Sunday, January 26, 2020

Malaysia - common bidah practices

Muslim visitors to this country are often confused when several practices occur. This post is meant to highlight some of the common practices to help prepare visitors in advance.

1) Solat "sunnah" Hajat. This 2 rakats prayed when one is in need of something is based on a debated hadith. In Malaysia, they have added to this hadith by turning the prayer into a congregational prayer done with great frequency. Any time someone in the area is sick, school exams are coming up, people want to pray for Palestine, etc, they will announce a long intention of what is going to be prayed in solat hajat. These will often happen right after Friday prayers and Isha prayers. They start so soon after the fard solat, that you won't have time to do adhkar before you need to get out of the way. On occasion, solat hajat with be organized as a big event and held in a stadium or other large venue. This practice seems to be increasing in frequency, however the number of people at the masjid participating is 50% or less. Often saf's get very broken up and scattered due to the short time between the fard and everyone trying to get out or move to join this solat. The announcement for the prayer, and its intention, may be made in Malay prior to the beginning of the fard solat, so you will have some advance warning.

2) "Tahlil". This term is used to define a practice done in this region (Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and maybe Brunei/Phillipeans). In involves recitation of Surah Yaseen in a group (everyone reading out loud and not in sync). This is followed by a set of group dhikr and long dua in congregation. This practice is done in nearly every masjid and surau on Thursday night after Maghrib. It is also done when someone dies, and at periodic intervals after the death. For Tahlil events outside of the masjid (related to death), people will invite groups to their home, do the tahlil and serve food afterwards. It is also done in government departments, as a practice for newborns (seperate from aqiqah), housewarming after moving, and as a means of protection from jinns. The application of this practice is becoming wide spread. Often the recitation of the tahlil is done with many bottles of water present to bless the water. Recitation of Quran over water is becoming a more common practice, and you can find it for sale in various forms (surah yasin water, 1 juz, 30 juz, and even recited on food).

3) Al Fatihah. Often Al Fatihah will be read as a group after fard solat as part of the athkar done as a group. Also in the event of a death, people will read al Fatihah for the deceased. Ex: if someone were to announce a relative passing away on social media, a string of comments saying "al fatihah" will follow.

4) Mawlid and related events. Celebration of mawlid and other "islamic holidays" like isra wal miraj and hijri new year are common in Malaysia. Many practices have evolved around them at the masjids. On Mawlid, there will be parades of people walking out in support of Rasollullah (saw). Besides this, there is an increasing number of Mawlid type events which happen on other days besides the alleged birth of our prophet (saw). These may be labelled as Cinta Rasollullah or similar titles. These events are similar to large concerts where music, nasheed, and other activities take place. On occasion, some of what is said and done on stage is shirk.

5) "First day" of eid is for the graves. Visiting the graves takes a primary focus for many Malays on the day of Eid. After the first day, Eid will be celebrated on the following days.

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