Umno Youth chief advises ‘stubborn’ Sri Petaling tabligh participants to undergo Covid-19 tests

Umno Youth chief Datuk Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki said he was very sad to see the attitude of some who were taking light of the harm brought about by the spread of Covid-19. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Umno Youth chief Datuk Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki said he was very sad to see the attitude of some who were taking light of the harm brought about by the spread of Covid-19. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, March 19 — ‘Umno Youth Chief Datuk Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki today gave his advice to the participants of the mass religious gathering known as tabligh ijtimak at the Jamek Sri Petaling mosque in Kuala Lumpur, which is now the single largest cluster for Covid-19 cases in Malaysia with 513 of its participants having tested positive.

In a lengthy Facebook post that cited Islamic teachings in the form of hadith or Quran scriptures, Asyraf Wajdi said he was very sad to see the attitude of some who were taking light of the harm brought about by the spread of Covid-19, singling out some of the tabligh participants who he said were “still stubbornly not wanting to step forward to undergo health screening tests”.

Directly addressing the tabligh participants specifically, Asyraf Wajdi then went on to give them five words of advice, noting that it was true that they have good intentions but advising them that good intentions in Islam have to be in line with the correct actions in line with Shariah principles.

“This is because Islamic principle states: ‘The ends do not justify the means’,” he wrote.

He also acknowledged that the tabligh participants were leaving everything in Allah’s hands, but said Islamic teachings requires Muslims to put in their own effort before doing so.

He also acknowledged that the tabligh participants were not afraid of the dangers of the destructive disease as they believe that all harm comes only with Allah’s permission, but advised them by saying they must understand Allah’s commandments in the Muslims’ holy book Al-Quran to “not throw” themselves into destruction.

While acknowledging that the tabligh participants are not fearful and have high confidence that any illness comes only from Allah, Asyraf Wajdi however also said they must act based on Islamic traditions and teachings that orders those who are in infected areas to not go out from such areas, while those who are healthy are ordered not to enter places with an epidemic of infectious disease.

While acknowledging that they are ambassadors of Islam and that he did not doubt their sincerity in carrying out dakwah or in spreading the religion of Islam, he also urged them to look after Islam’s image based on true knowledge and not be the cause for allegations against Islam and Muslims.

Asyraf Wajdi went on to urge for all to follow the government’s order to restrict movement by practising social distancing and staying at home to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Asyraf Wajdi, who had on March 17 rushed to have himself tested for Covid-19 after receiving news that Bandar Kuching MP Kelvin Yii who he had close contact with had tested positive for Covid-19, this morning also shared that hospital staff had informed that his test results for Covid-19 was negative.

A few days ago, one of the leaders of the tabligh event held in Kuala Lumpur — identifying himself as Mansur Ismail — had in a video urged participants to immediately get themselves screened for Covid-19.

The status so far

It was previously reported that an estimated 16,000 individuals participated at the mass religious gathering known as tabligh ijtimak that was held at the Jamek Sri Petaling mosque in Kuala Lumpur from February 27 to March 1, including 14,500 Malaysians and the rest from other countries.

This morning, Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah in a Facebook post revealed that Malaysia has so far traced 10,650 of the tabligh participants, with 10,553 of them having undergone health checks as of midnight today. (This includes 659 who have been admitted and 6,627 who have been placed under home surveillance.)

As of midnight March 19, a total of 4,986 samples have been taken from the 10,553 tabligh participants checked so far. 

Of these 4,986 tests, a total of 513 tabligh participants having tested positive for Covid-19, while 2,559 tested negative and test results for the remaining 1,990 samples are still pending.

Pointing out that a 34-year-old tabligh participant who was infected with Covid-19 had died on March 17, Dr Noor Hisham urged the remaining tabligh participants to come forward and present themselves for health checks.

Separately, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob today acknowledged concern about 4,000 more tabligh participants at the Jamek Sri Petaling event that have yet to be traced, advising them to voluntarily step forward for health checks and Covid-19 screenings.

“The police have decided that they will track down the tabligh participants that have yet to step forward for screenings. I also say to the tabligh participants who have not yet stepped forward to health centres, to undergo checks without having to be sought after by the police,” Ismail Sabri had said.

Acknowledging public concern over reports of over 80 Malaysians allegedly being participants of a similar mass tabligh gathering in Indonesia, Ismail Sabri said the government has decided that all such Malaysian tabligh participants would be quarantined when they return to Malaysia.

The tabligh event in Indonesia has now been cancelled.

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