Islamic organizations in Indonesia are outraged that some Muslims in the country have sullied the religion’s sacred adhan (call to prayer) has been modified to include a war cry.
Recently, several videos have circulated widely online showing a muezzin (a person appointed to recite the adhan) modifying a verse of the call to prayer to include a call for jihad (which literally means “struggle” in Arabic, but has commonly been used in the context for religious crusade). The modified adhan changes the line “ḥayya ʿalā ṣ-ṣalāh” (hasten to the prayer) to “ḥayya alāl jihad” (hasten to jihad).
In at least one of the many viral videos, several men were standing behind the muezzin and lifted their machetes and sickles into the air when the modified verse was recited.
The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), the highest clerical body in the nation, has condemned the modified adhan.
“The Prophet [Mohammed] never modified the adhan. Even during war time, the adhan was not changed, so it cannot be changed into a call for jihad,” MUI Chairman Cholil Nafis said.
“We hope the public won’t be provoked by this.”
Some clerics are calling on law enforcement to prosecute whoever modified the adhan, saying that the action constitutes blasphemy towards the religion.
It’s not clear who made the videos, but fingers are being pointed towards hardline group the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), who may have modified the adhan as a war cry in solidarity with their leader Rizieq Shihab. The firebrand cleric is facing police inquiry for recent mass rallies and gatherings to celebrate his return from Saudi Arabia.
However, FPI denied they were behind the modified adhan, saying that it was the result of “the aspiration of Muslim people.”