I'm almost a fitness fanatic. Aerobics, Qi Gong, Pilates, jogging, Zumba, gym work-out. belly-dancing, hip-hop, salsa -- done them all and am still doing some.
Now Yoga....I have always been interested in this form of exercise but never ever got around to registering in any Yoga class. So many people have encouraged me to do Yoga for its physical benefits.
There are many Yoga centres and I never tire of finding out one that is suitable for me....
Years ago in the 70s, I followed a TV programme on Yoga. I'd follow the exercises and enjoyed doing them because they were so soothing and gentle yet helped firmed up the body.
When I closed my eyes, it was just to rest my body. To calm down my senses.
I have several books on Yoga. Some were given to me as gifts. Some I bought. I am aware of the origins of Yoga and the meditative and spiritual elements, though I am no expert.
I have always believed that there is nothing "haram" with the physical element of Yoga. Frankly, I am sure it is the same with other Muslims. I was (and still am) aware of the un-Islamic elements of Yoga. I am sure other Muslims must be too. I believe that Muslims who do Yoga, exclude these elements.
So, now that the National Fatwa Council has confirmed my own belief about the physical element of Yoga, I am pleased that I can do Yoga without any doubt or skepticism. I had none, in the first place. But I feel vindicated.
My concern is that if and when the respective State Islamic councils decide to adopt the "fatwa' (edict), some overzealous and unthinking officers will start a "crackdown" of Yoga centres and round up Muslims.
That will be really crappy and I fervently hope that it will not happen. Still, I am pre-empting any such decision -- I firmly protest any such crackdown.
When the fatwa council announced that it was going to issue a fatwa on Yoga, I must admit that I was one of those who thought the whole issue was laughable. Also insulting to me as a Muslim. Am I that weak or stupid to go astray, or what?
And after Yoga, what next, I thought.
I thought it was unnecessary because I was firm in my own belief about Yoga. So I dismissed the council's action as trivial. You know, making a mountain of a molehill.
In a way, I am glad now that the council has confirmed that it is okay to do Yoga -- minus the spiritual elements, of course.