The Islamic Ministry has expressed concern at the rising number of privately-held, unsanctioned congregations.
The ministry said it was “advisable” for such congregations to immediately cease worshipping in isolation and conducting sermons administered by scholars not licensed by the ministry.
The Islamic Ministry said that private congregations were against laws protecting religious unity.
”The Islamic Ministry does not believe that there is any reason to perform isolated congregations as the state is based on Sunni Islam, and formal congregations in the mosques are approved,” the Islamic Ministry said in a press statement.
The ministry advised Imams not to dispute religious issues or get into disputes over ‘Madhab’ (way of thinking, persuasion) , and to instead follow the Sunnah of Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) and to believe and return to the way that trusted Islamic scholars had advised.
Sheikh Ali Zahir said that the issue could be spoken about for a long time, but that the Islamic Ministry was the authorised department and had said its word.
However, a man who follows Islam in a private congregation told Minivan News on condition on anonymity that his group had decided to isolate themselves “because the current government is following a law established in 1982 by the former government, a law protecting religious unity which is contrary to the tenets of Islam.”
He said that according to the Constitution Article 10[b], “no law can be enacted contrary to the tenets of Islam.”
”So we do not have to follow the law protecting religious unity,” he said.
He said that according to the tenets of Islam there were no different ‘Madhabs’ on the Sunnah of Prophet Mohamed (PBUH).
”They force all the Imams to pray according to the Shafi’e Madhab, so we cannot follow the Imams who pray according to a Madhab, we follow Prophet Mohamed (PBUH),” he said.
He said another reason for the isolated congregations was that the former government ordered the Imams not to read ‘Gunooth’ during the fajr prayers.
”Now they read Gunooth when the Imams feels like it,” he said.
Furthermore, he said, the three powers of the government had been divided and Shari’ah Law had not been implemented in the Constitution and Penal Code, contradicting the tenets of Islam.
”According to Islam all the powers should be in one hand,” he said.