Cii Radio | 08 January 2012
With the escalating demands of today’s busy lifestyles, society has seen a rise in the amount of people practicing the ancient art of Yoga as a means towards the improvement of health and alleviation of stress.
Advocates say yoga enhances the body’s strength and flexibility, offers a workout for internal body organs and revitalizes the senses. In the words of one practitioner, “Yoga is more than just an exercise or a workout. It’s part of a holistic plan that promotes overall wellness. Yoga has given me a different perspective in which to view the world. I simply like the way it makes me feel on and off the mat!”
With increasing numbers of Muslims now also showing a keen interest in the discipline, many are eager to establish the Islamic ruling on yoga, and the permissibility of its incorporation into a daily health and fitness routine.
Commenting on the phenomenon, Cii Radio in-house Mufti, Abdool Kader(AK) Hoosen said it was necessary to first trace the ancient origins of the practice to determine its lawfulness.
Drawn from a Sanskrit word which means ‘union’ or ‘to join’, yoga is commonly used to refer to a kind of spiritual exercise that is practiced for the purpose of union with the universal spirit.
It forms part of the six āstika or “orthodox” schools of Hindu philosophy. Hindu Theology presents yoga as a devotion capable of uniting the human being with the Divine in the form of the deities of Vishnu or Shiva. Various traditions of yoga are also found in Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. Its spread in the West can be largely attributed to the efforts of Hindu monks,who began promoting the art in the late 19th century.
Regardless of the reasons an individual may present for practicing on Yoga, Mufti AK says the pagan origins of the discipline will leave it forever tainted.
“Anything to do with the devotions of another faith is not acceptable in Islam. This is a recurrent theme in the Quran:
“O you who have believed, do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies. They are [in fact] allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you – then indeed, he is [one] of them. Indeed, Allah guides not the wrongdoing people.” (Surah Maaidah: 51)
This is not confined to the People of the Book, as Allah Ta’alah says elsewhere:
And those who disbelieved are allies of one another.(Surah Anfal:73)
Yoga is a proven Hindu practice, and as such for a Muslim to advocate and promote this is totally impermissible. All income gained from promoting Yoga is also Haraam.”
He says the concept of Muslims dissociating themselves from the devotions of other faiths is also established from many authentic Ahadeeth.
“Ibn Mas’ood, may Allaah be pleased with him, and others narrated that a man came to the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam and said: “O Messenger of Allaah! What do you say about a man who loved some people yet did not do what it takes in order for him to be with them (in the hereafter)” The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam replied: “One will be with whom he loves” (Bukhaari, Muslim and others).
The Prophet Muhammad SAW also said:
“Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” (Abu Dawood)
“Whoever increases the numbers of a people, is one of them” (Musnad Abu Ya’la)”
Mufti AK says those seeking inner-peace or attempting to de-stress should instead resort to established Islamic formulas such as Salaah and Zikr.
“Almighty Allah says: ‘Surely in Allah’s remembrance do the hearts find peace.” (Surah Ra’d:28)
Instead of yoga, let us increase the amount of Zikrullah, Tilawah of the Quraan, Istigfaar, Salawat upon Nabi SAW etc. If we do that, we are guaranteed to be blessed by Divine Peace and Tranquility.”
Over the years, researchers have demonstrated how, in addition to its key spiritual function, Salaah has numerous physical, mental, and health benefits that significantly outweigh those of yoga or other related disciplines.
Tags: Hadith, Hinduism, Hindus, Mufti AK Hoosen, Quraan, Remeberance of Allah, Salaah, Yoga, Zikr