Yoga or Not, We Have More things To Get Emo About...

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Written on 12/01/2008 01:55:00 pm by sikapitan

Sometimes I think us Malaysians, as a lot, are busy-bodies, always trying to meddle in the affairs of our neighbors. Seriously, whether guys or girls, one of our favorite pastimes seems to be trying to know what our friends are doing, who they are dating, how much they’re earning.

I mean, well, it’s a bit hypocritical if I don’t admit that I do enjoy a bit of gossiping. But I think as a nation, we have gone a bit too far with this whole Yoga Fatwa issue.

First of all, a Fatwa affects only Muslims. Duh. So imagine my surprise when the non-Muslims kick up such a big fuss over it. Right. Some went on to claim that the fatwa is an insult to their religion.

Why? It clearly states that I can’t eat pork, but is that insulting to Chinese? More importantly, other religions also have rules against their believers from following Islamic practices. When my Chinese friend says that to baca doa and praise Allah is against his religion, is it an insult to my religion?

I completely understand it because obviously his religion would not allow him to follow Islamic practices. If it did, then there’s no point to having different religions. So why can’t they understand that the fatwa is not an insult? Could it be because they’re thick-headed, ignorant racists?

I am not angry because I am a strong, principled, pious Muslim. Far from it. But my anger is based on principle. Don’t mess with other people’s issue, especially if it doesn’t affect, and will not affect, you. Perioud.

On that note, I don’t understand why Muslims are so worked-up over the whole fatwa either. I can accept dissent and discussion, because I think discourse within the Muslim community is a healthy development.

But I take it with a pinch of salt when some Muslims starts to criticize the fatwa and get emotional over it when well…they’ve not really shown they are in a position to be religious experts.

For example, take Ninie Ahmad, one of Malaysia’s leading personalities on yoga. In the Star, she said that her faith in Islam was strong although she had been practising and teaching yoga for eight years.

Shhh...don't tell JAKIM I'm dressed like this...

Right. Look at the picture above. Ironic. I think I agree with her. Yoga definitely did not erode her faith and obedience to Islamic principles. Just kidding, Ninie, if you're reading this...(which I highly doubt...)

Look, I am no moral police. But it’s kind of funny when I hang out with Malays at bars (I don’t drink, but they do) and they get all worked up whenever the issue of religion is discussed. There they were espousing that JAIS shouldn’t conduct raids because it is against personal privacy, while having a cold Heineken.

I might agree with their opinion (hey, I’m not saying they are idiots) but it’s a bit weird to criticize something or be morally righteous about one aspect of Islam while at the same time neglecting to abide by the more important ones.

I have to admit that sometimes I too get these mixed up. I sometimes have to catch myself before launching into a tirade against “oppression” by Muslim fundamentalists.

Now, I want to train my sight on the fatwa. I would not like to comment on the merit of it, because I actually do think they have a valid reason for declaring the traditional practice of Yoga (please note they are not prohibiting the physical “stretching” parts etc.2) as potentially eroding one’s faith. I understand their job, their role to lead fellow Muslims on a righteous path.

But it has to be admitted it would be impossible to monitor yoga practices that crosses the boundary and turned into a mystical Hindu practice. Therefore, I can conclude that this Fatwa, just like the Fatwa against smoking, would have trouble in being gazzetted as a law.

If you ask me, I don’t really care. Because I bet a lot of Muslims have enough problems trying to pray 5 times a day, and not doing Yoga will not compensate for this anytime soon. The Koran prohibits drinking, yet bars are filled with Malays drinking. The Koran prohibits "free sex" (even though you pay for it...), yet 3GP videos are full of Malays romping about from as young as Form 1 (that's sick...). So do we have a deeper problem here to be worked up about?

Heck, if there’s something I want to get worked up about, it would be the fatwa prohibiting Malay girls from taking part in beauty pageants...what a waste.

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