If you are a Muslim and interested in yoga as well, but you are wondering if Yoga a haram for Muslims? then this is the article for you. Here our researchers have spoken to both top Muslim clerics and yoga practitioners to come up with the views that are discussed here. So, stay tuned.
Yoga is a positive and comprehensive practice that tries to bring unity or harmony through the integration of body, mind, and spirit. Yoga means union as well as discipline. Hence yoga can be considered to be a practice or a system of practices that would help human beings reach their ultimate or optimum potential.
Though yoga initially started as a part of Hinduism, the modern form of yoga has surpassed that and has focused entirely on the medicinal values of yoga, not taking into account the religious values attached to it and emphasizes the way it can improve the body and mind of an individual.
Is Yoga A Haram For Muslims? Two strands of thought:
Whether yoga is haram for a Muslim to practice yoga or not is a controversial issue or topic. There are two perspectives available regarding this question. Some Muslims are of the opinion that practicing yoga cannot be labeled as haram, and another strand of Muslims believe it to be haram.
They both provide specific reasons for their arguments. So let us first look at both the strands of argument to obtain a clear picture of the debate.
Yoga Is Not A Haram School Of Thought
Yoga is not a religious practice and is not limited to any particular religion. It can be considered as a spiritual practice, but whether you would treat it as one would depend entirely upon you. It is just a guiding tool, and the path you are going to take is up to you.
Few Muslims believe yoga not to be haram. Yoga according to them is a way in which one can keep their bodies fit and flexible and their mind peaceful. Yoga is practiced to improve the stability of the body and mind of individuals. Hence, as long as the individuals are not doing anything which could harm a person, it cannot be considered as haram.
Progressive Thinking On Yoga In Islam
The believers of this strand believe that Muslims all across the world perform yoga and treat it as a mere exercise or practice to keep oneself fit. If you have religious constraints, you might not chant the religious chants that are present in yoga which is related to Hinduism, that is up to you.
Also, the way the Muslims offer praying to Allah by reading namaz is also a part of a posture of yoga. In fact, all the prayer positions in Islam are based on certain yoga postures. Hence, if yoga was considered to be haram, they wouldn’t have been allowed to practice the same worldwide.
You need to deconstruct your religious identity and view the entire world with a bigger lens. There are many Kabir's presents who have practiced yoga on a regular basis and did the same within the Islamic culture. So if you read about their practices, you would be able to have a deeper knowledge about Islam and yoga and how they are not mutually exclusive and can be practiced instantaneously.
Also, if you think in a broader way, yoga and namaz are interconnected both spiritually as well as physically. In cases of postures also, they are quite similar. Also, both these activities help you achieve a certain amount of peace within yourself and increases your level of concentration and calmness.
Also, read our post on Is Yoga A Religion Or A Science?
Yoga Is A Haram School Of Thought
Another group of people believes yoga to be haram for Muslims. They believe to have the optimum result of yoga, one needs to be a pure vegetarian, but as Muslims are not vegetarian they cannot perform yoga. Consumption of meat is considered to destroy good karma, hence an individual who consumes meat and is not purely vegetarian shouldn’t perform yoga.
As yoga talks about making one with yourself and the god, it is considered to be haram in Islam. Also, the concept of suryanamaskar, where you are asked to face the sun and offer to pray is against Tauhid. As yoga has its roots or origin in Hinduism, it is not considered or acknowledged by the Quran or Islam. Doing anything which is not created or written by Allah, is a big crime or haram in Islam.
It is not at all permissible for Muslims to practice yoga whatever the purpose or aim of doing yoga might be for that individual. So there is a different range of reasons given which would make you understand why doing yoga is haram for Muslims. The reasons are:
Reasons Why Yoga Is Considered A Haram For Muslims
- Yoga is considered to be contrary to Tawheed as it involves praying or associating with other deities. Also, as in yoga, an individual has to offer to pray to the sun and repeat chants after the same, it is not permissible for the Muslim to do the same.
- Yoga involved imitation of idol worship which is not allowed in Islam. Islam thinks yoga imitates animal postures and encourages nakedness as well as postures such as sun salutation where you have to rest on all your fours which is condemned by Islam and hence prohibited for the Muslims.
- Islam thinks that some of the practices involved in yoga are harmful and can bring about extremely serious health consequences for individuals. They believe that some of the postures present in yoga are not appropriate posture from both health as well as psychological perspectives.
- Islam considers yoga to be a waste of time which has no positive impact or influence on an individual’s health, body, or mind. They think yoga has no remedies and has been proven to be ineffective in its approach and hence shouldn’t be encouraged.
- Yoga encourages individuals to expose their skin to the sun and that can cost damage to the skin. Also, any form of exposure to skin is not encouraged by Islam.
Hence, according to these opinions and thoughts, yoga might be considered as haram by a certain group of followers of Islam.
So there are two strands of thought present in the context of Muslims doing yoga. Some individuals believe it to be haram and some consider it as a fitness exercise which anyone should practice in spite of their religious views. Hence, ultimately it boils down to your perspective.
You have to choose which one strand you want to ally with and you should have your reasons for the same.
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