Performing Friday prayers at a mosque is obligatory for Muslim men.
In Malaysia, men who fail to perform the mandatory duty will be prosecuted under the Syariah law.
Having a picnic instead of praying at the mosque
On Dec. 1, six Malaysian men were sentenced to one month in jail and fined over RM2,000 (S$655) for deliberately skipping their Friday prayers.
According to Malay Mail, they committed the offence between 1:00pm and 1:50pm on Aug. 23 in Terengganu.
Officers from the Terengganu Islamic Religious Affairs Department spotted them having a picnic at Sekayu Waterfall instead of praying at the mosque.
It was reported that the female officers first entered the waterfall area for surveillance, when they happened to find the six men, among others, having a picnic there.
Once Friday prayers ended, male officers went in to make the arrests.
Citing the charge sheet, Harian Metro reported that one of the offenders, Khairul Azle Abdul Rasid, 35, received the heaviest RM2,500 (S$819) fine.
This is because he is a father of two and should have been a role model for his children.
The rest were fined RM2,400 (S$786).
These are the other five men found guilty of the same charge:
- Abdul Malek Mohd, 25
- Muhamad Hafizi Abdul Razak, 22
- Muhammad Aliff Fikri A Mazzani, 19
- Two unnamed 17-year-old boys
All six were unrepresented at the Syariah Court on Sunday (Dec. 1).
They were said to have violated Section 16 of the Terengganu Syariah Criminal Enactment (Takzir) amendment.
The charge carries a maximum jail sentence of two years, or a fine up to RM3,000 (S$982) upon conviction.
Bar Council disagrees with 'harsh' sentence
According to Free Malaysia Today, the Malaysian Bar Council has criticised the sentence by Syariah Court, stating that the punishment was too "harsh and excessive".
The council's president, Abdul Fareed Abdul Gafoor, said that a lighter sentence would have been enough to act as a “positive admonishment for would be offenders”.
He added that the judge should have been more lenient judging by the nature of the offence and the age of the offenders.
“We are of the view that sentencing under one’s religious law must not be seen as merciless and harsh, but rather just and compassionate with an objective of educating, and not punishing."
Top photo via Trip Advisor.