I feel compelled to write about this after reading and hearing many many comments about the new fatwa (on hold at this very moment) and after being asked what do I think about it.
What is a fatwa? A quick check on Wikipedia:
A fatwā (Arabic: فتوى; plural fatāwā Arabic: فتاوى), in the Islamic faith is a religious opinion on Islamic law issued by an Islamic scholar
How does it work? Again, according to Wikipedia:
According to the usul al-fiqh (principles of jurisprudence), the fatwa must meet the following conditions in order to be valid:
** The fatwa is in line with relevant legal proofs, deduced from Qur'anic verses and hadiths; provided the ahadith was not later abrogated by Muhammad.
**It is issued by a person (or a board) having due knowledge and sincerity of heart;
**It is free from individual opportunism, and not depending on political servitude;
**It is adequate with the needs of the contemporary world.
What is Yoga?
Yoga (Sanskrit: योग, IAST: yóga, IPA: [joːgə]) refers to traditional physical and mental disciplines originating in India; to the goal achieved by those disciplines; and to one of the six orthodox (āstika) schools of Hindu philosophy.
The definition of Yoga is rather elaborate but all pointing towards Hinduism.
I am not a Yogi (a person who practise Yoga). I was... I took the class for a few months then I stopped. Nothing to do with religion or faith, but merely because the class always ended way after the schedule making me late to pick up my son from school. My experience in Yoga - it does have some mantra that you have to utter while doing it but to me it's a matter of between you and God. Whether you really mean it or not. Then again when I was doing it, I did feel a little uncomfortable to be saying those mantras! Even though it may only mean the positions of your body.
But the real question here is.. why this sudden fatwa came about? It has been practised in Malaysia for so so long. Did people just realised this? Or did some pious person joined Yoga and suddenly thought .. oopss.. maybe I should bring this up and save all the muslims from being deviants? I respect the decision, but why just Yoga? How about all other acts than can deviate Muslims from their faith? From my readings and discussions on this, this new fatwa has created a lot of confusion among the non-Muslims who lacks the knowlegde about the religion.
To me .. Islam is simple. You follow the Quran. What is being said in the Quran is the truth to the Muslims. You should stop doing whatever that would stray you away from your faith, and you should not do whatever that is haram as stated in the Quran. Same as Yoga, if you think it deviates from your faith then it IS haram. But do we need a fatwa on it? It's the same like zina (pre-marital sex), it clearly HARAM, but is there a fatwa? How about tomboy and lesbian, why need fatwa when the Quran clearly said it's a BIG no no? And there's aurat, how come there's no fatwa saying that not covering your aurat is Haram when it is clearly so. How about those who goes clubbing, drinking and socialising between men and women who are not muhrim? I can go on with my list of things that should be fatwa-ed if they can start having a fatwa on one.
It's the inconsistencies that people are making noise of. You ban one thing and yet others you close one eye. Yoga is one of it, and some people think it's harmless. The same as when they say Malaysia is an Islamic country, I'd say.. I don't think so. There are too many un-islamic things that are allowed in this country. Why bother announcing it Islamic in the first place?
I hope the people are smart enough to decide on this. A muslim, not an orthodox Muslim nor liberal Muslim or whatever Muslim you may want to call yourself, is a Muslim, you believe only One God, and there's only One Quran. None other.
I'm not trying to be the subject matter expert but just stating my views. Please correct me if I am wrong about the fatwas again!