Missing imams rumour debunked

National 2 minutes, 18 seconds


BELAIT’S Mosque Affairs department has moved to deny rumours claiming that the imam of Kg Pandan’s mosque was purposely absconding from his duties to lead daily prayers.

Acting Belait mosque affairs officer Amirnordin Yussof clarified yesterday that Kg Pandan imam’s absence from leading Subuh prayers was due to him permanently residing in Brunei-Muara.

The mosque’s bilal has been filling in for the imam, who would otherwise have to leave Brunei-Muara at 3am to make it in time to lead the dawn prayers.

“They (the imam and bilal) have worked out a planned arrangement to lead the prayers, because of the distance the imam has to travel daily,” said Amirnordin.

He also informed that both the imam and bilal, as government servants, are entitled to two days off a week, with the exact days they fall alternating from week to week.

According to Amirnordin, both imam and bilal are required to work from Thursday through to Saturday, with the remaining days needing either the imam or bilal to be stationed at the mosque to lead the five daily prayers.

“It is a must for either bilal or imam to be at the mosque to lead the prayers, unless under special or emergency circumstances, like they are not physically able to or are away for extended periods of time,” he said.

If an imam takes leave, then the bilal is second in line to lead daily prayers. However since the bilal also requires days off, Amirnordin said that a back-up (pelapis), from the mosque committee, would lead prayers on these days.

“These pelapis have received specific training and have been appointed for their back-up position so that they can lead prayers under special circumstances when there is no imam or bilal available,” he said.

When asked why an imam from Brunei-Muara was being assigned to Belait, Amirnordin responded: “Generally the post for imams are not advertised directly or specifically for a certain mosque.

The position (imam) is advertised for, and it is up to the evaluation of the Mosque Affairs department to decide where the imam is stationed. This is usually based on need (of mosques across Brunei) and availability (of imams)."

Several extended messages those claiming to be congregants from Kg Pandan mosque began circulating recently on social media, questioning why no imam was present to lead prayers on a regular basis.

Another complaint in the message was the absence of the printed schedule of who leads prayers on the mosque’s noticeboard.

Amirnordin acknowledged the issue, noting that the Kg Pandan mosque committee has been directed to post the schedule in public view.

He also encouraged congregants with concerns about mosque administration to approach to the Mosque Affairs department or the mosque committee concerned directly.

The Brunei Times