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Question: Before some days ago I went a meditation course. I was facing some problem like anger resentment etc. I got a lot of benefit from meditation. I practice meditation regularly. My meditation is based on imagination. I don't say any mantras. To meditate I close my eyes and take deep breath some times. Then I think positive something. But we know meditation is very closed with Hinduism Buddhism. Now my question is that Can I practice meditation to get mind and health related benefits? Is it lawful or unlawful for Muslims. I ask you also about yoga. Does Islam permit practicing yoga as exercise? Please give me full information about yoga and meditation.http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid124698768336&r361014dd&refid46 Please click above to join my islamic group on fb. I will give message all of my group members about your online university insha Allah. Jajakallah khair
Dilwar (10/07/2010)
Answer:

Before answering your question, let us consider the facts:

1) Yoga is a deep rooted discipline which has been practiced in India, as we are told,  for almost 5000 years. Over the years, it has assumed various forms and shapes. If we can consider one thing as central to all of them, it is perhaps a discipline to control the mind and body, which helps its practitioner to lead a life that is at once in harmony with his own inner self and the environment.  If this is the core outcome of yoga, there is nothing un-Islamic about it-- as long as one stays clear of questionable methods.

2) Not everything in Hinduism is contrary to Islam. Hinduism is definitely a great religious tradition with a deep spiritual and intellectual legacy. Muslims ought to look at it through the discriminating lens of the Qur'an. The Qur'an teaches us that God has guided all nations on the face of the earth through revelations communicated to prophets speaking different languages.  We are only being fair to consider the Hindu Vedas as containing these revelations, albeit in a modified form.

3) The Prophetic Wisdom teaches us that wisdom is the lost article of the believer; so he must adopt it as his own, wherever he finds it.

4) Muslims are to shun at all costs the polytheistic practices, wherever he finds them. But having said this, it is a travesty of truth to consider all of Hinduism as being polytheistic or pagan. We should rather accept the verdict of the Muslim scholar of Hinduism, al-Biruni, often referred to as the pioneer of comparative religion, as he says, "The Hindus believe with regard to God that he is one, eternal, without beginning and end, acting by free-will, almighty, all-wise, living, giving life, ruling, preserving; one who in his sovereignty is unique, beyond all likeness and unlikeness, and that he does not resemble anything nor does anything resemble him."

5) Furthermore, the Qur'an does not sanction racism, xenophobia, or discrimination; rather it orders us to be just and fair in judging others, including all peoples and their cultures.  Allah says,

"O you who have attained to faith! Be ever steadfast in your devotion to God, bearing witness to the truth in all equity; and never let hatred of any-one lead you into the sin of deviating from justice. Be just: this is closest to being God-conscious. And remain conscious of God: verily, God is aware of all that you do." (Qur'an: 5:8).

6) Therefore, historically, Muslims flourished only when they successfully incorporated the best in other cultures and traditions, while rejecting that which were destructive and antithetical to the Qur'anic world view.

7) Yoga has been practiced by millions of people all over the world; its benefits have been scientifically established beyond doubt.

8) At the same time, there are many forms of yoga. Those that contain a lot of chanting and mantras --especially in a language you don't understand --are to be avoided. Focus on those that incorporate physical movements, relaxation exercises, flexibility, stretching, etc.

In light of the above, there is no reason for Muslims not to make use of Yoga as long as they are clear in their minds of their firm belief in the unity and oneness of God.  Islamic institutions should not shy away from incorporating exercise regimens such as yoga into their programs--especially beneficial with our aging populations.

 


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