Keeping aside their differences over participation of Muslims in International Yoga Day celebrations on 21 June, Islamic clerics might probably want to seek inspiration from 47-year-old Muslim woman from Madhya Pradesh.
Syed Rubab Fatima has not only been practising Yoga for about a year now, she has also been training many others at a government aided training centre in Lucknow. And not just that, she also wants to pursue a career as a Yoga instructor.
Unlike several Islamic organisations who feel the ancient practice is against their religion, Fatima believes Yoga has nothing to do with religion; it instead helps her devote herself to her religion with full dedication.
"Yoga is just an exercise. When Hindus are putting efforts to remain fit, why are Muslims opposing it? I practice yoga at the centre but it never hurt my religious sentiments," Hindustan Times quoted Fatima as saying.
Practicing Yoga and meditating regularly has helped her offer namaz without distractions.
"The Quran says the faithful should not think of anything but Allah while offering namaz. But our concentration is weak and distractions are many. When I do yoga, level of my concentration goes up and that helps me in concentrating better on the Almighty during prayers," she said.
In an attempt to take her career in Yoga ahead, Fatima will join her mother-in-law's school as a Yoga instructor this year. In future, she plans to open her own Yoga centre where she will train school children.
"I have chosen yoga as my career. At present, I teach yoga at the government centre with my teacher. From this academic year, I am going to start it at my mother-in-law's school in Budhwara," she said.
She even as a solution for Om chant
Several Islamic clerics have argued that chanting Om is anti-Islamic, as it has a religious relevance in Hinduism. In Yoga, chanting Om is said to generate vibrations in the body, which is said to create a positive impact on the brain.
Citing a solution for this argument, Fatima said that she is looking for an alternative name of Allah that sounds similar to Om and generates similar vibrations in the body.
"Nobody asks you to utter Om. The trainer asks you to take the name of god while performing yoga. People can take names of their own god. If you recite Om, special kind of vibrations generate through your body. Allah has 99 names and I am finding out a name which sounds similar to Om so that similar vibrations are generated in the body," she says.