa, writing that yoga goes beyond physical exercise and is an atheist form of worship.
Malaysian blogger “Ahmad” writes that many Muslims in the country will continue to practice yoga, minus the mantras and chantings.
Blogger “Nuraina A. Samad,” a self-professed fitness lover and Muslim in Kuala Lumpur, writes that she is aware of the un-Islamic elements of Yoga but finds the ban insulting, saying, “Am I that weak or stupid to go astray?”
The “Footsteps in the Mirror” blog asks that people respect the edict, arguing that yoga is part of a belief system and even Christian denominations in Malaysia have warned against yoga.
A blogger at “Blogpastor,” a Christian who abstains from yoga, writes that opposition to yoga does indeed have roots in Romans 14:23, though the Christian church has been less firm in forming an official position.
Malaysian blogger “Praba Ganesan” disagrees with the fatwa but tries to assess why Islamic leaders would issue such a divisive ban.
Blogger “Gabriele,” an anthropologist studying Muslim communities, writes that such fatwas are becoming political tools to appeal to the electorate, pointing to their increased frequency.