Jakarta/Kuala Lumpur, Nov.27 : The Indonesian Council of Ulama (MUI) has said that it will investigate the practice of yoga in Indonesia, the country with the largest Muslim population in the world, before issuing an edict on it.
The MUI said that the study would begin this week in the wake of the controversy triggered by an edict issued by Malaysia's National Fatwa Council.
"We are investigating the practice of yoga not only because of the fatwa issued in Malaysia but also because the media asked us about it," Ma'ruf Amin, head of MUI's fatwa commission, told New Straits Times.
"We will investigate to see what is really yoga, whether or not it is a religious ritual and whether it is against the teachings of Islam," said Ma'ruf.
"Following the investigations, we will discuss the issue and only then we will come out with a fatwa (edict). The investigations will not take very long."
Meanwhile, The Star quoted Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as saying that Muslims who performed yoga without chanting any mantra could carry on with their activity, as it was good for their health.
He urged all quarters to understand the content of the yoga fatwa issued by the National Fatwa Council and not to twist facts and cause confusion among the public.
The official Bernama news agency quoted him as saying: "I wish to state that a physical regimen with no elements of worship can continue, meaning, it is not banned. I believe that Muslims are not easily swayed into polytheism."
The Prime Minister also said, non-Muslims should not feel hurt or slighted by the announcement of the yoga fatwa as it was only applicable to Muslims.
Abdullah said he was also aware that the yoga fatwa would only be implemented after getting the consent of the Conference of Malay Rulers.
Last Saturday, National Fatwa Council chairman Dr Abdul Shukor Husin announced that yoga exercise which involved chanting of mantra and acts of worship was haram as it was against Islamic teachings.