Muslims are encouraged to put in effort to preserve their mental and physical health at all times. This is evident from the teachings of the Prophet (PBUH) where he encourages Muslims to fast and to eat moderately. Muslims are also encouraged to seek emotional peace through muhasabah (self-reflection) sessions, zikir (remembrance of God), prayers or through any other forms of emotional outlet which fall in line with the teachings of Islam.
In practising any form of mental or physical exercise, a Muslim should always be well informed and conscious of all aspects of such an exercise. By doing so, he or she will be able to better understand the different forms, thus distinguishing the exercise between its physical and religious expressions. Such an approach is applicable to all aspects of a Muslim`s religious life, where it allows them to practice their faith comfortably and confidently.
In this spirit, the Fatwa Committee had issued a fatwa in 1984 which sought to explain that Muslims are not allowed to practice yoga in a form that clearly contains elements of the rituals (such as recitations) and beliefs of other faiths, as such practices are indeed non-Islamic rituals and are no longer a physical exercise per se. It follows then that a Muslim who conciously practices yoga for its health and physical benefits, and that does not involve religious rituals beyond what has been prescribed by Islam, may do so while at the same time ensuring that their Islamic faith and practices are properly observed.
Last updated on 16/1/2018