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Jakarta Post

Solar eclipse a way to improve faith: Religious leaders

  • Slamet Susanto

    The Jakarta Post

Yogyakarta   /   Wed, March 9, 2016   /  08:49 pm
Solar eclipse a way to improve faith: Religious leaders Thousands of Yogyakarta residents assemble facing east around Tugu Pal Putih monument to witness the rare total solar eclipse on Wednesday. (kompas.com)

Thousands of Yogyakarta residents assemble facing east around Tugu Pal Putih monument to witness the rare total solar eclipse on Wednesday. (kompas.com)

Religious leaders in Yogyakarta urged residents to interpret the total solar eclipse natural phenomenon on Wednesday as a reflection of the greatness of God, thus presenting the event as an opportunity to improve one'€™s faith and piety.

'€œIt is a [reflection] of the greatness of Allah,'€ said Muslim organization Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) Yogyakarta branch tanfidziyah (executive body) head Ahmad Jubaidi.

Some 18 mosques and pesantren (Islamic schools) across the city were prepared for thousands of Muslims to perform solar eclipse prayers between 6:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday. '€œThrough the sunnah [optional] prayers we hope that congregations, especially Nahdlatul Ulama members, can improve their faith and piety.'€

'€œMuslims could also improve their knowledge [of the phenomenon] through joining the prayers because, beforehand, there is guidance and explanation about the solar eclipse,'€ Ahmad said.

Andang Haryafi, an executive of the Al-Ikhlas mosque in Panggungharjo in Bantul district, said that prayers would '€œdisassociate [Muslims] from superstition and fear [of the eclipse].'€

Yogyakarta residents were seen flocking to Gede Kauman mosque, and also enjoying the rare event at Tugu Pal Putih monument intersection, Alun-alun Utara (northern town square) and Ahmad Dahlan University campus.

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