Don’t use religion as tool to achieve political goals, says Zahid

PUTRAJAYA: Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi reminded all quarters, especially political leaders, not to use religion as a tool to achieve political goals.

Speaking to the media after launching the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (Jawi) Mobile Surau 2.0 here on Friday (March 1), Ahmad Zahid said that matters related to Islam, Islamic law and fatwa should be off limits when expressing views and opinions on any subject.

"If the issues involved Islamic laws that can be referred to the Quran, hadith, analogical reasoning (qiyas), and consensus of scholars (ijtihad), I don't need to advise any party leader with a religious background to follow that path. However, they should not use religion as a tool to achieve political goals.”

He said this in response to Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, who expressed deep regret and described the recent statement made by PAS president Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang as highly inappropriate.

Ahmad Zahid said he appreciated the Sultan’s decree, which can be deemed as a warning not just to the public but also to political leaders, including from Umno, not to do the same.

Yesterday, Sultan, in a post on the Selangor Royal Office Facebook, expressed deep regret over Abdul Hadi’s statement titled “Ketinggian Islam Wajib Dipertahankan” on Feb 20, which was addressed to religious scholars, judges, lawyers, members of Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies, as well as the Malay Rulers.

Sultan Sharafuddin described the statement as highly inappropriate as it lacks decorum from the perspective of Malay culture, which always respects and upholds etiquette when expressing views and advice to the Malay Rulers.

Meanwhile, on the Jawi Mobile Surau 2.0, Ahmad Zahid said the government strongly encourages any company to contribute through endowments (wakaf) for the benefit of the community.

"I hope that more private companies, not just transportation companies, but other companies, can continue efforts to endow buses to be used as mobile surau like this,” he said.

Meanwhile, Jawi, in a statement, said that the Jawi Mobile Surau 2.0 is the result of collaboration with the company Konsortium E-Mutiara Bhd and CIMB Islamic Bank Bhd to modify a double-decker bus, which serves not only as a prayer space but also functions as a mobile religious and outreach activity centre.

The double-decker bus, valued at RM350,000, was donated by Konsortium E-Mutiara, while the modification costs were sponsored by CIMB Islamic Bank and individuals through zakat wakalah amounting to RM200,000.

The Jawi Mobile Surau 2.0 can accommodate up to 35 congregants at a time and features prayer amenities such as carpets, prayer mats, prayer garments (telekung) and a public announcement system.

The passenger section of the bus has been modified into a comfortable prayer and activity space, while the storage area has been turned into water storage for ablution purposes.

Also present at the event were the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Religious Affairs), Datuk Dr Mohd Na'im Mokhtar; Chairman of the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Council (MAIWP) Syed Kamarulzaman Syed Kabeer, and JAWI director Datuk Mohd Ajib Ismail. – Bernama

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