Stay away from non-Muslim religious events, ulamas tell Muslims
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 13 — The Ulama Association of Malaysia (PUM) has urged Muslims to stay away from non-Muslims religious festivals following the prime minister’s visit to Thaipusam celebrations last week.
Perak Mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria had criticised Datuk Seri Najib Razak for “sacrificing his faith” by attending the Hindu festival at Batu Caves last Tuesday, the prime minister’s third visit in as many years.
PUM noted that guidelines set out by the National Fatwa Council on April 12, 2005 stated that Muslims cannot attend events which incorporate ceremonies that go against the teachings of Islam.
“Based on that decision, in PUM’s opinion, it is very clear that if the non-Muslim ceremony contains non-Muslim religious rituals, Muslims cannot participate as it can threaten their faith,” it said in a statement yesterday.
All religious authorities at state and federal levels should work to ensure that “correct advice” is given to political leaders and urged the latter to abide by such counsel, the association stressed.
PUM also called on the Islamic Religious Development Department of Malaysia (JAKIM) sponsor a dialogue session to explain the importance of this restriction to state and national leaders as well as Muslims.
It added that non-Muslims should understand and respect that faith was a core component of Islam and to be more sensitive to issues concerning the religion and its laws.
Najib’s visit to the annual Thaipusam festival at Batu Caves last week prompted Harussani to remind Najib that his predecessors had sent representatives in their place instead of showing up in person.
“It’s an idolatrous act. I don’t know why this happened... when we don’t join in the celebrations of other races in their houses of worship.
“The prime minister should have sent a Hindu minister to take his place... as Muslims cannot be involved in other religions’ festivities,” Harussani had told The Malaysian Insider.
The Perak mufti said that while it was acceptable for Muslims to go to open houses, they could not enter houses of worships where religious ceremonies were being carried out.