Jetliner Voodoo Rituals Irk Malaysia Scholars

OnIslam & Newspapers

The bomoh practices ignited Muslim scholars anger, rejecting it as shirk.

CAIRO – Leading Malaysian Islamic organizations have blasted the voodoo rituals performed by "bomoh", or shaman, to solve the mystery of Flight MH370′s disappearance as anti-Islamic, as opposition leaders demanded an investigation onto the case as a national embarrassment.

“Anyone going against shari`ah principles and fatwa will be asked to disperse and if they refuse, we will arrest them,” Zaifullah Jaafar Shidek, Sepang district enforcement chief of Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais), was quoted by Star Online on Thursday, March 13.

"This is to avoid people from becoming syirik (deviant)," he added.

Flight MH370, carrying 227 passengers, including two infants, and 12 crew, went missing en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing about an hour after taking off from the KL International Airport at 12.41 am Saturday.

Last Monday, news broke about a bomoh (shaman) claiming to be able to help locate the missing jetliner.

During the rituals, the bomoh, Ibrahim Mat Zain, who calls himself Raja Bomoh Sedunia Nujum VIP with the title of Datuk Mahaguru, brought along zam-zam water, two coconuts, a “magical” walking stick and a “magic carpet” that served as a “boat” for him and his assistants.

The session at the Anjung Tinjau of Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) attracted a crowd of people.

Returning to the airport yesterday, the bomoh practices ignited Muslim scholars anger, rejecting it as shirk.

"As a Muslim, I believe in honest prayers as the way to appeal to Allah for intervention,” Ahmad Fazrin Yahaya, chief executive officer of Pertubuhan Ilmuan Malaysia (Malaysian Scholarly Organization), said.

"These nonsensical rituals embarrass the Malaysian Muslims and seem to make a mockery of proper Islamic teachings," he told reporters at The Everly hotel on Thursday.


Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim has joined chorus of condemnations for the bomoh practice, urging a full investigation to find out who employed Bomoh Ibrahim to perform his rituals.

“The way we’ve handled the crisis has been weak, and now we have a bomoh worsening the situation. Some may suggest it’s my fault, that I sent him. But who really gave him permission?” Ibrahim was quoted by Free Malaysia Today on Thursday.

“Where is Jakim? Where is the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department? Who gave the bomoh permission?”

Later on Thursday, Anwar criticized Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak for not showing the kind of leadership demanded in a crisis situation.

Yet, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Shahidan Kassim denied that anyone in the government had hired the bomoh.

“The bomoh was not hired by Umno or the government,” he said.

“Their ritual was similar to the kind shown in the P Ramlee movie ‘Do Re Mi’. Surely we would not believe in such a thing.”

“Bomohs usually perform their rituals inside a room,” he said. “Those who do it openly are not bomohs, but movie actors. Umno is not interested in acting. We are taking the crisis seriously.”

Last Monday, Muslim religious authorities in eastern Malaysia Terengganu state have called for special prayers to seek the safety of the passengers and the crew.

Other prayers were led by Ustaz Tuan Ismail Tuan Abdullah from the home ministry, praying to Allah to help them locate the missing aircraft.

Malaysia has a population of nearly 26 millions, with Malays, mostly Muslims, making up nearly 60 percent.

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