PAS Goes Against Selangor Sultan And Insists That Muslims Can't Visit Churches & Temples
"Politicians can say whatever they want but they do not have the final say or authority," said Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah.
PAS appears to have gone against the words of the Sultan of Selangor who said that Muslims are allowed to visit houses of worship of other faiths
According to New Straits Times, Selangor PAS commissioner Datuk Ahmad Yunus Hairi said Muslims must follow the ban announced by the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (MAIS) that prohibits them from visiting churches and temples.
"Harmony between religions and peaceful life among the multiracial people of Selangor is very important for the stability and prosperity of this state," said the Kuala Langat member of parliament (MP).
"PAS will always emphasise this aspect, and at the same time, ensure that this ban by MAIS is obeyed by all parties.
"Therefore, it is crucial to preserve tolerance and mutual respect between other communities."
Ahmad Yunus stressed that MAIS' directive was clear to avoid confusion and misunderstandings.
However, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah said in an interview that there was nothing wrong with Muslims visiting other places of worship as long as they are just observing
Speaking to The Star, the Selangor ruler, the head of Islam in the state, said Muslims can visit temples and churches, but must refrain from participating in rituals or practices.
"There is nothing wrong with attending a wedding or a wake at a church, for example, but Muslims must just observe," he stated.
The Sultan cited his late grandfather, Sultan Alam Shah, who attended the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 at the Westminster Abbey church in London.
"He had just returned from Mecca and then consulted the state Mufti if it was acceptable for him to attend the coronation," he said.
"The Mufti said there was nothing wrong with it if he did not take part in any ritual such as prayers."
Sultan Sharafuddin added that the Mufti told his father that he could wear the medals and insignia on his uniform, including those that resemble the cross, as they were not religious items.
His stance on the matter is similar to that of the Sultan of Johor, who had said last week that Muslims in the state can visit houses of worship of other faiths as long as they refrain from participating in the rituals or prayers, reported Free Malaysia Today.
Speaking about the recent statement by MAIS, the Sultan said the council was correct and clear
He said MAIS has rightly reminded the public that it is against the law for Muslims to visit non-Muslim houses of worship, such as temples, churches, and gurdwaras, to learn about other faiths.
The ruler said it is best to avoid confusion and misunderstandings since there are laws preventing the proselytisation of other religions for Muslims.
MAIS issued the statement in the wake of the controversy surrounding the Jom Ziarah programme under the Ministry of Youth and Sports. It was aimed to foster greater understanding among youths of other faiths by bringing them to different places of worship.
Sultan Sharafuddin urged politicians, regardless of their faith, not to use religion to make themselves popular, reported The Star.
"Only I, as the head of Islam in Selangor, and MAIS are the authorities of the religion in the state," he stressed.
"Politicians can say whatever they want but they do not have the final say or authority."
He also urged politicians to "read up and do their homework" before commenting on the statement by MAIS.
In June last year, the Kuala Langat MP was summoned for an audience with the Sultan of Selangor to discuss matters related to the Bon Odori festival, reported New Straits Times.
As a result of the discussion, Selangor PAS liaison secretary Roslan Shahir Mohd Shahir said they were "supportive of the palace's role in uniting the rakyat".
He added that PAS vice president Datuk Idris Ahmad, who was then minister in the prime minister's department (religious affairs), was merely advising Muslims not to attend the festival, adding that it was not a call for cancellation.