JOHOR BARU: Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar advised people not to jump to conclusions or act prematurely on news that a Malaysian Muslim woman married Indian national hockey captain Manpreet Singh Pawar at a Sikh temple in Punjab, India.
His Majesty expressed sadness over claims that have spread on social media that she got married not in accordance with Islamic practices.
“I would like to advise the woman, who is from Johor, that whatever action that she has taken, she must obtain her parents’ blessings and she should not go against our Islamic faith, ” he said.
Sultan Ibrahim said he was confident that the Johor Islamic Religious Department (JAINJ) and the state Mufti Department would provide the necessary aid to the woman to ensure she remains a Muslim.
He added that the woman herself had not declared that she wanted to leave Islam.
The Ruler also asked JAINJ to verify the woman’s marriage status either via her family or the Malaysian High Commission in India.
“I am sure that we will get the correct information on this as soon as possible, ” His Majesty said in a statement posted on his official Facebook page yesterday.
Sultan Ibrahim said the issue of the woman’s marriage in India should be handled wisely as it not only involves a relationship between two faiths, but also two countries.
Johor Islamic religious affairs committee chairman Tosrin Jarvanthi said JAINJ would work closely with Wisma Putra in their probe into the matter.
He said that all findings would be presented to Sultan Ibrahim first.
“We are still gathering evidence, including details of her akad nikah (marriage solemnisation) in Malaysia, ” he said.
Asked if the woman’s family members had been called up by JAINJ to give their statements, Tosrin said the department had yet to call anyone over the matter and would only do so if required.
On Sunday, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Ahmad Marzuk Shaary said the woman, Illi Najwa Saddique, would be called up once she returns to Malaysia.
Illi Najwa, a niece of National Unity Minister Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique, courted controversy after she posted news of her travelling to India to get married to Manpreet and when videos of her wedding in Punjab in a Sikh ceremony went viral.
Malaysians on social media questioned her being given special permission to travel during the MCO period, as well as whether it was right for her as a Muslim to take part in a Sikh religious ceremony.
Earlier on Sunday, in a statement purportedly written by Illi Najwa, she stated that she never changed her religion and remains a Muslim.
She said Manpreet converted to Islam last year.
“We had our nikah on the morning of Dec 16 but kept it private. The certificate will be obtained next Wednesday, ” said Illi Najwa.
Meanwhile, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Seri Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri called for calm and urged all to wait for clarification from state religious authorities.
“I am confident that such issues can be settled amicably with wisdom, ” he said in a statement.
He also welcomed Sultan Ibrahim’s call for everyone not to jump to conclusions.
Zulkifli said Islam requires its followers to verify any information received before forming an opinion.