What is the Islamic opinion of practices about the utilization of bio-energy in humans, such as reiki, yoga and meditation?

The Details of the Question
What is the Islamic opinion of practices about the utilization of bio-energy in humans, such as reiki, yoga and meditation?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Yoga is a philosophical trend which is not present in Islamic culture and which has originated in India. Through Yoga, one tries to relax and relieve his body and soul with the help of various thoughts and movements. If those movements and the words spoken are inappropriate for Islam, doing yoga is not permissible.

Another point is that if people do it in order to be relaxed physically and spiritually, it is better to perform the worshipping which Islam orders, instead of yoga because worshipping (salat: daily prayers, fasting etc) both relaxes one’s body and makes man healthy spiritually. Moreover, one experiences the state of peacefulness, having fulfilled the requirements of his own religion by performing those prayers. Factitious movements which are practices instead of prayers cannot substitute for prayers. Physical and spiritual benefits of prayers such as salat and fasting for human beings have been proved scientifically too. Our Supreme Lord says the following in the Quran: “Hearts become relieved only by glorifying Allah.”

The following is a research on the subject:

How innocent are yoga, reiki and meditation?

City life brings about unbearable hustles and bustles, tiredness, stress, conflicts and challenges. Tired bodies and minds search for new ways of resting and relaxation in order to be able to wake up energetically to the next day. Hurrying to catch up with something all the time, having difficulties in concentrating, being unable to spare enough time for resting, quick-temperedness, feeling unhappy and so on are the chronic problems of the city dwellers. Having walks, jogging or attending fitness centers relieve physical indispositions partly. However, being relieved spiritually is not so easy. Many people tend to do yoga, besides many other activities, in order to find relief, organize their lives and to improve their personal skills. Yoga diet, reiki, zen philosophy, meditation and other far eastern philosophies like those come to the foreground with a different expectation.

Headings such as “escaped narrowly from suicide with the help of yoga”, “yoga makes you taller”, “yoga burns fat”, “yoga trains the body and mind”, “just right for depression”, “find pure desire with yoga”, “children who practice yoga sleep better” and “four ways leading to wisdom” are just a few of the encouragements about them. Yoga, meditation, feng shui, zen philosophy and the likes are put forward as alternations for people who seek answers to questions in their minds to get over the emptiness in their souls. People take up such practices with concepts such as healthy life, eat right, love, happiness, positive thinking, harmony with cosmos and right use of bio-energy. Yet, the concepts such as sin-reward, world-otherworld, Heaven-Hell and Creator-servant are eviscerated with those new teachings.

Such things which are presented as a part of modern life impress people’s minds. They especially appear in women’s magazines in various forms such as yoga, meditation, zen philosophy and the likes. They take place in many TV serials encouragingly. People who practice yoga and the likes are expected to fulfill some teachings in addition to exercising.

Yoga masters state that practicing yoga without those teachings is nothing but only gymnastics and aerobics. In their opinion, yoga provides the harmonious unity of our three main entities; physical body, spirit and mind. And meditation is offered as the unique way to happiness. Basic concepts, which explain the meanings of life and ego mentioned in books and works on self-development, are given sense with Buddhist, Manicheist, Brahmanist, and Taoist points of view. Syllables or words (usually, aum or ohm), most of which are based on magic, and which people who practice yoga needs to repeat again and again, sitting for relaxation, are called “mantra”. People expect healing and wellness by repeating those mantras of Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist and Shintoist world, which are not known what they symbolize in cosmos and whom they are addressed and for what reason.

What is aimed with meditation?

Movement of Transcendental Meditation (TM) led by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is spreading like yoga. They are using the same catch phrases and say that they do not have any religious aims. They also put forward healthy nutrition, balancing energy, peace and serenity as their aims. Disciples-to-be are told that they do not need to change their religion; yet they are told that they need to meditate and go into a trance in front of master Maharishi’s picture twice a day, one before breakfast and one before dinner. TM has got 5 societies in Turkey, which have got 20 thousand registered members. TM, which is constantly recommended by celebrities, is reaching more and more people every day. According to them, TM is not a religion. According to theologians, transcendental meditation is characterized as a religion based on Hindu “Raja Yoga” philosophy, in order to gain Buddhist “enlightenment”. Notion of reincarnation is present in all of Hindu-based cults because it is the basic thought of their religions. Theologian-author M. Enes Ergene says that though groups active in Turkey present yoga and meditation as a kind of sports; indeed yoga philosophy is a religious belief system in terms of socio-psychology. Emphasizing that there is a significant tendency towards mysticism and metaphysics all over the world, Ergene states: “There is a range of channels, trance, ceremonies, symbols and rituals which can be considered religious in yoga and meditation. As a matter of fact, they describe themselves as followers of a new and cosmic religion in United States. However, since they do not find it strategic to convey it as a religion in a Muslim country, they describe it as a kind of sports. All of them are related to far eastern religions and especially to Buddhism, with respect to their origins and each as a worldview and philosophy.”

Philosophies appearing as sports

Magic and sorcery play an important role in New Age movements. All sorcery rituals of far eastern religions, groundless beliefs based on sorcery such as Shamanism and all kinds of occult beliefs throughout the history have been put into agenda of the world with that new groundless religion.

Groundless beliefs such as fortunetelling, tarot cards, giving information about future by having contact with spirits, deceptive spiritualism and prophecy constitute an important part of New Age culture. Yoga masters called “guru” try to impress people by usually claiming that they can have contact with spirits, that they can mediate and tell about the future with the help of tarot cards. Nevertheless, only Allah knows both whatever is ghaib (unseen-unknown) and whatever is seen. (an-Naml, 65; Jinn, 26-27).

According to them, as there is an energy of “godliness” in all people’s essence, notions of sin-reward and right-wrong are abolished when one advances to a certain degree. In their opinion, whatever a human being does is right.

Psychiatrist Mustafa Merter: Human soul cannot be played with!

“I practiced meditation intensively for a long time during my long stay in Europe. After coming to Turkey and gaining the honor of converting into Islam, my meditative activities lessened gradually. I consider meditation as a supportive method in psychotherapy. If we consider meditation as a religious practice, after a while it may turn into poison because one enters a different dimension of conscience during meditation. It can be addictive. When one turns back to our dimension from that one, he feels empty. One who normally enjoys life happens not to feel the same anymore. He wants to go back to that dimension again. Yet, as he cannot find the state in the other dimension, he becomes idle between the two. As a result of this occasional change of dimensions, he succumbs to a major depression.

-How does it happen?

A friend of mine whom I have known for ages has got a beautiful wife and cute children. He is suffering from a depression which psychiatrists have not been able to diagnose. He is a guy who stayed in Buddhist temples and practiced meditation for a long time in the 70’s. He can neither enjoy this world, nor can he go to the other world. He wanders the streets like a ghost. And he is not a unique case. Lately, I was told about another case: Someone goes to a healer coming from Azerbaijan. He feels relieved and thus he encourages the people he knows to go there, too. One of those people starts saying “I am having revelations”. And his wife goes through a paranoid crisis. His family is about to come to an end. Human soul cannot be played with. One has got a limit to enjoy in this world. If one exceeds that limit, he cannot enjoy anything anymore.

- What do you think about giving and taking energy?

There is egoism involved in it. There is not a divine aspect in it anymore. It is flattering of one’s self. Those people do not only claim to heal; there are some who say: “I am Mawlana, I have been reincarnated”, “I am a prophet” and “I am God”. Main characteristic of New Age groups is that people have the feeling “I did it”. There is no awareness of being servants of God.

(Zaman, 1/8/2004, interview made by Nuriye Akman)

If not religion, what is yoga?

“Yoga” was derived from the word “yug” which means “obedience” in Sanskrit, which is the base of the Indian languages of today and it means the full control of the body, spirit and mind. It also means the harmony and unity of the body, spirit and mind, and also uniting individual spirits with the “Universal Spirit” (!). In the research paper by N. V. Raghuram published in the website of yogis in Turkey, he states “Yoga is not a religion” in response to the question “Will I be a Hindu if I practice yoga?”. However, let us look at how “religion” is described following that question:

“To think that Yoga belongs to a religion is like saying the Grandfather looks like the newborn grandchild. While religion often limits us, Yoga expands us. It prevents us from becoming slaves or drawn in by the world and from becoming self-centered. In the march of life, one can grow to manifest his/her inner godliness aspect.”

Again in the same paper, he says: “People who are not familiar with Yoga consider it an expansion of Hindu and avoid Yoga because they do not want to be a part of the pagan ritual. However, Yoga is not a religion because Yoga is a philosophy that began before all known religions”.

Works of Shri Mataji, who is a well-known guru that often visits Turkey, summarize the issue very well: During Yoga ritual organized in the exhibition hall of Harbiye Military Museum, it was broadcast that attendants to the organization worshipped Shri Mataji, kissed his feet, and even drank the water with which he washed his feet. (Milliyet, 23/04/2002). A large photograph of Shri Mataji, smudge sticks, Indian music and candles are always to be found in places where Sahaja Yoga is practiced. Those who attend the training are firstly given “enlightenment meditation”; that is to say, “kundalini energy”, which is believed to be in everyone’s base of spine, is elevated to the top of head and tightened there. Attendants are requested to evoke “the pure child” inside them. However, they have to do all those in front of Shri Mataja’s photograph, facing it and with candles lit up, and to get into trance with him spiritually. (06/12/2004, Sabah).

Media manipulates

Many women’s magazines and newspapers keep yoga and similar trends on the agenda by publishing them together with photographs of models. However, such publications do not reflect the images of those Indian fakirs who adopted apathy as their lifestyle. Children and people are given yoga practices by Indian yogis now in private schools, primary schools, public offices and even in some private nursery schools thanks to those encouragements.

Practices such as yoga, meditation, healing, bio-energy cures and transcendental meditation constitute a large part of such beliefs. Astrology, tarot cards, fortunetelling and mediating play an important role in that culture.

It ends up with Buddhism

Buddhism is polytheist religion based on pagan view. Buddhist priests who are grown up with that view spend all their lives worshipping Buddha. Buddhism is polytheist philosophy in its essence, which does not accept oneness of God and only emphasizes moral development of individuals and saving them from worldly pains. Buddhism is based on the idea that human beings come to world continually and reincarnate with a different form in their new lives according to their behaviors in their previous lives. Those ideas are totally opposite to Islam and the Quran.

Flying, walking on water!

Abu Said Abu’l-Khair, who is one of the eminent scholars from Turkistan, was once asked “That person is walking on water, what do you say about it?” He said: “It is not important. Ducks and frogs do that, too.” They said to him: “That man is flying in the air” He said: “Flies and kites (a species of bird) fly too. It is as valuable as a fly only.” They said to him: “That person travels from one city to another in the blink of an eye.” He said: “Satan travels from the east to the west in the blink of an eye, too. Such things are of no importance in our religion. One who is brave stays with people, does trade and gets married. Yet, he does not forget his Lord even for a single moment”.

Mustafa AYDIN

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I need a explanation on this citation here: "Human soul cannot be played with. One has got a limit to enjoy in this world. If one exceeds that limit, he cannot enjoy anything anymore". Do you mean that you can not be played with soul limit by practicing yoga or other bioenergy way l, if you exceed soul limitation like yoga, bioenergy etc you will never find peace correct?!
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