Body and Muscle Exercises Have Nothing to Do with Polytheism
Fatwa No: 381189

Question

I looked at some of your fatwas and got different answer ex you can do thai chi for relaxation if it doesn't involve polythiestic rituals, but also saw a fatwa saying doing meditation exercises is immitating budhits etc so my questions is will it be shirk, if you simply lay in your bed (no yoga or other things etc) and focus on your breathing and belly going up in down to help you become relaxed and keep your mind from negative thoughts when going to sleep?? I want to know if this simple act is permissible as these thing can have origins in Hinduism etc.Also can you check and see if this technique would be considered shirk "The 4-7-8 BREATHING BY DR WEIL". if I lay in bed (not yoga position etc) and breath in this manner will it be considered shirk? This exercise really help me relax from stress but I want to make sure it doesn't make a person mushrik. Thank you.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

We have already issued some Fataawa about Yoga exercises and the like, clarifying that they are forbidden. This is not because they are exercises for relaxation, but rather because they involve some prohibitions, such as polytheistic practices and so on.

As regards physical relaxation exercises that deal with the muscles of the body, such as stretching, contracting and so on, in order for the muscle to become stiff and then relax; this is another matter which involves using both mind and body. This is neither based on a corrupt belief nor on a false ideology.

Psychologists and consultants advise people to do such exercises, and there are many psychological advisories on our site about this topic; these exercises have nothing to do with polytheism at all.

It should be noted that if the Muslim makes the Hereafter his main concern, and did not concern himself with the worries if this worldly life, then he will feel comfortable and happy and will be far from anxiety and grief that cause stress and depression and make the person need something to calm his nerves down. Allah Says (what means): {Those who have believed and whose hearts are assured by the remembrance of Allah. Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured."} [Quran 13:28]

Allah knows best.

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