GEORGE TOWN, June 7 — Penang Mufti Datuk Seri Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor advised Muslims against being involved in the Bon Odori Festival for fear it can lead to “syirik” (polytheism) practices. Wan Salim said Muslims were advised to always preserve the purity of their Islamic faith by avoiding being involved in such festivals.

“Since the festival is linked to remembering the souls or spirits of the ancestors it is feared that it could lead to polytheism. Muslims must always preserve the purity of their Islamic faith.

“Remembering the souls of the ancestors by dancing, worshipping their spirits and others is not encouraged in Islam, in fact it is feared that they will fall into the sin of polytheism to Allah,” he said in a statement here today.

Yesterday, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Idris Ahmad was reported to have said that the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) found that the Bon Odori Festival programme has elements of other religions.


As such, Muslims were advised against participating in the event which would be held at the Shah Alam National Sports Complex on July 16 because it contained elements of other religions.

Meanwhile, Penang Tourism and Creative Economy Committee chairman, Yeoh Soon Hin, in a separate event said the state government did not plan to cancel the event scheduled on July 30.

He said that, in the context of Penang, it did not contain elements of worshipping or certain religious rituals.


He said the festival had been held for the last 10 years in Penang and it was to strengthen long-established ties between Malaysia and Japan ties that could indirectly help spur the economy and tourism in the state.

According to Yeoh, the festival held in Penang before Covid-19 could attract over 10,000 visitors and the state government expected attendance during the shift to endemic phase to exceed 5,000 people.

Meanwhile, in Putrajaya, the Malaysian Islamic Charity Council (MAIM), under Yayasan Dakwah Islamiah Malaysia, said Muslims should not be celebrating the festivals of other religions that involve matters concerning faith.

Its chairman Muhammad Najhan Shahir Halim said the ban was based on the Quran and hadiths (narrative record of the sayings or customs of Prophet Muhammad and his companions) and five maqasid shariah (objectives or purposes behind the Islamic rulings) principles which among others protected religion, life and the mind.

Nevertheless, he urged Muslims to respect the cultures and beliefs of other religions by living peacefully with one another. — Bernama