Monday, October 10, 2005

Yoga = Dosa?

Memang, Yoga adalah ajaran Hindu. Dan memang Yoga telah mendunia karena ajaran Hindu yang satu ini sangat bersifat universal, karena manfaat dan implikasinya telah dirasakan oleh orang-orang yang mengaplikasikan ajaran ini, siapapun dia, apapun agamanya. Dan memang, para universalist selalu mendapat tantangan untuk bergerak maju, walaupun sering kali alasan-alasan yang digunakan sering tidak masuk akal.
Artikel berikut ini diambil dari news24 tanpa ijin.

Egypt: 'Yoga is a sin'

01/10/2004 12:24 - (SA)
- A recent fatwa, or religious ruling, against yoga in Egypt has alienated even some of the most devout Moslems who have decided to defy the decision. Jihane Babiker, an Egyptian businesswoman who describes herself as "a devout Moslem by conviction", is one. "Without a doubt, I am all for yoga and will unfortunately disregard the fatwa," she says.

An ex-model who abandoned her career, donned the veil and holds weekly English language religious sessions with other women, Babiker is frustrated at what she describes as the mufti's "often insufficient responses to people's enquiries". Last week, in response to one enquiry from an unidentified Egyptian, the Grand mufti of Egypt Ali Gomaa declared yoga a sin for Moslems.

Link with Hinduism
The ruling by the mufti, highest authority on Islamic law, stipulates that yoga is a sin because it "is considered one of the ways of practising Hinduism and therefore should not be used for worship."
"Even if Moslems do not know the link with Hinduism, it is a sin," the ruling said. Islam recognises only Christianity and Judaism as religions. Dr Fayza Khater, a professor at al-Azhar University, the seat of Islamic learning, supports the mufti's ruling because it "protects people from deviating from Islam".

"People are lost and deviation is very easy. I believe the mufti made the right response," Khater says. However, the tiny community of yoga instructors and practitioners in Egypt is frustrated.
Gigi, a 47-year-old Moslem yoga instructor, has been giving yoga lessons in Egypt for 15 years. She says she feels personally targeted by the fatwa and is convinced the mufti "does not know what he is talking about". However, Gigi is submissive about the ruling being yet another "natural development to what we have been witnessing," citing a ruling by the former mufti declaring a handshake between a man and a woman a sin.
"Just as men and women did not stop shaking hands, I will not stop practising and teaching yoga," she says defiantly. A fatwa or religious ruling has no bearing on the legal system in Egypt.

Benefits to body and mind
Gigi gives yoga classes to about 50 people each week, more than half of them Egyptians. Many of her students resort to the practice as part of a healing process from an illness and Gigi is proud to be able to make a difference. In 2001, Islam Online, a conservative Islamic media website, published an article about the similarities between Moslem prayer postures and that of yoga and its benefits to body and mind.

"Yoga movements are similar to the Moslem prayer positions. So are prayers a sin?" asks Gigi. Khater argues that instead of yoga, people should just resort to one of Islam's pillars: praying five times a day. "Prophet Mohammed used to meditate after prayers. There's no need for yoga," he said. - DPA

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