A NUMBER of mosques in the country have observed a higher turnout of congregants during the Friday prayers.
In an interview with The Brunei Times, imams of these mosques said that the increase in the number of congregants has been observed since the order for shops to be closed at 12pm on Fridays went into effect on November 2, 2012.
This order came directly through a titah by His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam who, on the eve of Aidil Adha in the same year, called for shops and business establishments to be closed to make way for Friday prayers in order to prevent Muslim men from skipping their obligations.
A male mukallaf (accountable to hold religious responsibilities) who is caught not performing the Friday prayers, without any reasonable excuse, can be fined under the newly-enforced Syariah Penal Code Order.
Hj Ali Noor Hj Yahya, the imam of Kampung Pengkalan Batu Mosque, said that with the implementation of the law, efforts to remind the people of their religious duties were reinforced.
“It is understood that some people were unable to perform their Friday prayers because of their duties such as ensuring the safety of the people,” he said.
“Although there are people working in shifts, it should also be considered whether they are deliberately missing their Friday prayers. For example, there should be investigations if they missed four times in a row,” he added.
Hj Ali Noor advised those working shift hours to liaise with employers as Friday prayers are considered an obligation in Islam.
Prophet Muhammad SAW in a hadith said: “Whoever does not attend three Friday Prayers (without a valid excuse), Allah will set a seal on his heart.” (Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Nasa'i, Ibn Majah)
Meanwhile, the imam of Jame’ ‘Asr Hassanal Bolkiah, Haris Hj Suboh, said that the implementation of the Syariah Penal Code Order would encourage people to be more aware of the importance of performing their religious duties.
“If they understand the law very well, then there should not be any problem for them,” he said.
“The law itself (acts) as a guidance to Muslims to be more afraid of God’s wrath; punishments that are carried out in the world is different from the ones to be carried out in the hereafter.”
Haris emphasised that even before the implementation of the law, His Majesty and the government had already been carrying out reminders to perform religious obligations. However, the reponsibility of heeding reminders falls on the individuals themselves, he added.
“Lectures and books explaining the importance and benefits of performing religious obligations are easily available everywhere,” he said.
“And religious education has also been provided through religious schools. If possible, this should be more intensified.”
The imam of Kampung Lumapas Mosque, Hj Asbullah Hj Ahmad, said he noticed the larger-than-normal size of the crowd at the mosque while delivering the sermon.
“During the sermon, I noticed some people were still standing ouside the mosque and when the iqamat (call for prayers) was made, they made their way in, trying to find prayer spaces,” he said.
“Alhamdulillah, perhaps the awareness has been disseminated among the people and Brunei and this is a form of Allah’s blessing bestowed to the people,
“Hopefully, Brunei, the Sultan and the people will continue to be blessed in light of the implementation of the Syariah criminal law,” added Hj Asbullah.
The Brunei Times
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