In our recent Muslim World yoga studies we were surprised to learn that not only do some Egyptians practice yoga, they hold annual festivals too! (which we also learned was great for tourism). That was interesting enough, but what else? Well, turns out this Yoga Fatwa stuff is old news. Back in 2004, the Grand mufti of Egypt, Ali Gomaa, issued a fatwa against the practice of yoga declaring it a “sin,” citing the Hinduism influence and the threat of deviation as the reason. Sound familiar?
Once again, the proponents of the fatwa stated that Muslims should just resort to praying and forget this yoga nonsense. And once again, a yoga teacher threw her hands up in exasperation vowing that she would not stop practicing or teaching yoga despite the decree.
Good thing for her we found out that fatwas (or religious rulings) have no bearing on the legal system in Egypt. However, how that goes for Malaysia remains unclear.
In related news, read this article from 2006 in The Daily News Egypt for some enlightenment on yoga’s rise in Egypt and the road blocks to popular approval.
Egypt: “Yoga is a sin” [News24]