Semarang students exercise Islamic gymnastic

The Jakarta Post, page 8

As many as 1.325 student of Ungaran Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) vocational high school in Semarang regency, Central Java, have been exercising Senam Islam Nusantara (SIN) for a month, an exercise combining gymnastic and prayer movements.

Muslih, the creator of the program, said Muslim prayer, called shalat, require physical fitness movements. His exercise routine combining gymnastics with prayer movements has been divided into three basic parts. Muslih explained it starts with a warm up followed by the main exercises, which combine wudhu [ablution] and shalat movements, and ends with stretching.

Muslih, who is chairman of the Semarang regency NU economic institution (LPNU), said that every movement has meaning. The wudhu movements, for example, were meant to add fluidity to the routine. The movements taken from shalat, on the other hand, focus on flexibility. Muslih said the philosophy of the exercise is to make the body healthier, both physically and spiritually. The exercise was also meant to encourage people to love shalat.

On Sunday, the exercise was accompanied by mixed Javanese and Malay music and officially launched by Youth and Sport Minister Imam Nahrawi. Thousands of students, the general public and activities of NU’s wing organization, including GP Ansor, Banser, Fatayat, Muslimat, Nahdatul Ulama Students Association (IPNU), joined the mass exercise on Sunday. Imam spoke at the inaugural event and expressed hope that the exercise would echo across the Archipelago.

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