Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Solat to replace yoga?

Solat to replace yoga? What a joke.. First and foremost, the issue of yoga which was a practice by the Hindus and Buddhist has never come across my mind. I don’t even know how and where it is origin, But, who cares? The reason people going for yoga is simple; to release stress as well as a form of exercise (some ladies may considered it as to reduce weight). My sis and my friends went for yoga session before. Never before I heard that there is some religion practice in yoga. As from what I heard from their experiences, yoga teaches you how to control your breathing, how to release your stress and how to make some difficult movement smoothly & gently. It is nothing but a form of exercise but utilizes slow movement or calmness element in practicing movement. Malaysia bodohland part 3 and will keep on continues… ‘’ Practising yoga won’t cause a Muslim to deviate and become a Hindu but copying or adding elements which are clearly from other religions is not acceptable in Islam. The reminder was given in Surah Al Kafirun.’’ Can I know what are the mentioned elements that are religious? ‘’ By practising the act which is endorsed by the Hindu and Buddhism religions, one indirectly permits these religions although the faith in the heart remains unchanged.’’ Bodohnya. Let’s give this example. I am a Chinese and I follow the Malays of not using the chopstick but instead use my hands to eat. After eating, I do follow what the Malays practise which is to wash my hands and immediately caress my hair because Malays believe this will prevent the ageing of your hair (meaning to preserve the black colour). OMG. I am considered a Chinese but I am in dangerous state as I allow myself to practise acts which is endorsed by the Malays. Shall we have ‘fatwa’ among the Chinese as well? ‘’ One such activity is Solat, which is to be performed five times a day. Solat dictates a sequence of movements which is good for the body. There are some health benefits in performing the prayer as it has been proven to increase concentration and refine memory, provide a calming effect and regulate stress, and make the body healthy and active.’’
Well, people going for yoga have never intended to increase their memory power. (Plz take note). Regulate stress and make body healthy and active? Well, I am not Muslim and I do not know the exact movement during the prayer and not going to discuss as this is sensitive and due respect must be given to every religion. To my knowledge, praying only utilizes a small spot or area where during the prayer, the devotee will have some sort of movement form sitting, standing up and some head movements.
Such simple movement I would say it’s equivalent like you go for a jog or you do gardening in your house or even the house chore. But, this is not what the yoga practisers want. They want a condusive environment with a soothing music, learn how to calm themselves or self meditation and at the same time to drive the sweat gland to produce more sweat. You may say then why don’t just go jog? Answer is simple. They want something special and an instructor to guide them. If the people found no different in yoga and normal simple exercise as in solat, then there won’t be people signing in the programme. Again, I haven’t try yoga before. But those who had tried before or still practising yoga, what say you? Enlighten use.
The core thing happening in our country is the people are too religious. Whatever simple thing also must be studied whether it is Islamic or not. In my opinion, it is always up to the people to decide. If you are Muslim or Chinese Buddhist but you attend a function or service by the Christians every weekends, it doesn’t means that you allow yourself to let other elements from other religion to so called deviates you. We should have the freedom. If one is strong in his faith to his religion, there is no problem of joining such activities as WE ourselves will learn how to control or how to avoid such things. Another example is attending the open house during festival celebration. Like me who went to my Malay teacher’s house for Raya, I do respect them who will pray before they eat and praise Allah for his generosity in giving them foods. After their prayer, then only I will start eat together with them. This is why Malaysians are so special. We learn how to respect each other.
So, conclusion is we do not need a fatwa on the yoga. Let them practice what they want. Just give reminder to them not to deviate (if you think they will).
Last but not least, I do not condemning any religion, any religion practice or discussing the sensitive issues. I am just giving my opinion shall yoga be practised by all or there should be some restrictions. This is in response to the article published in the Star (Nov 5, 2008)


Gula Kapas said...


About the example; please differentiate between
* agama (religion),
* cara hidup (lifestyle),
* adab (manners), and
* adat (tradition).


Talk to experts, i.e.,
* ustaz/ustazah (religious teacher),
* mufti.

That's the best i can do to help.

NoktahHitam said...

Nicely written! Hands down to you.

I have never done any yoga. To tell you the truth, it has nothing to do with religion. It's just a lifestyle... or so I thought.

After reading this, I beg to differ.

Anything related to other beliefs, is deemed incorrect. Religion is a sensitive issue. Unlike laws (as in court etc.), you can bend it to meet your cut, religion a league higher. You must abide and embrace the teaching.

KwOnG FeI said...

To noktah hitam,

after reading the source from wikipedia.. i reaffirm my views..
first and foremost, from what i have seen is that yoga is a way of meditation practised by the hindus and Buddhist. From the TVB movie, we can see that Chinese monks are usually incorporate yoga while in prayer. (the way the sit i guest is alrdy considered a form of yoga)

After reading more and more from wikipedia, towards the end is the goal of yoga.

'' The goal of yoga may range from anywhere between improved health and reaching Moksha. Within the monist schools of Advaita Vedanta and Shaivism the goal of yoga takes the form of Moksha, which is liberation from all worldly suffering and the cycle of birth and death (Samsara), at which point there is a realisation of identity with the Supreme Brahman. In the Mahabharata, the goal of yoga is variously described as entering the world of Brahma, as Brahman, or as perceiving the Brahman or Atman that pervades all things. For the bhakti schools of Vaishnavism, bhakti or service to Svayam bhagavan itself is the ultimate goal of the yoga process, wherein perfection culminates in an eternal relationship with Vishnu, Rama or Krsna.''

If you can see clearly, it is all related to religion. What I am trying to say is that prayers of Hindus and Buddhist practise yoga in meditation those days and now..

HOWEVER, the yoga that we are talking now is the one offered in FITNESS CENTRE. I would say it is called as MODERN YOGA which has nothing to do, basically nil with religion. It is just a form of exercise. You know.. It looks alike, sounds alike but doesn't mean same.I guess they used the term yoga as it looks alike the way of sitting.. plus the tradition yoga does not have the difficult movement/exercise as practised in modern, it is totally different. Thus, it is not wrong to practise the modern yoga as it only involves exercises.

Unless, the yoga is practised in a religion prayer place like in temple and words of the Sanskrit is used, then it is forbidden for the Muslims to follow. For the rest religions, it is not an obligation but as usual freedom to choose depends on the person.

So, I would say it is correct for Muslims to NOT practise the tradition yoga related with religion but CAN practise the new modern yoga which has no religious element.

bEkAkIrA said...

kwong fei,
i'm a muslim and i did some yoga few months ago (have to stop because of work schedule). The thing is now some of them who talk the talk never walk the walk, they don't even know how yoga works. Yes, it's originated from Buddha etc but the yoga I folowed is all about relaxing and as a way of exercise. The main concern now is the intention of that person. As for me, my yoga instructor did say something about clarify your mind and things like that, but the thing is now it is not like you have to forget your god.
Let's wait for the best but my guess for now, more Muslims will be interested to get to know about yoga more than before.
Who knows, it's just one more political games... ;p

KwOnG FeI said...

thanx bekakira..

i was hoping for a malay who practise yoga to leave their valuable comment here..and finally you arrive (sent by God..haha)

i felt so contented with your comment.. at least i have one person who is experience enough and more applicable to give their comments than any of us..

actually, i wanted to comment on the people(JaKIM or from the religous department) who raise up this issue.. but u know Msia and sorry to say Malays.. later they say I made any racist remarks..

i won't say it is political motive.. but i would say its 'kerja orang yg tak ada kerja'. haha.. tak kaitan dgn yg mati atau masih hidup..PEACE

from your comment, it can be concluded that the yoga u practise is indeed free from religious issue and it's only a form of least it proven my comments are right..haha

as for me, i think it is indeed yes.. more muslims wanted to know about it or even try it.. but the things that hold them back is the comment from the so called ulama or jakim. if a fatwa was issued saying that yoga is prohibited, i think most of thems will just labeled yoga as non halal.I wonder did they really go and experience yoga classes in fitness centre..

msia is more on 'talk and talk and talk' without practising..

MaJa said...

i find the statement from the star quite stupid.

yoga and solat has nothing in common.
how could people put exercise n praying as the same thing?

and as a muslim , i dont see practicing yoga as anything haram.

stupid the star.

NoktahHitam said...

In Islam, if one is in doubt or obscure (was was) of any fatwa, it falls directly to haram.

I got tipped by a hot mom who used to run a yoga class. She said, some of her students did yoga more than 5 hours. I guess that's why some of the ulama forbidden yoga, it conflicts with prayer time.

Yoga over prayer, you know the answer.

KwOnG FeI said...

but then it wasn't the fault of yoga..
it is the matter of the person did not arrange his/her time properly and caused interferences to the praying time...

btw, one thing very annoying to me is the announcement of the fatwa on yoga shall be released by last friday.. but the sTUP** fatwa ppl said their president went overseas..

oh..come on, cant you tell the public earlier.. takkan you dunno when u go overseas? You must have planning.. You may released the fatwa earlier or make annnouncement said it will be postponed..

every1 was waiting for the fatwa..then make us 'suspend' by telling the president was not around. Then, how about the Vice president, the secretary and so on? wat a poor management body..

ANAS said...

2 mr kwong.
I think u dnt hav 2 raise this thing u, since u never do yoga, wat a joke..
Plus u r chinese, why u hav 2 worry abt our religion?
Anyway i really admire u bcause u just discussing abt yoga, nothing else.
Keep on writing ey. Enjoy ur day =)

KwOnG FeI said...

hi ANAS,

yea i didnt but my sis and friends are doing..
they r wondering what is happening..
plus i alwiz give my view on current issues.. not only this.. i didnt particularly open this issue..

FiRdAuS said...

I'm agree with Gula Kapas...
Islam is not about logic, but it beyond logic of human mind...
so that's why u may not find anything in muslim prayer to compare with yoga.

Islam is Islam, nothing to do with Malay or Malay culture...

For us (Muslim), Islam is our life, we didn't put it aside just to pray, fasting n etc... but it's everything, even in single things. Muslim who practice Islam n know what they did, they will know much better. They also agree of praying (solat) is kind of exercise, which is better than yoga.


p/s: fatwa is not stupid, only people who don't use his/her mind are stupid

KwOnG FeI said...

they are not..
can i say they are IRRESPONSIBLE?
the whole world know that are going to announce something on the particular friday.. and only that friday they told the public that their president is on overseas..
pls justify
in daily life practice, you can tell the people that you cannot fulfill a promise when you alrdy make it earlier. If it is to be delayed, it is a common sense responsibility to acknowledge the people first or if you really cant, just tell cannot earlier and not on the day u promised.

well, at now, the fatwa already decided that yoga is prohibited in Islam..
well, i think since they alrdy have decided, there is no point of discussion
previously, discussion is made to get the feedback before the decision is made
the only discussion might be will the state religious department and the King of the state agreed to the fatwa or not..

Adam said...

It is interesting to note that the people who are against the fatwa of Muslims should not practice yoga, never practice yoga and i think it is safe to assume that you and your supporters have not the full fatwa with its reasoning.

I can tell you this I try to be a devout Muslim and after the fatwa I actually started practicing some movements from yoga, but I had to abandon it, because most of the movements have spiritual or religious significant.

Especially the warn up exercise the Sun Salutation.

We muslim place a high importance on the Aqidah like the author suggest surah Al Kafirun, which i can bet the author don't even know its content.

Purity is important in Islam, I don't mean to be rude, What the author suggest seems can be put analogically, he would swim in a river because there is no impurity can be seen at that spot, even when he knows that a group of people is shitting in the river up streamv

Arifah Zin said...

see my article at

The Beautiful Cynic said...

Kwong Fei: First and foremost, you got a good entertaining blog going on so great job buddy! Now to the topic of discussion: YOGA vs SOLAT
I like your opinions buddy but sad to say in this aspect, you commenting on it is highly sensitive. You were right in waiting for a Malay Muslim to comment on the topic because as I've said it, the topic in commenting about religion if you're not part of it is 'sensitive'
I am a Malay Muslim and I'd like to say that most of these people that comment negatively on yoga where 'Of course solat is better!' comes from the most shallowest pool of thoughts.
Islam tells all our followers to take care of ourselves. Why on earth are so many Malaysians obese then?
Islam tells all our followers to question, grow and evolve as human beings.
All and absolutely all the articles I've read on the internet discussing about this issue in my opinion are bollocks.
Solat is not mimicking yoga, it simply shares similar asanas. And if these asanas sprung out like millions of years ago and are actually very similar, shouldn't there be more science in commenting about the movements in solat? Yes yes dzikir this and that. Yes yes pranayama (breathing) this and that.
How about hip flexion? How about core stability? Heck how about the concept of de-magnetizing negative ions in the body through the ruku? Debate on that! and not shallow points because the koran says this or that. Yes it s a beautiful religion, as all religions are, but evolve people! We don't take the ox carts to work anymore!
I'm a Muslim, a strength & conditioning coach and I do yoga too.

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