Selangor stops anti-Shia mention in Friday sermons

Jais says the omission of the line is to shorten the duration of the Friday service in view of the prayer time getting later.

PETALING JAYA: Selangor Islamic authorities stopped the practice of including several lines labelling Shia Islam as deviant during Friday sermons in mosques as of two months ago.

A quick check of official sermons in the last few weeks reveals that a line in which Muslims are told to remain as followers of Sunni Islam while invoking God to protect them against “deviant teachings” such as Qadiyani and Shia, has not been part of the second half of the weekly sermon since early February.

“Hence, we sincerely beseech You, O Allah, strengthen our imaan and creed according to that of Ahl as-Sunnah wal-Jamaa‘ah, accept our righteous deeds, cultivate our soul with good mannerisms, unite our hearts, bestow upon us rizq with blessings, enrich us with beneficial knowledge, protect us from disasters and save us from teachings that are outside the fold of Islam such as Qadiyaani, deviant teachings such as Shee‘ah, and other teachings deemed as deviating from Islamic teachings or contradicting the creed of Ahl as-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah,” runs the doa, or invocation, according the official English translation provided by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais).

When contacted, Jais suggested that the omission of the line had nothing to do with a change in stand.

Jais director-general Haris Kasim told FMT that the department’s committee in charge of preparing the Friday sermon has discussed and decided on the change, to shorten the duration of the Friday service in view of the prayer time getting later.

The times of the five obligatory prayers in Islam, including the weekly Friday prayer, are determined by the position of the sun and vary at different locations.

“However, the khutbah committee will be sensitive and take into account current issues and circumstances to amend the Friday sermon in line with the prayer time, and is prepared to insert again the invocation or any other texts,” said Haris.

Malaysia’s Islamic authorities regard Shia Muslims as “deviant” following an edict issued by the national fatwa council in 1996.

Shia is the second largest branch of Islam, with a substantial following in Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Bahrain, Lebanon and several areas in Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Pakistan.

Selangor’s exco for Islamic affairs Ahmad Yunus Hairi meanwhile supported Jais’ right to amend the text of the sermon to facilitate Muslims.

He said the latest amendment would also ensure that Muslims do not rush in performing their prayer.