Is­lamic Saudi ok with Yoga

The Free Press Journal - - FRONT PAGE -

Yoga is now a sport in Saudi Ara­bia. This is a land­mark step as Saudi Ara­bia has em­braced an ac­tiv­ity that home-spun rad­i­cals won’t.

With the Saudi Min­istry of Trade and In­dus­try putting its seal of ap­proval on Yoga, any Saudi cit­i­zen can prac­tice or prop­a­gate it by get­ting a li­cence from the gov­ern­ment.

In­ter­est­ingly, Nouf Mar­waai, a Saudi busi­ness­woman and en­tre­pre­neur, is a lead­ing prac­ti­tioner and the pro­moter of Yoga in Saudi Ara­bia and Mid­dle East. In an ex­clu­sive in­ter­ac­tion with ANI, Mar­waai re­vealed she had to face a lot of ac­cu­sa­tions, threats for even writ­ing about Yoga or Yoga Day.

The Riyadh-based ex­pert also ad­dressed the con­tro­versy of Yoga be­ing de­clared un-Is­lamic by some cler­ics, and di­vulged that many Mus­lims prac­tice the an­cient regime and see no con­flict in it at all. “Yoga was re­garded as a sport at that time and was ba­si­cally de­vel­oped to help peo­ple gain more con­trol over the body and the mind; it is a man-made sys­tem based on deep knowl­edge and phi­los­o­phy,” Nouf ex­plains. The credit for the land­mark de­ci­sion ought to go to the lead­er­ship in Saudi Ara­bia -- King Sal­man Bin Ab­du­laziz and the Crown Prince Mo­ham­mad Bin Sal­man; the Crown Prince is in­creas­ingly fo­cus­ing on de­vel­op­ment and in­vest­ing in youth.

In In­dia, too, re­cently a Mus­lim girl Rafia Naaz's life came un­der threat when she was is­sued a fatwa and her house at­tacked for teach­ing Yoga; so, the de­ci­sion by an Is­lamic na­tion to make yoga an of­fi­cial sport should be a wake-up call to all those cler­ics who see a health ac­tiv­ity through the prism of re­li­gion.

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