Saturday, November 29, 2008

Fatwa or Dudwa?

I cannot help but feel that the Malaysia National Fatwa Council are making a laughing stock out of itself. Well, no, not just this Islamic authority, but the nation's authorities as well. What is the occasion of this farce, you ask?

The Malaysia National Fatwa Council have just issued a fatwa that all Muslim cannot practice yoga, the ancient art of meditation originating from Hinduism. Just days later, Ahmad Abdullah Badawi. outgoing PM of Malaysia and a Muslim Scholar, contradicted (or should I say, refined) the fatwa by saying that yoga is ok, but not the chants that go with it. And because each Malaysian state is autonomous in adopting fatwas, everybody else is having second thoughts about taking this fatwa seriously. There are even some Muslims who have said openly that they will not abide by it, simply because they have practised yoga for ages and derived benefit from it without their Islamic faith being adversely affected.

What kind of fatwa is this, which can be followed willy-nilly and interpreted differently by different Muslims? The problem is, the Fatwa Council can't rescind a fatwa, nor, in this case, enforce it. Some people now have mud on their faces, which makes them look like clowns. This will be comical, except that we are talking about very serious people.

See also: Dhimmi Watch

See also Singapore Islamic Religious Authority's more sensible stand on this issue