KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 30 — An Islamic preacher has defended a RM200,000 mass Islamic gathering planned for New Year’s Eve, saying the amount is “miniscule” in order to appease God and plead for the return of “lost blessings”, which he said had caused the disastrous floods in the country.
Blaming those who viewed the floods “too scientifically and logically”, Mohammad Asraff Ayob claimed the disaster that has displaced over 200,000 Malaysians and killed 21 was not a natural occurrence but a “test” by a wrathful God towards Malaysians.
“The sins that we have done all this while were ‘grand’ too, were they not? Allah has long been wrathful, because we have been calculative with him. We forget him. We colour our lives with vices,” Asraff posted on his public Facebook page yesterday.
According to the Quran expert and trainer, it would not suffice for Muslims to privately pray in their own homes or even together in a mosque to fix this “grand mistake”.
“We have to do it ‘grandly’. We have to spend ‘huge cost’ to re-invite the lost blessing of Allah,” he added.
An event called “Malam Cintakan Rasul 2015” (Love the Prophet Night 2015) will be held in Dataran Merdeka on New Year’s Eve, held jointly by among others Cheras Education Foundation, the Kuala Lumpur City Hall, Federal Territories Islamic Religious Council (MAIWP) and state-owned Islamic channel TV Alhijrah.
The event will include mass prayers and chanting of qasidah, a form of Arabic lyrical poetry, led by Indonesia-born preacher Habib Syech Abdul Qadir as-Seggaf, who professes to be a direct descendant of Prophet Muhammad himself.
Programme chairman Datuk Syed Mehdar Syed Abdullah was quoted in the media last week as saying that the event “will only cost around RM200,000”, and is expected to draw more than 100,000 Muslim attendees.
Former minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah was among those who criticised the massive spending, claiming that the money can be better used to aid flood victims.
“The blessing and love of God are expensive. He is taking his blessings away from us. The floods might be one of the signs of his wrath that he made real.
“Frankly speak [sic], actually 200,000 is very ‘cheap’ if compared to the price of his blessings,” Asraff claimed, comparing it to billions of ringgit in property damage and losses during the floods.
He also claimed that spending billions to mitigate floods would be useless unless Malaysians fix the problem at its “source”, which is with Allah, rather than anywhere else.
Asraff also suggested that it is hard for prayers done by common Muslims to be “approved” by God, urging instead that faith followers use a so-called “shortcut” by offering praises to Prophet Muhammad, whom he claimed is a “main point” towards God.
“The logic is like this: if you want to ask for projects from an ‘orang besar’ (important person), it is confirmed you would not get it because he doesn’t even know you. Even if he knows you, you’re not in his ‘circle’.
“So, if you ask through somebody else who is close to the ‘orang besar’. God willing, the chances of getting it would be greater, right?” he said in an analogy.
Last week, the son of PAS’s spiritual leader also suggested that the worsening floods in Kelantan was a sign of “Allah’s wrath” and that the state government must continue with its bid to enforce hudud amid strong opposition.
Pasir Mas MP Nik Mohamad Abduh, the son of revered PAS leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, wrote on his Facebook page that the floods were intended to remind Muslims to return to Allah’s path, and necessity in implementing the Islamic penal code in the state.
A slew of New Year celebrations, including one in Putrajaya, have since been cancelled following the floods but “Malam Cintakan Rasul 2015” is among the few which was allowed to go ahead.