Yoga Darsan pre-dates Islam. The practice of Namaz in Islam is the practice of Bhakti Yoga. Bhakti yoga’s essence is the use of devotion and surrender to the Source of Creation. Islam has adapted this pagan practice and the devotional aspects of Bhakti can be seen in many Islamic rituals and prayers.

Yoga Asana — Balasana

For example, the act of Namaz is nothing other than surrender to the Divine as seen in the Sun Salutations – or Surya Namaskars. Worshipping the Sun is important as without this energy, life on earth, including ours would not exist.

Steps of Namaz are nothing other than Tadasana, Namaste mudra, Ardha Uttansana, VAjrasana and Balasana. For instance, let’s take a look at Yoga posture Balasana. Bala = child and Asana = posture. The act of surrendering to the Source of Creation as if one were a little child is the purpose of Balasana. This practice, though there might be variations is seen in the purpose of the offering prayers in Islamic culture.

Islam is a baby compared to when Yoga originated. It is great to see that certain pagan practices are still at the core of the baby faith – Islam. Does this mean that all Muslims are essentially pagan, but just ignorant about it?

Balasana in Namaz

The Yoga Sutras are assessed to be compiled sometime between 500 BCE and 400 CE by Maharishi Patanjali in India. Yoga is mentioned in the Rig Veda as well, which is about 5000 years old though Patanjali is credited with organizing the knowledge about yoga from various texts and traditions. 

Islam originated in the not too recent history – 7th century and it is not a wonder that it adopted pagan customs and cultures in order to entice people to accept the “new” faith.

Every Muslim, each time they practice the Bhakti yoga aka Namaz in their religion are essentially praying to Surya Devata or the Sun God 5 times a day. Maharishi Patanjali’s Atma would be so proud that Yoga continues to thrive and survive albiet under a different name.

DISCLAIMER: The author is solely responsible for the views expressed in this article. The author carries the responsibility for citing and/or licensing of images utilized within the text.