FT mufti urges end to ‘prayer valet’ services

Zulkifli said commercial services such as 'Valet Doa' is not in line with Islamic teachings. — Facebook screengrab
Zulkifli said commercial services such as 'Valet Doa' is not in line with Islamic teachings. — Facebook screengrab

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 15 — Federal Territories mufti Datuk Dr Zulkifli Mohamad has urged for a controversial service called “Valet Doa”, or “prayer valet”, and others similar to it to halt operations today, to prevent any exploitation of religious deeds.

The mufti said the commercial service in Mecca that boasts “greater efficacy” of prayers the more you pay, is not in line with Islamic teachings.

“We suggest that initiative and business like these be cancelled so Islam is seen as a religion that truly follows its scale of Shariah, and for it to be spared from slander and exploitation of deeds,” Datuk Dr Zulkifli Mohamad said in a statement on his website.

In a separate statement, federal agency Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) also criticised the service for its commercial drive, pointing out that it was tarnishing the sanctity of Islam.

“It is unreasonable for any individuals to guarantee his prayers will be granted by Allah. This prayer valet package clearly shows a commercial element, in addition to peddling and using religious deeds and prayers for business, something prohibited in Islam,” Jakim director-general Tan Sri Othman Mustapha said.

The service, which started promoting itself on Facebook January this year, is run by a man calling himself “Haji Arin”. His first trip to Mecca was scheduled for March.

He offers a 365-day guarantee for customers, pledging to repeat the prayers according to the original package free of charge, if even one of the wishes of said customer did not come true within the space of a year.

If the wish still did not come true within six months following the second attempt, he promises customers a refund.

A lengthy explanation at the mufti’s website today took issue with the service’s guarantee, claiming that granting wishes is ultimately up to God, and nobody can promise 100 per cent efficacy.

The firm also offered seven tiers of service, starting from RM500 per person up to RM5,000 per person.

For each tier, customers will have a chance to perform their prayers for as few as three wishes or up to 20 wishes, recited by Haji Arin at differing spots in Mecca which he claimed have various stages of efficacy.

The most expensive package at RM5,000 called “Multazam package” offers among others for one’s prayers to be recited first in front of the Kaaba — Islam’s most sacred site, and a site called “Multazam” in Mecca — believed to be a spot where every prayer will be granted.

The package will also donate a Quran to Masjidil Haram, also known as the Mecca Grand Mosque, and a copy of Haji Arin reciting one’s prayers on video.

“The naming of the packages is devoid of manner and confusing. In addition, it clearly shows its commercial and manipulative nature,” mufti Zulkifli said in response.

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