Indonesian Muslims change prayer direction
Indonesian Muslims have been praying in the direction of Africa instead of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, forcing religious authorities to issue a new edict correcting the miscalculation, a Muslim leader said Tuesday, DPA reported.
In March, the Indonesian Ulema Council issued a fatwa telling Muslims to face west when performing five-time daily prayers.
But it turned out that west is not the direction of Kaaba, Islam's most sacred shrine in Mecca, and on Monday the council issued a new edict instructing the faithful to turn north-west instead.
"There's been a slight shift in direction but doesn't mean mosques will have to be knocked down," said Amidhan Shaberah, head of the council.
However, the change did not seem to bother local Muslims.
"According to the Koran, whatever direction you face, you will see the face of Allah," said Fajar Hadi, a Jakarta resident.
Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim-majority country and the council has the power to issue edicts on issues of concern to the faithful.
The council is expected to issue a fatwa on Tuesday declaring that kopi luwak, coffee made from the beans which have been eaten by civet cats, is halal, or religiously permissible.
The scholars said they looked into the matter because there were concerns among some Muslims that civet coffee was unclean.