Is yoga haram

Is Yoga Haram?

Short answer

Yoga is not officially considered haram in Islam, although some Muslims may consider it haram due to its religious implications and Hindu origins.

In Islam, many things are considered haram (forbidden or unlawful). Things such as the consumption of alcohol are forbidden as it is believed to be an intoxicant that can cause harm to the person. This law is understandable, even for those not part of the Islamic religion. But what about yoga? Why would yoga- a seemingly wholesome form of exercise and meditation be considered haram?

Yoga is not officially haram. Some may consider yoga haram due to its religious implications and Hindu origins. Malaysia and Indonesia have placed a fatwa on yoga, banning Muslims in those countries from partaking in it. In other regions, yoga is not haram, and many Muslims practice it. 

It may seem strange to you that this popularly encouraged form of physical activity, which has proven physical and mental health benefits, is thought of as inappropriate and, to an extent, sinful in specific religious sectors. This may seem extreme at a glance, but it is not without reason. If you are Muslim and find yourself deliberating over whether or not yoga is an appropriate form of physical activity, it all comes down to your convictions regarding your faith.

Why Might Yoga Be Considered, Haram?

Various aspects surrounding the practice of yoga may lead many to believe that it is haram and not in keeping with Sharia Law. Some firmly believe that any form of yoga is not permissible in the Islamic faith and that those who practice it are straying down a destructive path and away from Allah. 

This is, in fact, not true. How yoga is practiced is directly related to how the person doing it perceives it and its benefits. There are many reasons why people may wonder if the act of doing yoga may be haram.

The Religious Origins Of Yoga

The main reason why yoga might be considered haram is due to its religious origins. Yoga was founded and practiced within the Hindu faith and also extended into the Buddhist religion. For this reason alone, many of the Islamic faith would not even entertain the idea of yoga for a second. The Hindu and Buddhist faiths are also known for worshipping deities and idols (idolatry). 

The worshipping of any man-made idol or physical structure that depicts a religious representation of a God is absolutely and outright forbidden in the Islamic faith. The worship of any deity above Allah is also forbidden. These things are not just forbidden but have been dubbed as an “unforgivable sin.”

It is, therefore, relatively easy to see how this seemingly innocuous form of exercise may be considered haram. The world of yoga has evolved since its humble beginnings and is now considered one of the most invaluable forms of low-impact exercise. Besides its physical health benefits, yoga focuses on centering and balancing both body and mind. 

While it may have started as a religious activity, it is now viewed as a more spiritual practice. People of many faiths and denominations enjoy the benefits of yoga. This is another reason why staunch Muslims may find yoga to be haram. The allowance of all faiths and focus on general spirituality has caused some Muslims to believe that this is a gateway to stray from their religion.

Reasons Yoga Apparel And Classes Could Be Haram

When conjuring up an image of, let us say, a woman in yoga attire, you would more than likely imagine the skin-tight, sometimes colorful leggings and tank tops. These may be considered to be a typical and almost modest choice of apparel for the occasion. 

After all, yoga requires your body to be able to move and stretch into various positions without the hindrance of loosely fitted track pants or T-shirts. This in itself is problematic for conservative Muslims. Stereotypical yoga gear can be inappropriate as it shows off too much skin or is too tightly fitted. 

This is not to say that yoga apparel excludes women in the Islamic faith. Many conservative, respectful, and fashion-forward choices are available to Muslim women for every kind of activity. In keeping with the shariah laws of Islam, there are also yoga classes offered exclusively to females. The yoga classes that are open to all genders would not be in strict keeping with the Islamic faith.

Why Yoga Positions Could Be Haram

As you know, yoga is all about the movement and contortion of a person’s body. Certain stretches and positions have been thought of as inappropriate for a person of the Islamic faith. This is due to the positions relating to or having names of certain animals, for one thing. And some of the positions are dubbed as “shameful” or “lazy.” 

Are There Countries Where Yoga Is In Fact Haram?

Muslims residing in Malaysia and Indonesia are not permitted to do yoga. An official fatwa (a decree given by a recognized Islamic religious leader) was placed on yoga in Malaysia in 2008, with Indonesia following suit in 2009. Many people hotly contested this, but the ban is still in place. 

There are two crucial factors to remember with regard to these rulings:

  1. The laws instated by the Fatwa Council are not legally binding to Islamic citizens unless the law in question has become part of the national or Shariah law. Many Islamic people in these countries do, however, choose to abide by the rules of the Fatwa Council.
  2. In Indonesia, yoga that has been banned refers specifically to yoga practices that involve aspects of Hinduism, such as chanting. In Malaysia, it refers to all the methods of yoga.

It is not just those in the Islamic religion that view yoga as “haram.” there are many conservative Christians, some in the United States, who have spoken out against yoga being made mandatory in schools. This is also due to yoga having its roots in Hinduism.


How a person views yoga in the Islamic faith depends significantly on how staunch their beliefs are. Many faithful Muslims practice yoga without worrying that it leads them further away from their religion. Some opt for conservative apparel and single-sex classes. In contrast, others have integrated their faith into the western lifestyle and practice in classes open to all genders while wearing typical yoga leggings.

 This is not to say that either one of these types of people takes their faith more seriously than the other. It is, after all, heavily encouraged to respect, appreciate and look after your body through exercise in the Islamic religion.

Frequently Asked Question about is Yoga Haram

Yoga is not officially considered haram in Islam, although some Muslims may consider it haram due to its religious implications and Hindu origins.

Yoga might be considered haram due to its religious origins in Hinduism and Buddhism, which involve idolatry and worship of deities, which is forbidden in Islam. Some Muslims also believe that practicing yoga may lead them away from their religion.

Yes, in Malaysia and Indonesia, yoga is considered haram for Muslims. These countries have placed a fatwa on yoga, banning Muslims from participating in it.

For conservative Muslims, typical yoga apparel that shows too much skin or is too tightly fitted may be considered inappropriate. Similarly, yoga classes that are open to all genders may not be in strict adherence to Islamic faith.

Certain yoga positions, especially those with names or associations with animals or considered “shameful” or “lazy,” may be deemed inappropriate for Muslims due to cultural and religious reasons.

Muslims who practice yoga reconcile it with their faith in various ways. Some opt for conservative apparel and single-sex classes, while others integrate their faith into the practice and participate in classes open to all genders.

Yes, there are conservative Christians, particularly in the United States, who have spoken out against yoga due to its roots in Hinduism.

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