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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

FT mufti condemns 'prayer for hire' service

Federal Territories mufti Zulkifli Mohamed al-Bakri wants an end to a prayer-for-hire business where Muslims pay to have their doa (invocations) read out in Makkah by an agent.
According to the "Valet Doa" Facebook page, different fees are charged depending on where the doa are to be made, which it said determines the likelihood of their wishes being granted.
"We believe that it is completely un-Islamic and does not follow syariah. It is unethical to do so and has never been done by the piety...
"We urge Valet Doa to shut down its business so Islam is not tarnished with accusation of being exploitative," Zulkifli said in a statement on his official website.
He added that when Prophet Muhammad included first caliph Umar al-Khattab's doa in his prayer, he did not do so for a fee.
He said Valet Doa is also making presumptions by claiming that the doa read by the agents will be fulfilled by God.
"Only Allah has the right to decide whether to grant a doa. No individual can guarantee that a doa will be granted by God, much less to determine when it will be granted," he said.
He said Islam encourages the individual to pray to and seek assistance directly from Allah, without the need for intermediaries.
Valet Doa won't shut down
At the time of writing, Valet Doa has yet to respond to requests for comments.
However, founder Nasrin Harin, 40, told Harian Metro he will continue with the business as he believes it helps those unable to head to Mecca. 
"I am inviting people to doa and remember Allah. These services have long been provided, but not in a systematic manner and without advertising," the Shah Alam resident reportedly said. 
He said there is hadith (prophetic traditions) which states that doa made in certain places will be granted by Allah. 
Pahang mufti Abdul Rahman Osman, however, advised Muslims to avoid using Valet Doa's services. 
He said while it is not wrong to ask someone to read one's doa in Mecca, it should not be done for a fee. 
"Turning it into a business is not something advocated by our religion. It is just like selling verses of the Quran. 
"We advise Muslims to seek others who can help read out their doa," he told Malaysiakini. 
"It is fine if we give those who say they will read our doa a token sum as sedekah (charity) but when the person seeks payment, it means he is insincere. A doa must be sincere," he said.
World first
According to Valet Doa's Facebook page, it provides Muslims with the service of reading out their doa in the Masjidil Haram mosque "which is 100,000 more effective than making doa elsewhere".
Starting March, the business launched this year, also offers the service of reading out invocations in front of the Muslim holy site, the Kaabah.
"Now everyone can make doa in Mecca!" said the page, which reads almost like satire.
"Have you been making doa for years but they are still not granted? Starting March 2017, Valet Doa can help you make doa in front of the Kaabah. Confirmed! It will be granted.
"This service of bringing your doa to Masjidil Haram is a world first, especially for those who have urgent wishes and is unable to be in Mecca in the near future," Valet Doa said.
Valet Doa states that it is founded by father of three Nasrin.
"I realised that so many around me have invocations to be made and many pilgrims to Makkah also bring with them doa from others to be read out in the holy land.

"This shows many want their doa at the holy land but are unable to do so.
"This is how the idea to offer a service to bring doa to the holy land in the near future for those who hope Allah can grant their wishes soon," it reads.
Valet Doa charges RM1,500 for doa to be read during regular prayers in Makkah, RM1,000 for doa to be read in front of the Kaabah and RM500 for the doa to be read at Masjidil Haram.
There is also an early bird offer which comes with a 50 percent discount.
The page received condemnation from netizens who poured scorn on Nasrin for allegedly "selling religion".- Mkini

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