Chapter 50: Serving as Negeri Sembilan’s Fatwa Committee Member

Dear Muslimin blessed by Allah SWT. Among the purposes of the revelation of Allah SWT is for its contents to be reflected and contemplated as stated by Allah SWT:

كِتَابٌ أَنْزَلْنَاهُ إِلَيْكَ مُبَارَكٌ لِيَدَّبَّرُوا آيَاتِهِ وَلِيَتَذَكَّرَ أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ

“[This is] a blessed Book which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], that they might reflect upon its verses and that those of understanding would be reminded.” [1]

Syeikh Sya’rawi Rahimuhullah when commenting on the above verse explained the meaning of the word ‘Mubarak’ as something that is little in amount but beneficial and its benefit is more than described. For example, a person with a low income but his family needs are all fulfilled. His expenses are directed to everything that is beneficial valuable. It is as though he is living a wealthy life.

Zulkifli pauses his sermon. He frowned. Everything went silent. Several congregants turned to look in the direction of Zulkifli is gazing at the entrance of Port Dickson Mosque.

I hope that UNITI College students will arrive earlier for the Friday prayer. Great rewards are promised for those who arrive early for Friday prayer. Don’t forget to perform the tahiyyatul masjid before sitting to listen to the sermon.” Zulkifli who was delivering his sermon rebuked some students who arrived late to the mosque.

The students’ faces turned red from embarrassment when the people in the mosque all looked at them, but it may be a permanent lesson that they will remember forever.

Zulkifli’s action is in line with what was described by Abu Jabir bin Abdullah. He said:

جَاءَ سُلَيْكٌ الْغَطَفَانِىُّ يَوْمَ الْجُمُعَةِ وَرَسُولُ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- يَخْطُبُ فَجَلَسَ فَقَالَ لَهُ يَا سُلَيْكُ قُمْ فَارْكَعْ رَكْعَتَيْنِ وَتَجَوَّزْ فِيهِمَا – ثُمَّ قَالَ – إِذَا جَاءَ أَحَدُكُمْ يَوْمَ الْجُمُعَةِ وَالإِمَامُ يَخْطُبُ فَلْيَرْكَعْ رَكْعَتَيْنِ وَلْيَتَجَوَّزْ فِيهِمَا

“Sulaik Ghatafani came on Friday when the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) was delivering the sermon. He (Sulaik) sat down. He (the Holy Prophet) said to him: O Sulaik, stand and observe two rak’ahs and make them short, and then said: When any one of you comes on Friday, while the Imam delivers the sermon, he should observe two rak’ahs and should make them short.” [2]

Imam al-Nawawi said if a person entered a mosque and the imam is delivering the sermon, then he shouldn’t sit until he has performed a simple two rakaat prayer. [3]


After the Friday prayer, Zulkifli rushed to Negeri Sembilan Mufti Department for he has a Fatwa Committee Meeting to attend.

As he arrived at the meeting room of Negeri Sembilan Mufti Department’s Office, Zulkifli could see the Fatwa Committee lineup had all arrived. Ustaz Mohd. Taba bin Bahman, Ustaz Dato’ Haji Borhan bin Hashim, Ustaz Haji Jamil bin Wahab, Ustaz Haji Ahmad Labib, Ustaz Haji Kudos bin Othman, Ustaz Haji Ahmad Damiri bin Yahya, and Ustaz Haji Mohd Fuad Kamaluddin have all arrived and were talking with each other as they were waiting with Negeri Sembilan’s Mufti Sahibus Samahah Dato’ Haji Mohd. Murtadza bin Haji Ahmad.

Not long afterwards, Syeikh Mohd Murtadza entered the meeting room and starts his speech. “Ashabul Fadhilah all ustaz present. Insya-Allah, today we will discuss and decide on a fatwa to be gazetted immediately. It is regarding the issue of the prohibition of Islam as a name to be used for an organization or association. I don’t want this to be a political issue. I’ve requested Sahibul Fadhilah Ustaz Zaidi to prepare a briefing paper to be presented to the State Government.

I want to inform all Committee Members that I’ve insisted in the State Government meeting. I disagree with the decision of the National Fatwa Committee which hastily ruled it prohibited. It will be a political issue. I declared my opposition in the State Government meeting saying that I’m prepared to resign or get fired if the Government disagree with my opposition.

The air-conditioned room suddenly felt ‘hot’. Syeikh Mohd Murtadza raised his voice a little emphasizing his stand. Alhamdulillah, after more than an hour of discussion and each presented their own argument and opinion, they finally unanimously decided:

“There is no restriction for the usage of the word Islam by any organization and it is even encouraged with the disciple of knowledge, faith and ihsan. Any person or organization who uses the word Islam with the purpose to confuse or mislead others is wrong and can be taken actions against based on provisions in the existing law.”


The empowerment of tareqat and tasawwuf on a large scale begins during the time of Syeikh Mohd Murtadza with the organization of International Dakwah and Tareqat Tasawwuf Seminar by Negeri Sembilan Mufti Department with the cooperation of Islamic Studies Faculty, National Malaysia University (UKM) in the year 2002 held at Hilton Hotel Seremban.

Among the sufi scholars who attended the seminar is Syeikh Hasan al-Syinawi (Head of the Council of Tareqat Tasawwuf of Egypt), Prof. Dr. Muhammad Taufik Ramadhan al-Buti and Syeikh Sayyid Ahmad ibn Idris al-Hasan al-Idrisi (Tareqat Ahmadiyyah Idrisiyyah Caliph) from Sudan. Zulkifli was also involved with the seminar as one of the presenters.

The following year, Negeri Sembilan Mufti Department once again organized a National Tasawwuf Seminar with the cooperation of Dewan Bahasa and Pustaka. It was held at Allson Klana Resort, Seremban. For this seminar, Zulkifli was invited as one of the main presenters aside from Syeikh Mohd Murtadza himself, Dr. Haji Jahid bin Sidek, Ustaz Ahmad Kilani Mohamed, Prof. Zakaria Stapa, Dr. Muhammad ‘Uthman el-Muhammady, Dr. Sulaiman al-Baruhi, Dr. Abdul Manam Mohamad, as well as international scholars such as Syeikh Usamah al-Rifa’i and Syeikh Muhammad Zaki Muhammad Ibrahim al-Qadiri.

For the first time after Zulkifli’s return from Syria, he gets to meet with his teacher, Syeikh Prof Dr Abdullatif Soleh al-Farfour in the National Munaqashah Sufi in the year 2004. Using the opportunity that came his way, Zulkifli greeted his teacher and extended his hand to shake his teacher’s hand. “Assalamualaikum Syeikh. I’m Zulkifli, your student at al-Majma’ al-‘Ilmi al-‘Ali Jami’ Sadat in the year 1994-1997.

Syeikh was initially surprised but then was elated with Zulkifli’s greeting. “Subhanallah. It was as though it was just yesterday your viva voce was held at Jami’ Sadat. How are you? Are you and your family well?” Syeikh asked Zulkifli.

Alhamdulillah, we’re all well. I truly appreciate your coming to Malaysia. If Syeikh doesn’t mind, I would like to ask Syeikh to name a syarah I wrote about Hikam book of which I have discussed and translated into Malay.” Zulkifli said, asking for his teacher’s opinion.

I’ll write a foreword for your book, insya-Allah. As for the name…” Syeikh went quiet for a while deep in thought.

Zulkifli, I’ll name your syarah Hikam as Ahasin al-Kalim Syarah al-Hikam. May it be the most beautiful syarah of al-Hikam al-‘Ata’iyyah.” He said, smiling brightly. Both teacher and student then had a long discussion regarding their daily lives, family and various current religious issues.

“Syeikh, can I ask you something?” Zulkifli asked his Syeikh. At the time, the clock showed that it has passed 11 at night. The Allson Klana Resort, Seremban has grown quiet.

Syeikh, are you not going to sleep? It’s getting late…” Zul said glancing at his wristwatch.

Actually, I don’t sleep at night. I just take a nap during the day…” Syeikh answered simply smiling.

The answer surprised Zulkifli and his admiration for his teacher grew. His teacher didn’t sleep at night, filling his night with beneficial deeds for worship. As the night grew, both of them benefit their time reading hadiths from the book, al-Arba’un al-Sihhah, which was arranged by Syeikh where he then received the ijazah for it that night. A truly blessed and beautiful night.


[1] Surah Sad: 29

[2] Riwayat Muslim (2061)

[3] Refer Al-Majmu’ Syarh Al-Muhazzab, 4/53

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