Shia cleric Maulana Yasoob Abbas asserted on Sunday that Islam did not oppose yoga and its practise should not be associated with any religion.
Launching yoga classes at the Shia Post-Graduate Degree College in the holy month of Ramzan, he said Islam was not weak and yoga posed no threat to the religion.
Commenting on controversies related to yoga, the cleric said: “Taliban culture will not be allowed in India. Those who want to see India sick are opposing yoga.”
Abbas, who is facing opposition from a section of the Muslim community for his pro-active role in propagating yoga, brushed aside all opposition.
“I am not afraid of fatwas. It (fatwa) will make me more popular,” he said.
On the controversy related to ‘Surya namaskar’ (sun salutation), the cleric said: “There is no compulsion on performing ‘Surya namaskar’. Everyone is free to do whatever he feels right.”
Shia PG College is a minority institution run by the Shia community and the Maulana is a member of its board of trustees. Apart from Shia and Sunni students, a large number of Hindus also study at the college.
Abbas, along with 50 students, participated in yoga classes. Ensuring that yoga classes do not end up as a ceremonial exercise, the college management has ensured that classes are conducted daily.
Yoga instructor JK Sharma and Mohammad Farman will impart lessons to students.
“It is not a publicity stunt and classes will be held regularly. Yoga has been made a part of physical education curriculum of the college,” he said.
The college will also participate in the International Yoga Day event at Ramabai Ambedkar ground in Lucknow on June 21 in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be the chief guest.
Union home minister Rajnath Singh, governor Ram Naik, chief minister Yogi Adityanath and ministers in the state government will also participate in the event.