Ruling on Yoga

Question

I have been going to a Yoga studio where they heat the room and you do the different positions. Are Muslims allowed to attend the classes? if the intention is just to get a workout and increase stability and core. There are no meditations or words that we have to say when we are doing the different positions. A few of my Muslim colleagues want to attend and there are various concerns shared around this. Could you please advise?

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

  1. Any form of yoga that incorporates religious elements from its Hindu and Buddhist origins, be they contemplative, spoken or practical, would be unambiguously ḥarām.
  2. Opinions of the ʿUlamā differ when yoga is stripped of its specific religious character:
    • One view holds that despite the removal of specific religious elements, the overall experience of yoga remains recognizably and inextricably linked to Hinduism and Buddhism.
    • Another view is that the removal of religious elements reduces yoga to just another form of physical exercise—very much like martial arts.
  3. Our view is as follows:
    • Although yoga may be stripped of its specific religious character, it remains overwhelmingly reminiscent of Hinduism and Buddhism.
    • Unlike martial arts, yoga originated as a means to attain what in Hinduism is known as moksha or liberation through union with the Supreme.
    • The Nabī’s ﷺ prohibition for Muslims to imitate non-Muslims applies with acute emphasis to acts of worship, or acts reminiscent of acts of worship.
    • For general fitness and health Muslims have no dearth of options, any number of which is free from the problems associated with yoga.
  4. For these reasons it is our considered opinion that the practice of yoga would not be permissible, even if it were to be stripped of all religious elements.

والله تعالى أعلم

And Allah knows best.

MJC (SA)

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