Indonesian Muslim preacher ‘introducing God in whatever circumstances’ in Bali nightclub


Updated

September 14, 2018 17:10:50

Footage of an eccentric Indonesian preacher has gone viral after he was filmed holding an Islamic sermon in a nightclub in the Hindu-majority island of Bali to teach Islam to “those who haven’t met God”.

Key points:

  • Mr Miftah has been holding regular Islamic teaching sessions in nightclubs for years
  • Nightclubs are often considered sacrilegious venues in the Muslim faith
  • Indonesia’s largest Islamic body said his actions reflects positive ‘Islamic values’

The Islamic preacher, Gus Miftah, shared the footage, taken on the island’s party district of Kuta, on his Instagram page.

The footage shows Mr Miftah standing on a stage in a crowd of mostly women dressed in tight red dresses, preaching the teachings of the Koran.

“My fellow brothers and sisters, good people and bad people only have one difference; good people have done bad things and bad things have been done by good people,” one of the posts said.

“Don’t ever judge them, but simply pray for them.”

In the footage, Mr Miftah recited a religious Muslim chant, known as the “shawalat”, in praise of the Prophet Mohammed.

The crowd soon joined in and sang along.

It’s unclear whether he was preaching to staff or guests of the establishment.

Mr Miftah has been holding regular Islamic teaching sessions in a Jogjakarta nightclub twice a month for the past 12 years.

Indonesian news site Detik.com reported that in one session he invited the employees of the club to join him in prayer.

In an earlier post from the Jogjakarta nightclub Mr Miftah wrote: “Introducing God to those who want to know him, but haven’t been introduced, wherever and in whatever circumstances.”

Mr Miftah, known for his eccentric teaching methods, is head of an Islamic boarding school in the city of Jogjakarta in Indonesia’s Muslim-majority island of Java.

‘Converting from places of sacrilege to holier ground’

The Indonesian Muslim public have been divided over the viral video, as nightclubs are widely seen as haram — or religiously forbidden — in the Islamic belief.

This is due to the consumption of alcohol, and activities which are considered as a sin in the religion.

However, Indonesia’s largest religious social organisation, Nahdlatul Ulama, claimed Mr Miftah’s sermon reflected positive Islamic values.

“Religious preaching should not only be in places of worship, but also in the [sacrilegious] venues,” said Moqsith Ghazali, vice-chairman of the organisation, in their online publication.

However, he added that not everyone has the courage to preach in venues such as nightclubs due to the risk and temptations involved.

“Not everyone can do it … converting those from places of sacrilege to a holier ground is not an easy task,” he said.

The video comes after rising concerns of increased Islamic conservatism across the country.

Last month, Indonesian President Jokowi Widodo chose a conservative Muslim cleric Ma’ruf Amin as his vice-presidential candidate.

An Indonesian Buddhist woman was recently jailed for complaining about the volume of a Mosque call to prayer, and a fatwa was issued on the Rubella-Measles vaccination claiming it contained substances which are “religiously forbidden”.

Topics:

religion-and-beliefs,

offbeat,

politics-and-government,

indonesia,

asia

First posted

September 14, 2018 17:09:40





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