A fatwa issued recently by the Johor Islamic Religious Council (MAINJ) forbids Muslims from attending and taking part in religious ceremonies of other faiths in the state.
Mohd Fared Mohd Khalid, chairman of the State Islamic Religious Affairs Committee, said that Johor Sultan Ibrahim Almarhum Sultan Iskandar has agreed to the fatwa, which went into effect yesterday.
According to him, the ulama (religious scholars) of the four schools of Islamic thought, namely Shafie, Hanafi, Maliki, and Hanbali, have agreed that Muslims are not permitted to attend or participate in religious rituals of other faiths.
“These non-Islamic religious rituals include houses of worship, as well as other places.
He told reporters at the Iskandar Islamic Center yesterday that a number of scholars have stated that Muslims are permitted to accept invitations to a ceremony in conjunction with a celebration of other faiths without engaging in a religious ritual ceremony.
Mohd Fared said that this fatwa is hoped to be able to provide a better understanding among Muslims in Johor, and at the same time, guidelines were also issued on non-Muslim festivals which Muslims can attend.
“Among other things, the ceremony is not accompanied by rituals including religious symbols, or singing religious songs which are against the Islamic faith,” he said.
Thus, Mohd Fared said that MAINJ will meet with religious leaders and management of non-Muslim houses of worship, to explain and clarify the guidelines.
“This ban is not meant to disturb the harmony between races, but simply to give advice and guidance, so that community leaders are careful in promoting togetherness without violating certain boundaries,” he said, adding that individuals who violate the guidelines can be prosecuted in accordance with Section 9 of the Johor Syariah Criminal Offences Enactment 1997.
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